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Duterte urges peaceful commemoration of martial law

/ 03:05 AM September 22, 2016

Malacañang on Wednesday said President Duterte supported activities commemorating the declaration of martial law, but he wanted these to be peaceful so that other people would not be inconvenienced.

The 44th year since the dictator Ferdinand Marcos put the country under martial rule was a regular working day, but the Palace said this was not intended to diminish the significance of the event.

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“It will be governance as usual. This, however, does not mean the significance of the day is lost to the collective memory of the nation,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement.

Andanar also took note of the plan of some groups to hold public assemblies to mark the event. These were allowed, but he said the President wanted to make sure these were orderly.

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“The President encourages various activities to commemorate the occasion as long as they are peaceful and no public inconvenience or destruction of properties may ensue,” he said.

The government’s Official Gazette shared on its Facebook page the link to a lengthy post about the events surrounding Marcos’ martial law declaration, including the staged ambush of then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile to serve as justification for Marcos’ decision.

“When Marcos appeared on television at 7:15 p.m. on

Sept. 23, 1972, to announce that he had placed the ‘entire Philippines under martial law’ by virtue of Proclamation No. 1081, he framed his announcement in legalistic terms that were untrue. This helped camouflage the true nature of his act to this day: it was nothing less than a self-coup,” the post said.

The post also mentioned the rounding up of people considered threats to Marcos and the shutting down of the press, and referred to a “massive clampdown [on] democratic institutions in the country.”

It said martial law ended on Jan. 17, 1981, and that the 1987 Constitution safeguarded institutions from a repeat of  Marcos’ martial law regime. The 1986 People Power Revolution was not mentioned.

Earlier, Malacañang drew flak for an Official Gazette post commemorating the 99th birthday of Marcos on Sept. 11.

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The post read: “In 1972, he declared martial law to suppress a communist insurgency and secessionism in Mindanao. In 1986, Marcos stepped down from the presidency to avoid bloodshed during the uprising that came to be known as ‘People Power.’”

The Palace was heavily criticized for whitewashing the abuses, atrocities and plunder of the public coffers during Marcos’ 20-year rule.

Political prisoners

As the nation recalled those abuses on Wednesday, the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) called on President Duterte to “fulfill his commitment” of issuing a general amnesty for all political prisoners.

“We call for the release of all political prisoners unjustly detained by previous regimes. We call on the President to fulfill his commitment,” Renato Reyes, secretary general of Bayan, said in a statement.  With a report from Kristine Felisse Mangunay

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TAGS: Martial law, Nation, news, Rodrigo Duterte
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