ILOILO, Philippines – Anti-Marcos protesters rallied outside the gates of the University of the Philippines – Visayas (UPV), condemning Senator Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos Jr’s presence in the campus on Wednesday, April 13.
Marcos, who is the front-runner in the latest ABS-CBN vice presidential survey, joined his presidential running mate, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, for the People’s Reform Party’s (PRP) scheduled campus tour at the UPV Auditorium.
“We invited them as part of UP’s initiative for a clean and honest elections and an informed electorate. We have also tightened security so as to avoid what happened in UST during the last Vice-Presidential debate,” Razel Ramirez of the UPV Halalan Committee explained.
However, some faculty members of the university expressed their sentiments against allowing Marcos in the university.
“We can’t believe that UPV is hosting Bongbong Marcos in UP. This goes against the very core of our history and what the university stands for. It’s very disturbing how UP has seemed to have forgotten what happened during Martial Law,” Gretchen Velarde, a history instructor of UPV said.
In an earlier statement, professors from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Department of History debunked claims that the martial law years brought peace and development to the country.
“Great danger now lurks behind a deceptive nostalgia for a past that never really existed—that the Marcos years were a period of peace and prosperity. This is patently Marcos myth and deception. Under martial law, the country was plunged into a climate of repression and plunder and then into social crisis that exploded in the 1980s.”
Protesters wearing white shirts printed with words “Never Again to Marcos” raised their “No to Marcos” placards, encouraging drivers along the busy street of General Luna to honk their horns in support of the protest.
The demonstration was organized by Gabriela, Anakbayan, and Kabataan partylists along with Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang (CARMMA) – Western Visayas, a recently-organized group of torture victims and the families of activists who disappeared during martial law.
“Our goal is to campaign against Marcos to remind the youth to never forget the dark ages of our history. We should not let another Marcos curtail our freedom,” Bryan Bosque, Lead Convener of Anakbayan Panay said.
Later in the afternoon, the protesters ended their rally by burning a “Bong Bong Marcos for Vice President” shirt while chanting “Never Forget, Never Again. Never again to Martial Law!”
Cynthia Deduro, then a student activist from Roxas City, Capiz, shared the ordeal she went through as a political prisoner at Camp Martin Delgado in Fort San Pedro, Iloilo during Martial Law.
“The youth of today have no idea what we have been through at that time. They are very lucky because they didn’t have to go through what our generation went through during Martial Law. They believe all the Marcos propaganda but our experience will always remind us of the truth,” Deduro said in Hiligaynon.
Meanwhile, the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG) kicked-off its Good Governance Caravan with a gallery exhibit showing the ill-gotten wealth acquired by the Marcoses and their cronies during their two-decade rule at the UPV Graduate and Continuing Education Building lobby on Monday, April 11. Marcos arrived in Iloilo and held his sortie at the Jaro Plaza on the same day.
Today, the exhibit was relocated to the Art Gallery, several meters away from its original venue. UP Visayas said that this was a courtesy unanimously decided by the administration heeding to the request of the vice presidential bet’s staff.
Students from UPV however reacted on social media.
UPV Halalan Committee Chair Razel Ramirez, clarified, however, that the PCGG exhibit initially did not have a permit.
“The Office of Student Affairs allowed the exhibit to push through but the administration decided to move its location during Miriam Santiago and Bongbong Marcos’ visit as a courtesy to their party, since we were the ones who invited them in the first place. The sponsoring group also agreed, and the exhibit was put back in place after the activity, so we do not think there should be an issue,” she stated.
A PCGG conference that hopes to revisit “the lessons of the past as we journey the path towards good government” will also be held on Friday, April 15, at the UPV auditorium. – Rappler.com
Russel Patina is one of Rappler’s lead Movers in Iloilo.