Filipinos share stories of martial law, living under dictatorship with younger generations

by Pat Nabong, ABS-CBN News

CHICAGO — These Filipino Americans have lived to tell their stories —- 47 years after the declaration of martial law in the Philippines under the Marcos dictatorship.

They want the younger generation to hear about their traumatic experiences, in the hope of gleaning lessons from that era.

Pastor Sam Dado recounted what it was like living near a military camp in Legaspi. Dado said he witnessed the violence that the Marcos dictatorship incited against its critics.

“Every corner ng ano, ng legaspi, may mga na check point. Checkpoint may mga tanke, de tumatakbo ako pauwi yung ganong basta ganong atmosphere and every day pag pasok ko, kainitan ng martial law yun, tambak ang patay sa grounds ng camp.”

Those at the forum said it helped hearing firsthand accounts to truly understand the past.

Speakers at this forum said that this is a crucial time to remember the horrors of the Marcos dictatorship, citing the ongoing drug war, martial law in Mindanao and the shooting of American environmental activist Brandon Lee, who was labeled an “enemy of the state” in the Philippines.

“What is happening is actually what has happened during martial law days, the abuses and the excesses of the military and those in power.”

Organizers hope that hearing about activism decades ago will push the younger generation to be involved in community work.

“I think that’s the message there, is to continue to remember, to continue tell your stories because that will make that history alive, right.”

Organizers called on people who experienced martial law to never forget and to continue to tell their stories.


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