This post was written by Fe P.Koons. I thought it too important not to include on my blogsite. This is a genuine memory of an invent that has remained with Fe all her life. It teaches us how devastating the effects of militarization can be on communities and on children’s minds. This story, and many like it, happened on a daily basis all over the Philippines during Marcos’s 21 years Presidency. It is not just one single episode. Fear was instilled into the population at large and by doing so Marcos could hold sway. Much like the NRA in the United States uses fear to promote the sale of guns, so dictators, like Marcos, promote fear as an excuse for strong man rule and martial law. I am very grateful to Fe for allowing me to publish this here. I think, in light of Bong Bong Marcos putting himself forward today for Vice President in 2016 (and, presumably, eventually President in 2020) it is vital that we remember the fear his father instilled into the nation, the amount of corruption he endorsed, the wholesale destruction of any opposition to his rule, the kidnappings, the killings, the torture and the brutality.
Like Fe, let us not forget.
Today is October 5. That date cannot be erased from my mind. On Oct 5, 1971, I was part of a group of student activists who decided to enter the city of Kalookan. The Mayor was Macario Asistio, who would stop at nothing to “protect his city” . He labeled the student demonstrators as “troublemakers”.
The first march ended in violence on Oct. 1.
The Ugnayan ng Kilusang Pilipino, a Kalookan based org led the second march mostly from the members of Kabataang Makabayan, Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK), the Movement for a Democratic Philippines.
I remember the horrible storm that day. For some reason, I was late — coming from school. So I ended up with some students who were at the end of the march. We braved the floods, the mud. I recall how drenched my clothes were. But we kept shouting the slogans, committed to prove that Asistio has no right to stop our demand to end the militarization of the Philippines.
There were hired goons who had clubs, pillboxes and Molotov cocktails. I could hardly see what was going on at the front line but we kept moving forward. But I heard pillboxes being thrown from the walls of the La Loma cemetery.
I remember running as fast as I can because bullets were being fired at us. Guns were being shot from all directions. Some of the masses in the area opened their houses.
I recall running through the side streets. One male activist kept asking me if I was all right. I was leaning on the door trying to listen if everything was quiet. I told him to shut up because it was possible that a goon might be after us. It was still raining when we went outside.
I always tell this story whenever they ask me about militarization. I was only then only 18 but I felt the significance of risking one’s life to fight for freedom and justice.
The newspapers reported that four were dead.