PHILIPPINES: Akbayan Lawmakers want Marcos declared “enemy of democracy”

Anonyme, Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 11:44

AKBAYAN (Citizens Action Party)

Coinciding with the 39th year anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, Akbayan lawmakers today filed a resolution urging the House of Representatives to officially declare former dictator Ferdinand Marcos an “enemy of democracy.”

House Resolution No. 1756 authored by Akbayan Representatives Walden Bello and Kaka Bag-ao called on Congress to condemn the atrocities committed by the late strongman. It also called on Congress to “strongly oppose” the revival of any proposal that would portray Marcos as a hero.

Akbayan said the Marcos dictatorship was perhaps one of the darkest parts in the country’s political history. The group said the Marcos dictatorship through the utilization of a brutal military establishment was responsible for 3,257 murders, 35,000 torture cases and 70,000 incarcerations.

Bello and Bag-ao also said that the former dictator imposed a “perfect authoritarian rule” by clamping press freedom, raiding corporate management, incurring illegitimate debts, and breaking into provincial administrations.

“This resolution is one of our humble contributions in defending the truth. Congress must take the lead in this endeavor for the sake of those who bravely fought the brutal dictatorship as well as the future generations,” Bello, a renowned anti-Marcos veteran, called on Congress and the public to protect the truth.

“Truth is, Marcos was a dictator, an enemy of democracy. It is a fact. Those who choose to ignore this piece of reality are themselves contributing to the weakening of democracy and truth,” Bello added.

The partylist lawmakers added that Marcos smashed all institutions of democracy and installed a society that was founded in fear, repression and tyranny. They also said the late dictator’s victims are still struggling and seeking justice against the crimes committed by Marcos.

"Decades after the Martial Law, victims of human rights violations have yet to receive their due. Akbayan works very hard in Congress to ensure that justice is issued to those who suffered during the dictatorship. Hindi pa tapos ang paghihirap ng mga biktima ng Martial Law at ng kanilang mga pamilya, hindi kami papayag na kilalanin si Marcos bilang isang bayani," Bello said, referring to HB302, an act providing compensation to victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime, that awaits plenary deliberations.

Akbayan also reiterated their opposition to any plan to give the former dictator a hero’s burial. The group said those who are pushing for a hero’s burial were exhibiting callousness and great insensitivity to the plight of the late dictator’s victims.

For her part, Bag-ao deplored the “gross historical distortion” being done by the Marcoses’ spin masters in order to paint the former dictator in a good light.

“We are witnessing a major attempt at historical revision. We must not let them succeed. I encourage our young people to know more about their history. I encourage our student leaders to mount a strong campaign to make mandatory the teaching of martial law history in schools and universities,” Bag-ao said.

“We may be a forgiving people but definitely not a forgetful one. Compassion and justice can never be confused with attempts to exonerate a brutal legacy. There is a clear line between truth and lies,” Bag-ao concluded.

Imelda Marcos, who is the former first lady of the late dictator is a colleague of Bello and Bag-ao in the House of Representatives. She is currently representing the second district of Ilocos Norte. On the other hand, the former president’s children are also active in politics. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is a senator while former Congresswoman Imee Marcos serves as the incumbent governor of Ilocos Norte. ###



By Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)

Overhaul Marcos’ Labor Code, end ‘martial law’ in the labor front

ALMOST 40 years after Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law, a lot of its offshoots have remained entrenched in the fabric of Philippine society, although many of the recent generations may be unaware of them or those who knew have opted to forget them. However, a section of those who knew – either those who directly endured the dictatorship or have been told about it – must remain steadfast in keeping the flame ablaze by reminding and educating the current and next generations of what truly happened during that dark years, of the miserable sufferings of the people, of the evil of fascist military regime, of the need to finally cut all the despotic vestiges that still linger, and of the need to unmask and fight future attempts to enforce any form of tyranny.

All the outrageous efforts and barefaced lie of the pompous Imelda Marcos and her ilk at historical revisionism – that martial law was “good and necessary” for the country, that it brought “progress and peace,” that it thwarted “communism and anarchy,” that it ousted oligarchy, that it instilled “discipline” among the citizenry, that it has not trampled on human rights – must be squarely confronted and debunked. All their claims are nothing but a delusional blabbering on “the true, the good and the beautiful,” and outright distortion of actual and historical facts.

Cold statistics on the widespread and ruthless human rights violations perpetrated by the Marcos regime, for instance, will never be able to alleviate the pain and misery suffered by the countless victims as well as their loved ones. But the grim facts and figures could at least be a slap on the face of the liars and fraudsters who suddenly suffered “convenient amnesia.” An authoritative book has revealed that from the imposition of martial rule in 1972 until its “lifting” in 1981, HR organizations reported over 3,200 victims of “salvaging” or extrajudicial killings; 70,000 were incarcerated for being real or imagined “enemies of the state”; and no less than 35,000 of them were tortured in various ways. These data could even be considered as conservative, for how about those other numerous unreported and undocumented cases?

Yes, the more than 3,200 “salvaged” victims were still “few” compared to about 8,000 victims of the “dirty war” waged by Argentina’s military junta. Nevertheless, Marcos’ deadly exploits were bigger than the 2,000-plus victims of the iron-fisted regime of Augusto Pinochet in Chile, and the close to 300 victims under the equally notorious Brazilian military rulers. Moreover, numbers really don’t count, but the mere act of brutality and desecration of lives and freedoms are revolting enough.

There were of course the abductions or forced disappearances giving birth to the Philippine version of desaparecidos, the warrantless and Gestapo-like arrests, the displacement of rural communities or military hamletting, the violent dispersal of rallies and pickets and demolitions of urban poor settlements, the muzzling and co-optation of the media, the vicious suppression of organized workers, peasants, students and other basic sectors, the total disregard of civil and political liberties and of basic and democratic freedoms.

Poverty of the vast majority of Filipinos had in fact worsened; the public coffers were systematically looted and any prized possessions were claimed by Marcos, his family, relatives and cronies. Their voracious appetite for riches was legendary – and utterly disgusting. It is estimated that his immediate family alone had plundered the country of billions of dollars’ worth of money and properties, many stashed abroad until today. The country was practically bankrupt when the dictatorship was overthrown in 1986. The Marcos regime also conceived and reared the cronies then, who have now appropriated to themselves the more respectable title of “tycoons” or “taipans.” Thus, for example, who “made” Danding Cojuangco and Lucio Tan?

Of course, the clutches of martial law have permeated and stubbornly remained in the labor front. The following, among other unsavory and unwarranted modus operandi, either started or were perfected during the martial law years: Many of the unabashedly pro-capitalist policies, especially for the foreign transnational corporations, like the “cheap and docile labor” strategy; a variety of effective union-busting methods and other management dirty tactics, including creating “yellow unions” and worthless CBAs; the relentless murders and harassment of militant or dedicated trade union leaders that triggered an atmosphere of impunity.

In particular, the character of the Marcos-crafted Labor Code and its litigious labor and industrial relations, aside from the still deeply-rooted corruption in government bureaucracy, including the courts, still exist. As a matter of fact, the Labor Code was designed not so much to provide Filipino workers with fundamental rights but to circumscribe them; and it remains basically the same despite all the omnibus and piecemeal amendments and “revisions” that were passed since the fall of the Marcos dictatorship.

Indeed, the plights of the “union-busted” Dusit Hotel workers, the “outsourced” PALEA (Philippine Airlines Employees Association) members, the “union/association-deprived” Hanjin employees, the “perpetually casual” SM salesladies, the “forever contractual” call center and BPO agents, the unresolved killings of trade union activists, and the fast growing ranks of cheaper and more docile non-regular and non-unionized workforce are testaments not only to the worsening neoliberal policies but also a confirmation that Marcos’ labor (mal)practices are still well-entrenched.


Youth group to conduct national truth campaign to remind people of Marcos atrocities

By Akbayan Youth

Coinciding with this year’s anniversary of the declaration of martial law, which ushered the Marcos dictatorship, Akbayan youth today, announced that it would launch a one-year national education and truth campaign in the run-up to the 40th anniversary of martial law in September of next year.

The youth group said the campaign aims to contest major attempts to grossly distort historical truths in order to paint the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in a good light.

Akbayan Youth Chairperson Leloy Claudio said his group would not allow any attempt to revise history to paint the dictator in a good light. “We owe it to the past generations who suffered under martial law. We will not let Marcos’ crimes be whitewashed with spins and outright lies.”

Claudio said starting this month, Akbayan youth would conduct nationwide lectures and forums about the dictatorship.

“We will focus on local histories of martial law and show that the dictator oppressed Filipinos across the Philippines,” Claudio said, who is also a History PhD candidate and a political science instructor at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Some of the target schools are University of the Philippines, Ateneo De Manila University, Philippine Normal University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Central Luzon State University, Cebu Technological University, Bicol University, Mindanao State University, Ateneo De Davao University and West Mindanao State University.

Claudio also called on the government to make mandatory the teaching of martial law history in schools and universities.

“Even as we do our own contribution in defending the truth, we urge the government to make mandatory the accurate teaching of the history of the Marcos dictatorship in schools all over the country. We must never forget,” Claudio added.

Akbayan youth also supported a resolution filed today by Representatives Walden Bello and Kaka Bag-ao calling on Congress to declare the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos as an “enemy of democracy.”

The youth group described the resolution as a concrete way to end any attempt to exonerate Marcos’ brutal legacy and serve as the first step towards correcting historical errors perpetuated by Marcos supporters and cronies.

“Loyalists of the Marcos family have continually fed the youth with lies about President Marcos. We are in the middle of a struggle for collective memory. Representatives Bello and Bag-ao’s proposed resolution represents the voice of truth,” declared Claudio.

Claudio also urged other congressional representatives to show a resolute stand against tyranny and sign the resolution. He said instead of acting as if they are suffering from selective amnesia, lawmakers should be circumspect of history considering that many of them were relatives if not victims of Martial Law.

“Our legislators owe the youth an honest assessment of the past. There were 3,257 victims of extra-judicial killings, 35,000 tortured, and 70,000 incarcerated during the Marcos regime, in fact, many of them were relatives of those victims. This was a brutal military dictatorship by any standard,” Claudio said.

House Resolution No. 1756 authored by Akbayan Representatives Walden Bello and Kaka Bag-ao called on Congress to condemn the atrocities committed by the late strongman. It also called on Congress to “strongly oppose” the revival of any proposal that would portray Marcos as a hero. ###

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