With a Marcos-style dictator in our midst and the threat of another Marcos in power looming, there is no other choice but to fight and defeat the rising tide of political tyranny, economic exploitation and worsening human rights violations – and Migrante Australia – on the 46th anniversary of Martial Law declaration – reiterates its commitment to be one with the Filipino people in this struggle.
We now live in circumstances akin – if not worse – to the dark, dangerous and deadly days of Marcos’ martial law regime, with the entire Philippines – not only Mindanao – in a Marcos-style martial law situation.
Like Marcos, Duterte has placed almost the entire power of government in the hands of one man – his own. He sees himself above the law. He rules with impunity. He wants charter change and federalism to preserve his power and that of the ruling elite. He has entered into an alliance with the devil – with no less than Bongbong Marcos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo themselves.
WATCH: Protesters hold rallies on the 46th anniversary of Martial Law
Like Marcos, Duterte has sanctioned unprecedented human rights violations – the extrajudicial killings, continuing militarisation of Lumad schools and communities, trumped-up charges against activists, arrests and tortures, detentions and massacres, and attacks on the media.
Like Marcos, Duterte has deliberately ignored to provide for the basic needs of Filipino people. The massive unemployment, the continuing contractualisation, the unabated price increases are forcing more and more Filipinos to leave their families to seek better paying (and often dangerous) jobs abroad. Under Marcos, labour migration became more systematic, transforming Filipino labour to a cheap exportable commodity through labour export policy. Today, Duterte – who once promised to address the root causes of migration – is exacting the same sacrifices from OFWs. Worse, OFW families – like the rest of the Filipino people – are caught in the web of Duterte’s madness, the innocent victims of his war on drugs, war on terror, war on the poor.
We are now fighting a dictator who has made a mockery out of the peace process by unilaterally terminating the peace talks between his government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) just when the Comprehensive Agreement for Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) – the most contentious issue in the peace talks as it seeks to address the root cause of armed conflict by amending government policies on agrarian reform and national industrialisation – was to be negotiated.
We are now fighting a dictator who, a few days ago, was found by the International People’s Tribunal guilty of crimes against the Filipino people. Almost at the same time, the butcher, trained and supported by Australia ex-general Jovito Palparan Jr was convicted of charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of disappeared University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan.
That we fought a dictator – and won – is an indelible part of the Filipino people’s powerful history of struggle and resistance. Marcos was a dictator who killed, tortured, detained, massacred, ravaged communities and will be remembered as such.
One day soon, Duterte will get his comeuppance. The Filipino people will make sure of that and like Marcos, history will judge him as a dictator who killed, tortured, detained, massacred and destroyed communities.
— Migrante Australia