July 19, 2024

It has been 51 years since then President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. declared Martial Law on Sept. 21 1974.
To those who were against it, Martial Law is remembered as a moment of fear, terror, and social unrest. They view it as corruption and abuse of power, contrary to Marcos Sr. administration’s purpose of combating widespread rebellion and insurgency at the time.
To those who were in favor, they consider Martial Law as the “golden age” of the Philippines since people were disciplined and the country had a strong economy.
For our group, Martial Law gave us the following lessons:
Know the truth. Given the many accounts and views of people on Martial Law, we are encouraged to know and understand more. The people, especially the youth should see the bigger picture and not just react and rally based on limited accounts. It is good to acknowledge individual views but these should not influence our perspective. Instead, be critical and research about the causes, consequences, and lessons of Martial Law. Let us not be deceived by people and organizations that only use it to destroy, radicalize, and serve their selfish interests. Let us read and study more so as to have a better understanding of Martial Law.
Learn from it. There is a saying that goes, “History repeats itself”, but it is still up to us if we still want to be chained in the past or move on and face the future. May we learn from our mistakes and from the flaws of our ancestors. Let the Martial Law be our guide towards progress and not a weapon to destroy and blame some people who lead the government. May we be reminded that the Filipino government is the government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Therefore, we play a huge role in reforming the government.
As we commemorate the 51st anniversary of Martial Law declaration, may we not see and relive the fear and terror, instead focus on the opportunity to restart and a promise to unite as a nation to face every difficulty towards a brighter future we all deserve. — MA. LOUISA FOLIGAN, spokesperson, Samahan ng Mamamayang Nagkakaisa Kontra Terorismo