Never Again to Tyranny and Dictatorship! Migrante Canada Statement on the 49th Anniversary of Martial Law September 21, 2021
September 21st marks the 49th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines by the fascist dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The US-Marcos regime was a dark period in the country’s history.
No amount of state-sponsored historical revisionism can change the fact that for Filipinos at home and abroad, Marcos was never a hero. His dictatorship plunged the country’s economy. National debt soared during his corrupt regime. In a desperate attempt to quell widespread economic and political discontent, he initiated and institutionalized the Labour Export Program, which systematized the commodification of Filipino labour and propelled mass migration, tearing families and communities apart.
Duterte follows the footsteps of Marcos and has become even worse. Even in the midst of the pandemic, Duterte treats Filipino workers as bargaining chips that can be traded for vaccines. Despite the contributions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to the economy, they are sidelined and neglected by Duterte. Many workers have not been repatriated. Many are barred from accessing DOLE AKAP funds. Like Marcos who attempted to impose forced remittances through Executive Order (EO) 857 but was protested against by OFWs worldwide, Duterte seek to extort money from OFWs through schemes such as the PhilHealth membership, increased premium payments and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) membership. This further exposes the unresolved corruption, criminal negligence and abandonment of overseas Filipinos by the Duterte administration.
Meanwhile, straight from Marcos’ fascist playbook, Duterte funnels funds from the people’s coffers to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police. Under his de-facto Martial Law, his police and military minions occupy key cabinet positions to implement the “Anti-Terror Law” which has been the subject of at least 30 petitions against it in the Supreme Court. State terrorism with its culture of impunity has killed thousands of people without due process -- suspected drug addicts, lawyers, journalists, indigenous land defenders, human rights defenders, critics, etc. Many have been victims of red-tagging even overseas such as Migrante USA chairperson Bernadette Herrera in 2019. In April 2020, Jory Porquia, the first regional chairperson of the Migrante Sectoral Party of Panay, was gunned down in his home in Iloilo City. Porquia was red-tagged by state forces weeks before he was killed. Under the continuing pandemic, the regime has weaponized pandemic responses in all types of emergency lockdowns which have left the people hungry, jobless, and vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.
Duterte chooses to waste money on the National Task Force to End Local Communist Insurgency (NTF-ELCAC) instead of allocating funds for the protection of the rights and welfare of OFWs. Its budget in 2022 ballooned to 28.1 billion pesos, money that could have better spent for at least 1 million documented and undocumented OFWs, and other social services, such as temporary shelters and quarantine facilities.
As the election nears, Duterte proves to be as desperate and as power hungry as Marcos. His declaration to run for Vice-President in 2022 also exposes his fear of the International Criminal Court and a likely guilty verdict.
To remember martial law is to know its greatest lesson: that the people’s resistance through a broad united democratic movement will not be silenced or defeated even in the face of repression and terror, and that the people will overcome.
As overseas Filipinos, we carry this lesson in remembering our history and in ending the fascist regime of Duterte, alongside the broad democratic people movement of the Filipino people, in and out of the Philippines.
Marcos, Duterte, walang pinag-iba! Mas masahol pa! Parehong tuta, diktador, pasista!
Mabuhay ang Migranteng Pilipino! Filipino migrants resist! Never again to martial law! Marcos not a hero! Junk Terror Law! Duterte Wakasan Na!
For reference: Stef Martin Secretary-General, Migrante Canada
Migrante Canada is an alliance of 13 Filipino migrant and immigrant organizations across Canada working to advance the rights and welfare of Filipino migrants and immigrants.