Hon. Walden F. Bello, Akbayan Partylist Representative, served as the guest speaker during the 31st Anniversary Convocation Program of the Institute for Strategic Research and Development Studies (ISRDS) on September 21, 2012 at the ISRDS Training Room. Hon. Bello was a political activist during the Martial Law period and he coordinated the Anti-Martial Law coalition and established the Philippine Human Rights Lobby in Washington D.C.

 

When Martial Law was proclaimed, Hon. Bello was then pursuing his graduate studies in Princeton University, USA. Hon Bello expounded based on the theme, Forty Years after Martial Law: Unforgettable Lessons in Our Pursuit of "Matuwid na Daan." He vividly recalled the suffering of many Filipinos at that time based on the readings and news he received while he was in Chile working on his thesis on the socialist revolution of Pres. Salvador Allende.

The speaker also denounced the Marcos dictatorship that caused a lot of chaos, misery and turmoil among many Filipinos. Even now, it has made him uncomfortable even meeting with Congresswoman Imelda R. Marcos during sessions in the House of Representatives.

In a lighter mood, Hon. Bello expressed his opinion about one of the hottest issues faced by the Philippine government—the Reproductive Health Bill. He believes that the passage of the RH Bill is one of the answers to control the growing population of the country.

Mr. Emil B. Justimbaste, Executive Director of the Pagtinabangay Foundation, Inc., on the other hand, shared his personal experiences as a student activist during Martial Law. He was so emotional and teary-eyed while narrating his experiences of torture while imprisoned during Martial Law.

As Prof. Tess Tabada, ISRDS Director, said, the occasion served as a venue to recall the bitter experiences during the Martial Law era so that we may not forget and the younger generation will learn why we should always be vigilant.

Mr. Daniel M. Tudtud Jr., University/Board Secretary and then OIC of the University, commented that Martial Law caught everybody by surprise and there was a lot of struggles. However, he said that it is also important to remember Martial Law because it would also lead us fulfilling the government's thrust towards "Matuwid na Daan." He encouraged everybody to rally behind Pres. Benigno Aquino III in his quest towards the "Matuwid na Daan."

Other activities conducted in commemorating the 40th anniversary celebration included creative works of students about Martial Law, film showing, and a roundtable discussion on development issues.