By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Filipino progressives held a protest action yesterday, Sept. 21, as they commemorated the 51st year since the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. imposed martial law in the country.
“This is the day when Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law to ‘save the republic and to reform society,’ he said. This is a lie. He declared martial law so he can remain president and remain in power,” said martial law survivor Bonifacio Ilagan during the program at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila.
From Liwasang Bonifacio, progressives marched to Mendiola bridge where they lit candles and sang Bayan ko.
Ilagan assailed the attempts of the Department of Education (DepEd) to change the term “Diktaturang Marcos” to “Diktadura” in the Araling Panlipunan subject of the department’s new Matatag curriculum.
“This is one of the grand plans of the regime to reverse the history and to absolve them of their crimes and for people to forget the terror of military rule – terror which continues until today with endless hunger and suffering by the people, in the arrest of critics and activists, in the filing of trumped-up cases, abductions, extrajudicial killings, while those in power and the monopoly capitalists are bloating in riches,” Ilagan said in a mix of Filipino and English.
History professor Francis Gealogo said that the efforts to change the image of the Marcoses and to distort history are organized and institutionalized under the Marcos Jr. administration. He said the dictatorship of Marcos Sr. is supported by the United States. It resulted in a massive number of killings and a severe economic crisis.
Gealogo cited the massacres in Daet, Camarines Norte, in Kulasi, Antique, in Escalante, Negros Occidental, the massacres in Manili, North Cotabato, in Palembang, Sultan Kudarat, Pata Island, Sulu and Las Navas, Southern Samar.
Gealogo also revealed that the Marcoses have been distorting history for a long time – from covering the role of their grandfather Mariano Marcos as a collaborator during World War II to the fake medals of Marcos Sr., the myth of Malakas and Maganda, the Tallano gold, the Maharlika kingdom.
“These are all attempts to change the image of the Marcoses,” Gealogo said in Filipino.
“Let us get to know the US-Marcos dictatorship which is the cause, not of the golden era, but when the country was coppered with high prices of commodities, high number of joblessness, high rates of inflation, and the lack of security of life and work,” he added
Meanwhile, Charm Maranan of Defend Southern Tagalog said communities in Southern Tagalog have been terrorized by state agents, particularly from the 2nd Infantry Battalion, while human rights defenders are being slapped with Anti-Terrorism Act.
“Serving the country and fighting for our peace and justice are not a crime,” she said, adding that there are 18 cases of violations against the Anti-Terrorism Act in Southern Tagalog. Those who have been charged include church leaders Rev. Edwin Egar and Rev. Glofie Baluntong.
Ephraim Cortez, president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, also said that attacks against lawyers have continued under Marcos with three victims of killings since he took power.
Those who are victims of attacks, he said, are also lawyers who are practicing their profession for public interest.
“We condemn these attacks against lawyers because this is also an attack on our clients. This violates not only our clients’ rights to due process but also their right to independent and competent counsel. In this kind of atmosphere, they are terrorizing our lawyers, which affects their handling of cases of our clients,” he said.
He also vowed that the NUPL will remain to stand with the masses.
Meanwhile, Cristina Palabay, Karapatan’s secretary general, said the people must continue to stand against Marcos Jr.’s repressive measures, “just as we stood against the Marcos Sr. dictatorship of the past.”
“From the regime of the dictator-father to that of the son, we have endured and fought against tyranny,” Palabay said.