MANILA, Philippines – The presidents of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and De La Salle University (DLSU) said students must be vigilant against efforts to forget the dark period of Martial Law.
Their joint statement signed by Ateneo president Fr Jose Ramon Villarin SJ and DLSU president Br Raymundo Suplido FSC was issued on the eve of the 46th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law by dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The two university presidents said students and all young Filipinos must “do all they can to learn the lessons of history.”
“Be critical in assessing the truth of what really took place from September 1972 to February 1986. Read the books, watch the documentaries, but above all listen to the stories and accounts of those who suffered and struggled to keep freedom and justice alive during those years of dictatorship,” they said. (#NeverAgain: Martial Law stories young people need to hear)
The university officials likewise urged students to guard against falsehoods of people who wish to revise Philippine history. They hit groups who “naively” tell the public to move on from Martial Law.
“We say there can be no moving on without admittance, contrition, and reparation. Until then the evil tentacles of Martial Law will continue to fester and wound our democracy,” the university presidents said.
Both Bongbong and Imee Marcos, children of the late dictator, told Filipinos who continue to criticize their father to “move on” as there were “other problems” to think about. “Why waste time on this? It’s over,” said Marcos’ son. (Bongbong Marcos to 'move on' critics: 'What else do you want to do?')
Teachers’ role: Villarin and Suplido also reminded members of the academe about their role in making sure students know the truth about Martial Law. (CHED: University officials should not take political stand)
“The members of the academic communities cannot abdicate their duty to educate the next generation on truths of our history even more so when people threaten to creatively destroy them,” they said.
During Martial Law, students and universities played a key role in fighting against the injustices committed by government forces. Many of those who suffered abuses were also students and school officials. (Gone too soon: 7 youth leaders killed under Martial Law)
“We cannot celebrate this day of infamy. Rather, this day must remind us of what we almost lost, and what we may lose again, if we are not vigilant and wise,” the university presidents said.
The 21-year rule of the Marcos patriarch, who was ousted during the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, was marred by killings, torture, disappearances, media oppression, and corruption. Amnesty International estimated that about 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 tortured, and 3,240 killed under Marcos.
The Marcoses have never acknowledged nor apologized for the abuses committed under Martial Law.
News you can use about Martial Law: