Recall and re-echo our condemnation to the martial law! Intensify our struggle against tyranny and attain social liberation and justice!

This article is available in Iloco

The Christians for National Liberation (CNL) in Ilocos vividly recalls the Martial Law when it was declared in September 21, 2022. This day, on its 50th year, we re-echo our steadfast condemnation to the Martial Law, that delivered the Filipino masses already suffering from several forms of exploitation of the ruling classes of landlords, big bourgeois compradors and monopoly capitalists to an immeasurable depths of fascist onslaught.

Let us pay our highest respects to the martyrs and victims of the cold-blooded Martial Law. Their sacrifices in fighting the tyrannical rule of the US-Marcos I are invaluable. Because of the purity of their commitment in serving the oppressed, these revolutionary and patriotic religious people did not hesitate to conquer all cruelty, difficulties and challenges in time of the fascist Marcos dictatorship, up to offering their lives to attain people’s liberation and social justice.

The building of the CNL in February 1972 was driven by the worsening fascism of the Marcos dictatorship. Seven months after its foundation, Marcos declared Martial Law in September 21, 1972. Marcos unclothed the people of their rights and nailed them to the cross of fascist military control. CNL was declared illegal along with other patriotic and democratic mass organizations.

As an indication of genuine service, the CNL did not allow itself to collapse. It rather moved underground and employed secret methods to carry on its organizing and expansion and leading the impoverished masses to the path of the revolution. Several priests, nuns, pastors, seminarians and lay workers of the CNL left their parishes, congregations and convents to directly participate and support the armed struggle and lead the masses in their fight against the fascist dictatorship.

At the height of fascist dictatorship, the CNL played a significant role in supporting the workers’ struggle. Church people actively participated in the La Tondeña workers’ strike in 1975 for pay hike and better labor conditions. They bore the brunt of fighting for the workers’ rights and suffered the brutal reprisal of the reactionary state but did not quit. The La Tondeña strike succeeded and became the fuse of workers’ strikes in the country that defied Marcos’ law prohibiting these actions.

Come 1980s, the economic crisis worsened due to huge debts of the Marcos regime, budget and trade deficits due to import dependence, deregulated exportation and foreign investments. Mass struggles heightened and responded by the regime of intensified transgression of democratic rights. Even Martial Law was suspended in 1982, gigantic mass actions persisted. In February 1986, Cardinal Sin called for a people’s convergence in EDSA to depose Marcos. The church people assembled, and infront of vast multitude of people, they formed human chains and marched along EDSA, until Marcos was ousted.

In La Union, a student strike erupted in Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University calling for the ouster of despotic and corrupt university administrators who were Marcos cronies.

The Martial Law and fascist dictatorship of Marcos validated the legitimacy of revolutionary armed struggle. During the military rule of the US-Marcos regime, because of widespread killings, massacres, tortures and brazen violation of democratic rights, the people were driven to take up arms and the New People’s Army (NPA) was built in 1969 that launched the armed struggle under the new democratic revolution in the country. The NPA served as the most potent instrument of the Party in fighting the US-Marcos dictatorship.

In time of the Marcos fascist dictatorship, the CNL assumed the important role in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the Filipino people to fight the regime. The CNL was the first revolutionary organization that founded the National Democratic Front of the Philippines that united revolutionary mass organizations of peasants, workers and the middle forces and advanced the people’s democratic revolution in the face of the fascist rule of Marcos.

An indication of callousness and power-hunger after overthrown in 1986, the Marcoses persevered in returning to Malacañang by stealing the votes in May 2022 election. Marcos Jr. just duplicates the programs and policies of his father of holding on to neoliberal dictates of imperialist US to plunder the lands and resources and control the industry – to plunge the country’s economy deeper into crisis.

The AFP that served as the obedient dog of Marcos Sr. in imposing the Martial Law was trained and still serving as the servile dog of Marcos Jr. in sowing terror and strengthening his grip to power. Through the Anti-Terror Law (ATL) and NTF-ELCAC, military rule broadened and fortified in the society.

Here in Ilocos, now that Marcos Jr. had assumed power, NTF-ELCAC intensifies its repression to legitimate movements of the people. Despite continuing protests, the NTF-ELCAC in Ilocos persists in its vicious acts of red-tagging and harassments, even to priests and church people who only perform their holy mission of serving and supporting the struggle of the farmers, fisherfolk, national minority and the poor; in rejecting destructive projects of the capitalist companies operating in Ilocos and defending human rights.

The ATL and NTF-ELCAC are the present faces of the undeclared Martial Law. These are the instruments of the present Marcos regime for their dynasty to live on, for their bureaucratic corruption and enrichment to persist. The ATL and NTF-ELCAC are the regime’s instruments in ruling and for the three monsters – feudalism, bureaucrat capitalism and imperialism to continue hovering in the Philippine society.

The armed struggle and militant actions of the Filipino people against the terrorism of the AFP, NTF-ELCAC and the Marcos II regime should be intensified. Christians and the religious must persist in their historical role in leading the anti-fascist struggle since the Martial Law period.

In the face of intensifying tyranny of the US-Marcos II regime, the CNL should be more resilient in executing the role of Gideon, the valiant commander who led the Israelites in fighting the oppressors. The CNL must uphold its divine mission in advancing the well-being and rights of the poor and oppressed to attain social liberation and justice. #

Recall and re-echo our condemnation to the martial law! Intensify our struggle against tyranny and attain social liberation and justice!