Press Release
September 20, 2019

Statement of Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan on 47th anniversary of martial law

If there are baby boomers and millennials, I am a martial-law baby. From two to 23 years old, I knew of no president but Marcos.

When I learned to walk, read, and write, Marcos was president. When I learned to like volleyball, the swing, and girls, Marcos was dictator. Fortunately, when I became "woke" to his regime's robbery of our nation's coffers, to wounding our fellow human beings, to thrash our country, Marcos was being ousted.

If "panahon ng Hapon" was the defining moment for our parents, for my generation it was martial law. To millennials, what would it be?

The victories martial-law babies won are gradually being frittered away. Our farmers and fishermen are being impoverished, and food prices are still high despite our plentiful harvest and our rich fishing grounds. Preventable diseases -- measles, dengue, and polio -- are making a comeback. Crimes still plague the streets, including the massacre of our poor countrymen inside their own homes. The climate crisis will aggravate the over 20 typhoons a year that pound our country.

So on this 47th year of martial law, this is the challenge of martial-law babies like me for millennials. It was written by another martial-law baby, Abraham "Ditto" Sarmiento, who was arrested for his critical editorial in the Philippine Collegian. His imprisonment at Fort Bonifacio and Camp Crame aggravated his asthmatic condition and caused his death. He said: "Who will speak up if we don't? Who will act if we don't? If not now, when?"

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