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Horrific Torture Under Martial Law: ML@50 Interview with The Filipino Edition

Anticlockwise from top: Atty. Neri Colmenares, Josie Hilao-Forcadilla, Christopher Sorio, and Elizabeth Dollaga

EDIT (September 29, 2022): The recording of Part I is now available here:

Part I interview with Neri Colmenares and Josie Forcadilla

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of Martial Law in the Philippines. In commemoration of ML@50, The Filipino Edition, in partnership with ICHRP Canada, will be airing radio interviews with Martial Law victims and survivors highlighting their experiences and reflections and what they did to not lost hope and overcome the mental and physical trauma.

The radio interviews will be aired in two parts:

  • Part I will be aired on Sunday, September 25, 2022 between 10:30-11:30 AM EDT / 7:30-8:30 AM PDT
  • Part II will be aired on Sunday, October 2, 2022 between 10:30-11:30 AM EDT / 7:30-8:30 AM PDT

Livestream: RED 89.1FM / 93.1FM Vancouver

The interviews feature the following individuals:

  • Atty. Neri Colmenares is a public interest lawyer and activist. He served the House of Representatives as a Bayan Muna partylist congressman for nine years, authoring several laws and the Social Security System pension increase bill. He was a recipient of The International Bar Association (IBA) in 2020 for his extensive contribution to human rights advocacy. At the age of 18, Atty. Colmenares was arrested, beaten and tortured by soldiers for 5 days. He then spent 4 years in jail as one of the youngest victims of Martial Law.
  • Josie Hilao-Forcadilla is the sister of Marie and Liliosa Hilao, all victims of martial law. On April 3rd 1973, Josie, her sisters, and two of Marie’s classmates were arrested in a raid conducted at their residence by the Constabulary Anti-Narcotics Unit. All four were tortured and Liliosa Hilao died on April 6, 1973, becoming the first victim under Martial Law detention. In 1974, Josie was arrested again and imprisoned with Marie, her brother Winfred, and their spouses. In 1975, Amnesty International interviewed the Hilao family and hundreds of other political prisoners, documenting various atrocities, human rights violations, extrajudicial killings as well as disappearances.

    In 1995, Josie, Marie (who was representing KARAPATAN) and other plaintiffs travelled to Hawaii for the start of a human rights class action suit against the estate of Ferdinand Marcos. where the US Federal District Court of Hawaii issued its judgment in favour of the victims.
  • Chris Sorio is the Secretary-General of Migrante Canada and former Chairperson of BAYAN Canada. He is based in Vancouver, BC and currently organizes with Migrante BC. In 1982, at the age of 21, he was arrested by soldiers in Manila, brought to a military camp, denied legal counsel and tortured. Like many other victims, he was kept in isolation and threatened with execution.
  • Beth Dollaga is the Vice Chairperson of ICHRP Canada and founding member of Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR) and Migrante BC. In 2012, she coordinated and participated in a United Church led fact-finding mission on the impact of Canadian mining companies in the Philippines. She was 14 at the time Martial Law was declared and reflects on her experiences of constant dread, anxiety and uncertainty that was pervasive during that era.

The Filipino Edition is a radio station based in Surrey, BC. In the Greater Vancouver area, some parts of Vancouver Island, and the Blaine/Bellingham area in Washington, the interviews will be aired on radio CKYE RED FM 93.1 and FM 89.1 during the times shown above. Anywhere else in the world, the interviews can be livestreamed on RED 89.1FM / 93.1FM Vancouver. You can access it by clicking “Listen Live” and selecting “RedFM Vancouver”. You can also listen on your phone through the RedFM Canada App on Google Play or App Store.