Breaking the rules
The swift increase in the number of people turning up dead – lives that are reduced to mere collateral damage – manifests that the Duterte administration is really fond of killings its own people. It would not even be that surprising if Duterte really delivers on his threat to declare Martial Law nationwide.
But although this is the case, it is still our duty to remain vigilant in case hell breaks loose. We should be ready to occupy the streets and bring forth the new dictator’s downfall. However, my parents are thinking otherwise.
Their refusal was stern that night I had to ask permission from them to cover (read: join) the September 21 rally. Covering mobs has been my usual alibi, and perhaps they have already found out I was lying all along.
I would have easily understood their rejection if they told me it was for my safety. Protest actions are almost always dangerous and never fun to join, all the more now that Martial Law looms nationwide. But their refusal to let me to the mob is ingrained in their belief: they do not think Martial Law (both of Duterte and of Marcos) is worth condemning at all.
They lived their youth when Marcos was president but somehow remained unaware of all his atrocities. And while they do not necessarily claim Marcos was a brilliant president, they also do not think the regime was a dark time in the country’s history. Partly to blame for that mindset perhaps was the environment they grew up in. They lived away from the hotbed of killings, almost completely ignorant of the 3,200 cases of extra-judicial killings, 700 of enforced disappearances, 34,000 counts of torture, and 70,000 of illegal detention.
My parents, their family, and their closest friends remained unscathed during the Martial Law years. My parents thought they were not victims, but they were completely wrong. Every Filipino living today is a Martial Law victim after all.
When Marcos was president, his family looted billions of dollars from people’s taxes through kickbacks from their infrastructure projects, which were mostly funded by international financial institutions — the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Today, every Filipino taxpayer suffers in paying for the debts accounted for during the 21-year rule of the Marcoses. My parents are not excluded, but they always choose to keep mum on this, like they do in most political issues. For them, political issues are to be discussed anywhere but at home. In fact, they do not even care that thousands of lives have already been claimed since Duterte waged his war against drugs.
Typical apolitical, my parents would also not bat an eye whether or not Duterte declares Martial Law tomorrow or the next day. “Wala rin namang magbabago,” they would say. Partly, I agree. What happens now is already terrifying. However, the implementation of nationwide Martial Law will legitimize the current spate of killings by armed authorities and further perpetuate human rights abuses.
I always think my parents only care about us and their immediate family members. And perhaps there are many others just like them. But my joining the protest is how I could show that I care for them too. Because with the looming declaration of Martial Law across the country, which does no less than aggravate the existing terrors down our streets, the day seems not too remote when a bullet fired by state forces hits someone close at heart. It could be my brother. It could be my parents. It could be me. ◂
Short URL: http://www.philippinecollegian.org/?p=12252