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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Mongaya: Haven’t moved on?

PUGAD Baboy” said it well. “Matagal na raw nangyari ang martial law. Matagal nang patay si Marcos. Bakit ako hindi raw maka-move on?”

Of course, if moving on means forgetting that martial law ever happened or allowing Marcos loyalists to say Makoy was the best president the Philippines had, I refuse to move on. I will just keep on telling people “Never again.”

Instead of erasing the dictatorship from our collective memory however, we should recall and reflect about this part of our history. Most important, we should learn from those harrowing years.

I shudder hearing some people talk about how blissful was those years when Marcos imposed curfew. It was good for the family kuno.

***

Unfortunately, most of the books documenting what happened from 1972 to 1986 are Manila-centric. Personally, I plead guilty to being one of the reasons for this. I kept on postponing writing projects about those years.

But then, there’s one grand history project that the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos began years ago in behalf of the Cebu Provincial Government.

More than 50 writers and editors gathered to write the history of the different towns and cities of the Province of Cebu. The writers included student activists during the early ‘80s. Each writer focused on one town or city. And each volume devoted one chapter on the Marcos years.

The writing and formatting part had long been finished. But politics stalled the printing. Recently, we heard the present Capitol officialdom finally decided to push through with printing the books.

***

The recent Press Freedom Week in Cebu reminds us every year about those long dark years under the dictatorship. People would recall how Cebu enjoyed press freedom compared to Manila then. But that was because we Cebuanos simply pushed the limits of what the dictator imposed.

Many local journalists were simply unafraid of being jailed. I mentioned in an earlier column the news clippings kept by retired judge and former human rights lawyer Menmen Paredes. The late Job Tabada told me about the secret meetings in 1984-85 of Cebu journalists he was part of at his office of the defunct Cebu Advocate.

***

The year 2014 ought to be a year when heat of the last local electoral contests of 2013 should dissipate while 2016 is still two years away.

I say local because now is the time for political operators to step up preparations for the 2016 presidential race. Unfortunately, it seems as if the campaign period had never ended in Cebu City. Partisans of both Team Rama and BOPK continue to go after each others’ throats.

Instead of focusing on solutions to the present floods, for instance, the debate about the Cebu City budget resurfaced. And despite all the fine details about an allocation two years ago for an excavator that has yet to be bought until today and still realigned budgets, the same old points during the 2013 campaign remain unchanged.

Why can’t city hall just decide on dredging the existing downtown creeks before the next typhoon passes by and dump hours of heavy rain?

***

It seems politicians who announced plans to run for president early are now throwing charges of corruption against each other. Each presidential wannabe are trying to evade answering the charges. The standard answer is “these are politically-motivated.”

Because of the serious charges hurled against him, many are beginning to consider the presidential bid of Vice President Jojo Binay as dead. I don’t know how long Binay can maintain his stance of evasion. Evasion has been a standard Binay tactic for so long.

Sen. Bongbong Marcos should also rein in his loyalists because their antics are stoking old issues of dictatorship and corruption against the Marcoses.

I just hope that this development will clear the field for potential presidential hopefuls who are not associated with corruption. Is there time? Well, the Aquino candidacy did not emerge early before the 2010 presidential contest. And he swept aside the frontrunners.

(Follow @anol_cebu in Twitter)
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