By KIMBERLY BINALINGBING
MANILA – The 51st Martial Law commemoration protest in Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila on Thursday was a deeply moving experience that went beyond my duties as an intern at Bulatlat.
Initially, I approached the event with the intention of maintaining a journalistic distance and fulfilling my work responsibilities. However, as the program unfolded, I became increasingly interested in the event.
The commemoration brought together members of progressive organizations who were united in their protest against President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his father’s regime.
Their messages were clear: justice for those who suffered under the Marcos Sr. administration, condemnation of any efforts to whitewash Marcos Sr.’s dictatorship, and a commitment to serving the people’s interests.
The atmosphere during the commemoration was a mix of excitement and unease. As the program neared its conclusion, the participants, including myself, marched from Liwasang Bonifacio to Mendiola, where our presence filled the streets.
Prior to the march, we were briefed on safety measures including maintaining formation and respecting designated positions in the line—practices I had not known of before. To my surprise, participants diligently followed and took these measures seriously throughout the march.
As I observed the events unfolding around me, I became deeply engrossed in the experience, absorbing every detail and gaining a profound appreciation of the situation.
Despite being overly cautious of the watchful eyes and occasional hostility from the audience, I marched on. I knew that the people beside me were looking out for me and for everyone’s safety.
The discomfort of standing with sore feet and the hoarseness from chanting loudly paled in comparison to the greater cause we were all fighting for: safeguarding democracy and human rights.
This immersive introduction to the world of activism has left an indelible mark on my journalistic perspective. It underscored the potential for journalists to become active advocates for change.
While the path ahead may be challenging, my experience at the martial law commemoration reminded me that the pursuit of justice and the preservation of democracy are causes worth not just reporting on, but wholeheartedly supporting. (JJE, RVO)