Malaya holds forum on Martial Law

Community News & Features Sep 27, 2019 at 4:46 pm
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Photos: HG

Survivors of martial law recounted the horrors of the Marcos dictatorship in a forum in Toronto Sept. 22 at the Kerr Hall, University of Toronto.

Sponsored by Malaya Canada, a network advocating for respect for human rights and upholding social justice and putting a stop to the killings by the Duterte administration, the forum heard survivors tell their stories, emphasizing that the horrors they experienced should never happen again.

Mila Astorga-Garcia shares her pre-martial law experience of political detention and the shutting down of The Dumaguete Times.

Mila Astorga-Garcia shares her pre-martial law experience of political detention and the shutting down of The Dumaguete Times.

Ed Muyot was in high school when he was arrested, detained, and tortured for organizing studentdemonstrations. He said he was in the second line of leadership of their local chapter of Kabataang Makabayan. The first line of leaders, he said, joined the rebel guerilla forces in the mountains.

Rick Esguerra of the Philippine Solidarity Group, who was also detained and tortured, emphasized the importance for the youth to be aware of the worsening conditions in Philippine society and the dangers of authoritarian rule.

Hermie Garcia, who was detained and tortured twice during Marcos’s authoritarian rule, emphasized the need to fight military repression even inside prison through protest actions such as hunger strikes and other forms of struggle. Even while in hiding and evading arrest during martial law, Garcia, with other journalists, continued to write for underground newspapers to expose human rights abuses and deteriorating economic and social conditions as all traditional media were either closed down or fully controlled by Marcos.

Mila Astorga-Garcia, who in 1969 was detained with other journalists, and slapped with trumped-up murder charges to stop them from exposing peasant oppression by landlords in Negros Oriental thru their newspaper The Dumaguete Times, said that authoritarian rule can exist even without the formal declaration of martial law. The charges were dismissed in court.

Marissa Corpus of Malaya Canada, elucidated on the goals of the network as she encouraged the involvement of everyone concerned in opposing the present rise of authoritarianism in the Philippines.

Lui Queaño and Rhea Gamana sang protest songs while Malaya Canada youth joined them and led the audience in singing “Do you remember the 21st of September” a lively composition that reflected the spirit of resistance against oppression.

Hermie Garcia sharing his story before and during the Marcos martial law years inside and outside detention.

Hermie Garcia sharing his story before and during the Marcos martial law years inside and outside detention.

MARISSA CORPUS Spokeperson, Malaya Canada

MARISSA CORPUS
Spokeperson, Malaya Canada

Lui Queaño sings a poem by a political prisoner which he set to music.

Lui Queaño sings a poem by a political prisoner which he set to music.

ED MUYOT, Malaya Canada convenor

ED MUYOT, Malaya Canada convenor, shares his experience during the First Quarter Storm and detention under the Marcos martial law.

FATIMA BARRON Coordinator for Malaya Canada

FATIMA BARRON
Coordinator for Malaya Canada

Sol Pajadura (left), Chair,  MIGRANTE Canada and a Canadian protester at the Wilson and Bathurst plaza rally on Sept. 20.

Sol Pajadura (left), Chair,
MIGRANTE Canada and a Canadian protester at the Wilson and Bathurst plaza rally on Sept. 20.