By Ernie Reyes
Photo courtesy by AlterMedia
MANILA — “The Duterte administration is the ghost of the Marcos dictatorship
trying to resurrect from the graveyard of history”, said Council for
People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) spokesperson Liza Maza in
comparing the Marcos and Duterte regimes.
Today, September 21, 2021, marks the 49th anniversary of the
declaration of Martial Law by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
People’s organizations, civil society, and various advocacy groups
annually converge in different parts of the country to commemorate the
struggle of the Filipino people for freedom and justice and say “never
Recognized as one of the darkest pages of Philippine history, state
forces perpetrated countless human rights violations ranging from
illegal detention, torture, and enforced disappearances to
extrajudicial killings and massacres under the guise of “curbing
insurgency” and “peace-building” towards development.
This reign of terror lasted for more than a decade. The US government
supported the Marcos dictatorship as it did in many others across the
Third World. In February 1986, the masses of the Filipino people—tired
and weary of the long years of corruption, rights abuses, and
poverty—joined activists, rights defenders, the critical church, and
the religious to unseat the dictator who desperately tried to hold on
to power with rigged election results.
However, even after almost 50 years, human rights violations persist
and have escalated under Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s authoritarian
governance sans a formal declaration of martial rule.
Through legal machinations and tyranny, he is waging a bloody war
against dissent and the people to advance his political ambition as
well the interests of his oligarchs and foreign powers, the US and
Like the Marcos regime, the current administration justifies
discipline and repression as requisites for development. It attacks
unarmed civilians and systematically silences critics.
“Dissent and criticism are maligned as destabilization. Those who
stand up and speak out are red-tagged to deny them platforms for
meaningful discourse. This is Marcosian to the core,” Maza said. She
also cited the sharp similarities of how the Marcos and Duterte
regimes view the now decades-old insurgency in the countryside.
“The persisting insurgency is not simply war or a plot to overthrow
the government. It is a product of growing, seemingly endless
inequalities felt among the poor, deprived, and marginalized. It is an
expression of disgust to a ruling order that disregards the people. It
is the language of those who cannot speak and those disillusioned with
speech. It has old and complex roots that require critical
perspectives to be addressed,” she continued.
CPDG also repudiates the impending 2022 national budget proposal which
increases the spending for counterinsurgency as seen in the National
Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s fund allotment. It
is “a brazen display of warmongering and neglect of the people’s
needs”, Maza expounded.
Just like the late dictator who is known for amassing ill-gotten
wealth, Duterte clearly follows suit. There are billions worth of
funds that have been misappropriated and misused, even though the
pandemic demands increasing spending on health and medical services.
The national debt also keeps on increasing but the funds are not used
for the urgent demands and interests of the people. Maza added that
“burying the country in debt is a legacy where Duterte and Marcos are
very much alike”.
Thus, the indignation and protest of the people constantly increase
over his consistently failing policies, especially in combating
“As we commemorate the lives of the martyrs who fought the past
dictatorship, we must join hands, unite, and stand in solidarity
against the current tyrannical attempts to reverse our hard-won rights
and freedoms,” Maza emphasized.
The 2022 elections are a chance to end Duterte’s bad governance
riddled with corruption, human rights violations, and misogyny. CPDG
underscores that the country has reached a point where another day
under the same type of administration will only worsen and complicate
the crisis that we are in.
“A Duterte, Marcos, or any other loyalist winning the 2022 elections
is history repeating itself. The shame to let this happen is
unspeakable. Therefore, it is the task of all of us to prevent this in
any way possible. This is the real essence of our cry: ‘never again!’”
Maza added. (ai/mtvn)