Forty-two years have passed since Ferdinand Marcos placed the entire country under martial law on September 23, 1972 (he signed Presidential Proclamation 1081 on September 21, implementing it only two days later). But some Filipinos still argue that things were better during the dictatorship, while others recall the way the regime ruined countless lives and inflicted on Philippine society its dark legacies of human rights violations, abuse of power, corruption and bad governance.
In the course of his visit to several European countries, President Benigno Aquino III rejected, during a forum in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, what he called “blanket statements”—and proceeded to make some blanket statements of his own.
Mr. Aquino was responding to the claims of protesters and some forum participants that human rights violations including extrajudicial killings have been continuing during his administration despite his 2010 campaign promise to put a stop to them, and that the government’s counter-insurgency program endangered people’s rights and lives.
President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is leaving for several European countries this Sunday, September 13, during which he’s expected to enhance those countries’ support for the Philippine position in its dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea. Having just submitted to Congress the draft of the long-awaited Bangsamoro Basic Law, Mr. Aquino is also likely to brag before the leaders of Spain, Germany, France, and Belgium how he has made peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
About the Middle East and Libya many Filipinos have one fear, and that’s the loss of their jobs as the region and that country fall apart, besieged by the violence of contending sectarian groups and the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).
That, together with paeans to their bravery, was the subtext in the expressions of concern over the Filipino peacekeepers’ repatriation last week from the Syrian Golan Heights, peacekeeping under UN auspices being, like other jobs in the Middle East, relatively high-paying at around P45,000 a month.