CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Filipino groups say no to Martial Law

HONG KONG (SE): On the 46th anniversary of the declaration of the Martial Law, Filipino groups in Hong Kong said they would never forget the atrocities committed by the regime of late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, showing their support of the thousands who protested all over the Philippines on September 21 against any attempt by Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, to return to dictatorship.
Migrant rights groups in Hong Kong, in a statement on September 20, said they have not forgotten the horrors of Martial Law. They said the late dictator unleashed the most brutal of attacks resulting in tens of thousands victims of human rights violations. Thousands of activists and opposition leaders were arrested jailed, tortured, raped and killed while many disappeared and never to be seen again. Newspapers, radio, and television stations were closed down and only government-controlled ones were allowed to operate.
Twenty-six organisations signed the statement, including the Hong Kong Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines, Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Bayan Hong Kong and Macau, the United Filipinos in Hong Kong, Gabriela Hong Kong, among them. 
The groups also accused the family of Marcos, which still wields political influence, of dismissing the crimes and expects people to just forget without demanding accountability from them and without justice being done for the victims.
This year, the protests on the anniversary of the Martial Law aimed not only to commemorate the dark years of the Marcos’ regime, but more so to fight the looming dictatorship and tyrannical rule of Duterte.
The groups pointed out that over the past two years, the Filipino people, especially the poor, have suffered the most under Duterte’s administration. 
More than 20,000 people have reportedly been killed by the Philippine National Police and other state-sponsored vigilante groups under the government’s so-called war on drugs while leaders of big-time drug syndicates remain unpunished.
The groups said they see many other signs that the Duterte government is setting the stage for the declaration of a nationwide declaration of martial law or a similar draconian measure in a national scale. 
Most notable have been removal of the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Maria Lourdes Sereno, the filing of trumped-up charges against leaders of the political opposition and ongoing martial law in Mindanao under the guise of fighting terrorism, as well as the persecution of activists, especially in the countryside, who are actively resisting anti-people programmes and policies.
They said in the statement that Filipinos in Hong Kong and concerned groups from among other nationalities will remain vigilant and contribute significantly to the  struggle for human rights and justice and against dictatorship.

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