In this clip, we see a mass demonstration held on October 11, 1976, starting at the De La Salle University campus in Manila and marching towards Plaza Miranda in Quiapo. It was staged to protest the national referendum-plebiscite slated on October 16. According to a Daily Express report, “it was the first public meeting held by more than 5,000 students, workers, and religious leaders at the historic Plaza Miranda since martial law was declared four years ago, according to the police. The gathering was also the first congregation since Comelec allowed liberal ventilation and criticism on the referendum.”

Protesters are seen singing “Bayan Ko” while holding banners and placards that say “Down with Martial Law, Fight for Democracy,” “Bokyotin ang (Boycott the) Referendum,” and “Marcos Hitler Diktador Tuta (Dictator, Lapdog),” among others. The rally is blocked by policemen and barangay officials. A police officer addresses protesters via megaphone, saying that only debates are allowed, and the permit “does not include the marching or holding demonstrations along the streets of the city.” The clip ends with the state forces violently dispersing protesters that evening, their truncheons indiscriminately wielded against men and women, young and old.

At the time, every year since the declaration of martial law in 1972, a referendum has been held by the government to affirm the leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos, with the results always overwhelmingly positive. In 1976, the two referendum questions were:

“1. Do you want martial law to be continued?
2. Whether or not you want martial law to be continued, do you approve of the following amendments to the Constitution? For the purpose of the second question, the referendum shall have the effect of a plebiscite within the contemplation of Section 2 of Article XVI of the Constitution.”

According to the text of PD 1033, the proposed amendments include the creation of an interim Batasang Pambansa in lieu of Congress, that the President shall be Prime Minister, that “he shall continue to exercise all his powers even after the interim Batasang Pambansa is organized and ready to discharge its functions” and until the lifting of martial law.

The proposed amendments give extraordinary powers to the President, as seen in the following:

“6. Whenever in the judgment of the President (Prime Minister), there exists a grave emergency or a threat or imminence thereof, or whenever the interim Batasang Pambansa of the regular National Assembly fails or is unable to act adequately on any matter for any reason that in his judgment requires immediate action, he may, in order to meet the exigency, issue the necessary decrees, orders or letters of instructions, which shall form part of the law of the land.
7. The barangays and sanggunians shall continue as presently constituted but their functions, powers, and composition may be altered by law.”