“Let us forgive but let us not forget the lessons of the past. We must not let anyone take away our hard-earned freedom and democracy,” according to a lawmaker.
In a privilege speech on Thursday, when the country marked the 44th anniversary of the declaration of martial law, Rep. Lito Atienza of Buhay party-list group, recalled that “[all Filipinos experienced suppression of their rights during military rule and we should learn from that chapter in our history and not let it happen again].”
“When then-President Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law, his declared reason for doing so was to quell the growing communist insurgency. This resulted in the curtailment of our freedom particularly the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus,” Atienza, also Senior Deputy Minority Speaker, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, he took issue with former President Fidel V. Ramos being granted emergency powers to address the energy crisis during his term (1992-1998).
“What did we get from that? Our electricity rates are now one of the highest in the world,” Atienza said.
“And now the government is asking Congress for emergency powers to address the traffic problem. While we acknowledge that we have a very serious traffic problem in Metro Manila, the government does not need emergency powers to address it,” he argued.
What is needed, according to Atienza, also a former mayor of Manila, is “enough political will to mobilize all agencies to work with local government units. “
This, he said, “can be done and results can be achieved without resorting to the use of emergency powers.”
“[Have we not learned from the past? One-man rule or emergency powers did not benefit the country]. Let us not commit the same mistake. Let us not waste the sacrifice made by so many Filipinos who fought to restore our freedom. Never again, never forget,” Atienza added.