“Never again to Martial Law in the Philippines”

September 21, 2009

For immediate release

BAYAN Canada launches awareness campaign

BAYAN Canada demo at a busy intersection in Tronto
BAYAN Canada demo at a busy intersection in Tronto

“Never again to Martial Law in the Philippines”

To mark the 37th anniversary declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Canada member organizations are holding rallies, study sessions, coffee house discussions, public fora and photo exhibits in different cities in Canada.

Throughout the week, BAYAN Canada member organizations will be holding events in different cities under the theme “Never again to Martial Law in the Philippines.”

Members of Migrante Youth hold up photos of HR victims during Toronto rally
Members of Migrante Youth hold up photos of HR victims during Toronto rally

In Toronto, BAYAN Canada organizations mark the day by holding a rally at a busy intersection where many Filipino owned businesses are located.  The demonstrators paid special tribute to the victims of extra-judicial killings under the current Macapagal-Arroyo regime by holding up several photos of victims. Many people joined the rally after seeing the advertisement that was placed in a local community paper by the BAYAN Canada groups.  A cultural gathering featuring short films, songs and music was held later in the evening. The event was highlighted by the sharing of stories from individuals who experienced first-hand Martial Law under the Marcos dictatorship.

In Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver, a “Peace Tour” is currently on its way with National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) leader and peace negotiator Coni Ledesma. Aside from highlighting the unabated human rights abuses in the homeland and the 2010 national elections, the tour also aims to inform the public that there are

NDFP Coni Ledesma at apublic forum in Winnipeg
NDFP Coni Ledesma at a public forum in Winnipeg

alternatives being put forward to end the roots of armed conflict in the Philippines.  Organizers point at the generals and militarists who support the idea of the current administration staying in power precisely because they enjoy a culture of impunity under the Arroyo regime.  BAYAN Canada and its allies directly blame the militarists under the current administration for hindering the immediate resumption of peace talks with the NDFP.

Meanwhile in Montreal, BAYAN groups are holding educational discussions on the history and basic problems of the Philippines and the National Democratic alternative to the

Independent Journalist Stefan Christoff with Coni Ledesma in front of Sablo Kafé photo exhibit
Independent Journalist Stefan Christoff with Coni Ledesma in front of Sablo Kafé photo exhibit

current conditions in the country.  A coffee house discussion is also being organized about the possibility of another Martial Law under the Arroyo regime.  The coffee house discussion will be held in Sablo Kafé where there is a photo exhibit taking place entitled “Movements in Manila”.   The exhibit features scenes in Tondo as well as portraits of activists from people’s organizations taken during the 2004 mid-term elections by Montreal independent journalist Stefan Christoff.

“BAYAN allied organizations are doing the important work of educating mass members, friends, allies and their communities in Canada to remain vigilant and committed to ensuring that Martial Law or other Marcosian rule in the Philippines never happens again,” says BAYAN Chairperson Dr. Chandu Claver.

September 21, 1972 is a dark period in Philippine history when the United States-backed Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law. The dictatorship marked more than a decade reign of military terror that saw mass abductions, arrests, torture and detention of political opponents and activists that resisted it.

During the US-Marcos regime, there was an estimated 70,000 accounts for the victims of extra-judicial killings, torture, and enforced disappearance. Of this figure, 3,257 were executed and 769 were disappeared.

In the Philippines, in less than a decade under the US-Macapagal-Arroyo regime, there have been more than 1,000 cases of extra-judicial killings, 202 enforced disappearances, 1,036 torture, and 223 political prisoners.

According to human rights watchdog Karapatan, “Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a new dictator, who along with her cohorts has put the nation under an undeclared martial law for almost a decade.”

“With the Arroyo regime hell-bent on staying in power beyond the 2010 presidential elections, the people have

BAYAN Canada rep Diw Marcellino holds up a phot of Alyce Claver
BAYAN Canada's Diwa Marcelino with a photo of Alice Claver

every right to fear a return of Marcosian-type rule in the country,” explains Dr. Claver, who himself experienced the iron-hand of the Macapagal-Arroyo regime in an ambush that killed his wife, Alice, in 2006.

“We must do everything within our power, whether we are in the Philippines or abroad, Filipinos, as well as all democratic and peace loving people, to frustrate the plans of US imperialism’s most favoured puppet in South-East Asia,” he added.

For more information contact BAYAN Canada at bayan.canada.noc@gmail.com.

Reference: Joey Calugay, secretary general at jcalugay@gmail.com

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