“Forty years ago, the Filipino people was stunned as it saw the establishment of a most brutal and rapacious rule when Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in the entire country on 21 September 1972. With the dictatorship exerting every effort to exercise a monopoly of political power, thousands of people were incarcerated, civil liberties were curtailed and the mass media was muzzled. And as resistance against it grew, the employment of State terror became the norm. Countless were killed or summarily executed, many were tortured or disappeared, villages were subjected to bombings and their inhabitants forced to evacuate. It was a dark period in the country’s history.

Marcos and his cronies undertook the unbridled plunder of the public coffers and mismanagement of the economy. Together with foreign interests, the country’s natural resources were exploited without letup. Foreign debt ballooned. It did not take long for the Philippines to become the sick man of Asia.

Because of political repression and censorship, events during martial law were hard to document. And with the passage of time, this part of our nation’s past run the risk of fading from our people’s collective memory.” (Statement of Claimants 1081 on the Occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law, 21 September 2012)