Insights

I Am A Martial Law Baby

By Apple Jolo

Palagi kong naaalala ang kwento ni Mommy.

The day after Martial Law was declared, she was somewhere in Recto. Everything was quiet. Then the ground started shaking along with the loud sound of tanks moving towards Malacaรฑang. It was scary, she said. But it also gave a certain feeling of safety with the presence of the military. She was a Chemical Engineering student in National University at the time. Her daily commute gave her the chance to witness the first events that happened near the seat of power in Manila.

According to her, life was dangerous before Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law. Students had guns tucked in their trousers, little red books were passed out to teach communism to young minds. She knew of this detail because mommy was an A student. She was nominated to run for President in the student government but was forced to withdraw because her name was included in the black list after she mistook a secret assembly of the KM for a simple meeting of candidates. Of course she didn’t have any interest in any act of subversion so she was eventually cleared. The rest of the students who joined and embraced rebellion met up somewhere in the corner of Echague Street, she said. Nagusap-usap na magkita at tuluyan nang mamundok. She never heard from them again.

I believe she said that a few weeks after September 21, the government placed huge boxes in Quiapo. The instruction was simple: Surrender all firearms and walk away clean. Napuno daw yung mga boxes. Dadaan ang mga kalalakihan, ibabagsak lang ang baril sa loob, tapos lakad papalayo. No questions asked. That was how she described the transition. What happened after was a life that was more peaceful and safe. She kept saying na kahit maglakad ka pa sa gabi, walang mangre-rape sayo. People were scared to mess up but it was the fear that taught them discipline. There was order and peace. Sa panahon na yan malapit na pumasok ang love story ng mga magulang ko. The rest is history.

Napaka-exciting. I even envy how they were made to suck it up and be better Filipinos at the time. No whining, just straight thinking. Live your lives, finish your studies, let the government protect you from everything else.

A salute to former President Ferdinand E. Marcos. I am a Martial Law baby. I grew up safe.

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