“Let’s remember the historical significance of the FQS and tightly hold on to its lesson that there is no other way to preserve our rights but to unite and fight against all forms of fascism and dictatorship.”
By RUTH LUMIBAO
COTABATO CITY – In commemorating the First Quarter Storm of the 1970s, the youth called for the lifting of Martial law and defense of human rights.
On January 19, Kabataan Partylist (KPL) and Liga ng Kabataang Moro (LKM) – Cotabato chapter held a press conference in commemoration of the First Quarter Storm (FQS) to call on the youth to stand in the frontlines of fighting against an “impending dictatorship.”
KPL Representative Sarah Elago likened the present political situation to the Marcos dictatorship in the 1970s.
Forty-eight years ago, a series of demonstrations and protests against Marcos’ anti-people economic policies and impending dictatorship, now known as the FQS, were conducted by progressive youth groups for three consecutive months.
“We must take inspiration from the youth of the 70s who did not hesitate to fight against the dictatorship of then President Marcos. Let’s remember the historical significance of the FQS and tightly hold on to its lesson that there is no other way to preserve our rights but to unite and fight against all forms of fascism and dictatorship,” she explained.
“FQS set the fire not only against the Marcos dictatorship but also against poverty and corruption. The issues and challenges we face today are no different from the issues they faced in the past, so we must keep the fire burning and dare to continue their struggle,” she added.
LKM Spokesperson Arnabie Murray also explained how the Moro people continue to fight for their right to self-determination up to this day. Despite advancing the interests of the Moro people, Murray slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for perpetrating violence and further suppressing their rights. Even before Martial Law was imposed in the entire Mindanao, the Moro people have been victims of numerous human rights violations – among these, being forced to evacuate from their communities because of intensified military operations in their provinces.
“President Duterte, despite his campaign promises, failed to uphold the human rights and interests of the Mindanao people. His campaign “Martial Law with a Heart” and the statements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that there were no human rights violations (HRVs) since the Martial Law (ML) was declared is adding insult to injury,” Murray added.
Gradually, the current so-called ‘fascist administration’ of the Duterte regime has been stripping off the people of their rights – from attacking press freedom to mercilessly killing and persecuting, even bordering on simply bullying dissenters.
“The militant answer of the youth during the FQS is a testament of the huge role of the youth in igniting nationalism in the hearts of the Filipinos. With our collective action, we know that whoever threatens human rights and democracy will inevitably fall,” Elago ended.