Tell it to SunStar: Blatant attempts to glorify Marcos dictatorship

Tell it to SunStar: Blatant attempts to glorify Marcos dictatorship

The Marcoses’ schemes to distort history and whitewash their family’s despotic crimes during their fascist rule are now in full swing.

Like clockwork, the dictator’s children have taken the opportunity to valorize to their father’s legacy during his birthday, with President Marcos Jr. claiming that the late dictator fought for “peace and order,” while his sister Senator Imee Marcos outrageously declared that her father would declare martial law to supposedly solve the country’s rice crisis.

The horror! Not only did the Marcos dictatorship destroy the livelihood of thousands of Filipino farmers with failed projects like the ironically-named Masagana 99—and the Marcos Jr. administration is continuing this legacy by having the president sit as an inutile secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

If the recent Department of Education memorandum to divorce the Marcos name from discussions of their family’s dictatorship in Philippine history classes is not enough, here comes Senator Robin Padilla with a ridiculous bill to outrightly erase the annual commemoration of the declaration of martial law and replace it with a holiday to instead honor its brutal agents and enforcers.

One look at the explanatory note of Senator Padilla’s Senate Bill 452 and it is undeniable that what he wove is a rehash of rote anti-communist rants filled to the brim with poor historical research (if it could even count as one), if not misrepresentations and outright lies.

In case Senator Padilla or his so-called researchers did not learn this in their history classes: the use of the communist bogeyman to legitimize dictatorships and the suppression of civil liberties are worn-out scripts of tyrants. All over the world, the specter of communism was used to crush political dissent and impose undemocratic rule.

For one, the bill mentioned almost in passing the alleged coup attempt in Indonesia led by the 30 September Movement, yet very telling is the omission of the events that occurred in its aftermath: After the Indonesian Army blamed communists for the coup, what followed was a series of mass killings throughout the country from 1965 to 1966—a bloody, genocidal purge which left an estimate of 500,000 to more than 1,000,000 dead and the consolidation of Suharto’s tyrannical rule in its wake.

Historians have suggested that the implication of the communists in the coup was a fabrication, and that the anti-communist killings and purges in Indonesia became templates for other anti-communist purges and the installation of United States-backed fascist dictatorships all over the world, especially in Southeast Asia and Latin America, during the Cold War.

What actually continues to haunt the world are the horrors of fascist dictatorships and their countless crimes and atrocities in the name of “suppressing communism”—and clearly, the late Marcos Sr. learned well from his neighboring dictators in justifying his declaration of martial law 50 years ago. The so-called “unsung heroes” in Senator Padilla’s bill are, in fact, agents of fascist violence and repression that deserve not a single iota of honor.

The Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law firmly stands in defense of the people’s history and truth. The Marcos dictatorship itself was built upon anti-communist lies and the only legacy that lives with the Marcoses is their habit to lie, lie and lie.

We call on Congress to reject Senator Padilla’s ahistorical bill and all efforts to distort our history—especially the brutal history of the Marcos dictatorship and martial law. We also call freedom-loving Filipinos to join the upcoming commemoration of the declaration of martial law and honor our true heroes, the Filipino people and freedom fighters who fought for genuine democracy and national liberation during the Marcos dictatorship.

Now more than ever, ringing the calls “never again” and “never forget” have never been more urgent amid these assaults on truth and history, but we will not back down. Ours, after all, is a history of struggle—and a lesson that it imparts is that the forces of truth, democracy and justice will prevail.


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