Referendum Prayer

by Luis G. Dato

O lord, in this our crucial time
When we on the martial law will vote,
Our minds uplift and make sublime,
In mercy, Lord, forget us not.

Man you created with wills free,
O’er all creature gave us the sway,
Grant they may still love liberty,
Your heritage not since give away.

Grant them, O Lord, to view the light
Which only freedom eyes may see,
The sun symbolic of the right
Held sacred by the brave and free.

“A national referendum-plebiscite was held on October 16–17, 1976 in the Philippines in which the majority of the barangay voters approved the continuation of Martial Law and ratified the proposed amendments to the Constitution substituting the Regular Batasang Pambansa with the Interim Batasang Pambansa, pursuant to Presidential Decrees Nos. 991, 1031, and 1032.”

In his memoirs, Luis G. Dato wrote, “October 16, 1976. Fourth referendum, fourth day of infamy, no freedom of the speech, debate and press, no freedom nor sanctity of the ballot.”

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