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Southern California Fil-Ams rally on martial law anniversary

Steve Angeles | TFC News Los Angeles

Posted at Sep 22 2022 08:47 AM

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Hundreds gathered in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

"We’re here to remember the victims of martial law. People went missing. We’re here to continue to fight our parents' movement and it is our faith that inspires us to join this fight," Jillian Garcia of Malaya Los Angeles said.

The anniversary comes as the late dictator's son and namesake, President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. is in New York for the UN General Assembly.

He along with supporters have made moves to deny the atrocities during martial law.

For the young Fil-Am protesters, many of whom are students, Marcos' appearance at the UN has fueled their fire to remember the victims of the dictatorship.

"We really want to recognize, specifically the kabataang makabayan, and their role in organizing and building consciousness throughout the Philippines," Anakbayan UCLA's Joy Iriye said.

Among the speakers at the Los Angeles rally are those that lived through the martial law era.

Toti Almeda of Malaya Movement Long Beach remembers those days well and he shared his firsthand account with the history as well as and friends he lost during that era.

"Kaya tayo andito ngayon upang ipaliwanag at sabihin ang tunay na katotohanan kung ano nangyari nung martial law, at yan ay hindi pwedeng burahin. Yan ang nasa isip namin, Mahirap talagang burahin. Yan ay hindi nila mabubura kasi yan ay may mga resibo," Almeda stressed.

(We're here to explain and talk about the true events during martial law. You can't erase that. That's what we're thinking about, it's hard to forget. They can't erase it because there are receipts.)

The protesters also believe that human rights violations have continued, with the bloody war on drugs under the previous Duterte administration, the red-tagging of Philippine-based activists, as well as the day-to-day poverty which has claimed lives of their loved ones.

Protest actions also took place in San Diego to remember the events of the martial law era.