Today, we remember the day then-President and dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law in the country under his regime. It’s been 46 years since the time that people almost always had to stay in their homes, whose mouths were shut, and cannot live the lives they want to. It’s the time when human rights were violated and all of the killings, torture, and oppressions took place.
The Philippines suffered for 9 years under Martial Law. About 70,000 people were caught and detained for being “enemies of the state”, about 34,000 Filipinos were tortured, and about 3,240 Filipinos killed. Until today, there are about 1,800 desaparecidos that are yet to be found because of the Martial Law.
If Martial Law was not lifted after the EDSA People Power Revolution, how would our lives be today?
1. ranting online
It’s normal and very easy for us to head on to Twitter and Facebook to rant about daily traffic, the hassle we experience in our daily commute, or how bad our experiences are in government offices are. It’s through the power of these platforms that we’re able to speak our minds and make a political stand. But if we were to live in a Martial Law era, we will not be allowed to have access to these sites. Worse, even ranting inside our own homes about the Government is illegal.
2. Night Parties
We look forward to the weekend cause it’s the best time to go out, gather, and party with our friends until wee hours. But during Martial Law, you have to be home by 11 PM to make sure you’ll be safe overnight. The strict 12:00 midnight to 4:00 AM curfew hours were imposed on people to stay inside their homes. People who are caught outdoors during these hours will be imprisoned by the law enforcers.
3. Read the daily news online
Today, our smartphones feed us every day with daily news from both local and international news organizations, tailor-fitted with our interests. However, if it was Martial Law, we are forced to consume news only from a government-owned news organization whose content is mandated by the government (AKA propaganda).
4. Asking the MMDA “What rule did I violate?”
In driving school, we were taught of the SOP that if ever the MMDA apprehends us, we must ask what rule did we violate before we hand over our license for inspection. But if we had lived under Martial Law, the Filipinos are not allowed to ask questions nor explain themselves once a law enforcer apprehends them. The Writ of Habeas Corpus was suspended, hence all the imprisonment during the time of Marcos.
Today’s “normal” are things we wouldn’t be able to do or enjoy 46 years ago. The next time you see a friend who rants about the administration endlessly online, remember that these rights that we currently exercise should not be taken for granted. Lastly, we also remember the Filipinos who fought hard in the past years for us to enjoy the freedom that we have today.