AFP on martial law: we all must learn from mistakes of the past

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President Benigno S. Aquino III views the re-enactment of the historic “Salubungan” of former President Fidel Ramos-led Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) contingents and the civilian components with former Senator Butch Aquino converge in front of the People Power Monument during the commemorative activities of the 27th Anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution in White Plains Avenue corner Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) on Monday (February 25). It re-enacts the stopping of the tanks and the convergence of the military and civilian contingents. This year’s theme is “Pilipinas Natin, Abot Tanaw Na!”. The 1986 peaceful and bloodless uprising ousted the dictatorship and catapulted the late Corazon C. Aquino to the Presidency. In photo are Executive Secretary and EDSA People Power Commission chairperson Paquito Ochoa, Jr. and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Feb 25 (Mabuhay) — The military has welcomed the signing into law by President Benigno Aquino III of the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, which officially acknowledged that martial law, officially in place from 1972 to 1981, had wronged almost 10,000 victims of the Marcos regime, and vowed no repeat of martial law in the country.

The bill was signed into law at the 27th anniversary Monday of the EDSA People Power Revolt that ousted President Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled for nearly two decades.

“Our country has a very rich history and we should all learn from the mistakes of the past in order to prevent the negative part of our history from repeating itself,” AFP spokesman and Public Affairs chief Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. said.

“>“Beyond the monetary compensation, the law will also remind our people of the important lessons of our past by educating them of the stories of heroism and suffering during the martial law era,” Burgos added.

For our part, we will continue to be a source of national pride by promoting the protection of Human Rights and adherence to the International Humanitarian Law in all our undertakings, and by performing our constitutional mandate to protect the people and the state and uphold sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country.”

In 2011, a United States court approved the distribution of $10 million of sequestered Marcos money through the victims’ American lawyer Robert Swift and Filipino counterpart Rodrigo Domingo Jr. Each of the victims received $1,000.

The victims are also after the $2-billion Marcos money which the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) has been contesting as public funds, and therefore money belonging to the republic.

PCGG Chairman Andres Bautista said that “when it comes to ill-gotten assets, however, these are plundered funds that should go back to the country, to the Filipino people. The Commission is duty-bound to assert the Republic’s ownership over ill-gotten wealth, just like the funds in New York and in Singapore which we want to recover for the country and which they are also going after,” he said. (MNS)

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