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University of the Philippines to tackle Martial Law as a subject

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  • The University of the Philippines will start tackling the Martial Law era as a subject starting next semester.
  • Sen. Imee Marcos, the daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, expressed hope that their family gets to air their side once the subject is formalized as part of the university’s curriculum.
  • At least 107,240 were primary victims of human rights violations during the Martial Law, while the Marcos family has only returned P171 billion of the P530 billion that it stole from the government coffers.

MANILA, Philippines—Starting next semester, a subject that will tackle the Martial Law era and the regime of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos will be offered at the University of the Philippines (UP). 

The subject will be titled Philippine Studies (PS) 21, which will focus on the language, literature, and culture under the Martial Law, UP announced last week.

Photo from The Manila Times

On Sunday, Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo welcomed the announcement.

“Dapat nga ‘di lang sa UP. Dapat sa lahat ng paaralan ginawa na natin ito after 1986. Dapat ginawa na natin ito kasi safeguard sana ito kung papano natin masiguro na hindi na mangyayari pa [ang Martial Law]…sana hindi lang UP, sana lahat ng paaralan gawin na ito,” the Vice President said.

(The subject should not just be taught in UP as much as possible. All universities should have done this after 1986. We should have done this because this will serve as a safeguard to ensure that Martial Law will not happen anymore. I hope it’s not just UP. I hope the rest of the universities in the country will do this.)

Robredo added that the country has to continue the battle not just against a name and a family, but also against silence, apathy, and historical revisionism on the Martial Law era.

Of the 107,240 primary victims of human rights violations during Martial Law, 70,000 were arrested, 34,000 were tortured, and 3,240 were reportedly killed by authorities. 

While the Marcos family amassed at least P530 billion from the coffers during the Marcos regime, Robredo noted that only P171 billion was recovered from them, less than half of the total amount that they should be accountable for.

Meanwhile, Sen. Imee Marcos, the daughter of the late dictator, hoped that her family gets to air their side when the subject is included in the university’s curriculum.

“It’s good that it’s being studied.  I hope we will be given the chance to say what we believe happened. That is what’s important, that each of us share our viewpoint and that each of us be heard,” she said.

A day after the 47th anniversary of the Martial Law declaration, Palace issued a statement claiming that even as the imposition “created a deep wound to an entire generation,” it was a necessary “tool” to save the exercise of democracy in the Philippines.

“The imposition of martial law and the abuses it spawned even as it instilled discipline among the citizenry at its inception, as well as reaping success in dismantling the then spreading communist insurgency in the country, created a deep wound to an entire generation,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, who only forwarded the statement to the media early Sunday.

While acknowledging that the declaration of martial law in 1972 by late strongman Ferdinand Marcos “continues to haunt those who have traumatic experiences,” Panelo said that the framers of the 1987 Constitution deemed it necessary to “save the Republic from ruin against the enemies of the state.”

Photo from Philippine Star

President Rodrigo Duterte is an ally of the Marcoses. In November 2016, he allowed the late dictator to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani despite criticism from various sectors.

Source: Office of the President, Office of the Vice President, The Manila Times


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