Today, the 23rd of September, it would be 38 years since Marcos declared Martial Law, plunging our country into its darkest years in recent memory, but also laying the foundations for its moment of glory.
Many of us weren’t even born yet.
We asked one of the staunchest advocates against Martial Law, the songstress Leah Navarro, to write about her memory of that fateful day:
Seriously, it was scary. When I woke up that morning to get ready for school (4am), it was troubling that my little transistor (yeah, transistor) radio couldn’t get any stations and there was nothing on TV. Something was up.
My sister and I used to wait for the school bus to pick us up outside Crame. We’d get there very early, at 5am usually, so it was a little before dawn. Our alarm grew as we watched a lot of Metrocom vehicles deploy from the camp. Later that morning at school, the nuns told us that martial law had been declared. Those of us who understood cried as we sang the national anthem, the STC faculty insisted that the flag be raised only to half staff. That night, I think, was when they broadcast Marcos’ announcement. Check it out on YouTube. It’s scarier on video than the photo.
My Mom lost her job because they closed down MBC, Channel 11. We had to live with the 12-4am curfew and the travel ban (that’s how the Inter-Village Basketball tournament started, rich kids couldn’t travel abroad for summer vacation), controlled media, controlled everything. The Filipino people, in general, soon developed a sort of Stockholm syndrome and quietly acquiesced.
Later on, when I began singing, I got to see how the powerful lived when I met the Marcos kids. But that’s another story.
Where were you when Martial Law was declared? What is your strongest memory from the days of Martial Law?