Ala-ala ito ng mga luha, ala-ala ito ng nagbabagang lupa…
33 years ago today, on September 21, 1972 President Marcos officially became Dictator of the Philippines by issuing Proclamation 1081 placing the entire country under Martial Law.
Although I was still in grade school the day Martial Law was declared but I grew up to witness and experience its aftermath 14 years thence.
I remember as a kid we were required to sing the Bagong Lipunan Hymn everyday during flag ceremonies after the National Anthem and the Panatang Makabayan. I can still sing the Bagong Lipunan hymn in memory:
“may bagong silang, may bago nang buhay, bagong bansa, bagong galaw, sa bagong lipunan. magbabago ang lahat, tungo sa pag-unlad, at ating itanghal, bagong lipunan!”
During this period, war was raging in Mindanao so our schools were supplied with relief goods courtesy of the USAID. We get rations of Skimmed Milk, canned potatoes and of course the Nutribuns which we use as ersatz gloves for our made-up boxing matches.
But such carefree and playful memories of my chidhood was overshadowed by the sad realities of time.
Growing up in a war-torn land under Martial Law made me witness on how it is to be ruled by the military. Everything was controlled by the military; check points were set up at every street corner, curfew was imposed, random house searches were conducted deliberately, rampant illegal arrests, etc. There’s no day that passed without a news or two about arrests, massacres, salvagings and ambuscades. It was a period of living dangerously.
What I have only witnessed during my childhood became a living reality for me when I eventually joined the struggle against the Marcos Dictatorship during my teens. It was during this period that I experienced first hand the ruthlessness of the fascist Dicatatorship. During those trying times, we would consider ourselves lucky enough to survive arrest and torture. At least one can still live to tell tale of horrors. But many had the misfortune of a grimmer consequnce by being made to become permanently invisible or liquidated by the fascists.
Like many of those who have endured, the memory of friends and comrades who disappeared or perished in the struggle and to the thousands of faceless and nameless victims will forever remind us about Martial Law. A constant reminder for us to continously resist any attempts to revive Martial Law under a new name or form and to prevent it from ever happening again.
Never Again, Never Again..