Never Again to Martial Law: Fight for Genuine Democracy in the Philippines!

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Fifty years ago on September 21, 1972, Ferdinand Marcos Sr. signed Proclamation No. 1081 placing the entire Philippines under Martial Law. Following his declaration, the Marcos fascist dictatorship wasted no time arresting activists and shutting down hundreds of institutions deemed critical of the government. Hundreds of media outlets were shut down and Marcos assumed both legislative and executive powers overnight. Contrary to the delusional claims of the Marcoses, it was during their period that the country saw the bloodiest period in history as thousands were forced into poverty and the economy left in shambles.

Overseas Filipinos in the Netherlands join millions of Filipinos worldwide in remembering and resisting the continuing horrors of Martial Law. Thousands of activists who fought against the dictatorship fifty years ago were either killed, tortured or kidnapped by police and military forces never to be found again. Some of those who survived had no choice but to flee their homes and seek refuge elsewhere including in the Netherlands. Despite living overseas, martial law survivors who have become refugees in the Netherlands have consistently fought against deliberate attempts to distort the truth and erase their experiences from history.

Life during the Marcos period was far from being a ‘golden age’ as the Marcoses would often claim. In fact, it was during this period that Filipinos first saw themselves peddled as cheap commodities through the systematization of the government’s Labor Export Program. Instead of prioritizing the development of local industries and providing jobs for all, every post-Marcos administration has consistently supported the systematic export of Filipino labor abroad. This policy continues even today with more than 5,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) leaving their families and their homeland on a daily basis in search of greener pasture elsewhere.

In the Philippines, the horrors of the fascist dictatorship loom relentlessly and continue to be felt in many parts of the country. With the late dictator’s son fraudulently elected as President, Filipinos face the continuation of the previous administration’s policy of brutal repression akin to the fascist reign of his father five decades ago. While the Filipino people suffer from widespread unemployment, low wages, landlessness and land grabbing, the Marcoses and their minions, continue to accumulate wealth and power, buttressed by the same political structures that enabled the dictatorship.

For more than a decade, Migrante Netherlands has upheld the rights and welfare of overseas Filipinos and their families. It has served to amplify the voices of OFWs in distress left and neglected by a government reeked by greed and corruption. We will not stand idly as the current Marcos II regime intensifies its brutal repression of dissent to prevent us from raising the legitimate concerns of Filipino migrants.

Especially at this time that the Filipino people remember the declaration of martial law 50 years ago, Filipino migrants vigorously reject and denounce the abuses of political, economic and military power that continue to this day.

Never again! Never forget!
Fight for genuine democracy in the Philippines!