There is a new movement that vows to reach out to the youth. The only thing is, those who gathered during the launching last February 4 were not young but were mainly comprised of white haired women and men. This is not surprising since those in attendance were mainly victims of Martial Law.
It could be argued that all Filipinos during that time except, of course, those who were close to the Marcos dictatorship and those who benefited from Martial Law were victims. It’s true. Butthose whose lives were changed forever after being arrested and tortured, or whose loved ones were killed, abducted and disappeared, would, expectedly, cry the loudest at any sign that the Marcos family would make a comeback. And that probability rings with urgency now that Ferdinand Marcos Jr. or Bongbong, the son of the late dictator, is running for vice president.
Called Carmma or the Campaign Against the Restoration of the Marcoses to Malacañang, the movement vows to frustrate the bid of Bongbong Marcos for the vice presidency, which is just one step away from Malacañang.
Why is it necessary to ensure Bongbong’s defeat at the polls? Because if he gets elected as vice president, this would practically absolve the Marcoses of all the sins they committed against the Filipino people. Bongbong would use the power of his position to set aside all cases against them and erase accurate descriptions of what happened during those dark years of the country’s history. And for the Marcos family, the vice presidency is just a stepping-stone for Bongbong to reclaim the presidency.
Bongbong and the Marcos family are not yet in power, at least nationally, but they have already been using social media to make it appear that there was no corruption, no criminality and no human rights violations in the country then. It’s as if Marcos did not plunder the country’s wealth and resources and monopolize the major sectors of the economy such as telecommunications, electricity distribution, the sugar, rice, and coconut industries, among others; it’s as if the nation did not suffer from an economic crisis, a sugar crisis, a rice crisis, an oil crisis, and a financial crisis; it’s as if the nation was not buried in debt, andthe value of the peso did not plunge; it’s as if the nation was not dragged in the US wars of aggression in Vietnam and Korea and US troops stationed in the country were not allowed to elude justice for killing Filipinos, including children; it’s as if the scars of the victims of human violations and their relatives were self-inflicted.
Why reach out to the youth?
The youth have no memory of those dark years of Martial Law. And the Marcos family and their supporters have been using the internet and social media to distort the facts and make it appear that the country was prosperous under Martial Law. They deny that were thousands of victims of human rights violations.
Why are the Marcoses able to distort the facts?
First, because justice has not been served to the thousands of victims of human rights violations and their relatives. The Marcoses were never pursued for their crimes against the people. Sensing that the succeeding presidents were not keen on running after the Marcos family, the victims filed a class action suit in Hawaii against Marcos, who was in exile there then. In 1995, the Federal Court of Hawaii found Marcos guilty of grave human-rights violations and awarded $2 billion in compensatory damages to the victims. Instead of ensuring that justice is served, the succeeding administrations after Marcos were more concerned about getting the government’s share in the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family and in getting concessions from the family, which still controlled the politics in the Ilocos provinces.
Worse, violations of human rights are still being committed with impunity.
Second, because instead of seizing the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family, the succeeding administrations got mired in legal cases and in negotiations for out-of-court settlements. The Filipino people were never informed of the status of these cases and what happened to the assets that have been turned over to the government through the courts and through settlements.
Third, the accurate historical account of the dark days of Martial Law was never taught to students.
Fourth, the succeeding administrations pursued the same economic programs and policies of the Marcos dictatorship resulting in the worsening of the crisis and the declining quality of life of ordinary Filipinos. This is why the Marcos family and their supporters are able to claim that the people were better off and prices were lower during the Marcos dictatorship.
Fifth, US troops are back and they are still able to elude justice, such as in the case of Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith and US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton.
Sixth, Bongbong Marcos is able to capitalize on the incompetence and the bungling of the administration of Benigno Aquino III to present himself as an alternative.
If we do not support Carmma and succeed in frustrating the political ambition of the Marcos family to return to Malacañang, then it would be karma for the Filipino people. We would be committing a horrible mistake that would bring us back to the dark years of the Marcos dictatorship.
During Martial Law, we had to queue for our ration of gasoline during the oil crisis; we mixed corn with rice during the rice crisis; we could hardly afford sugar during the sugar crisis; we had to save our meager precious dollars and the gold reserves of the Central Bank went missing, Filipino children were shot at by US troops manning their military bases, and this writer had to spend a semester in prison. Do we want a repeat of this situation?