Martial law echoes in rally at Camp LapuBy Rhea Ruth V. Rosell
Cebu Daily News
Placard-bearing protestors yesterday marched to Camp Lapu-Lapu in Cebu City to commemorate the declaration of Martial Law 40 years ago.
The peaceful demonstration was met with tolerance by military officials who went outside the gate and offered them juice drinks.
The militants shouted slogans calling for a stop to militarization, and called for the freeing of all political prisoners and justice for victims of Martial Law (ML) which spanned 1972 to 1986.
Members of Bayan lamented that post-Martial Law society suffers lingering problems of poverty, human rights violations, political killings and widespread corruption in government.
Mlitary officials led by Central Command (Centcom) spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Tampus said protestors are welcome to rally outside the camp.
They offered them drinks, but protestors declined saying they wanted justice, not juice.
This year, the military didn’t object when the militants used a sound system mounted atop a jeepney.
“We are here to remember the dark era of martial law,” said Bayan leader Jaime Paglinawan.
He said government officials should stop harassing groups tagged as “leftists”.
Among their grievances was the fate of victims of extra-judicial killings and involuntary disappearance and the military’s failure to arrest fugitive retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, in connection with the 2006 abduction of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan in Luzon.
Paglinawan said that even though the country is no longer under Martial Law, “tentacles” of a repressive regime remain in government policies like the Human Security Act, Oplan-Bayanihan, and anti-insurgency drives that tag militant groups “supporters” of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Paglinawan said there is still a huge gap between the rich and the poor in the country.
Victoriano Malingin, 61, said he could still remember how he and his family were arrested and sent to jail by the authorities during Martial Law.
Malingin, an upholstery worker, and his family were arrested for joining an anti-Marcos protest rally.
Malingin said he was jailed for more than a year, and threatened with death if he wouldn’t squeal on colleagues in the protest rally.
Lt. Col. Tampus said the military was willing to listen to grievances of militant groups.
“It is their right to express their problems and complain against the government. We welcome their true sentiments,” Tampus said in Cebuano.
“We could address their problems and bring them up with Centcom officials,” said Tampus.
Tampus said members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines today were “professionals”.
“We respect human rights – no abuse, zero tolerance (for abuse),” said Tampus.
Tags: Martial law