WATCH: Young Filipinos shocked by martial law victims’ stories

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WATCH: Young Filipinos shocked by martial law victims’ stories
They thought the martial law era was a time of prosperity and discipline but were shocked to hear of atrocities committed by the regime

MANILA, Philippines – What do young Filipinos know about martial law?

On Tuesday, May 3, a video debunking the romanticism of the martial law period was posted on Facebook by the group Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang – Carmma.

In the video, different Filipino youth were interviewed on what they know about that particular period in Philippine history. As of posting, the video had more than 11,000 reactions, almost 30,000 shares, and 2,000 comments. 

The young interviewees described martial law in glowing terms, saying it was a time of prosperity and discipline.

Mas pinaiiral ang batas, may disiplina ang tao at alam nila ang curfew,” said one of the interviewees.

(The law was followed and people were disciplined. They followed the curfew.)

Another interviewee echoed the positive sentiment and likened the authoritarian regime of former president Ferdinand Marcos to the tough love of a parent.

Sobrang higpit talaga niya. Pero ang higpit niya ay parang pagmamahal ng magulang,” he said.

(He was very strict. But it was like how a parent loves his or her child.)

When asked whether they favor martial law, all the interviewees responded with a resounding yes.

Tables turned

The tone of the video changed when the cameras were pointed in the opposite direction and the interviewers introduced themselves. 

They were Danilo dela Fuente, Marie Maiso, Rodel Briones, and Lourdes Victoriano, all human rights victims during the Marcos regime.

They spoke of the horrors they experienced or witnessed during martial law – rape, electrocution, physical and pyschological harassment, and detention.

Nagkaroon ako ng masamang karanasan noong nasa kulungan ako. Nagahasa ako,” Victoriano said.

(I had a horrible experience in jail. I was raped.) 

Briones was playing basketball when soldiers came and arrested him. Authorities accused him of throwing a grenade during a rally in Manila. He was not given an opportunity to defend himself. 

Sabi ng isang pumasok na sundalong lasing, hubad. Nakakuha siya ng bangko. Pinagpapalo kami. Hindi ka naman pwedeng umilag eh. Kasi kung umilag ka, lalo pang dadagdagan,” Briones recounted.

(A drunken soldier entered and told us to strip. He got a bench and started to hit us. We couldn’t protect ourselves. If you try to dodge, they’d hit you more.)

Dela Fuente shared his experience of being electrocuted.

“At first it was weak – the current only reached my elbows. Then after, the current reached my shoulders. Then it reached my neck. The last shock almost reached my brain’s membrane – that would have killed me,” Dela Fuente said in Filipino. 

Change of view

The tales of torture and harrasment shocked the young interviewees, who admitted they did not know of the dark side of the martial law era. 

Iba po ang kwento ng naririnig ko sa school,” one of them said. 

(They taught us differently in school.)

According to Carmma, the true stories of martial law are not being taught in schools. (READ: Ano ba ang alam mo tungkol sa Martial Law?)

The video campaign aims to encourage people to sign the petition to rewrite the country’s history books and include the horrific stories experienced by martial law victims like Dela Fuente, Maiso, Briones, and Victoriano.

Carmma also opposes the vice presidential bid of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr in the 2016 elections. 

The senator has said he has nothing to apologize for over the abuses committed under his father’s regime. (READ: Marcos on dad’s regime: What am I to apologize for?) – 

Tell us what you think about the Carmma video in the comments section or share your views about martial law on X.

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