Twenty-two-year-old Janina Vela, an influencer with more than 700,000 subscribers on YouTube, published on Saturday, September 25 a vlog about the Philippines’ Martial Law era under late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The video comes on the heels of a controversial interview by celebrity Toni Gonzaga-Soriano with former senator Bongbong Marcos published on September 13. Gonzaga-Soriano was criticized for not being more critical in her questioning of the late dictator’s son.
Interviewees on Vela’s video described the day Martial Law was implemented in 1972, emphasizing the near-complete silencing of media outlets.
“Ang mga dyaryo ay kontrolado dahil may mga ‘censor’ eh. Military ‘yang mga ‘yan. Meron talagang araw araw nagpupunta sa dyaryo. Nakaupo dun. Binabasa ‘yung diyaryo bago ilabas. Hindi nga ‘fake news’ pero limited news – [only] news that’s favorable to them,” says Chelo Banal-Formoso, a journalist who at the time of the declaration of Martial Law was a 21- or 22-year-old fresh graduate.
(The newspapers were controlled because of the “censor.” They were from the military. Every day, someone would come to the newspapers. They’d sit. They’d read the newspaper before it was published. It wasn’t “fake news” but limited news – [only] news that’s favorable to them.)
Within the video’s 12-minute runtime, more historical facts would be discussed by a Martial Law-era economist, a lawyer, a church worker, a psychologist, and a journalist, providing a comprehensive view of the truths and atrocities of Martial Law.
Vela also cites historical data and facts from sources – listed almost academically in the description of the video – such as The Official Gazette, World Bank, and Bloomberg, along with a tongue-in-cheek shoutout to one particular entry in the Guinness Book of World Records that a Marcos might wish to rewrite: the greatest robbery of a government.
“Economic reforms ought to improve the lives of people. No amount of economic development is worth the sacrifice in lives that happened during [Ferdinand Marcos’] regime,” says Francisco Lara Jr. in the video. Lara was 14 years old when Martial Law was declared.
“And [Marcos] will be condemned forever for that,” Lara concluded.
Lara is the senior peace and conflict adviser at the 30-year-old for-peace non-profit International Alert.
“Kailangan nating pag-aralan ang totoong kuwento ng Martial Law dahil bahagi ito ng ating history. Sana magbibigay [ang video na ito] ng kontribusyon laban sa historical revisionism,” Vela said.
(We need to study the true story of Martial Law because it is a part of our history. I hope [this video] will contribute in the fight against historical revisionism.)
“I’m not saying na walang oppression or inequalities na nangyari sa [termino ng ibang] presidente. (I’m not saying there wasn’t oppression or inequalities that happened in the terms of other presidents.) But we are just going to learn and discuss this period of time. Although we can’t make our historical knowledge gap disappear in just one vlog, I believe that we can close it by just an inch,” she added.
The video has also been published on Vela’s Facebook page. – Rappler.com
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