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Forget not lessons from martial law — bishops

“We have to learn from martial law and live its lessons, and should never let it happen again"

Church leaders in the Philippines urged people not to forget the lessons of martial law and never let its “horrors” happen again.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga made this call as the nation marked the 48th anniversary of the military rule by late strongman Ferdinand Marcos on Sept. 21.

“We have to learn from martial law and live its lessons, and should never let it happen again,” Bishop Santos said. “We have to value, defend and promote our freedom.”

Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the Manila archdiocese echoed Santos’ call, saying that many Filipinos have not learned their lessons from martial law.

“I think we have not learned our lessons. People are not vigilant and are not courageous enough to speak out,” Bishop Pabillo said. “They allow themselves to be bullied.”

Retired Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon recalled that as priest and head of social action in the Surigao diocese, he was among those who suffered the “horrors” of martial law.

“I personally experienced harassment and danger during this period… However, many Filipinos seem to have a short memory of the horrors of Martial Law,” he said.

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Bishop Santos also lamented that there are politicians who opt to replicate the atrocities that happened during the dark times of the dictatorship.

“There are political leaders, who are self-serving, using their position to enrich, and to prolong their power,” said Bishop Santos.

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