Martial Law in the Philippines
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Martial Law in the Philippines

Manila : Philippines | Sep 21, 2010 at 7:48 AM PDT
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Martial Law in the Philippines

Today marks for the 38th anniversary of military rule in the Philippines.

I was about five years old during the second imposition of martial law in the country, the first being declared in 1944 under Pres. Jose P. Laurel, and the second was from 1972 to 1981 under the authoritarian rule of Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Proclamation No. 1081 (Proclaiming a State of Martial Law in the Philippines) was signed on 21 September 1972 and came into force on 22 September.

As a five-year-old kid, I had no idea what martial law was all about. I could hear the adults saying "Ayan na si Marsha Lo, Ayan na si Marsha Lo!" (Here comes Marsha Lo, Here comes Marsha Lo!).

The what became who in my pre-school mind. I thought that martial law was a Chinese guy!

Martial law was declared to suppress increasing civil strife and the threat of communist takeover following a series of bombings and a government-staged assassination attempt on then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile in Manila.

The declaration of martial law was initially well-received by some sectors, but it eventually proved unpopular as excesses and human rights abuses by the military emerged, such as the use of torture as a method of extracting information.

The well-known People Power Revolution of 1986 took place because of the many violated rights and abuse of authority of Marcos. The People Power Revolution eventually ousted Marcos, and he fled to Hawaii where he died in exile in 1989.

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It's been 38 years since former president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos signed Proclamation No. 1081, placing the entire Philippines under Martial Law (which he announced on national TV on the 23rd, much to the surprise of everyone)!
Gino C. Matibag is based in Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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