Manila, Sep 21 (EFE).- Protests were convened Wednesday in several cities across the Philippines on the 50th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, father of the country’s current President Bongbong Marcos.
The biggest protest is expected to be staged in Manila at the University of the Philippines, where thousands of students and martial law victims will march in memory of those who disappeared during that regime of restrictions on fundamental freedoms and against the historical revisionism campaign that facilitated Marcos Jr’s victory in the May elections.
The university was the intellectual focal point of the anti-Marcos struggle and many of those who were tortured or disappeared during the martial law were students or connected to the institution due to their ideological closeness with leftist groups and the communist insurgency in the 1960s and 1970s.
Protests are also expected in other parts of Manila, including Tondo, in Cebu City and in Davao in the south of the country.
“So many sacrifices after the Marcos dictatorship to consolidate a democracy, it seems to me that they have been swept away by the bombardment of disinformation that has allowed the return of a Marcos (Bongbong) to power,” May Rodriguez, a victim of torture during the martial law told EFE on Wednesday.
During the martial law, which entered into force on Sep. 21, 1972 and lasted 11 years, some 3,257 people were killed, over 70,000 imprisoned and more than 35,000 tortured by the regime.
Media was also restricted and political opponents persecuted.
Days after martial law was declared, opposition leader Benigno Aquino – assassinated in 1983 at the Manila airport upon his return from the United States – was arrested, and the country’s largest television network, ABS-CBN, was shut down.
In an interview last week, Marcos Jr. justified the imposition of martial law 50 years ago.
The president argued that martial law was declared “because of the two wars we were fighting on two fronts” in reference to the communist insurgency and the separatist war in Mindanao.
He also denied that the Marcos dynasty was rewriting the recent history of the country.
In an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, Marcos Jr. advocated the defense of human rights and made an appeal to combat climate change. EFE