Makabayan bloc wants annual commemoration of First Quarter Storm

MANILA, Philippines – Progressive lawmakers in the Makabayan bloc filed a bill to declare January 26 as the anniversary of the First Quarter Storm. 

The following legislators filed House Bill (HB) No. 8271 on Thursday, September 20, the eve of the 46th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos:

Under HB 8271, 3 government agencies as well as school officials, student councils, and students would be required to hold “appropriate” activities commemorating the First Quarter Storm, the period between January to March 1970 marked by mass demonstrations, marches, and protests against Marcos. (READ: TIMELINE: First Quarter Storm)

What would be the tasks of the agencies involved? The measure would mandate the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to take the lead in implementing various activities educating students about the facts of the First Quarter Storm. (READ: FQS: The uprising that created and nurtured people power)

The NHCP would be expected to work with the Commission on Higher Education to implement such activities for tertiary students. The NHCP would also be tasked to coordinate with the Department of Education to implement the programs on the First Quarter Storm anniversary for students in the primary, high school, and senior high school levels.

Why a First Quarter Storm anniversary bill? The Makabayan lawmakers filed the bill on Thursday. They were with  former social welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo, an activist during the Martial Law years.

She said the events happening under President Rodrigo Duterte is “not a repetition of history but rather...a continuation of it.”

“The First Quarter Storm ignited the fire of struggle that toppled Marcos dictatorship. It is a struggle not only against the abuses of the regime but also and more importantly, it is a battle against poverty, corruption, feudal oppression, and foreign domination,” said Taguiwalo. 

“The issues and challenges we face today are no different from the issues they faced in the past. We must keep the flame burning and dare continue the struggle," she added. 

Elago then invited young Filipinos to join various protests against Martial Law that will be held in parts of the country on Friday, September 21.

"We always recognize that what we do in these halls must translate directly to the movement of the people. With this, we are glad to see the breed of thousands of 'woke' millennials and generation Z youth who take to the streets mobilizing against tyranny,” said Elago. –

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.