Martial Law

LIST: Events, activities on 51st Martial Law commemoration

Waya Lao

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LIST: Events, activities on 51st Martial Law commemoration
Progressive groups and organizations mark Martial Law’s 51st commemoration through exhibits, screenings, discussions, and other cultural events

MANILA, Philippines – On Thursday, September 21, various groups will commemorate 51st year of the declaration of Martial Law through activities and initiatives to highlight the value of history amid the continuing battle against disinformation under the second Marcos administration.

The late dictator, Ferdinand E. Marcos, signed Proclamation No. 1081 on September 21, 1972, declaring Martial Law, a nearly 10-year period known as a dark chapter in Philippine history. Amnesty International recorded about 70,000 prisoners, 34,000 tortured, and 3,240 deaths during this period.

With another Marcos sitting in office, Filipinos continue to face the threat of historical revisionism, especially in the education system. At the Department of Education, there is a proposal to change “Diktadurang Marcos” to “Diktadura” in the grade 6 Araling Panlipunan under the new Matatag curriculum

To address these issues and more, several groups are organizing different activities to mark the 51st Martial Law commemoration. Here is a running list of events that challenge the administration’s branding and the distortion of truth:

On-ground events
  • BAYAN (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan), along with other progressive organizations, will hold a unified marching protest at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila on Thursday, 2 pm. Participants are encouraged to wear black and carry placards and photos of Martial Law victims, as well as victims of the current administration. The protest will end in a march to Mendiola bridge where participants from various groups will converge to light candles and torches as a symbol of the continuing struggle against the forces of tyranny and oppression.
  • Cinemata in collaboration with The Polytechnic University of the Philippines Center for Heritage Studies (PUP CHS) and in partnership with DAKILA, Active Vista, among others will hold a film screening titled, “Legacy of Struggle: Cinematic Perspectives on Martial Law” on Friday, September 22, from 1 pm to 6 pm, at the UP Film Institute Center in Quezon City. Check the schedule here
  • DAKILA, in collaboration with education center Active Vista, launches the annual Active Vista Human Rights Festival (AVHRF), comprising a series of screenings, forums, performances, and exhibits from September 21 to October 7. This year’s theme is “Rebelasyon: Breaking the Spell of Deception.” Check here for a detailed overview of AVHRF.
  • De La Salle University (DLSU) Committee on National Issues and Concerns, in collaboration with the DLSU University Student Government, invites DLSU students to “Boses ng Nakaraan, Buhay sa Kasalukuyan: Ika-51 Anibersaryo ng Batas Militar” on September 18 to 23 at DLSU. The upcoming activities include a campus protest, prayer vigil, panel discussion, and a benefit event featuring a performance by
  • PUÓN, a local bookstore based in La Union, is inviting everyone to “Panaglagip ken Panagkadua (Remembering our Comrades),” a gathering featuring poetry, music, and a discussion with cultural workers on Sunday, September 24, from 2 pm to 6 pm, at the Alfredo F. Tadiar Library in San Fernando, La Union. 
  • The UP Baguio University Student Council is organizing an exhibit themed, “Martial Law Noon, Terror Law Ngayon,” featuring art displays and stories of activists, from September 19 to 20. The exhibit is happening at IM Plaza, CAC Dap-ay, KA Quad, and CSS ISP in UP Baguio. 
  • The UP Cebu Communication Program invites everyone to “Lift the Sheets: Uncovering the Dictator’s Dirt: The 6th Annual 1081 Exhibit in Commemoration of the Victims of Martial Law,” which features a series of film screenings, art exhibits, protests, and educational discussions on journalism, history, and resistance from September 15 to 22, at the University of the Philippines Cebu. Participants may access the complete details of the event here.
  • RESBAK (Respond and Break the Silence Against Killings) will hold a solidarity night, “Bagong Pilipinas Na Ba?” on Saturday, September 23, at 4 pm at the Silingan Coffee in Cubao. The event will feature a paper presentation on “Danas at Dagok ng Tokhang: State Terror, Gender, and the War on Drugs” by Professor Aileen May Mijares, and a documentary screening. The entrance is free of charge but attendees may donate funds to support Paaral Fund, a fundraising project which provides educational assistance to children of extrajudicial killings victims. 
  • The Human Rights and People Empowerment Center will hold “MiyerKULET! Kulay at Malay” for the month of September, featuring films on Martial Law and indigenous peoples’ stories. The screening will be held at the Fil Garcia Tower, Kalayaan Avenue, Quezon City. Entrance is free. Access the full schedule of screenings here.
  • The Martial Law Museum invites the Ateneo de Manila University community to “Martial Law @51: Nasaan ka, Atenista?,” a series of protests, exhibits, educational discussions, and walking tours inside the campus. To see all the activities’ details, check the schedule here. Access the Martial Law Museum’s educational resources here.
  • University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) University Student Council invites everyone to join its protest action with the call “Never Again, Never Forget,” on Thursday. The assembly will start at 10:30 am at the steps of Palma Hall and will meet with other progressive groups at Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila at 2 pm. 
  • University of the Philippines Los Baños’ (UPLB) College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR) Student Council invites students from all colleges of UP Los Baños to join “SALAMIN AT SANDATA: Pakikibaka ng Kapaligiran sa Panahon ng Diktadurya,” an educational assembly, on September 20 and 28, 6:30 pm, at the UPLB CFNR Admin Building’s Varrons Room. Dinner and transportation after the program will be provided. Students may register here; walk-ins are also allowed.
  • University of the Philippines Mindanao College of Humanities and Social Sciences calls on the UP Mindanao community to join “Balik Lantaw 2023: Martial Law” in Davao, which features a series of gallery viewing, forums, and film screenings from September 19 to 21.
  • University of the Philippines Visayas University Student Council invites everyone to a sectoral protest on Thursday, from 1 pm to 5:30 pm, at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol. 
Virtual activities
  • Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHCR) launches a series of reels on Memories of Martial Law featuring people who lived through one of the nation’s darkest periods. Everyone is encouraged to share their insights by sharing the reels and tagging them on Instagram Stories. Along with this, AHCR is also hosting a watch party for the documentary, The Kingmaker, on Friday, September 22, from 6 pm to 10 pm, via Zoom. A roundtable will be held afterward. Register for the watch party by scanning the QR code here.
  • EdukSine offers a lineup of local films to celebrate National Teachers’ Month and the 51st Martial Law commemoration this September. The streaming platform provides two days of unlimited streaming for all films in their platform for P100. While the list is promoted in line with the month’s events, you can watch them all at any time. Check out other films from EdukSine here.
  • Kabataan Partylist – Pasig invites everyone to its series of educational discussions on the Marcos regime. Its upcoming discussion, “Panlipunang Reyalidad ng Pilipinas,” is set to happen on Sunday, September 24, at 5 pm via Google Meet. To join, visit this link or scan the QR code here

Do you know other upcoming events that commemorate Martial Law’s 51st anniversary? Feel free to share the details through – with reports from Mari George Sta. Ana/ 

Mari George Sta. Ana is a Rappler volunteer from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. She is currently in her final year of taking up Bachelor of Arts in English Language Studies.

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Waya Lao

Waya Lao is a community and civic engagement specialist under MovePH, Rappler’s civic engagement arm.