MANILA, July 22 (Mabuhay) –Several survivors and activists on Thursday launched a two-month campaign to mark the 50th year since the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. declared Martial Law in the Philippines.

Reading the group’s unity statement, playwright and human rights advocate Boni Ilagan said that ML50 is a public information, education, and cultural movement and a nationwide network of those committed to counter all forms of historical distortions and negative historical revisionism.

The launch of ML50 came two months before the actual 50th anniversary of Marcos Sr.’s issuing Proclamation 1081 in September 1972 which placed the entire country under martial law.

This was also four days ahead of his son President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25.

“Sa mga panawagang #NeverAgain, #NeverForget, at #TuloyAngLaban, tayo ay naninindigan sa pagsalungat sa agos ng disinpormasyon na pinakikinibangan ng diktadurang Marcos at para sa matapang na komemorasyon ng magiting na pakikibaka ng sambayanan laban sa awtoritaryanismo,” Ilagan read.

“Matatag tayong nagkakaisa sa ML50 hindi lamang upang igiit ang tumpak na mga katotohanang pangkasaysayan ukol sa nakaraan, kundi sa pagtataguyod ng mga demokratikong aspirasyon at patriotikong aspirasyon ng sambayanang Pilipino ngayon at sa hinaharap,” he continued.

(With the calls #NeverAgain, #NeverForget, and #TuloyAngLaban, we are committed to turn the tide of disinformation which benefits the Marcos dictatorship and we commemorate the Filipinos’ resistance against authoritarianism. We stand united in ML50 not only to assert the factual historical truths about the nation’s past but also to uphold the democratic and patriotic aspirations of the Filipino people now and in the future.)

Among those who shared their insights and experiences during the martial law era were former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Director Joel Lamangan, historian Dr. Francis Gealogo, human rights lawyer Atty. Edre Olalia, and former Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin”  Tañada III.

They claimed that the martial law years were not a “golden age” as this was a time when many Filipinos suffered.

In the 21-year period of the Marcos regime, global rights watchdog Amnesty International documented an estimate of 70,000 incarcerated individuals, 34,000 torture victims and 3,240 murdered Filipinos by state forces.

This was echoed by Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA), saying that the ML50 is a chance to have the public look back on what really happened during the martial law period.

“What is golden, as CARMMA sees it, is ML50 as one precious opportunity to make the people look back in earnest and grasp history as it actually happened, its significance remembered, and the relevance of its message of resistance against tyranny and plunder underscored,” it said in a statement. (MNS)

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