San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza yesterday stressed the need to keep the memory of the abuses committed during the martial law years alive to prevent them from happening today.
Alminaza made the call yesterday as the nation marked the 30 th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution that led to the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos.
“We should not forget,” said Alminaza, who pointed out that many from Negros Occidental were victims of the human rights abuses during Marcos' 20-year rule, including 20 protestors who were massacred by government forces in Escalante City, which is part of the Diocese of San Carlos.
The bishop said he is continuing to pray for the victims of such senseless killings and abuses.
Journalist Edgar Cadagat, a victim of martial law and president of the Claims Assistance Processing Office/Mothers and Relatives Against Tyranny in the province, said more than 1,000 Negrenses who were victims of human rights abuses during the martial law years are still waiting for justice.
The martial law victims were jailed, tortured or killed, and until today many of them and their families are still waiting to be compensated from the Marcos' recovered wealth, he said.
Justice has long been delayed and many of the surviving victims are getting old, he said.
Negrense journalist Inday Espina-Varona asked how anyone could claim that life was better under the Marcos rule.
She said her mother, Dr. Lourdes Espina, was head of pediatrics at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City during the sugar crisis brought on by the monopolies given to Marcos cronies.
Her mother and other doctors worked very long hours as severely malnourished children from the haciendas were brought to the CLMMRH, she said.
Varona also recalled the numerous massacres that occurred in Negros during the Marcos reign.
“Do not talk to me about the good life under Marcos. Death was what he brought to tens of thousands, whether by bullets or the slow killing caused by unjust systems he created and/or propped up,” Varona said.*CPG
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