MPC Statement on
the 45th Anniversary of the Jabidah Massacre
A Statement from the
Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC) forwarded by the Asian Human Rights
March 18, 2013
the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the Jabidah massacre, the
Mindanao Peoples Caucus calls upon the Bangsamoro people to unite and
close ranks at this most critical stage of their political struggle as
a distinct people with a proud history in Mindanao. More than ever, it
is time to set aside ideological and political differences and move
together in order to establish the Bangsamoro government as agreed in
the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB). This can only be
achieved if the Bangsamoro leaders will set aside personal interests
and move their people towards a common direction that will usher in
the dawn of freedom and sustainable development.
After the brief euphoria on the (FAB), those who stand to lose in the
transition period and in the incipient Bangsamoro government lost no
time in preventing and derailing the transition period from setting
in. It is difficult to comment on the bandwagon of the Sabah issue
because their interlocutors in the media already have a template on
how to spin the story. Much as we condemn the killings and the
backlash against the Tausug diaspora in Sabah, it is hypocritical on
the part of some leaders to be so vocal about the human rights
violations in this much coveted resource-rich island and yet remain
silent on the rampant human rights violations committed against their
own people in Sulu. How many of these leaders have questioned the
declaration of State of Emergency in Sulu?
How many of them have publicly denounced the private armies,
warrantless arrests, warlordism, corruption, violence, gang rapes and
ID system perpetrated in Sulu by their despotic leaders? Human rights
violations are committed without let up against the Tausug under their
very own corrupt and abusive politicians yet we hardly hear the same
outrage calling for blood and call to arms from those who are now
drumbeating the war against Malaysia. Many of the Tausug have managed
to flee to Sabah to escape from the militarization, violence and
massacres in Sulu only to be abused and violated again Sabah in a
classic double whammy effect. As we condemn the human rights
violations in Sabah, let us not forget to condemn the violations
happening within the supposedly seat of the Sultanate in Sulu itself.
It is so sad to see some sections of the Moros again becoming willing
victims of the classic divide and rule tactic designed precisely to
prevent the birth of a Bangsamoro government and thus perpetuate the
status quo of control and domination of imperial Manila. Without
casting doubt on the legitimacy of the Sabah claim, what is highly
suspect is the unholy alliance of strange bedfellows who have all
trooped together to support the Kirams not for the sake of the Sabah
claim itself but for their own selfish political interests. Foremost
of which are the agenda of the local politicians in the Bangsamoro
areas who are threatened with the FAB but could not seem to oppose it
because they could not openly defy Malacanang. It is also suspect why
so-called progressive groups who are fighting against feudalism and
imperialism are supporting what is clearly a remnant of an
undemocratic, feudal, master-slave structure that perpetuate undue
privileges of a royal few at the expense of the masses within the Moro
Before we start the bandwagon of claiming Sabah, the Mindanao Peoples
Caucus strongly reminds the Moro leaders to protect the gains of the
political struggle and the peace process by rallying behind the
establishment of a Bangsamoro government in Mindanao. Let us not lose
sight of the strategic political opportunity that is being offered in
the peace process. Let sobriety and patience build and secure the
gains of the Moro martyrs who have offered their previous lives for
the Moro struggle. We call on the Philippine Government and the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front to fast-track the negotiation on the Annexes
so that the Bangsamoro Transition Commission could already begin its
important work. Let us not be swayed by venomous call for blood and
war against a neighbouring country, Malaysia. Let us remain steadfast
and consistent on the principles of dialogue and active non-violence
in resolving conflict as we condemn human rights violations in Sulu,
Sabah, Mindanao and anywhere in the world.
We extend our support to President Aquino in his unprecedented gesture
of commitment and political will to put a final closure to the armed
conflict by addressing the legitimate struggle of the Bangsamoro
people for self-governance and self-rule within a recognized and
delineated political territory. Let us not allow the MOA-AD debacle
from happening again enroute to Sabah.
The Mindanao peace process has been a long, enduring marathon. We are
already into the final homestretch of the finishing line. Let not the
desperate move of the spoilers side-track us from moving towards the
finishing line. The martyrs of the Jabidah massacre sacrificed their
young lives and promising future by refusing to fight against fellow
Muslims in neighbouring Sabah. In their youth and innocence, they
defied the orders of their military superiors in Corregidor guided
only by the basic tenet of unity of the Islamic Ummah which include
their brothers and sisters in Sabah. Let us remember and honour their
martyrdom by delivering genuine Merdeka for the Bangsamoro people in
By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
March 14, 2013
I, of course, was very happy
to know we have a new Pope. When I woke up at 4 a.m. last Thursday,
there were already 5 text messages on my mobile phone. And they all
broke to me the good news. I prayed immediately.
A little later, I scrambled
to know more about the new Pope. Like everyone else I was also
surprised and gladdened to learn about him and his life. The Cardinal
from Argentina, a Jesuit, cannot fail but command love and admiration
for the way he is, for what he has done, for what he stands.
Even in his appearance,
there is already a palpable air of humility, gentleness and
compassion. His smile and over-all demeanor say it all. Besides, he
takes the bus to go to work. He lives in a small apartment instead of
the palace reserved for his office. He only has one lung. In short, he
Of course, as the day wore
on, and more impressions and reactions came in, especially from
opinion-makers, some dismay crept in. In hindsight, I should be
prepared to know about these reactions. Different people can obviously
express what they like. These views can only show from where these
columnists are coming in.
I noted that many of them
had to eat crow after badly failing in their predictions. Cardinal Bergoglio was not in many of their radars. Obviously, the Holy Spirit
had something else in mind besides their brilliant reasonings. But not
content with that, now they are putting a lot of political coloring in
the election of the new Pope.
The usual branding poured in
– liberal or conservative, pro-this or anti-that, etc. Several spins
spun wildly. Will he bring the Church to a new direction, out from the
ashes of the sex scandals afflicting many parts of the Church and the
mismanagement of the Vatican machinery? And at 76, will he just be a
Well, the world will always
be the world until the end of time. Its language and logic will often
be dominated by passion rather than by reason, and much less by faith.
Yet, in spite of all that, the grain of truth and the seed of charity
can never be lost completely. And so let’s just be game and try to
sort out things as best as we can.
Patience, therefore, is the
name of the game. In the meantime, let’s remind ourselves some basic,
indispensable truths about the Pope and the papacy, and try to craft a
plan to educate everyone about how we ought to think about the Pope.
The first thing we have to
remember is that everything about the Pope and the papacy is a matter
of faith. We cannot take them mainly, and much less fully, from an
earthly, temporal point of view, be it historical, cultural,
political, sociological, ideological, etc. Our attitude should be
theological, more than anything else.
Not that all the other
considerations have nothing to say and contribute. But we need to
understand that the directing force of faith should take precedence.
Absent this, then the whole exercise will have no other end but doom.
We would be missing the whole point about the Pope and the papacy.
This is not going to be easy
to take, I know, especially by those who are very opinionated about
anything that has significance in the national or the world stage.
Faith is like asking them to deny themselves, which is a central part
of Christ’s teachings that they cannot understand.
We have to understand that
the Pope, whoever he may be as long as he is elected properly, is the
Vicar of Christ here on earth. St. Catherine would call him the “sweet
Christ on earth.”
As our Catechism teaches us,
“The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor, ‘is the perpetual and
visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of
the whole company of the faithful.’” (882) He has full, surprise and
universal power over the whole Church.
That description alone
should make us realize that we all need to follow the Pope, to be
close and united to him in mind and heart, in his teachings and
directives, irrespective of who he is.
There is a Latin expression
which I think summarizes the proper attitude we ought to have toward
the Pope. “Omnes cum Petro ad Iesum per Mariam” (all with Peter to
Jesus through Mary).
This is how we ought to
welcome Pope Francis!
Team Patay, Team
ABRAHAM V. LLERA
March 8, 2013
simply amazing how one tarp turned this country upside down.
On the one hand, there is Fr. Felix Pasquin, the rector of St.
Sebastian Cathedral who had the tarp set up, and, on the other hand,
the horde of cafeteria Catholics, among them an outspoken priest of a
supposedly Catholic university who believe the Bacolod archdiocese has
overstepped its bounds by campaigning for certain candidates.
Even Inquirer columnist Randy David weighed in with his own take via
his “When Religion Turns Political” article in the Inquirer of March
So the question is asked: “Is Fr. Pasquin’s tarp political or
All it’d take, in my opinion, is a cursory study of Church teaching to
see that in putting up that tarp, Fr. Pasquin, Bishop Vicente M.
Navarra and the archdiocese’s 90 priests are simply obeying the
Clueless cafeteria Catholics, including Mr. Randy David, may have
never heard about it before, but it is the Church, not the State,
that’s responsible for guiding men to their ultimate destination:
For instance, here’s Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical “Immortale Dei”:
“It is to the Church and not to the State that belongs the right to
guide men to celestial things; it is to the Church that God has given
the command to take cognizance of and to decide everything that
relates to religion, to teach all nations, to extend, as far as
possible, the frontiers of the Christian name; in a word, to
administer freely and as she sees fit, the Christian interests of the
souls confided to her care.”
Pope Leo XIII continues: “Thus everything that in human affairs is
sacred for any cause whatsoever, everything that refers to the
salvation of souls and the worship of God, either by its intrinsic
nature or on account of its end, all this evidently belongs to the
authority of the Church. As to things embraced in the civil and
political order, it is but just that they should be subject to civil
authority, because Jesus Christ has commanded us to render to Caesar
the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
The State can levy taxes, impose tariff on imported goods, order men
of a certain age to military duty, forge alliances with other
countries, set the bidding guidelines for public works, among others,
but the State may not do anything that steps on the rights of the
Church and the laws of God.
That much is clear. Bible says “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
(Acts 5, 29.). And, instead of disagreeing, the Philippine
Constitution actually guarantees this right. Art. II Sec 6 says “The
Separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.” Nothing could be
clearer than that, and only those who fail to look up what, really, is
meant by “Separation of Church and State” will claim otherwise.
The moment the State passed that infernal bill, it effectively
encroached upon a matter that’s not its own to encroach upon. By
practically legislating intrinsic evil contraception into the lives of
the people, the State effectively overstepped its bounds, leaving the
Church with no choice but to insist on her right.
By reminding the faithful of their divinely-generated responsibility
to keep God’s laws, Fr. Pasquin did not overstep his bounds, it is
Comelec that overstepped its own bounds.
Mr. Randy David cited Pope Benedict XVI as having insisted on a strict
delineation of responsibilities, interpreting the Pope’s statements as
prohibiting Fr. Pasquin from putting up that tarp. But Mr David merely
read into the Pope’s statements what he (Mr. David) wants to hear the
Pope say. In fact, such is not what the Pope had in mind at all.
And what made me say that? Well, in response to a query sent to him by
the U.S. bishops on how Catholic voters should act in the face of
candidates supporting abortion and euthanasia, the Pope replied: “A
Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so
unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to
deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's
permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does
not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia,
but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered
remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of
By posting the tarp, Fr. Pasquin was merely doing his job: reminding
the faithful that they would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil
if they vote for certain candidates because they voted for the RH
Bill. And Fr. Pasquin was simply doing his job as shepherd by
including a list of candidates voting for whom will keep the faithful
from committing formal cooperation in evil.
Statement on the
By Philippine Center for
Islam and Democracy (PCID)
March 7, 2013
particularly the natives of the Island provinces, will be
commemorating Bangsamoro Day on March 18, the infamous day of the
Jabidah Massacre where young Tausug mujahideen were killed by the
military in 1968 after the botched attempt of the Marcos regime to
send a special assault team to Sabah with the express purpose of
creating instability, thus allowing the Philippine military to step in
and reclaim Sabah. Bangsamoro Day has become a day of recognition of
our distinct identity as Bangsamoro people.
However, the celebration
this year is wrought with sorrow. In an eerie coincidence, Sabah has
again become the cause of bloodshed. It is unfortunate that the
escalating hostilities in Lahad Datu have spilled over to other areas
such as Sempurna, where thousands of Filipinos have resided for
decades. Our fear for the lives of unprotected innocents remains
unabated, as we listen to reports of the growing number of casualties.
In view of the alarming turn
of events, which has become bleaker every minute, we strongly urge
Malaysia to cease its excessive use of force against a group of
Filipinos, inadequately armed and clearly outnumbered. We join the UN
Secretary General’s call for the immediate end to the violence in
Lahad Datu and other areas in Sabah. For humanitarian reasons, an
immediate cessation of hostilities is in order to avert further loss
of lives and destruction of property. To enforce the ceasefire, we
call on independent parties, such as the UN Peacekeeping Forces, to
maintain order in the conflict areas.
We reiterate the widespread
call for a peaceful and diplomatic resolution to the Sabah debacle
between the Royal Army of the Sultanate of Sulu and Malaysian security
forces. We join the United Nations’ call for both parties to dialogue
and avoid further destruction of lives and property. We urge Malaysia
to allow Red Crescent access, thus providing innocent victims and
casualties medical assistance and humanitarian aid.
The highly volatile
situation calls for tempered and experienced leaders, knowledgeable
about the underlying issues, to diffuse the tensions. We call on the
Aquino Administration to create a Crisis Committee to work on a
peaceful and just resolution of the Lahad Datu crisis. The Crisis
Committee should be headed by the Office of the President and should
include the National Security Council, the Department of Foreign
Affairs, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, the Office of
the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, the Commission on Human
Rights as well as representatives of the Sultanate and the Autonomous
Region of Muslim Mindanao.
The CC shall endeavor to
address the present crisis in Sabah through legal avenues available,
within the framework of international, regional and bilateral
treaties, accords and other legal instruments binding on Malaysia and
We reecho the call by the
Philippine Government for Malaysia to observe maximum tolerance should
be pursued in the context of Islamic Brotherhood and ASEAN unity.
We also appeal, as one Ummah,
to the Muslim countries within the ASEAN to help resolve the situation
in Sabah peacefully to avert further loss of lives.
We call on all the members
of the Royalty and Nobility of the Sulu Sultanate to unite behind the
search for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
We also urge the Aquino
administration to actively explore options to resolve the Philippines’
claim to Sabah. A just and peaceful resolution of the claim of the
Sulu Sultanate, erstwhile ceded to the Philippine Government, will
remove a thorny issue that has caused much uncertainty between
Malaysia and the Philippines.
We further urge the
Philippine Government to protect the proprietary rights of Sultan
Jamalul Alam’s heirs, identified in the 1939 ruling of Chief Justice
C.F.C. Macaskie of the High Court of the North Borneo. All the
principal heirs have died. The rights of their successors-in-interest,
most of whom are Filipino citizens, must be protected by the
We call on the Philippine
Government to create a Sabah Committee, under the Office of the
President, to address the Philippine claim to Sabah. The members of
the Committee should include the Department of Foreign Affairs,
Department of Justice, Department of National Defense, Mindanao
Development Authority, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the
Peace Process, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, National
Commission on Muslim Filipinos, a representative of the Sultanate of
Sulu as well as a representative of the heirs to Sabah.
We call on the Philippine
Senate and the House of Representatives to pass a resolution
expressing the sense of both chambers on the Lahad Datu crisis and to
authorize the executive branch to pursue the Sabah claim peacefully
and legally, and to ensure the protection of Filipinos residing in
We pray that leaders,
Filipino and Malaysian, will prioritize the lives of citizens and the
peace and security of both our countries.
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, firstname.lastname@example.org
March 4, 2013
sectors in society today, especially those influenced by leftist and
Godless ideologies, consider authority as simply originating from
Exercising authority is always both a delicate and rewarding duty.
This is especially so when done toward growing children. That’s where
one’s integrity and the authenticity of his love, with its usual
demand for sacrifice, can be shown, as well as developed.
That’s because it’s in the home, living with the children 24/7, where
the battlefront of this exercise is located. In other aspects of our
life, as in our profession, social or political life, the exercise of
authority can be intermittent and can easily be delegated to others.
Not quite so in the family, with children still growing up.
We, of course, know that the power and authority we may have over the
others is always a participation of the authority of God. And such
authority should be exercised with God’s will always in mind.
That’s what St. Paul clarified. In his letter to the Romans, he said,
“There is no power but from God, and those that are, are ordained of
God.” (13,1) We need to be clear about this, because many times we can
feel that the authority we wield is simply ours.
Or that our authority comes from us individually or personally, or
from among ourselves through some consensus, and that it can be used
to pursue solely our own goals and designs.
This point has to be brought out because big sectors in society today,
especially those influenced by leftist and Godless ideologies,
consider authority as simply originating from them.
They confuse the divine beginning and end of authority with the
mechanics of who to assign it among ourselves, what its coverage is,
how to exercise it, etc., all of which can be decided among ourselves.
Of course, in the context of the family, parental authority is easily
recognized by the children. No need to figure it out through some
election or other screening processes. What is to be kept in mind more
is that this parental authority be maintained and done properly.
But how can we do this? I suppose that first of all we have to be
reminded that power and authority has to be used as an expression of
love, shown in deeds of service, and not regarded as an entitlement to
some privilege or advantage over the others.
Christ himself warned his disciples about this. He said: “You know
that the princes of the Gentiles lord it over them, and they that are
greater exercise power upon them.
“It shall not be so among you. But whoever will be the greater among
you, let him be your minister, and he that will be first among you,
shall be your servant, even as the Son of Man has not come to be
served but to serve...” (Mt 20,25-27)
In the context of the family, the parental authority can be done well
if it is exercised to give the children the basic equipment to become
better persons and ultimately, better children of God.
This can happen if the parents can show by consistent example to their
children that they are happy with their own lives that are dedicated
in pursuit of the love of God in all aspects of their lives.
Besides that, they should exercise their authority with due respect
and an unconditional love for their children, treating them as they
are but slowly molding them to be good persons and children of God.
This is how the parents can gain their children’s trust and confidence
in an increasingly meaningful way. Children are usually observant of
their parents and tend to imitate them even automatically.
If they see their parents praying and how that prayer is helping their
parents, making them happy and at the same time able to cope with all
the challenges of life, then the children will just develop a love for
prayer and the a love for cultivating a life of faith and hope.
How parents react to the different events and circumstances of life,
both good and bad, happy and sad, is also how the children will learn
to react in similar events and circumstances.
That’s why parents really have to spend time with the children. They
should see to it that they organize their life, especially in the
aspect of their profession and other social obligations, such that the
quality time with the children is not compromised.
They have to cultivate healthy family practices and traditions to
foster family life, and to exercise parental authority effectively,
and even with the children not noticing it.
PCID Statement on
the Transition Commission
By Philippine Center for
Islam and Democracy
February 28, 2013
The Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy lauds the appointment of
the members of the Transition Commission of the Government of the
Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which
is tasked with the drafting of the Basic Law as envisioned in the
Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed last October 15,
2012. The Basic Law will set up the new autonomous political entity
called “Bangsamoro” by June 30, 2016.
The TransCom will be chaired by MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal.
The seven (7) members representing government are Akmad A. Sakkam,
Johaira C. Wahab, Talib A. Benito, Asani S. Tammang, Pedrito A. Eisma,
Froilyn T. Mendoza and Fatmawati T. Salapuddin. The members
representing the MILF are Iqbal, Maulana Alonto, Abdullah Camlian,
Ibrahim D. Ali, Raissa H. Jajurie, Melanio U. Ulama, Hussein P. Munoz
and Said M. Shiek.
PCID congratulates the Government and the MILF for ensuring the
representation of women, thru Wahab, Mendoza and Salapuddin (GPH) and
Jajurie (MILF). We also applaud the representation for the Indigenous
peoples thru Mendoza from the GPH and Ulama from the MILF.
PCID notes, however, that Tawi-Tawi has no official representation in
the TransCom considering that the domain of the New Political Entity
will be the Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi,
it is unfortunate that Tawi-Tawi has no representation.
Tawitawi leader Ismael Abubakar, Jr, former Speaker of the ARMM
Regional Legislative Assembly, noted that while the members of the
Transtion Commission are “qualified in terms of education competence
and experience”, he regrets that Tawi-Tawi which had “played an active
role in the struggle and in the history of autonomy were left out
without any representation”.
It is however hoped that genuine consultations on all stakeholders
will be undertaken by the Commission in the disposition of its tasks
to reach at the most inclusive formula.
As the 15-member Transition Commission prepares to draft the Basic
Law, which is still subject to the awaited FAB Annexes on
power-sharing and wealth-sharing due to be completed by March 2013,
PCID hopes that attention will be given to issues concerning the
expansion and independence of the Shari’ah legal system. PCID further
urges that attention be given to fiscal autonomy and the need to
develop policies to establish the foundation for Shari’ah-compliant
business and investments to flourish within the Bangsamoro.
Statement of SELDA
on the passage of the Human Rights Violation Victims Reparation and
Recognition Act of 2013
February 25, 2013
Twenty seven long years
after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, a law confirming the
atrocities and human rights violations under martial law is finally
signed into law. The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at
Aresto or SELDA, which led the filing of the historic class suit by
the martial law victims against Ferdinand E. Marcos in a Hawaii court,
welcomes the passage of the Human Rights Violation Victims Reparation
and Recognition Act of 2013.
This is another victory of the Martial Law victims in their continuing
struggle for justice. Through their relentless efforts, finally and
officially recognized are the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos
who fought the dictatorship and were victims of human rights
violations – summary execution, torture, enforced disappearances and
all other gross forms of violations. They faced adversity, but took
the courage to stand up and defend, not only theirs, but the people’s
The struggle was protracted. The process was agonizing and tedious.
Scores of members of the Philippine Congress, in cahoots with the
Marcoses and the military who vehemently opposed the passage of the
law, tried to block its passing. In some instances, they deliberately
delayed the process or watered down the crafted bill.
Now, with a regime posturing as a “champion of human rights” and
trying to score credits for its passage, the law was passed but mainly
due to the persistent efforts of the martial law victims themselves.
Tirelessly working hand-in-hand with progressive party-lists and
likeminded legislators, the bill was finalized and ratified.
Generally, the law is acceptable to the victims and survivors of
We take this opportunity to commend and express our gratitude to Bayan
Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares and Teddy Casiño, who stood with us since
the filing of the bill, pursuing the most pro-victim provisions, and
consistently pushing, on behalf of the victims, the legislature to
finally approve the bill. We also appreciate the support of Senators
Chiz Escudero and TG Guingona, and Reps. Edcel Lagman and Erin Tañada.
Here and abroad, we were supported by various peace, justice and human
rights advocates in the campaign for the bill’s passage. We extend our
solidarity and gratefulness to solidarity groups in the United States,
Hong Kong and Switzerland who warmly supported and mobilized in the
campaign for the passage of the law, as well as in helping the victims
every step of the way. We also thank the members of Parliament of
Switzerland as well as its mission in Geneva for lending an ear to the
victims’ pleas every time we lobby for their support. Most of all, we
commend and deeply thank the members of the peace panel and
consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)
who tirelessly asserted, in the process of all peace negotiations with
the Philippine government, that the victims of Martial Law should
It is with pain and regret for us to witness the passage of this law
at a time when many of our fellow victims and colleagues, who took
part in the struggle against martial rule, have gone ahead of us.
Also, there are still attempts to distort, sometimes even completely
erase in the memory of our people, the dark days of the dictatorship.
There are those among the architects of martial law who remain
scot-free and unpunished. The most notorious culprits have been
allowed to regain their political power and influence.
Under the law, the Philippine government is obliged to recognize and
give reparation to the victims of human rights violations during
martial law. While all the sacrifices and heroism of the Filipino
people during martial law is priceless, we see these both as an
affirmation to the people who struggle for justice, and as a warning
to those who will continue to impose fascism and terror upon the
We dedicate this small victory to all martial law martyrs and heroes
who have gone before us. We will continue to honor them, as we ensure
that this law shall be implemented to the best interest of the victims
and the Filipino people who survived martial law.
We may be jubilant, but we continue to watch with vigilance. To fully
ensure that the law will serve the rightful victims and claimants, we
will try to make sure that the HRV Victims Claims Board shall be
composed of individuals who, in one way or another, know and can feel
with the victims and have been involved in the struggle against the
Marcos dictatorial regime.
We take cognizance that SELDA is part of the recommending entities to
the Claims Board. We challenge the administration to appoint nominees
of SELDA despite some government officials’ bias given SELDA’s
Also, it should be ensured that those who are included in the master
list of the 9,539 victims and those who will consequently file their
claims are those who were genuinely part of the struggle against
martial law. We should guard against unnecessary bureaucratic
processes and scams which will deprive the victims of just
We should also take the opportunity to make the younger generation
learn, understand and take on the challenge of having the same daring,
vigilance, militancy and commitment to justice and human rights.
It has been 40 years after martial law but human rights violations
continue to be committed, and with impunity. There has not been much
change except for the worse under the dispensations that succeeded the
U.S.-Marcos regime. The Marcos laws and executive orders were retained
by the succeeding administrations. The militarist mindset and fascist
machinery remain intact especially with the continuous implementation
of the US-backed counter-insurgency programs.
As long as human rights violations continue, with or without martial
law, we stand with the people for justice, democracy and human rights.
NEVER AGAIN will we allow the enemies of the people to perpetuate the
same injustices, oppression and exploitation against the majority of
the Filipino people.