Remembering Martial Law
by: Carla Lumba
In 1972, Ferdinand Marcos formed a constitution that lacked provisions for social justice and human rights. Throughout his 21-year rule, corruption was unrestrained and our country’s international debt ballooned because of the policies that were put in place. Forty-eight years later, there still has not been a serious effort from any Philippine president to pursue justice and reparations for the thousands of lives that were lost during the Martial law era.
While the constitution has been rightfully modified after the ouster of the dictator, a similar draconian document has been put in place. On July 3 of this year, Rodrigo Duterte signed the Anti-Terrorism Law in the midst of a global pandemic. The law’s definition of terrorism is vague and includes broad offenses that may otherwise be taken advantage of, depending on who interprets them. The Anti-Terror Law is an accumulation of various policies implemented throughout Duterte’s rule — that of which neither serve nor pay attention to the population and different marginalized groups in the country.
Indigenous peoples are not exempted from the brutality of both regimes. As far back as the Marcos regime, the resources from IP lands were already being extracted. He helped foreign corporations in devastating ancestral lands and instituted a violation of human rights and genocide against IP communities . On the other hand, the Anti-Terrorism Law could further increase instances wherein IPs asserting their rights could become a justification for red-tagging and unfound government claims that they are inciting insurgence . Workers, students, peasants, women, activists, and the LGBTQ+ community are also primary targets of criminalization, harassment, and murder under this regime.
Today, the UP Anthropology Society joins the Filipino people in remembering the torture, suffering, and murder of thousands under the fascist regimes of our country. We remember the suppressed and untold stories of many — those who continue to educate, and those who continue to fight under the reign of terror. To forget is to ignore the struggles and sacrifice of those who fought for the rights of the people.
Throughout the years and during this current crisis, there is an evident lack of compassion and solidarity, especially with the surge of militaristic approach rather than social and medical solutions. Military operations and repressive actions will more likely increase the extremist violence than subdue it , and we, The UP Anthropology Society condemns the numerous violations brought about by the Marcos regime as well as the current Duterte administration.
 Inquirer (2016). IPs remember Marcos atrocities. Retrieved from https://opinion.inquirer.net/100336/ips-remember-marcos-atrocities.
 Philippine Lifestyle (2020). Indigenous peoples’ groups to Supreme Court: Junk Anti-Terrorism Law. Retrieved from https://philippineslifestyle.com/indigenous-peoples-groups-to-supreme-court-junk-anti-terrorism-law/.
 The Diplomat (2017). Why Duterte’s Martial Law in Mindanao Is So Concerning. Retrieved from: