(By DinggolAranetaDivinagracia – IlonggoNationMovement)
Prologue: “After Martial Law was declared on Sept. 21, 1972, about 48 years ago; so many of our “Kababayan” cowered in fear, and yes! most of them loudly shouted “Alleluia”, while many others sang to the tune of “Que sera, sera!”
But several young idealistic brave souls sacrificed their schooling, while others the rewarding exercise of their profession –left the comforts of their homes, armed themselves and went to the hills to fight the cruel and oppressive regime.” ~~~
A prelude to the declaration of Martial Law
During the decade of the 1960s, two (2) distinguished college Professors at the University of the Philippines (UP) -Diliman in Quezon City founded movements that would later change the course of Philippine history, namely: Jose Maria “JOMA” Sison and Nurullaji “Nur” Misuari.
The Kabataang Makabayan (KM)
On the 30th day of November in 1964, during the Andres Bonifacio Day, U.P. Professor Jose Maria Sison established the Kabataang Makabayan (KM), and as its founding Chairman, Sison emphasized the continuity of the Andres Bonifacio’s Philippine Revolution of 1896. He even invited the famed Nationalist Senator Lorenzo M. Tañada who gave the closing speech at the KM’s first-ever national congress and was then honored as their consultant and honorary member.
The initial members of KM were mostly from the Students’ Cultural Association of UP (SCAUP) at the University of the Philippines. Jose Maria Sison envisioned the youth group as revolutionaries who would later establish the Philippines as a country led by the working class instead of usual oligarchic politicians.
When Mr. Jose Maria “Joma” Sison would later re-established the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1968 as a consequence of great losses and the dismal failure of the old “Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas”; a scanty armed New People’s Army (NPA) under Bernabe Buscayno with Nome-de-Guerra “Kumander Dante” –was organized as its military wing. The Kabataang Makabayan or KM then became the NPA’s youth arm. It was also one of the groups that later on established the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Mr. Jose Maria Sison authored and published two (2) books; the Struggle for National Democracy and the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN). These books clearly explain the ills and maladies that confronts Filipino society, that it was brought about by the continuous stranglehold of the U.S. imperialism, domestic feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism; the root causes and the solutions to benefit all, the present and future generations. Consequently, the basic nationalistic tenor of these two (2) books, touched the patriotic fervor of so many idealistic students, and young professionals; the labor force, and peasants; the urban poor, and even young members of the Clergy. As a matter of fact, these two books heretofore were considered as the “Bible” in the education of cadres and mass activists in the course of the First Quarter Storm of the early 1970s.
The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)
Likewise, in March of 1968, the alleged massacre of at least 23 Jabidah trainees on Corregidor island for the covert Sabah Mission sparked the Muslim rebellion in the south and gave birth to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founded by another University of the Philippines (UP) –Professor Nurullaji “Nur” Misuari of Jolo, Sulu in Mindanao.
The Declaration of Martial Law
As the country was at the brink of total anarchy, and the Man in Malacañang had to contend with both the left and the right of the political spectrum; likewise, with the ongoing Muslim rebellion and secessionist movements in Mindanao –on September 21, 1972 Philippines President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos began the revolution from the center and declared martial law “Para sa Ikaunlad ng Bayan, Disiplina ang Kailangan” as he proudly announced –the birth of the “New Society”.
President Marcos’ firm decision and radical action, as contained in the Constitution was finalized only after his consultation –accordingly with the two other branches of government; the Judiciary and Legislative, including the business community, and even the political opposition.
Secretary of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile and AFP Vice Chief of Staff General Fidel Ramos was then both tasked as the Administrator and the Implementer of the martial law regime, respectively.
The pretty boys of “Johnny and Eddie”, and their Butchers in the military establishment with their “safe-houses” across the country.
Meanwhile, the dreaded butchers in the military intelligence group had their heydays in their safe-houses. They randomly arrest or abduct, and then torture, and oftentimes salvage or just let them disappear like magic –many suspected political detractors. This included members of the academe and other career professionals; members of the mass media, and young students; lowly peasants and the urban poor; and the labor activist groups who were all vocal against Malacañang.
This included some sectors in the military establishment led by the Philippine Military Academy or (PMA) young officers, who would later conscientiously turn around to advocate reforms in the AFP.
In the early 1980s, a group of prominent people decided that violence was the only solution against “abuses” of the Martial Law –established a group known as the “Light-A-Fire Movement”.
In Metro Manila, the core groups’ operatives of the Light-A-Fire Movement based in the Philippines, were prominent businessman Eduardo Olaguer, professor Gaston Ortigas of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and Madam Ester Jimenez, mother of Jim Paredes (of the Apo Hiking Society fame). In the US, its members were Filipino exiles and also Filipino-Americans, mostly unnamed but led mainly by Heherson Alvarez, Raul Daza, Bonifacio Gillego, and Charles Avila, along with a naturalized American citizen, a Greek native, Steven Psinakis (husband of Precy Lopez of the ABS-CBN Lopez clan).
The Light-A-Fire Movement perpetrated many horrible acts of bombings in Metro Manila in the early 1980s, and blamed it all on the government. On September 12, 1980, bombs went off in Makati Commercial District, one badly damaging the huge Rustan’s mall. The explosion at Rustan’s injured 70 people and killed an American tourist. On October 4, 1980, more blasts rocked the Philippine Plaza, Century Park Sheraton, and Manila Peninsula hotels, all in Metro Manila.
On October 19, 1980, Doris Nuval Baffrey, a Filipina married to an American, detonated a high explosive at the Phil. International Convention Center or (PICC) along Roxas Blvd. while then-President Ferdinand Marcos was addressing an international conference of the American Society of Travel Agents. Mrs. Doris Nuval Baffrey and fifteen (15) other people were all arrested in connection with the PICC bombing. They were all convicted and sentenced to die by electric chair in 1984. Fortunately for them, due to several postponements, they were later spared after the fall of the Marcos regime.
Unlike the Chinese national named Lim Seng, the once-upon-a-time “untouchable” big-time Drug Lord who was the first sent to kingdom come by Firing Squad during the earlier part of martial law.
Epilogue:“Later, the great Apo Lakay, the sturdy Boxer from Ilocandia became groggy –as he was besieged by the left hook of the Leftist; the right hook of the Rightest; the body punches by the Oligarchy; the jab by the Jobless; the lower cut by hordes of urban-poor dwellers; and the upper-cut of the Roman Catholic church hierarchy.
Finally, to his disappointment, his trusted Uncle Sam sided with his opponent, threw-in the “Towel” inside the arena, and then declared a “Technical Knock Out” or TKO! . . Tapos na! ang boxing, sabi dah! –dinggol.d~~~