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CHICAGO (JGL) – A daughter of Mindanao was nine years old when martial law was declared by President Marcos 46 years ago but she still

could not shake off the “horrendous sight with children's bodies dismembered, and their internal organs scattered on the ground. The ground was flooded with blood.”


JERRY B. CLARITO (extreme left), co-convenor of Filipino American Human Rights Alliance, is joined by members and supporters of FAHRA that include from left Ray Villar, Ven Capili, Mrs. Villar, and Sally Richmond during the 46th anniversary commemoration of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines in front of the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, Illinois. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)

Now a 55-year-old lay church worker, who was able to take her daughters and son in the United States, Nerissa N. Allegretti, described before stunned human rights activists in front of the Philippine Consulate on 122 S. Michigan, Chicago, Illinois on Friday (Sept. 21), commemorating the 46th anniversary of the declaration by Marcos of martial law all over the Philippines, how “One late afternoon (after martial law declaration when) a drunken military officer threw a hand grenade on children playing patintero on the street. It was a horrendous sight with children's bodies dismembered, and their internal organs scattered on the ground. The ground was flooded with blood.” (Please watch videoclip below.)

(Patintero (in this reporter's home province of Sorsogon in the Philippines) is also called “Tubig-tubigan” (pouring water) when I was in primary school age, popular among kids, who lived by a national road (from Aparri, Cagayan to Mindanao later renamed Marcos' Maharlika highway), who had no space for a playground to play around. But patintero was usually played at night when very few buses and cars were passing by. A small amount of water is used to mark the lines of scrimmage.)



HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES pose for the record of the Philippine flags and their placards at the start of the program of the 46th anniversary commemoration of the declaration of martial law by President Marcos in the Philippines in front of the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, Illinois last Friday, Sept. 21. Among those in photo from left are Yoko, Sally Richmond of FAHRA, Joy Sales of Gabriela, Angela “Ging” Mascarenas of CIRCA-Pintig, Maia Arcilla of Anak-Bayan-Chicago, Edmund Buni of Kabataan Alliance and Ven Capili (extreme right, standing) of FAHRA. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)

When asked if the erring soldier was ever court-martialed, Ms. Allegretti said, “Who knows! I'm just a child at that time. Everyone is afraid.”

Under the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice that is also observed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, “911. Article 111. DRUKEN OR RECKLESS DRIVING,” is one of the articles of war that imposes punitive punishments when violated by a soldier under martial law. It says, “Any person subject to this chapter who operates any vehicle while drunk, or in a reckless or wanton manner, or while impaired by a substance described in section 912a(b) of this title (article 112a(b)), shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”


VICTIMS OF HUMAN rights victims during martial law in the Philippines 46 years ago dramatize their deaths, struggles and sufferings by lying on the sidewalk in front of the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, Illinois Friday, Sept. 21, during the presentation by CIRCA-Pintig Chicago led by Ging Mascarenas. At left, acting as a priest, is Rey Belen, while at right is Levi S. Aliposa, a shocked relative of a human rights victim. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)




Ms. Allegretti, a native of Lanao del Norte in Central Mindanao, the southernmost island in the Philippines, told fellow Filipino and non-Filipino human rights workers that “in this 46th anniversary of martial law declaration under the Marcos dictatorship that claimed the lives of 3,240; 34,000 people who were tortured, and over 70,000 imprisoned, we see history repeat itself once again.

When Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao over a year and a half ago, it (the situation) even worsened under the Duterte presidency. We see 400,000 people evacuated from their ancestral domain; 3,500 people were killed in the Marawi crises; 24,000 have been killed in the war on drugs and 1,100 have been illegally arrested and detained. So, we gather here today in front of the Philippine Consulate to voice our condemnation against tyranny.”



EDMUND BUNI (pronounced bone-yee) (left) of Kabataan Alliance hands a flyer to a Filipino American Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) driver, who honked in approval and stopped by the commemoration of the 46 anniversary celebration in front of the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, Illinois on Friday, Sept. 21, by human rights activists, demanding from the U.S. Congress to defund the millions of U.S. military aid to the Philippines on U.S. War on Terror that is being diverted to Duterte's War on Drugs. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)

Ms. Allegretti said she was in Grade 3 and had “just started to read and write” when she experienced the first night of martial law. It was the most horrifying experience a child could ever have. The sirens were as loud as the ones you see and hear in movies of World War II, calling for people to cover for shelter from enemy bombings.

Only in this case, it is curfew. Anyone found on the street were 'shot to kill.' The sounds of gunfires were never ending.



FORMER PRESIDENT Ferdinand E. Marcos appears to be a tag team with current President Duterte in this caricature displayed by human rights activists commemorating the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law on Friday (Sept. 21) in front of the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, Illinois. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)

The morning after was a nightmare. Dead bodies were scattered on the streets of what is now the Maharlika Highway, the highway that connects most of the provinces of Mindanao.

The military came to my parents' house, asking for the college students who were renting rooms in our house.

Of course, many of them had fled even before martial law was declared.

I grew up watching this terrible tragedy. Dead bodies on the street and those floating on the river was a common sight.




Each one who questions Marcos and/or the Military Rule would disappear, (be) abducted, tortured, jailed.”



YOU WON'T MISS Presidents Marcos and Duterte at the 46th anniversary celebration of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines on Friday (Sept. 21) in front of the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, Illinois. Behind the Marcos' mask is Gil Valenzuela while behind the Duterte's mask is Ven Capili. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)

The lobbing of a hand grenade by a military officer, she said, was “one experience I cannot forget (which) was the abuses of military against children.”

She said because of the harshness of martial law life, children of her generation “were forced to mature and became political.

I understood back then that we have to fight back.

I became an unwavering student activist who fought against Marcos, until he was ousted by people's uprising in 1986.

We will never forget.

But what happened after Marcos?

As a church lay worker, advocating for justice and peace, I witnessed and documented the continuing abuses on human rights of the poor and the marginalized in the Philippines.



THIS PLACARD is a stinging reminder to the government of President Duterte not to silence the voice of human rights activists in the Philippines, protesting the Mr. Duterte's campaign to discredit those opposing his War on Drugs that had claimed the lives of more than 20,000 people under Mr. Duterte's two years' presidency. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)




The period of succeeding presidents after Marcos – Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Benigno Aquino III, all have blood in their hands as far as human rights is concerned.

But it is this current president, the U.S.-backed Rodrigo Duterte, who is now running the country like a psychopath.

And only the children are victims, from Lumads (indigenous people) and Moro (Muslim) children in Mindanao to children like Kian Loyd de los Santos, one of the many faces of (the victims of) Duterte’s War on Drugs, or War on the Poor, that are taking the lives of over 20,000 people within the two years of Duterte’s presidency.


THIS TODDLER APPEARS to be a quick study as he wants to wrest the microphone from his Dad and do himself the talking after listening to a dozen speakers during the 46th anniversary commemoration of martial law last Friday, Sept. 21, in front of the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, Illinois. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)

We must never forget.

It is our duty to fight.

When children’s rights are under attack, what do we do?

Listener responded, “Stand up and fight!

When human rights are under attack, what do we do?

Listeners chorused, “Stand up and fight!

Maayon gabi-e (Good evening in Cebuano)

Padayon/isulong nato an aton pakigbisog sa kadaugan.” (Onward with struggle until victory.)



RAY VILLAR (extreme left) and Joseph G. Lariosa are joined by Sally Richmond of the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance in this photo op during the 46
th anniversary commemoration of the declaration of President Marcos of martial law in the Philippines on Friday, Sept. 21, in front of the Philippine Consulate at 122 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois. (JGL Photo)



A hat was passed around for donation for recent victims of typhoon (Ompong) victims in the Philippines.

The group also chanted repeatedly: “The People United Will Never Be Defeated!,” "¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido! Ang tao ang bayan ngayon ay lumalaban!” (The people are now fighting back!).

Never again to martial law!”

No to dictatorship and tyranny. Stop the killings and U.S. military aid!”

No justice, No peace!”

Yes to soliditarity! Yes to justice!”

Makibaka (dare to struggle)! Huwag matakot (don't be afraid)!”




A HUMAN RIGHTS groups supporter kneels in front of the candles and a black coffin, representing a portion of the thousands of those killed during martial law 46 years go, to honor them as a sign of respect that never again would the same mass killing will happen in the Philippines. The candlelight vigil was the highlight of the 46th anniversary commemoration of repression and abuses by the military and other people in power installed by Ferdinand Marcos during martial law. Marcos was toppled from power by the Filipino people in 1986. Marcos has always been supported by the U.S. which wanted to keep the U.S. military bases in that country. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)


CIRCA-Pintig, a Chicago-based cultural group under Angela “Ging” Mascarenas, also dramatized the extra-judicial killings of human rights victims under the Marcos Martial Law and Duterte's War on Drugs. (Please watch the video clip below).

There was also a reinvention of the lyrics of Earth Wind & Fire, “September” by student historian Joy Sales of Gabriela and interpreted into a dance number by her friend, Diana Balitaan (Please watch video clip)

Twenty-year old student Mike Cabrera, a native of Texas whose mother is from Iligan City and whose father is from Manila in the Philippines, delivered a poem, “Severance.” He was invited to the event by his friends from Anak-Bayan Chicago. 



THE VARIOUS GROUPS OF human rights activists led by co-emcee, Maia Arcilla (seated, extreme left with raised left fist) had a souvenir photo at the conclusion of the 46th anniversary celebration of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines in front of the Philippine Consulate on 122 South Michigan Ave. in downtown Chicago, Illinois. (JGL Photo by CAROLINE LOLSEN)


Here's an excerpt of Cabrera's poem: "Severance"

I was born in Texas.



free, or

legal, or

citizen, or

white on the inside, or

fake Asian, or



product of




home is a phone call away.

home is skype call away.

home is a facetime away.

home is

where your Wi-fi connection

doesnʼt dictate how well you can hear your mother

ask you how your day was

how was your day,




from home,

from mother


Chris Aldana of Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc. (Unipro) also delivered her poem.

The organizers and attendants of the event universally demanded from the U.S. Congress to halt its millions of dollars of military aid to the Philippines in its US War on Terror in the Philippines that are being diverted to Duterte's War on Drugs.

They were the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance (FAHRA) of Illinois headed by Jerry B. Clarito, Anak-Bayan (children of the people) Chicago chaired by emcee Maia Arcilla, CIRCA-Pintig (a cultural group), Malaya for Freedom and Democracy for the Philippines Against Dictatorship and Tyranny, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, Filipino Fellowship of Filipino Migrante, Kabataan Alliance, Migrante Chicago, Chicago Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Chicago Puerto Rico Resistance, Chicago Solidarity Center, Gabriela, and Filipino American Don Villar, Secretary-Treasurer of Chicago Federation of Labor. (Contact reporter: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


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