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For #Marcos100, here are rap tracks that backtrack

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

MANILA, Philippines — Forgetting is just another form of oppression, rapper Calix said in February before the release of two tracks to mark the anniversary of the EDSA revolution.

"Ang pagkalimot ay isang pangtamad na paraan para tumakas sa realidad. Ang realidad na maraming nasaktan, at lahat tayo ay ninakawan. Ang pagkalimot ay isang paraan ng opresyon," he said of Sepulturero.nsf and Di Na Ulit, both collaborations with 8-bitfiction, social media artist and general purveyor of sappiness. 

"Sino ba ang nagsabi na malaki ang utang ng Pilipinas, sa mga ahas na apo ni Barabbas?" he asks in "Di Na Ulit," a track written in response to the burial of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in November, or as he described it: "bangkay na pinilit isingit sa mga hanay ng bayani/pero kaluluwa ay halang."

"Ayoko man aminin, pero malaking porsyento ng madla ang nasa parte na ng 'walang pakialam'. Siguro dahil na din sa frustration sa mga nangyayari sa bansang 'to. Sana hindi yun maging dahilan para isara natin yung ating mga mata sa katotohanan ng kahibangan na ginawa ni Marcos," Calix, who also performed at a protest "party" for Marcos' 100th birthday over the weekend.

"Ang kailangan natin gawin ay ipagpatuloy ang edukasyon sa mga tao. Kailangan natin maiparating sa kanila kung bakit malaki ang naging epekto sa estado ng bansa natin ang martial law at ang pagnanakaw ng Pamilyang Marcos sa Pilipinas," he said.

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Born after martial law was lifted, Calix is quick to counter that he is too young to remember the Philippines' supposed golden era.

 "Hindi ko kailangan mabuhay nung panahon na yun para labanan ang kahit anong hugis ng kababuyan."

'The Lesser of Your Greater Friends'

The two tracks were released before martial law was declared in Mindanao and "never again" rings hollow now as the president continues to threaten to declare martial law if, for example, communist rebels "take the streets."

"The Lesser of Your Greater Friends," released last month, again takes shots at the Marcoses with "Di Matitinag," a collaboration with FlipTop alumnus BLKD. 

"Pagkat ang tae (Tae!)/Ilagay man sa magarang sisidlan ay tae pa rin (Tae pa rin!)," they proclaim on a track that they describe on lyric annotation site Genius.com as being "about fighting the return to power of the Marcos family." 

"Kaya't alang-alang sa alaala ng mga unang bumaka/Tuloy ang paghahasa ng sandata," they promise.

But the commentary has also shifted towards President Rodrigo Duterte, who, aside from ordering Marcos' remains buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani has declared the ousted dictator's birthday a non-working holiday in his bailiwick of Ilocos Norte. 

In "Executive Order," Calix asks about the government's priorities in its war on drugs: "Kapulisang pumatay, sayo ay protektado/Ba't di mo mabigyan yung mga nagugutom?"

With around 3,800 drug suspects — officially killed for offering violent resistance to police operations — dead and thousands more killings "under investigation," Calix asks: 

Pano yung mga ulila dahil dyan sa giyera mo? (Wala)
May balita na ba na inako sila ng gobyerno? (Wala)
Bakit ba, kala nila ikaw ang sasalba?
Sa bansang napiprito, bansang nasusunog
Na sa sariling apoy at mantika?

Despite the criticism of the administration, Calix warns, though, that this is not about being "dilawan" — the pejorative for the so-called political opposition. "Mapa-pula o dilaw/Pare-pareho lang silang nanunuklaw/Ilan sa atin ay silaw/Sa pangakong huwad at hilaw," he warns in "Ahas."

While the cries of "never again" may be a little softer today, there is hope that we can at least keep the other promise to "never forget." — Jonathan de Santos

ALSO READ: NewsLab's special reports on the myths that made Marcos

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