Filipino migrants mark Martial Law@50 with vow to continue the struggle

September 22, 2022

Migrante International marks the 50th anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos’ historic declaration of martial law in the Philippines by remembering the Marcos dictatorship’s crimes to the Filipino migrants and people and the heroic struggle against the dictatorship. We also commemorate this day by affirming our vow to struggle against the anti-migrant and anti-people policies of the Marcos Jr regime, which seeks to cover up the crimes and uphold the legacies of the first Marcos presidency. 

Aside from the widespread human-rights violations and the plunder of the country’s wealth for which it is justly famous, the Marcos dictatorship cemented the country’s underdevelopment, the material condition for Filipino labor migration that continues to this day.

In accordance with the emerging neoliberal dictate of the time, Marcos abandoned the country’s path to industrialization. As part of his cronyism, he helped concentrate lands in the hands of a few landlord families. His policies therefore brought the Philippines further away from the path of industrialization and land reform. These resulted in widespread unemployment, landlessness, poverty, and inequality. His Labor Code of 1974 laid the basis for contractualization, a form of precarious labor that has become widespread in the country. His dictatorship started labor export, first as a stop-gap measure but eventually as a safety valve for widespread unemployment and other problems associated with it.

We remember and pay tribute to migrant Filipinos who struggled against the Marcos dictatorship. The US, Europe, Hongkong, the Middle East and other concentration of Filipino migrants saw the creation of organizations critical of the dictatorship. They helped publicize the human-rights and overall situation in the Philippines, and gathered international solidarity for the anti-dictatorship struggle in the homeland. We remember the numerous activists who fled the country but continued their activism abroad. We remember martyrs of the struggle like US-based labor organizers Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes who were murdered in 1981 under the orders of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. We remember Ninoy Aquino, a migrant and an exile, who was assassinated in 1983, again by the dictatorship, when he returned home to join the struggle in the country.

The ouster of the US-backed Marcos dictatorship in 1986 did not mean the end of the economic and political system that is ruled by neocolonial powers and elites subservient to them. The Marcoses and their allies among the most fascist and corrupt factions of the ruling classes — especially the Macapagal-Arroyos and the Dutertes — were able to maneuver successfully to enable the Marcoses to return to power. Thus, the Filipino migrants and people are marking the 50th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law under another Marcos presidency — one that does not recognize, and even tries to justify and cover up, the crimes of the Marcos dictatorship and seeks to continue its atrocious legacies to the country. 

We therefore mark the 50th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law with a vow to remember the crimes of the Marcos dictatorship, to educate our fellow migrants and people of these crimes, to remember the migrants and Filipinos who gave their lives to the struggle against the dictatorship, and to try to emulate them. We vow to fight the anti-migrant and anti-people policies of the Marcos Jr regime — contractualization, labor export, landlessness for poor farmers, human rights violations, among others. We vow to intensify efforts to arouse, organize and mobilize our fellow migrants and people in the struggle not only against anti-migrant and anti-people regimes, not only against dictatorships, but against the economic and political system dominated by neocolonial powers and elites, which bred the Marcos dictatorship and enabled the Marcoses’ return to power. 

Never Again, Never Forget Martial Law in the Philippines!

No to Labor Export Program!

Tuloy ang Laban!