Pangilinan: Youth’s Voice Must Never Be Silenced

March 20, 2016

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MANILA – In response to the threatened arrest of six young anti-Marcos protesters, former student activist turned Senator Kiko Pangilinan on Sunday reiterated that the voices of the youth must never be silenced, akin to what happened during martial rule.

“2016 is unlike the dark times of 30 years ago when having an opinion could cost you your life- what more if your opinion validates the truth. Never again should power or age be used to clobber those without, and those who are younger,” Pangilinan said.

A viral post on Facebook recounted the experiences of current UP Cebu Student Council Chairperson Justine Balane as him and five other students attempted to stage a protest rally against Vice Presidental bet Bong Bong Marcos in Cebu City Plaza Sugbo, outside the City Hall. Police and the security team threatened arrest, but the young men and women stood their ground.

“We knew it was our right,” Balane said in a Facebook post. “I’m out on the streets not because I have a different opinion. I’m out on the streets because I’m actually scared.”

TRUTH BEHIND MARTIAL RULE MUST LIVE ON

Pangilinan was a councilor of the UP Diliman Student Council during martial rule where he and fellow UP students regularly stage movements against the dictator.

“There were days when we could not go home because there was information from those within the military organization who were sympathetic to the cause of student activism that we would be arrested. You fear for your life and for your family just because you are fighting for truth- for freedom. There was no Facebook yet, no internet. Information was strictly regulated and controlled. The truth being disseminated are the truths drawn by a tyrant government,” Pangilinan said.

“Did we already forget the lessons that we were taught 30 years ago? If we are to repress the next generation of their right to express their opinions, why are we even called a Democracy? Many ‘millenials’ are not aware of what happened before People Power. And yet we suppress those who are continuing the fight? The truth behind martial rule must continue to live on,” he said.

At present, Balane’s Facebook post has earned 431 reactions and more than 2,000 shares and has been converted into memes circulating within anti-Martial Law social network groups.