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Martial Law @ 40: It Can Happen Again Anytime

Yesterday was  the commemoration of the infamous 1972 Martial Law that left scars among the Filipinos. I was not able to write an essay about it because we were busy at school but few days prior to yesterday, I was interviewed by an intern of Manila Bulletin about it. She said that they are making an article on how the Filipino youth today perceive the 1972 Martial Law. Here’s mine:

IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN ANYTIME. “Marcos placed the whole nation under Martial Law as a result of the rise of activism among students, workers and other sectors, the growth of communism, and the infamous assassination of former Defense Minister and now Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. It should not just be viewed as an isolated case of absence of democracy but as a reflection of the unjust societal system that we have until now — the people of the ruling class uses the government, the State, and even the State’s military forces to protect and promote their interest and to preserve their top position in the social pyramid. This means Martial Law can actually happen any time when the people of the ruling class feel that the masses are at work in revolutionizing the society, that is, ang pagbaliktad ng tatsulok. At the same time, the 1972 Martial Law showed how Filipinos would sacrifice themselves for the liberation of the oppressed and of their nation.” — Kristian Jacob Abad Lora, 19, Nagkahiusang Kusog sa Estudyante

First published on Manila Bulletin, September 19 http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/374023/what-martial-law-means-today-s-youth
For our generation, the challenge is to continue protecting the freedom that was fought by our ancestors and continue the struggle towards full and genuine national democracy as the threat by the ruling classes remains until now.

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EDSA 1 @ 25: Clarifying Misconceptions

Silver Anniversary Special
By Kristian Jacob Abad Lora
February 25, 2011 | 8:06AM

Author’s Note: I wrote this article two years ago in line with the Silver Anniversary of EDSA 1 Movement. There are things that I edited here after having new realizations as time went by. Original manuscript of this essay can be found on this link: http://www.facebook.com/notes/kristian-jacob-casas-abad-lora/edsa-1-25-clarifying-misconceptions/10150101703994794


“I was there. My grandchildren went, even if my wife did not want to let them go. I said to her: ‘Let them. If you stop them, they will never forgive you, because this is history.”- Francisco “Soc” Rodrigo

s have already passed and the EDSA 1 Movement is now on its Silver Anniversary. With this, I congratulate the courageous Filipinos of the past for persevering the movement to topple down the Marcos dictatorial government in the country until they achieved victory in the evening of February 25, 1986.

On the other hand, while I was not able to join the masses in EDSA 25 Commemoration/Protest at Fuente Osmeña this morning, I wrote this article to clarify basic misconceptions of the EDSA 1 Movement that are fed to the people via books, gossips and mass-media.

Cory is NOT the Icon of Democracy

For 25 years of commemorating the EDSA 1 Movement, most likely to be featured on the television, radio, newspapers, magazines and on the web are the people who took part in the victorious movement. Sad to say, only the names and faces of those prominent elite people that are usually read and seen. One of these is the name and the visage of the late Pres. Corazon “Cory” Aquino always dressed in yellow, most of the times, with the “L” hand-sign and the label “Mother of Democracy”.

Who really then is the TRUE ICON OF DEMOCRACY? Of course, I stand firm on my point that it is not Pres. Cory. Why? I wan to ask few questions that may answer why I do not believe that she is the Icon of Democracy.

  1. Was it Pres. Cory who initiated in educating and arousing the people on social issues that time? Was she even with those people and/or students who hopped in different schools and reached to the grassroots to agitate them and encourage them to stand for their rights and welfare?
  2. Was Pres. Cory with then college students Jose Ma. Sison and Edgar Jopson and other youths who marched to and entered Malacañang Palace and had a dialogue with then Pres. Marcos to present the demands of the people and settle the turmoil?
  3. On February 25, 1986, was Pres. Cory on the streets with the Filipino people who braved any possible threats of mass-killing and marched to EDSA? Was she with the people who put flowers on the soldiers’ guns? Where was she that time? She was with her family praying while she could have hold arms with the nuns in front of the march praying with the people.
  4. Was it not during her Administration that thousands of activists and innocent people were killed under her Administration’s US-funded “Oplan Lambat-Bitag 1 & 2” Counter-insurgency programs? (Watch “Ora Pronobis”) Was it not during her Administration that farmers who called for genuine land reform were massacred? (Mendiola Massacre)

True that Pres. Cory was known as an inspiration for the Filipino people to continue the struggle or movement for democracy. Nonetheless, with her efforts, it is still illogical to tag her as the Mother (Icon) of Democracy. She would not have been in front of thousands of Filipino people during her inauguration if not for the Filipinos who aroused other Filipinos, organized and mobilized themselves to oust the dictator. Perhaps, she deserves the title “Inspiration for Democracy” but not the title she is bringing now.

Who else then? The Icon of Democracy should be crowned to the Filipino People and it should always be emphasized in books and in the mass media that the Collective Action of the Filipino People brought back Democracy in the Philippines and not just Pres. Cory Aquino.

Bloodless Revolution?

Until now, we can still hear and even some of us may complain that “25 years have already passed since EDSA 1 REVOLUTION but societal problems have not yet been solved”.

However, before complaining, let us clarify important points or terminologies that will give us light to such complaint.

First, was it really a revolution?

No, it was NOT a revolution. It was a long-running movement that basically aimed to oust the dictator and to push for a democratic society. There was just a change of political system and just a change of leaders.

Revolution pushes for a change in social order and that includes change in the societal system. Hence, as long as the current system (neo-colonial and neo-feudal with basic problems: imperialism, bureaucrat-capitalism and feudalism) is not changed, problems will continue to arise – from corruption, extra-judicial killings to poverty.

Furthermore, there is actually no democracy because after 25 years, the 1% ruling class composed of the big landlords, comprador bourgeoisie and bureaucrat capitalists are still at the top of the social pyramid.

The EDSA 1 ‘Movement’ was heading towards a revolutionary phase that would supposedly change the rotten system, overturning the ‘tatsulok’ until it was ‘hijacked’ by the ruling elite. Thus, only the administration was changed but the rotten system remains until now — still, exploiting and oppressing the masses.

Second, was it really bloodless?

No, it was NOT bloodless. When saying bloodless, people just refer to the 3-day movement in EDSA on the 25th of February 1986 just to brag that “in bringing back democracy or in changing the system, it does not to be bloddy or violent”.

However, it must be clarified that the EDSA 1 movement is just a part of the long-term movement or struggle in ousting the dictator. It must be pointed out that the EDSA 1 movement would not have been possible without the First Quarter Storm movement and all other movements/parts of the more-than-20-year movement against the dictatorial government that started in 60’s until Feb. 25, 1986 where hundreds of activists, reformists, and innocent people killed.

Furthermore, no matter how we aim for bloodless revolution, in reality, such will not exist. When more than 75% of the Filipino population struggle and fight for freedom against class discrimination and repression, the 1% elites will use any means – including mass-killing – just to defend their class and for them to remain powerful at the top of the pyramid. (Listen to Bamboo’s “Tatsulok”).

Is there still hope?

Yes! There is still hope for change. As long as the Filipino people unite, there is still hope. On the other hand, as Iskolars ng Bayan, students, youths and citizens of this new generation, let us continue arousing, organizing and mobilizing the masses/fellow Filipinos to push for GENUINE CHANGE just like the youths/people of the 60’s and 70’s (past generation) did until they achieved their goal which was to oust the dictator.

Nonetheless, as we see that the problem is not just in the government and ourselves, our goal now is to change the present societal system. Let us ACT COLLECTIVELY. After all, only us, the masses, can liberate ourselves (with GOD’s help – for believers in GOD).

Mabuhay ang mga Pilipinong nakikibaka!
Pilipinas, padayon kita sa tunay na pagbabago!

Timeline of the Movement:

“Aking adhika, makita kang sakdal malaya.” (Corazon de Jesus, “Bayan Ko”)

* * *

On the other hand, I would like to greet my close friend and almost-kapatid na si Febreth Jane Acedillo, ang isa sa mga EDSA 1 babies, on her 18th birthday! I pray for GOD’s guidance and blessings. Keep up the faith! Continue to be loving, caring, forgiving, inspiration, humble, and joyful! Most of all, continue Serving GOD and His people! We LOVE YOU! GOD BLESS!

I would like also to greet my high school barkada “Teens Next Door (TND)” on our 3rd Anniversary! Long Live TND!

Meanwhile, I would like also to share this song on EDSA 1 by The Jerks that I learned only when I entered college life.

Sayaw sa Bubog
Words and Lyrics by The Jerks

Buwan ng Pebrero
Buwan ng pagbabago
Anong klaseng pagbabago
Ano sa palagay mo?
Bumaha ng pangako
Lason ay isinubo
Tuloy sa pagkakapako
May utang pati apo

Kasinungalingan, isang kahangalan
Walang libereng kalayaan
Ito’y pinagbabayaran
Palabas na moro-moro
Ito kaya ay totoo?
EDSA ng pagbabago
Saan, kailan, kanino?

Sayaw, sayaw, sayaw sa bubog
Ang naglalakad ng tulog
Tiyak na mauumpog

Tuloy ang ligaya
Sa iba’t ibang hacienda
Manggagawa’t magsasaka
Kumakalam ang sikmura
Sari-saring kaguluhan
Nakawan, karahasan
Kailan n’yo titigilan
Ang mga mamamayan

Buwan ng Pebrero, buwan
Ng pagbabago saan, kailan, kanino?