Friday, June 18, 2021

Tell it to SunStar: Historical revision

IT is totally senseless and absurd that defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has recently called for the revision of school textbooks that portray his namesake and father’s family as “bad” people.

What he wants done specifically is reinterpret the historical record reflecting the dark days of his father’s one-man rule, when he placed the entirety of the Philippines under martial law on Sept/ 21, 1972, until it was lifted on Jan. 17, 1981. The dictator Marcos was exiled from the country on Feb. 25, 1986.

In effect his motive for proposing historical revisionism is not only to challenge established, accepted or traditional views held by professional scholars about a historical event that was the appalling martial law years, but mainly to absolve the Marcos conjugal dictatorship from all the atrocities and corruptions they perpetrated during their reign.

This dark period in Philippine history is remembered for the regime’s record of human rights abuses, particularly targeting political opponents, student activists, journalists, religious workers, farmers, and others who fought against the Marcos dictatorship.

Prominent opposition figures of the time, such as Lorenzo Tañada, Jose Diokno and Jovito Salonga, among others, were taken custody for accusing the despot Marcos of exaggeration over the allege increasing threat by the Communist insurgency and the ambush of his Minister of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile outside the Wack-Wack subdivision. The trio claimed that it was simply a ruse for Marcos to have a convenient excuse to consolidate power and extend his tenure beyond the two presidential terms allowed by the 1935 Constitution.

Facts and figures show that about 70,000 people were imprisoned and 34,000 tortured, according to Amnesty International, while 3,240 were killed from 1972 to 1981. During this dark chapter of Philippine history, thousands of people were subject to various forms of torture. Prisoners were electrocuted, beaten up, and strangled. They were burned with a flat iron or cigars.

It is for this reason that a human rights lawyer and one of the authors of RA 10368, otherwise known as the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, Erin Tañada, a grandson of Lorenzo Tañada, harshly criticized the despot’s son’s suggestion to revise history books as a “desperate attempt by the Marcoses to erase the memory of the horrors of martial law and absolve the sins of their father.”

Thus, I find it incredibly unbelievable that Marcos Jr. can easily sweep the horrors of martial law under the rug without second thoughts, and instead endeavors to convince the generation after the baby boomers, described as Generation X, and even the Millennials, for that matter, that the accounts about the abuse and corruption were part of the propaganda of their political rivals. What the young Marcos is saying is that the school textbooks contain nothing but lies.

What delusion! What arrogance!

I still have to hear a despot, exiled or not, who has not been accused of flagrantly robbing the nation’s coffers and stashing it somewhere else. Of course Marcos Jr. knows this like the back of his hand.


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