'Prevent martial law from being repeated' – UP Chancellor
MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan called on all isko and iska (scholars) to help prevent Martial Law from happening again.
On Wednesday, September 20, Tan said the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law is more than a day of protest. (READ: LIST: Martial Law 45th anniversary activities, protests)
Tan remarked, "I see September 21 as more than a day of protest. It is a time of remembering the past, especially martial law. It is a time of reaffirming our commitment to prevent that past from being repeated."
President Duterte suspended government work and classes in public schools on Thursday, September 21 and declared it a "national day of protest."
Tan also took a swipe at President Rodrigo Duterte's administration for failing to stay true to his promise of "change."
"Change has not come; on the contrary, we have seen a worsening of the situation, from economic inequality to the violations of human rights, so terribly exemplified by the brutal murder of former UP student Carl Arnaiz, who overcame poverty and got into UP Diliman, only to drop out after one semester," he said.
Arnaiz, a 19-year-old UP student, went missing for 10 days until his body was found in a morgue in Caloocan, about 20 kilometers from his house in Cainta, Rizal. (READ: Taxi driver claims Arnaiz was robber, but killing seems 'scripted')
"We still do not know what led to that fateful night that resulted in his extrajudicial execution," he added. (READ: Kian and Carl: What the deaths of two boys have in common)
Commemorating the 45th anniversary of Diliman Commune as well, Tan said that the event remains as "relevant as ever."
"The Diliman commune lasted a week but galvanized the entire nation for years to come. Few people remember the original protest call against oil prices; instead, people remember it as UP standing up for the nation," he said.
The Diliman Commune, a 9-day protest of students, faculty members, and transport workers in 1971, stood against the 3-centavo oil price hike and the monopoly of American oil companies of that time.
The rally resulted in the arrest of some students and teachers, and the destruction of UP Diliman properties. The demonstration was among the events used to declare Martial Law.
"It is a time to be prophetic voices, perhaps in the wilderness at this point, to warn about a dire future if we continue to be silent about the killings, about the oppression all around us," he said.
On Thursday, several groups will hold protests to mark the anniversary of the Martial Law declaration. (READ: What to expect on September 21)
Duterte said he will also be protesting against what angers him about the government – the "yellows" who are "corrupt." "Yellows" in the Philippine political context refer to people associated with the administration of Benigno Aquino III and the Liberal Party.
On September 23, 1972, former president Ferdinand Marcos appeared on television and used Proclamation 1081, supposedly signed on September 21, to declare martial law nationwide. (READ: Marcos’ martial law orders)
During this dark part of Philippine history, the Philippines also incurred up to $24.4 billion in debt by 1982. (READ: Marcos years marked 'golden age' of PH economy? Look at the data) – Rappler.com