#AnimatED: Never forget martial law

This week, two dates stand out in our history: September 21, when President Ferdinand Marcos signed Proclamation 1081 declaring martial law throughout the country, and September 23, when he actually ordered it, unsheathing the sword of authoritarian rule that would last 14 years.

Marcos lifted martial law in 1981, but it was only in name. The essence of a dictatorial regime remained—until Marcos was deposed in the 1986 People Power uprising

During this harrowing period, statistics tell our nation’s story: 3,257 killed, 35,000 tortured, and 70,000 incarcerated.

As for our economy, “the average GDP growth rate from 1972 to 1985 (Marcos’s last full year) was all of 3.4% per annum. Per-capita GDP grew annually at less than 1% average over the period -- more precisely 0.82%. Hardly a roaring-tiger performance. At that rate it would have taken 85 years for per capita income just to double,” wrote economist Emmanuel de Dios.

In other words, the martial-law economy was a man-made disaster.

All these historical facts, we need to burn into our memories in the face of efforts to recast the Marcoses in a positive light. After all, building our young nation partly rests on the solid foundations of our memory.

It has been 44 years since the imposition of martial law.

Yet today, no less than President Duterte reminded us that he could bring the country back to this dark state. “Would you rather I declare martial law?” were his famous words at a military camp, addressing Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, who aired her concern about the absence of due process in the drug war. 

What is disturbing is seeing our democracy being assailed by the wave of violence unleashed by the state against suspected drug users and traffickers. As of the 2nd week of September, more than 3,000 have been killed both in police operations and by vigilantes. That’s more than 40 deaths a day. 

Government is abandoning the rule of law in its gruesome war on drugs.

But that is not the reason the country is under a state of national emergency. Rather, it is the “lawless violence” in Mindanao, triggered by the bombing of the Davao City night market which killed at least 14 and injured more than 60.

Warrantless arrests are allowed under certain circumstances, as the implementation guidelines for the Armed Forces and Philippine National Police show.

We cannot not let our guard down.

As The New York Times wrote, “Democratization is a process…forever in danger, forever evolving, forever in need of vigilance and repair.” – Rappler.com