UP has declared Sept. 21 as A Day of Remembrance to honor the memories of those who struggled against Marcos dictatorship and highlight the university’s role in defending “academic freedom, civil liberties, and human rights.”
By ARNETH ASIDDAO
MANILA – Nearly 2,000 students, faculty, administrators, and members of the University of the Philippines (UP) community flocked in front of Palma Hall in UP Diliman to mark the 46th anniversary of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law declaration, Friday.
“We will not move on. We will not forget every death and suffering inflicted on the people by the Marcos regime,” said Isaac Punzalan, UP Rises Against Tyranny and Dictatorship (UPRISE) convenor.
The protesters also condemned the Duterte administration’s alliance with the Marcoses and its own anti-people policies like the drug war, martial law in Mindanao, and Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
“Duterte idolizes Marcos. He even paved the way for Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. But today, we prove that UP takes after the martyrs of martial law,” Punzalan said.
The lives and sacrifices of activists who were killed during martial law will not be in vain as younger generations of Iskolar ng Bayan continue their fight, former Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) secretary and Martial Law survivor Judy Taguiwalo added.
Admin, faculty support
Days before the martial law commemoration, UP President Danilo Concepcion declared September 21 of every year as a Day of Remembrance through Proclamation 1, Series of 2018. The document authorizes and encourages special lectures and ceremonies to honor the memories of those who struggled against Marcos dictatorship and highlight the university’s role in defending “academic freedom, civil liberties, and human rights.
Concepcion earlier drew flak after allowing and attending a Kabataang Barangay reunion with Imee Marcos at the Bahay ng Alumni in UP Diliman last month. He has since then apologized and assured that the university under his watch “will never forget the dark period of our country during the martial law years.”
Different colleges and departments also expressed their support for the mass action by endorsing the mobilization and signing a unity statement by UPRISE.
Meanwhile, members of Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND) – UP called on their colleagues and students to join the “collective struggle against forgetting, revisions, and historical erasures.”
“As teachers, it is our solemn duty and responsibility to teach and keep alive these memories by sharing them with younger generations, therefore resisting social amnesia,” CONTEND-UP said in a statement.
CONTEND-UP also stressed the need for students to expose and oppose the Duterte administration’s attempts to reinstate the Marcoses to power and “whitewash the crimes” committed by the family.
Among those who participated in mass demonstrations to condemn martial law are first year UP students from the first batch of K-12 graduates.
According to Pauline Alvarez, a journalism freshie, the stories of martial law survivors, families and friends of desaparecidos, and victims of human rights violations pushed her to join the mobilization.
“The calls of the masses, though ignored by the government and neglected in dominant media, are impossible not to heed,” said Alvarez.
She admitted she had fears about joining a big demonstration for the first time. But after seeing President Duterte’s moves to rehabilitate the Marcoses and establish his own dictatorship, she thought it was necessary for students like her to be part of the struggle against it.
“Even if thousands of police and military are deployed to intimidate us protesters, we refuse to budge. We are far more powerful than them,” said Alvarez.
She added that holding mass demonstrations is a testament of the people’s rage against Duterte and their collective resolve to oust him.