Filipinos who went out to the streets to mark the 51st anniversary of the darkest period in the history of Philippine democracy last Sept. 21 were mostly in their 20s and 30s, and some in their 50s. They were either not yet born or too young when then president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. declared Martial Law on Sept. 21, 1972.
Rallies were held at places which were traditional venues for protest gatherings: Liwasang Bonifacio, Mendiola Bridge near Malacañan Palace in Manila and University of the Philippines in Quezon City.
A holy mass, which was also a form of a protest rally, was held in front of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) offices in Intramuros, Manila, attended by groups questioning the conduct of the 2022 presidential elections, which President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. won. Present were retired military officers Eliseo Rio and Leonardo Odoño, who have petitioned the Supreme Court to compel the Comelec and telecommunication companies Smart, DITO and Globe to release the transmission logs of the 2022 elections.
The rallyists eloquently expressed their rage, frustrations and demand from the government through placards they carried: Diktador, Never again!; Buwis sa langis alisin; No to Anti-Terror Law; Stop Red-tagging.
Some members of religious groups carried photos of priests and nuns who were killed during Martial Law. There were also photos of desaparecidos – persons who have disappeared and presumed killed by state forces.
Environment activists Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamayo, who claimed to have been abducted and detained by the military for 13 days, made a surprise appearance at Mendiola gathering. They are now under the custody of Commission on Human Rights.
At UP, the bastion of student activism, students came out from their classrooms and staged a noise barrage. They marched to the nearby Quezon Hall to hang a “Never Again Never Forget” message and wrapped The Oblation with a black cloth to mourn the thousands of victims of Marcos’ regime. They later joined the rallies at Liwasang Bonifacio and Mendiola.
Photos and videos by Bullit Marquez for VERA Files