LOCAL labor group General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa) has remembered the martial law declaration on September 21, 1972, as "the day that freedom died," its official said.
Wennie Sancho, secretary-general of Gawa, said it was the day when "the light of liberty in this bastion of democracy was extinguished with a scary tone of an advanced barker of a conquering army."
Sancho said it was a time when a nation experienced undeserved suffering, injustice and pain, when the people were deprived of their freedom and democracy was taken away.
"We could still recall with shuddering horror, the cruelest onslaught when some labor and political activists were dragged forth without warning in the dead of the night and murdered in cold blood," he added.
For the labor group, martial law was a time when a decaying nation was ruled with dreadful tyranny imposed upon the oppressed people, and that one of the surest ways to prevent them from escaping their bondage was to render them incapable of freedom.
It said the tyrants of martial law had imposed the spirit of intolerance under the tremendous pressure of human fear to perpetuate the continued persecution of dissenters to control the conscience of the people.
"Let us always remember that freedom is never granted, it is gained by the people in a struggle," it said, adding that "in this difficult and trying times, we must restore the hope where there are so much uncertainty and hopelessness."
Sancho said martial law will repeat itself if people are too apathetic to assert and defend democratic rights.
There are no tyrants when there are no slaves, he said.
"As long as we do not have sufficient courage to proclaim our right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness by upholding freedom of the press and expression and to guarantee it with our blood and sacrifices, we are under martial law," he said.
"For as long as we keep silent and even join the oppressor in mocking the oppressed and praising with forced smiles the most despicable acts, we are under martial law," the labor leader added.