On the 40th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, the youth group Anakbayan said that the dictatorship is ‘continuing in essence’ under the administration of President Benigno ‘Noynoy Aquino III.
“There is no change, except in name: from Martial Law to Oplan Bayanihan, from cronies to ‘KKK’” said Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of Anakbayan.
He pointed out that despite repeated claims that ‘our family was a victim of the Marcos regime’, Noynoy’s first two years has been marked with rise in the number of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests, and other forms of persecution against activists and other government critics.
So far, there have been 102 cases of extra-judicial killings, the latest of which was a 23-year old lumad youth leader in Agusan del Sur. Majority of these people are anti-mining activists, other environmentalists, journalists, and peasant leaders.
There has also been an upsurge in the number of political prisoners. The military and police have arrested 107 activists, filing trumped-up charges against them. Many, such as National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants Tirso Alcantara, Allan Jazmines, and Renante Gamara, have been subject to torture and inhumane living conditions.
Cronyism continues under the current administration, according to Crisostomo, but albeit under a new name: KKK or Kaibigan, kaklase, at kabarilan (friends, classmates, and shooting-range buddies).
The youth leader pointed out as proof Aquino’s recent political appointments: DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, who was the president’s running mate in 2010, and Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, who favored the retention of Hacienda Luisita in Cojuangco-Aquino hands in a 2011 decision.
The struggle continues
“Forty years after, the same social ills plague our nation. The only difference is the name of the president who presides over the military repression and names his cronies” said the Anakbayan leader.
“The struggle for genuine social change, justice, and peace continues under this administration” he concluded.