Don’t erase truth, bishop calls on 50th martial law anniversary

San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza called for an end to “the systematic erasure of the historical truth” on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law.

Former president Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr., whom Alminaza called a dictator, signed Proclamation No. 1081 on Sept. 21, 1972, placing the Philippines under Martial Law.

“The truth remains – that the Martial Law regime plundered our nation’s wealth and committed massive human rights violations,” Alminaza said in a pastoral message issued Tuesday, September 20.

Describing the Martial Law period as a “Golden Age” is a historical distortion, Alminaza said, as he reiterated his call to end “the massive disinformation that escalated in the last presidential elections”.

Alminaza said he continues to call “for an end to our people’s sufferings due to human rights violations and the militarization of communities that started during the martial law period and continues until today”.

He also reminded the Philippines government and the National Democratic Front that lasting peace can only be achieved through justice and peace negotiations.

Alminaza pointed out that the call for justice for the death of the 20 martyrs of the 1985 Escalante Massacre, remains unanswered even until today.

In recent months some areas in the Diocese of San Carlos, specifically in Guihulngan and Calatrava, have been facing disturbing acts of violence and deaths involving the military and the rebels, he said.

“It saddens us that our call for peace and an end of hostilities remain unheeded,” Alminaza said.

“Our collective memories of the violence of the Martial Law years strengthen our resolve to intensify our vigilance against any unjust and violent acts reminiscent of the past,” the bishop said.

He called for the resumption of peace talks, and the creation of inclusive “zones of peace” in areas challenged by militarization and violence.

The Diocese of San Carlos will continue to ring Church bells to prick the conscience of perpetrators hiding behind the prevailing culture of impunity, he added.

“Our people suffered long enough from fear and injustice. We must pursue peace without violence,” Alminaza said.*

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