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Student march commemorates martial law

Violations still rampant under Aquino, say rights groups

Student march commemorates martial law
Students mark the 40th anniversary of the declaration of martial law, in Manila. (Photo by Rene Sandajan)
ucanews.com reporter, Manila
Philippines

September 20, 2012



Hundreds of students marched to the presidential palace in Manila today in a human rights protest to mark the 40th anniversary of the declaration of martial law.

"It is best that we remember the sacrifices of the Filipino people under the Marcos dictatorship [by] holding placards and call for freedom, social justice and genuine democracy," said Einstein Recedes of the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines.

On September 21, 1972, Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, claiming that it was the last line of defense against increasingly violent student demonstrations and the rise of a communist insurgency.

Military rule, however, led to human rights violations that were to fuel a popular revolt that ousted the dictator in 1986 and swept into power Corazon Aquino, mother of current president Benigno Aquino.

"Martial law still exists under Aquino. Human rights violations are still occuring while justice ... remains stagnant," said Recedes.

Rights groups say at least 100 political killings have been recorded in the past two years and 389 political detainees remain in jails around the country. Meanwhile, the government's anti-insurgency campaign has displaced at least 30,000 people, they say.

The protesting students plan to light lanterns that will form the word "Justice" later in the evening to demand justice for victims of rights abuses.

"The most appropriate way to remember martial law is to continue the fight for the democratic rights of the Filipino people'' and ensure that this country never witnesses another dark period, Recedes said.

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