On the 46th anniversary of Martial Law: Rise and Resist against a MAD (Marcos-Arroyo-Duterte) dictatorship

On September 21, 1972, Ferdinand Marcos signed Proclamation No.1081 placing the Philippines under Martial Law. The proclamation marked the country’s passage into one of its darkest periods in history. Footing on the claim that Martial Law was meant to “save the republic” by building a “New Society,” Marcos dragged the Filipino people into the inferno of economic decay and political turbulence.


Rocked by worsening unemployment and faced with a colossal outcry of dissent, the US-Marcos regime conjured the plague of the Labor Export Program which up to this day continues to banish millions of Filipinos to the farthest ends of the earth. Many of those who stayed in the country wallowed in the squalor of poverty while those who struggled and fought the Marcos dictatorship were jailed, tortured or executed.

Almost five decades on, an even more vicious intent to surpass the national disaster presided by Marcos is now being laid down by the prevailing puppet regime through the evil triumvirate of a Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos clique.  To save its emergent authoritarianism from collapse, the US-Duterte regime framed the political rehabilitation of Gloria Arroyo and the Marcoses.

However, the recent conviction of Arroyo’s chief butcher Jovito Palparan in the Malolos court should remind Duterte that impunity does not last for all eternity. Just two days ago, the International People’s Tribunal handed down a verdict declaring Duterte guilty for all his crimes against the Filipino people.

Among those who rose and boldly testified at the tribunal against Duterte’s criminal actions is Nanay Celia, the mother of Mary Jane Veloso who has been languishing on death row in Indonesia. The plight of the Veloso family is the main archetype which depicts the harrowing outcome of the regime’s addiction to the bankrupt Labor Export Program.

A poor victim of human and drug trafficking, Mary Jane remains deprived of her right to testify against her wrongdoers while big drug lords and traffickers continue to indulge in the regime’s patronage. Duterte is no doubt, the chief protector and benefactor of big time drug criminals.

Claiming thousands of innocent lives, Duterte’s ‘sham war on drugs’ has likewise victimized children of OFWs like Kian delos Santos and Carl Arnaiz who were slaughtered like lambs. Robbed and planted with fake evidence, former OFW and cancer-patient Allan Rafael was tortured and killed at the hands of murderous PNP personnel.

On the economic front, Duterte’s fatal neoliberal thrust matches the grim Marcosian era of financial meltdown. His despicable TRAIN Law propelled the Philippines into the epicentre of an emerging market crisis in Asia. Inflation is at a nine-year high of 6.4%, the highest in ASEAN, while the peso plunged to its lowest level in thirteen years.

Arroyo’s re-emergence in power has also sparked uproar among domestic helpers in the Middle East as they recall her rotten ‘Supermaid’ program which pinned their salary to $400 in complete disregard of inflation, rise and fall of exchange rates and other economic conditions.

As prices of commodities soar unabated coupled with food shortages, impoverished Filipino consumers endure hours of long queues just to get weevil-infested NFA rice. The agony is set to persist as three of the TRAIN’s 5 phases are still forthcoming. In July, trade deficit ballooned to 171% due to high importations which have likewise resulted to the diminution of the country’s dollar reserves to a 6-year low.

To address these woes, the Duterte regime will again count on OFW remittances to salvage an ailing economy. But with remittances registering the slowest first semester growth in 17 years, Duterte will intensify foreign borrowings just as Marcos did to finance his debt-ridden Build Build Build program.

Duterte’s cutbacks on education, health and social services are conjugated with overspending on his three-pronged war. This regime is willing to go as far as it can, even at the cost of lives just to subsidize private profit in the service of US and Chinese imperialist interests.

As long as peasants remain landless and workers are deprived of their rights to employment security and to a national minimum wage, these economic catastrophes will continue to hound the broad masses of the people as Duterte generates more crises to address every crisis in conformity to Neoliberal dictates.

Waging Fascist attacks against legions of migrants’ and human rights defenders, the regime in collusion with the Bureau of Immigration and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency issued an immigration blacklist order last month against 28 activists which even included Caridad “Caring” Bachiller, Migrante’s coordinator in Abra province and in the Cordillera region. For standing up for migrants’ rights and for those of their families, Manang Caring has become a thorn in the sight of the Duterte regime.

The puppet Duterte regime’s subservience to imperialist interests has led to the devastation of Marawi to pave the way for the construction of an EDCA-compliant military base in Barangay Kapantaran and the handing over of the rest of the city to Chinese developers. Capitalizing on the rehabilitation projects and aid programs stemming from the eviction of Maranao residents and the destruction of their properties, the Asian Development Bank and World Bank are the main beneficiaries of Duterte’s imposition of Martial Law in Mindanao and his Fascist war against the Bangsamoro people.

Martial Law in Mindanao has only brought wretchedness and torment in the lives of Lumads and the Bangsamoro people. Just last week in Patikul, Sulu, seven Tausug youths who were merely harvesting fruits were brutally massacred by AFP scout rangers. The library of crimes perpetrated by AFP under the command of the Fascist US-Duterte regime continues to pile up amidst the ravaging of ancestral lands and farming communities as contributions in the offering plates of big mining lords, plantation owners and US-EDCA land grabbers.

Today as we mournfully remember the Marcos declaration of Martial Law on its 46th year anniversary, let us honour those who have sacrificed their lives in their just struggle for national liberation and genuine democracy. The US-Duterte regime must account for every blood spilled under his three-pronged Fascist war against migrant families, peasants, workers and the rest of the struggling Filipino masses. Our United People’s Action is a million times greater and stronger than Duterte’s false delusions of power and omnipotence. We call on all freedom-loving Filipinos to come out and unite as one powerful democratic force to defeat tyranny and dictatorship!