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PERSONAL ESSAY: The New Martial Law Babies?

QUEZON CITY (MindaNews / 28 May) — As soon as I learned that Martial Law has been declared all over Mindanao, I looked at my sleeping son. I wondered, should I tell him, like my mother warned me, never to speak ill of the President because we do not know where the “masasamang tao” are who would kidnap kids? Would he grow up until 13 thinking that seeing the military all over the place normal and part of your childhood? Would he experience his eyes being covered by my hand as my Mother did when I was a child, to spare him from seeing dead people displayed on the streets to incur fear that this could happen to you if you say anything or do something against this government?


I started scanning Facebook for reactions of people. And throughout, I struggled for understanding for former activists who fought against Marcos’ Dictatorship but are one with the cultic voice to lend legitimacy to this President’s declaration just because Tatay. Where have all the dreams for freedom and justice that you fought for gone? For colleagues in human rights, justice, peace, “development”, and humanitarian work but are one with the cultic voice to lend legitimacy over this President’s declaration, where have all the principles and values that we claim we stand for gone just because Tatay?

Last night, when I came home from work, Yaya told me that when Pablo watched the news with her, he bombarded her with questions, “why did President Duterte declare Martial Law”? And no, he wasn’t impressed when he was told because there was an ISIS attack in Marawi. He asked, “Is it like the Martial Law of Marcos?”

I thought of the people — former anti- Marcos activists, so called human rights, justice and peace and “development” and humanitarian workers who sent the message, “okay lang ang Martial Law. Tiwala lang kay Tatay. ” And I say, Shame On You.

(Eizel Hilario is a Mindanawon anthropologist who grew up in Bukidnon before she went to the Philippine High School for the Arts and the University of the Philippines for her education as Iskolar ng Bayan. After graduation, she worked on Indigenous People’s rights `and environmental issues as a form of her commitment to give back and serve the people. A mother to an autistic child, Eizel champions the rights of children, especially PWDs).

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