Democracy is alive in the Philippines. Filipinos are free to express their opinions, free to elect their leaders and they enjoy a thriving free press. Everyone can own and run an honest business without any interference from the government. But 40 years ago, this was almost unthinkable.
Exactly four decades ago, there was no freedom. By declaring Proclamation 1081, then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos issued orders that infringed upon basic human rights and curtailed civil liberties. Democracy was dead. Marcos prohibited rallies and demonstrations, enforced a curfew and tightly controlled the freedom of the press. Even businesses and other private enterprises were not spared; cronies took over the most profitable companies. Anyone who criticized the regime ended up in prison without due process, or worse, simply disappeared. The declaration of martial law ushered in an era of unbridled corruption and unprecedented authoritarian rule, characterized by many as some of the darkest days in Philippine history.
Tomorrow night at 8:45, GMA News TV presents 1081, a special documentary commemorating the 40th anniversary of the declaration of martial law. Aside from re-introducing and educating the younger generation on life during the martial law years, the 60-minute documentary examines the lessons of history that every Filipino must take to heart.
1081 is hosted and presented by Peabody Award winner Kara David, who herself is a martial law baby. Kara was born at the height of martial law on Sept. 12, 1973. Shes hares that her mother, Karina Constantino-David, an activist at that time, was supposed to be arrested by the military but was ultimately not taken into custody because she was pregnant with Kara. When Karina gave birth to her, she named her Kara Patria, which means beloved country in Italian. In a way, Kara saved her mother.
But some were not as lucky to be spared from the infamy of martial rule. Listen to the accounts of eyewitnesses to history as they recall the days of martial law.