What would happen if Martial Law was declared in the Digital Age?

Last September 21, Filipinos remembered the 45th anniversary of Martial Law declaration in the Philippines by Ferdinand Marcos. In line with this, current President Rodrigo Duterte declared last Thursday as Day of Protest where everyone was free to voice out their advocacies and concern on any public place they choose.

Thousands of people took their advocacy and belief to the streets of Metro Manila, all converging in the monumental Luneta Park. But when people aren’t on the streets rallying, they continue the fight on social media posting and tweeting. May it be a fight against fake news, or a plea to have Uber continue its services. Let’s try to imagine what would happen if Martial Law was declared and social media was already a tool for expression?

First of all, they used to say the pen is mightier than the sword, but with today’s social media the mobile phone with Internet is the mightiest tool of all. With social media platforms, especially Twitter, before the declaration has happened people have already trended hashtags, created campaigns and events on Facebook, and rallied in every street in Manila to cancel out Martial Law. Even if declaration did push through, every day would be a day of protest. Social media would be technically be monitored or even obsolete, but nobody can stop Filipinos in expressing their opinions.

Second, if word of mouth was how news spread about EDSA I and EDSA II had text blasts, most likely the next People Power Revolution would be spread through social media. This won’t be the first, in Ukraine, 41% learned about a protest through Facebook and other social media posts. There’d be an event on Facebook entitled “People Power Revolution @ EDSA” and it would have a hashtag ready to be filled with real-time happenings and tweets about the rally. This makes it easier for people at home who are not capable of joining and for the world to witness change happen even if they’re not physically present.

Third, besides people holding their banners, flags, and fists up in the air while chanting there would be moments where phones with cameras or GoPros would be raised to document the moment for Instagram. These photos and videos would have Philippine flag emojis and accounts of their experience as captions – sharing to the world the moments where they feel most alive.

This article is not to hate on the youth for being active on social media and in being “woke” with today’s issues. This shows how much the youth cares and how much they want everyone else in the world to care about what’s happening as well. The global reach of social media has changed the way protest and is highlighting the power of expression to the world.

We truly admire everyone fighting for a cause may it be on social media or on the streets. Keep fighting for what you believe in!

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Dominik Banzon

Doms is not just your average small girl with big dreams. Usually found online sharing dog photos and dropping opinions on social media, she also takes time to kills time by watching films and exploring the city. Currently with Innov8tive Design and Development, she’s currently working digital and content marketing.

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