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'Conjugal Dictatorship’ new edition to teach millennials about Martial Law

Students shout slogans during a rally at the Rizal Park, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. Thousands of Filipinos, including more than a dozen nude students, protested Friday against the hasty burial of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in a heroes' cemetery, in a growing political storm that's lashing the president who allowed the entombment. AP/Aaron Favila, File photo

MANILA, Philippines - To change public mindset about Martial Law, the teaching should start with the next generation, hence the book's target audience – millennials, said John Christopher “JC” Mijares Gurango. 

Gurango, youngest grandson of former president Ferdinand Marcos chief propagandist Primitivo “Tibo” Mijares, stressed that millennials are the ones who must read the book of his grandfather so the young generation can understand the implications of martial law.

“If we are going to change public perception, if we are going to make it so that martial law is taught in our schools properly and knowledge is taught truthfully, and accurately, it starts with the next generation, not the previous one,” he said.

The Mijares heirs on Tuesday relaunched the new edition of Primitivo’s “The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos” at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City in anticipation of the 31st anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution on Saturday.

The book is a firsthand account of the early days of the Marcos regime as written by Mijares. Years after martial law was declared in 1972, Mijares defected from the Marcoses and went into exile in the United States. 

A year after he published his book in 1976, Mijares attempted to return to the Philippines and was never heard from again. 

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The new 812-page version of the book features an additional 200 pages of annotations with updated information, a new foreword by human rights lawyer former Senator Rene Saguisag, and a preface by JC himself. 

Present at the launch were several guest speakers including Saguisag; Miriam Lacaba, daughter of the late poet and activist Emmanuel “Emman” Lacaba; Jo-Ed Tirol, a History professor who developed a curriculum for martial law history; and Maria Serena Diokno, former chair of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and daughter of the late senator and prominent Marcos critic Jose Diokno. 

“We have two ongoing wars in this country. One is the war on drugs, and the other more long-term one is the war on memory. It’s a terrible war on memory,” said Tirol, stressing that memory is too malleable that people who claim they bear the truth can tweak history in their favor. 

Diokno, meanwhile, slammed the recent decision of the Supreme Court allowing the burial of late dictator Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. 

“If you want to move on, face what happened. You shouldn't turn your back from it and forget,” she said. 

Saguisag said Mijares rightfully deserves to be memorialized at the Libingan and Bantayog ng mga Bayani for his “priceless contribution.” 

“He played a critical role in awakening the sleeping nation during martial law,” the former senator said. 

After the launch, JC’s father Joey told The STAR that they plan to visit schools to promote the book. 

“We want to put this information as a regular part of history lessons, both in high school and college,” he added.  

Although JC’s initiative to republish his grandfather’s book makes Joey proud, he admitted it also makes him worried about the safety of his son. 

“He is doing this because he believes he is aware and that it should be done. At the same time, we are apprehensive, quite anxious and to put it bluntly, quite scared. One of the reasons why my wife and I sheltered our kids from all of these is because of what happened to JC’s uncle,” he shared. 

Mijares’ youngest son, Luis Manuel “Boyet” Mijares, was abducted, tortured and later found dead in 1977, a year after “Conjugal Dictatorship” was published.

“The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos” will retail at P650.00 for paperback in all leading physical and online bookstores while the hard cover edition is available for pre-order at conjugaldictatorship.com.

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