Saturday, April 28, 2012

An Outing “to remember” by victims and survivors of Martial Law -PAHRA

Victims and survivors of Martial Law human rights violations gathered last April 21, 2012 at the Sunken Garden of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, for an outing “to remember” the dark years of Martial Law 40 years ago as well as the swell of people’s courage to resist and struggle for basic freedoms, human rights and democracy.

The gathering also remembered the student resistance put up by the “Diliman Commune” who barricaded the university’s entrances against the entry of the police and other security forces.

This activity is part of a 6-months- “rememberML@40”- campaign to evoke the broadest efforts to inform about the gross and heinous perpetration of human rights violations during the repressive years of Martial Law and Marcos dictatorship.  On every 21st day of the month starting March until September, activities will be conducted so as to inspire people, especially the youth, to make human rights their preferred values and a way of life to ensure that martial law never happens again as well as the courage to fight against any repression of fundamental freedoms and human rights.

The day of outing included jogging, kite flying and sharing of stories by victims and survivors of martial law to inspire the next generation of the courage of those who resisted the repression of freedoms and rights during the martial law years.

Among the participants in the Diliman activity were the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and Claimmants 1081.

Max de Mesa, the Chairperson of PAHRA, stated in his opening remarks that: “Our thrust this morning is not only to inform, to inspire and to remember Martial Law after forty years, but also to gather support for the passage of a law to compensate the victims of human rights violations during the bloody Marcos dictatorship.”  He added that “compensating the victims is a necessary and correct step towards ending impunity.”

One of the main highlights of this latest unity of human rights defenders was their public signing of a petition calling on both the Philippine Congress and the Aquino administration to  immediately pass a legislative measure to compensate the victims of human rights violations during the bloody Marcos Dictatorship.

After signing a giant-sized petition printed on a tarpaulin, the human rights activists further posed with their ‘red ribbon tied-pinky fingers’ while holding up a placard saying: ‘We inform, inspire and remember ML@40’.  This was to contribute to the currently popular on-line campaign tagged ‘#rememberML@40’. This Facebook-based cyber campaign aims to gather 40,000 supporters by September 21 of this year (to mark forty years after Martial Law).

A member of Claimants 1081, an organization representing the numerous victims of Martial Law under the Marcos Dictatorship, said in closing: “Remembering is our tribute to all those who struggled for freedom, human rights and democracy.  Remembering is our way of inspiring the next generation to stand up for the same.” .  The other organizations which joined and supported today’s affair were: Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights), Medical Action Group (MAG), Youth for Rights (Y4R), Tbak, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Metro Manila Vendors Alliance (MMVA), KPD, CLRD and SANLAKAS.

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