The Tyranny That Was: A Call to Strengthen Today's Democracy

PHOTO BY JEZ TIMMS

PHOTO BY JEZ TIMMS

“Do you remember the 21st night of September?,” so does the song go.  
 
Maybe most of us are not even born in that period of history. But that night of September will forever be ingrained in the lives of those who lived to tell the tale and it is for the rest of us to #NeverForget.
 
Today, September 21, marks the 44th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law.  

On this day, late former president Ferdinand Marcos placed the country under the military rule to lay the foundations of his so-called New Society. The society he envisioned was that of absolute rule, thus allowing him a complete government takeover.
 
Human rights were violated and freedom of expression was suppressed. 
 
We were the talk of the whole world—for all the wrong reasons.                                                    

Today, a little over four decades later, we see the rise of another Philippine leader, backed by over 16 million Filipinos who believe in his words and have strong faith in his war on drugs. 

We see a government strong willed to eradicate corruption in their ranks and eliminate the perils of illegal drugs in society. 

But... at what cost? 

We see legislators mudslinging, standing their ground on their own versions of truth. We see government officials turning against each other, pointing fingers, incriminating one another in syndicated crimes and other offense against the Filipino people.  

We see inmates facing the congress to testify against a former justice secretary over the illegal drug trade. Our national penitentiary is now in the limelight, being scrutinized. The life inside the penitentiary is now being exposed for all the world to see.

We see the Philippines on the front page of international papers, on the headlines of international media. 

Rebel groups are taking in more hostages. 

There's conflict in our seas and international borders. 

International relations are shaky.

Dozens are killed every single day. 

Sudden blasts take away the lives of many. 

Families are broken. 

The police force, untrusted

The government, the country, the society --- vulnerable, exposed, chaotic. 

The perils and lessons of Martial Law remain with us. Let us not allow the dark to take over again.
 
In this time, we enjoin all Filipinos to remain vigilant and remain critical of the government, and our leaders.  Let's keep them accountable while at the same time keeping an open mind. It is our utmost responsibility as citizens, regardless of our individual political affiliations and ideologies. This is the essence of our hard-fought democracy.
 
While we cannot alter what happened in the past, the power to influence the future still lies in our hands. 

Now, maybe more than ever, the country needs you. 

Do not let this nation fail.