The 30th anniversary of the February 25, 1986 EDSA people power uprising against the Marcos outright fascist dictatorship takes place, on the one hand, in the midst of the continuing advance of the people’s struggles and, on the other hand, in the face of increasing blatant — as well as disguised — fascism. This, under the prevailing neocolonial socio-economic-political system that serves principally the richest and most powerful in the country and their imperialist masters.
Out-and-out fascist rule has been dismantled but in many ways, much of the same oppressive and exploitative system has remained intact and continues to intensify — buttressed by fascistic measures that are veiled by pseudo-democratic rhetoric.
Just yesterday, fascist military and paramilitary forces under the ruling regime sought to burn down the United Church of Christ of the Philippines’ Haran Compound in Davao City, where hundreds of Lumad refugees from fascist attacks in their communities have long been sheltered since the massive driving away of Lumad people from their ancestral lands. Five Lumad refugees, including two children were injured in the conflagration. This latest act of fascism against the Lumad has followed the series of burning down of Lumad schools, cooperatives, homes and entire communities, the vicious hunting down and killing of Lumad leaders and educators, and other fascist acts against the Lumad and other people insistent on fighting for their rights and the rights of others like them.
Among those who have also been continuing to suffer fascism under present pseudo-democratic facade are hundreds of political prisoners. The present regime of Benigno S. Aquino III, inheritor of the post-EDSA People Power regime of his mother, Cory Aquino, keeps on denying that there are political prisoners in the country. Yet, there are presently more than 500 of us, individually documented political prisoners in the country — about twice the number the present regime has inherited from the earlier regime of Gloria Arroyo. And our numbers have been increasing, instead of decreasing.
It is because of our continuing fight for freedom, for justice, for social causes (especially in the interest of the poor, the deprived and the oppressed), for peace and against continuing fascism, that we have become victims of political repression. The objective of those in power is to suppress us and separate us from the oppressed and exploited masses by keeping us in heavily guarded stockades and behind iron bars.
We, political prisoners, continue to suffer gross violations of justice and human rights. We suffer arbitrary and illegal arrests, trumped-up charges, hardly moving course of justice, poor and repressive prison conditions, and the ruling state and regime’s indifference to all these.
Those of us, who have also gone through imprisonment, torture and other gross violations of justice and human rights during the Marcos martial rule have won court cases, but have not actually attained justice against the Marcoses, for the fascist crimes committed against us.
The Marcoses have, in the meantime, maintained their provincial political bases, have repositioned themselves in various high government positions, including the Senate, and have continued to maintain much of their plundered wealth, especially those kept abroad. Funded by a massive campaign kitty from his parents’ plundered wealth, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. — the son, and designated successor of the late open fascist dictator — aspires to be just a heartbeat away from the dominant power held then by his father. There is urgent need to keep the Marcoses from again holding the highest reins of power and reinstituting out-and-out fascism.
In the face of all these, the people’s fight for freedom, for justice, for social causes (especially in the interest of the poor, the exploited and the oppressed), for peace and against continuing fascism continues to expand and gain ground.
We, who remain in chains and behind prison bars, vow to keep up the fight to the utmost in any way we can … and more so as soon as we regain freedom.
National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultants
and other political prisoners detained in Camp Bagong Diwa February 25, 2016