REMEMBERING THE FIRST QUARTER STORM
51 years ago, various progressive groups led by students stormed the Old Legislative Building where the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos delivered his State of the Nation Address during the joint session of Senate and Congress.
About 50,000 joined the protest to forward their calls against the worsening economic crisis, massive corruption, and failed land reforms. As a response to their demands, they are pressuring the government to organize a constitutional convention.
As Marcos exited the door of Congress, the demonstrators were enraged and threw a crocodile paper mache, black cardboard coffin to the direction where Marcos was heading. Despite the chaos and sea of protesters, Fabian Ver, his driver, protected him until he got in his limousine.
After Marcos left the Congress, anti-riot police began to scourge the protesters and violently fired gunshots and truncheons, which led to a violent dispersal. About 400 people were injured because of the impetuous attacks by the state forces. Nevertheless, the students did not give in to the violence perpetrated, instead, they fought back by throwing stones and bottles, and continued the exchange between the anti-riot police.
This brutal response from the state and its forces paved the way for the Filipino people to unite and organize more massive demonstrations. They became more determined to strengthen the resistance to overthrow the fascist US-Marcos regime.
Today is no different from what happened 51 years ago. The demands of the Filipino people have not yet been answered under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. Backward and self-serving policies only pushed more Filipino people to live in even worse conditions.
Relieving the FQS is not only relevant but necessary to topple deranged the current administration. Duterte is, in fact, worse than Marcos. He has killed around 30,000 in his murderous drug war and even killed thousands more especially from the toiling masses in his counterinsurgency program called National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict.
The objective condition is already ripe for us to relieve and imbibe the most outstanding period of the Filipino people’s history of democratic mass resistance. Five decades have passed and every decade only exacerbated the already destructive state of the Filipino people. We must take to heart the lessons of the FQS and fight through and through the three basic problems of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism which has beset the Filipino people for decades.
The College Editors Guild of the Philippines and its member publications will always be reminded of our historic role during the days of disquiet. We will never forget those brave leaders who offered their lives to free our country from Marcos’s dictatorship. Never again shall our country be tied to a draconian rule.