John Leo C Algo, climate advocate and environment researcher, in Rappler (September 21, 2021)
Summary by Alejandro Reyes
Nearly five decades have passed since then-president Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. While he claimed this was done to suppress civil unrest and communist threats, it became glaringly obvious that he simply took advantage of the chaos to create a dictatorship that plundered this nation for the next 14 years.
The impact of martial law was so devastating that we are still feeling the consequences today. By the time Marcos was kicked out, the economy was in bad shape from the corruption and heavy borrowing from other countries. Poverty rates drastically increased, the value of the peso went down, and the country's reputation crashed. Truth be told, all of us are still paying for the trillions worth of debt today.
No matter how hard the Marcoses try to make us forget, we remember that thousands were killed or tortured during this time. Their human rights were undoubtedly violated, their families suffered. The dictator's family does not even have the decency to apologize and admit to the crimes.
Nevertheless, arguably the most important fallout from the martial law era is our newfound appreciation of freedom. The restoration of democracy in 1986 gave hope for Filipinos to reverse the wrongs of Marcos, his family, and his cronies, and finally place our country on the right path.
Current President Rodrigo Duterte is implementing the Covid version of martial law right now. Lockdowns, military personnel in places where they should not be, extrajudicial killings, the economy in recession, his cronies getting rich too fast to be hidden.
The fallout from martial law is an issue of national significance. This means that we all are stakeholders, and we have the right to resolve this for good. There is no neutral anymore. Moving on is not an option, not until justice is served.