DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The University of the Philippines-Mindanao community commemorated the Martial Law declaration of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos through a protest action on Friday (Sept. 20) afternoon.
Students and faculty members from different departments gather at the UP-Mindanao Atrium Steps as they pay tribute to the martyrs and victims, and condemn the continuing “State repression” now under the Duterte administration.
“As youth, we should never forget the bloody history of Martial Law. It is our contribution in demanding justice to all the martyrs and victims of rights violations that time,” UP Student Council President Rey Mart Lapina said.
He recalled how many UP students, among hundreds of victims, were imprisoned, tortured, killed, and became desaparecidos during Martial Law which was declared on September 21, 1972.
Last year, University President Danilo Concepcion declared September 21st as the “Day of Remembrance” throughout the whole UP system. It is to honor the school’s “best and brightest,” who took part in the struggle against Marcos dictatorship.
The whole UP community vows not to repeat history and encourages everyone to be vigilant at a time when there’s a “de facto Martial Law,” 47 years after Marcos’s declaration.
Duterte has placed Mindanao under Martial Law since 2017 in a bid to quell terror groups. But political activists say it’s meant to silence progressive groups and critics of the administration.
Lapina said the youth continue to become victims of rights violations under the rule of President Rodrigo Duterte, citing the closure of several Lumad schools which deprives thousands of indigenous children to their right to education.
These Lumad schools also decry attacks from the military and paramilitary forces such as red-tagging, harassment, and threats against its students and teachers.
“There is a continuing need for awareness, vigilance, and militancy in the assertion of our fundamental freedoms,” Lapina said, adding (T)hat’s why it’s important for the youth to be at the forefront in resisting Duterte’s Martial Law.”
Aside from UP Mindanao, similar protest actions were also staged in other UP campuses across the country. (davaotoday.com)