The martyrs and heroes we honor each year at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani are silent witnesses of a past generation that faced a dictatorship and contributed its best sons and daughters in the struggle to defeat such a regime.
We lost much to dictatorship; the families of these individuals suffering in a most personal way. But we took courage from their sacrifices and those of many more unnamed martyrs; we faced guns and firetrucks; we gave democracy a new breath of life. We said “Never Again” to abusive rule and to abusive rulers.
In 2022 we commemorate the 50th year of the start of the 14-year repressive and criminal regime of Ferdinand Marcos, his family and his cohorts. They caused thousands to be killed, tens of thousands to be imprisoned, hundreds of thousands to be displaced from hearth and home, and millions to be impoverished. The nation’s coffers were left empty and the people were left shouldering billions of pesos in debt. And yet, like a nightmare come to life, Marcos heirs are now trying to come back to power.
Meanwhile the deadly Covid-19 pandemic has tested our endurance for over a year and a half now. Threats to our lives and the survival of our community life and essential institutions have been exacerbated by our government’s inadequate response as well as government corruption and incompetence.
The national elections set for May next year gives us a chance to choose upright and competent leaders who would direct the way out of the pandemic, look after the citizens’ necessities and livelihoods, and respect people’s rights. The election outcome may determine whether our country rises from or falls deeper than the worst levels of repression and depression it has seen since Marcos.
Bantayog ng mga Bayani is one with the forces in our country seeking to defend our democratic gains. On behalf of the martyrs and heroes it honors, it commits to support the fight for our rights, for truth and justice, and for our national sovereignty. We reject unfaithful leaders and call on all not to allow tyranny to ever again prevail over our country.