Filipinos urged to reject lies about Marcos rule on 48th martial law anniversary
Martial law survivors and kin of victims gather at Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City on September 11, 2020 to denounce the House bill declaring a holiday in Ilocos Norte to commemorate the birthday of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
Filipinos urged to reject lies about Marcos rule on 48th martial law anniversary
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - September 21, 2020 - 10:34am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos should reject the attempts to rewrite the horrors of martial law under late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Vice President Leni Robredo said as the Philippines marked the 48th anniversary since its imposition.

At a time of divisiveness, Robredo urged the public to look back and tell the truths that thousands were imprisoned, tortured and killed, that the country’s debt ballooned and that poverty deepened during Marcos’ 21-year-dictatorship.

“These truths know no political color, but come starkly in the black and white of our lived experience as a nation. Walang debate dito: nangyari ito (There's no debate here. These happened),” the vice president said.

Republic Act 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, which grants compensation to thousands of Marcos victims, puts on record that human rights violations were committed by state agents during the Marcos regime and that people stood up against the dictatorship.

“Those who attempt to tell us otherwise are not only merely telling a supposed version of the story: They are lying to our faces, stealing our truths from us, stealing our stories. Because without these truths and stories, we will be further divided, at mas madaling matatagumpay ang mga pagtatangkang abusuhin muli tayo (and it will be easier for the attempts to abuse us to succeed),” the vice president added.

Robredo called on Filipinos to “push back against these lies at every instant.”

“To tell the stories of martial law and dictatorship over and over so that this generation, and the ones that come after, may be bound tighter through remembering. To hold firm to the truth of this painful chapter of our history, and through this, forge the determination to never again let our people fall into such despair,” Robredo said.

“We must do this because, ultimately, our national aspirations can only be as strong as our national memory,” she added.

In 2016, Robredo defeated the dictator’s son and namesake, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos by just over 200,000 votes in the vice presidential race.

Marcosian rehabilitation

Early this month, the House of Representatives approved on final reading a proposal to declare September 11—the late dictator’s birthday—as holiday in his home province of Ilocos Norte.

It is seen as another step in the rehabilitation of the Marcoses after the ousted dictator’s remains were interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

President Rodrigo Duterte has himself often expressed his admiration for the ousted dictator and has said, despite court decisions, that there is no proof that the Marcoses have ill-gotten wealth.

Apart from actually declaring martial law in Mindanao from 2017 to 2019, Duterte also frequently brings it up as an option while his allies seem eager to call for "emergency powers" for the chief executive.

Filmmaker and playwright Bonifacio Ilagan, chairperson of the First Quarter Storm Movement, earlier told Philstar.com that preventing Filipinos from forgetting and making them learn the lessons of history “[have] become doubly hard at this time because it is the Duterte government itself and its lackeys that have become the principal purveyor of historical revisionism and the lies that the Marcoses are dying to present as ‘truths.’”

‘Struggle continues’

For victims of the Marcos dictatorship, the struggle against tyrannical rule remains.

“We are facing another fascist regime, one that similarly conducts and promotes vicious attacks against the people, abuse of power and brazen human rights violations, with Marcos wannabe Rodrigo Duterte at the helm,” the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto said in a statement.

Rights group Karapatan also slammed Duterte’s appointment of military and police generals in different government posts and agencies, the government’s crackdown on dissent and the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

“Even in the middle of a pandemic, corruption remains business as usual—and, in line with following the footsteps of Marcos, Duterte is now engaging in Imeldific beautification projects to cover-up and divert public attention away from the scandals surrounding PhilHealth and the government’s failure in curbing the pandemic,” it said.

The groups called on Filipinos to stand united in fighting for their hard-won rights and freedoms.

“We had faced grim days before, fiercely fighting for our freedoms and rights, and we eventually toppled a despot,” SELDA said.

“During these dark times, we remain committed in defying another fascist regime. We will continue our fight against all forms of fascism and tyrannical rule, and uphold truth, freedom and justice,” it added.

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