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Papal Visit protest at Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila (1981)

AP Archive

2015

Papal Visit protest at Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila (1981)

AP Archive

On 17 January 1981, via Proclamation No. 2045, President Ferdinand Marcos officially lifted martial law. This was widely seen as an effort to create a positive image for his administration in time for the papal visit in the following month, and to placate growing opposition within the Catholic church.

Four days before the Pope’s arrival, the People’s Assembly for the Pope’s Arrival (Papa), an alliance of 32 anti-Marcos groups, gathered at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila to decry American imperialism and the dictatorial rule of Ferdinand Marcos. In this clip we see seminarians at the frontlines carrying a large wooden cross, which police forces pushed back and eventually destroyed in their attempts to halt the procession.

In his first homily during his six-day stay, the Pope, without mentioning Marcos’ name, condemned the use of violence to maintain peace and order. The New York Times reports: “‘Even in exceptional situations that may at times arise, one can never justify any violation of the fundamental dignity of the human person or of the basic rights that safeguard this dignity,’ the Pope declared as Mr. Marcos sat stolidly on one of the thronelike gilt chairs on the stage. ‘Legitimate concern for the security of a nation, as demanded by the common good, could lead to the temptation of subjugating to the state the human being and his or her dignity and rights.’”

However, in a separate discussion with religious orders at the Manila Cathedral, Pope John Paul II also cautioned against social involvement: “You are priests and religious. You are not social or political leaders or officials of a temporal power. Let us not be under the illusion that we are serving the gospel if we dilute our charisma through an exaggerated interest in the wide field of temporal problems.”

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AP Archive, “Demonstration Against the Repressive Policies of President Ferdinand Marcos,” YouTube video, 1:46, July 28, 2015,

Martial Law in the Philippines: The Methods of Regime Survival

David Wurfel

1977

Martial Law in the Philippines: The Methods of Regime Survival

David Wurfel

This article by political scientist David Wurfel focuses on questions of legitimacy and acquiescence that led to the rise and fall of Marcos and his regime. It looks at the different dealings of Marcos with various sectors including the elite, the Catholic Church, the military, the peasantry, urban poor, among others. It also examines the role of the US in legitimizing martial law.

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Wurfel, David. “Martial Law in the Philippines: The Methods of Regime Survival.” Pacific Affairs 50, no. 1 (1977): 5–30.

Marcos Against the Church: Economic Development and Political Repression in the Philippines

Robert L. Youngblood

1990

Marcos Against the Church: Economic Development and Political Repression in the Philippines

Robert L. Youngblood

The book presents an overview of state repression of the religious opposition to Marcos. It provides helpful information of the work undertaken by religious activists as well as the breadth of political detention during the Marcos period.

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Youngblood, Robert L. Marcos Against the Church: Economic Development and Political Repression in the Philippines. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990.

Fact-Finding Mission Report to Cagayan Valley and Kalinga-Apayao, November 4-9 1985

Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP)

1985

Fact-Finding Mission Report to Cagayan Valley and Kalinga-Apayao, November 4-9 1985

Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP)

Military Operations in the Mountainous Northern areas of Kalinga-Apayao and Cagayan intensified since 1982, with the Marag valley inhabited by the Isneg tribe declared a “No-man’s land” operation zone on March 1985. Several Human Rights Groups from Manila, Cagayan and Baguio would conduct a fact-finding mission to verify the aerial attacks and alleged military atrocities being reported by the Isneg People. Their report includes a situationer of the region and its people, a recording of bombing and strafing incidents across 8 months, and a list of “salvaging” incidents that took place over the same period. A copy of this report was archived by the Medical Action Group, and later Digitized with the help of the Rizal Library.

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Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP), “Fact-Finding Mission Report: Cagayan Valley and Kalinga-Apayao.” November 4-9, 1985.

Awakening of Milbuk

Arthur Amaral

2015

Awakening of Milbuk

Arthur Amaral

Arthur Amaral was a Passionist Priest deployed to Baranggay Milbuk, a logging community near Barangay Malisbong along the coast of the Celebes Sea in Mindanao. The book shares an account of the violence that encroached into the area with the escalation of conflict between the Philippine Government and the Moro National Liberation Front. Amaral, using alternate names in his recounting of events, accounts for the ambush of logging employees in 1974, among them indigenous Manobo Peoples working for the American Weyerhaeuser Corporation. He then narrates the arrival of Philippine Military forces in their defense, and signs of retaliations made against the Muslim population that would manifest as the Malisbong Massacre. He also shares his attempts at documenting and raising awareness on the same matter – conducting an inquiry among Muslim civilians in nearby evacuation centers and contacting the Associated Press.

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Amaral, Arthur. 2015. “Awakening of Milbuk.” Bloomington: AuthorHouse.