"HISTORY is not done with me yet."
Ferdinand Marcos was according to his daughter Imee to have said these words to his family when they fled Malacañang in February 1986.
As the late strongman celebrated his centennial last Monday, September 11, Imee Marcos wants history to be reviewed again. Is his father a dictator or a great president?
The narrative played by the Marcos' heirs is to question us: what happened to the country after Marcos was stripped of power?
Theirs is a fabrication of history, where they compare the present to the "golden age" of their father, where discipline is imposed with curfews, culture flourished under Imelda, and infrastructure was built all across the country.
This is merely a partial telling of the Marcos history, one crafted through the propaganda of Facebook to inject to the public's consciousness, especially to the youth, that Marcos's time was way better than the succession of presidents that failed to curb poverty, corruption, impunity and traffic.
This narrative though has believers. I talked to a college scholar of a foundation helping Lumad and farmer students, as she bemoaned she felt alone in the discourse about Marcos. She said her classmates all believe in the information fed to them on Facebook. She, however, knew better, having a family and a foundation of priests that have survived Marcos' Martial Law.
Incredible how hundreds of books about the sins of Marcos can be shut down by Facebook. For that, I cringe that history classes are not doing a service to our national memory.
But there is still hope as many are now aware of the manipulation of history. Martial Law survivors, activists, church people, journalists, academics are now doing their part to impart their memories.
During the activists' march in Manila on Monday, a Davao Bagobo leader, Monico Cayog, spoke that he remembers how their communities in Davao del Sur were hamletted. His cousin was tied up by soldiers along with another person and were burned to death. A kid who witnessed and fled from the incident was also shot dead.
"Why celebrate his 100 years? I am 80 and I've seen things that is not worth celebrating for this man," Cayog said.
Indeed, there are memories and scars that the people have to bear and listen and judge. There are also facts, from economics to human rights index, that can measure the legacy of Marcos and one can find how he pulled down the economy to debt and cronyism, or what we now know as oligarchy. These ills are still being felt now.
There is no end to the debate. Not when this current president is also revising and selective of this history, and even copying the dictator's playbook in resorting to Martial Law to solve the country's political problems and in resorting to populism.
Yes, history is not yet done. People will never forget. People know he created myths of fake medals, stole the past, stole the coffers and is now stealing our memories. People will tell and will resist.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 13, 2017.
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