It is our turn now: the present generation’s pledge to continue the fight for genuine justice and liberty

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This 50th anniversary of Martial Law, it must be remembered how high the costs of the liberties, that this present generation enjoys, are. Every tiny shred of democracy there is today was paid for by tears, blood and lives of countless mothers, fathers, children, brothers and sisters of the previous generation. The way was paved by the invaluable lives of the nation’s sons and daughters such as Dr. Johnny Escandor, Alex Belone, Romulo Jallores, Mario Hagos, Nanette Vytiaco, Ruben Sambajon and a thousand others who were tortured, abducted and killed during Marcos Sr.’s Martial Law.

Many are those whose stories had just begun but had already been cut short for the sake of the struggle for democracy. Many are those who had not had the chance for a single embrace more for the sake of the common good. Many are those who had died without seeing a society free from Marcos’ reign. In fact, many had not even been given the chance to age. If they had not selflessly sacrificed their lives for the sake of the next generation’s future, Marcos’ dictatorship would have been the people’s perpetual nightmare.

They had asked nothing in return but for the next in line to defend what they had fought and died for. The lives they had given up in exchange of these liberties enjoyed today must not be for naught. To yield is not an option. The people must not forget.

Every single time that all those who experienced the terrors of Martial Law hear attempts at revising history, every time they see the Marcoses extolled, the wounds that they keep and that have never healed are sliced fresh again. All of those who were executed, tortured, raped, abducted, forced to disappear, salvaged and whose skulls were desecrated with trash – all of these and a thousand more horrors come rushing back to their collective memories. And so, this generation must not falter in defending the true history of the people. They must not cease from driving the truth out and in honoring all of the martyrs who had given their own lives for justice and liberty.

The previous generation had fulfilled their duty to the people and their beloved country with the utmost might and devotion. Now is the next generation’s turn to confront and perform their historic roles in society. The previous generations had triumphed over dictatorship. It is only just for the people of today to strive to win in their present struggle as well. There are more challenges to face. There are more to be won.

This is the current generation’s pledge: we will fight. It is our turn now.

It is our turn now: the present generation’s pledge to continue the fight for genuine justice and liberty