Malacañang on Sunday said the declaration of martial law is a “tool” to save democracy even as it recognized that the abuses committed during the Marcos administration had caused a “deep wound in an entire generation.”
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A day after the 47th anniversary of the declaration of martial law, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the period continues to haunt those who underwent traumatic experiences during the term of late president Ferdinand Marcos.
“The imposition of martial law and the abuses it spawned even as it instilled discipline among the citizenry at its inception, as well as reaping success in dismantling the then spreading communist insurgency in the country, created a deep wound to an entire generation,” Panelo said in a statement.
“Regardless of political persuasion, the Marcos martial law continues to haunt those who have traumatic experiences during the one-man rule,” he added.
Martial law, however, is “precisely the very tool to save the exercise of democracy,” he said.
Panelo said the framers of the 1987 Constitution—crafted after Marcos was ousted through a peaceful uprising—acknowledged its necessity to save the government from ruin against the enemies of the state.
“It is only when it is clothed with abuse by its enforcers that it becomes obnoxious. Necessarily, its proclamation arises only upon constitutional dictates,” he said.
The Palace official also said the Constitution has added safeguards to avoid its abuse.
He also urged the public to learn from the lessons during the Marcos martial law.
Marcos placed the entire country under martial law on Sept. 21, 1972, citing the threat of the communist insurgency.
Hundreds of thousands suffered human rights violations during the martial law period, which lasted 14 years, Amnesty International says.
“The Palace urges everyone to look at the past to guide us on what to do with the present, that it may serve us better in the future,” Panelo said.
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