Never Again to Martial Law

September 21, 2007

Never Again to Martial Law: Justice for Joma Committee - Canada marks 35th Anniversary of Philippine Martial Law

Thirty five years ago today, on September 21, 1972, the US-backed dictatorship of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines. In remembrance of this grim period in Filipino history, when political parties, unions, and organizations opposing Marcos were made illegal, the newly formed Justice for Joma Committee - Canada joins with the Philippine people and concerned citizens around the globe in raising the call: Never again to martial law!

Three and a half decades later the US-backed Macapagal-Arroyo regime in the Philippines has implemented a series of grossly anti-democratic policies in the name of the "War on Terror" that are a form of martial law in fact, if not in name. We can point to the almost 900 political, social and union activists who have been gunned down and murdered in total impunity since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power in 2001 as well as the poverty and insecurity that is a daily fact of life for most of the 85 million Filipinos.

Malcolm Guy of the Justice for Joma Committee - Canada said, "Earlier this year, the current Philippine administration was convicted of 'crimes against humanity' by the Permanent People's Tribunal held in The Hague, Netherlands. Today, the Dutch government, in collusion with Manila, is attempting to re-arrest Prof. Jose Maria Sison, or Joma as he is popularly known, a long-standing activist, writer and political refugee and one of the strongest critics of the Macapagal-Arroyo regime. Prof. Sison was recently arrested in the Netherlands on false murder charges but then released following a series of protests in Canada and around the globe as well as a total lack of proof."

On this anniversary of martial law in the Philippines we salute all those Filipinos, like Prof. Sison, who continue to fight for true democracy and peace with justice in the Philippines, who continue to struggle for a government representing the interests of the overwhelming majority of the Philippine people, who continue to stand up for a country freed of foreign multinationals and foreign troops where Filipinos will no longer be forced to migrate in their millions to find a decent job, good education and security.

On September 26, 2007, the Justice for Joma Committee - Canada will hold actions to protest an attempt by Dutch prosecutors to try to return Prof. Jose Maria Sison to prison by appealing his release.

We agree fully with Dr. Carol Pagaduan Araullo, chair of the progressive Philippine organization, Bayan, who writes: "(W)hen we say Never again! we mean not only 'Never again to fascist dictatorship, killings, massacres, torture and all these gross human rights violations'. We should also mean NEVER AGAIN to plunder, crony capitalism, kleptocracy, unbridled ambition, abuse of power and puppetry to foreign interests."

That’s why we say:

Stop the killings in the Philippines !

Never again to Martial Law !

Justice for Prof. Jose Maria Sison !

Justice for Joma Committee - Canada

Centre for Philippine Concerns - Montreal, Centre for Philippine Concerns - Winnipeg, Damayan - Filipino Workers Resource Centre (Toronto), Filipino Workers Support Committee - Toronto, Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines - Ottawa, Philippine Migrant Society of Canada - Ottawa, Philippine Network for Justice and Peace - Toronto, PINAY - Filipino Women of Quebec, SIKLAB – Toronto, UFiND (United Filipinos for Nationalism and Democracy) - Toronto, Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada - Toronto

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