Saturday, July 20, 2024

Forget Not

The number 1081 probably was the most feared figure back then. The number was bad omen. It meant dictatorship. News outlets were ceased. Journalists were killed. Protesters were kidnapped and disappeared. The Anti-Marcos groups hid in the shadows. Those people who were against the dictator died. It’s time to wake-up and see reality.

To relive the forgotten stories of Martial Law, Shamah Bulangis, a foreign affairs student, organized the Kada-Bato Initiative last July 5 at the Silliman University Catacombs. The Kada-Bato Initiative is a localized version of the non-partisan initiative Bawat-Bato.

Bawat-Bato is a peaceful propaganda organized by local and national human rights groups: Akbayan Youth; Martial Law Chronicles Project; Bantayog ng mga Bayani; Claimants 1081; Nameless Heroes and Martyrs; UP Samasa; and other student organizations, to name a few.

The stone represents the people who died and disappeared during the Martial law. According to Bubut Vasquez of the Bawat-Bato initiative, “On each stone laid was written the name of a man/woman/child kidnapped, tortured and murdered during Martial Law. They are the real heroes who deserve to be buried here.”

The Libingan ng mga Bayani is the designated resting place for Filipino soldiers, war veterans, and citizens who were recognized as heroes or martyrs. According to AFP’s press release last May 27, there are guidelines before a person can be laid to rest at the cemetery. Presidents, Defense Secretaries, Medal of Valor Awardees, and AFP Chief of Staffs are only a few from AFP’s long list. However, those who were shamefully discharged from service and convicted of an offense involving “moral turpitude” are not qualified for internment.

However, President Rodrigo Duterte in a press conference last May 17 said, “I will allow Marcos burial in Libingan Ng Mga Bayani, not because he was a hero but because he was a Filipino soldier.” The tough talking President also said that it can be arranged immediately.

The Weekly Sillimanian (tWS) believes that Duterte’s argument is unsound. Claiming that Marcos was a soldier, it is also a hard fact that he caused “moral turpitude” to those who died, disappeared, and were tortured during Martial Law.

tWS fully supports the Bawat-Bato initiative because it serves as a wake-up call for the youth who seemed to forget the unspoken horrors of Martial rule.

The lessons of history are today’s weapons for the uncertain future. The role of the youth is to learn the atrocities of Martial law. The incompetent teachers and textbook authors are not stating the hard facts, but mere overviews—or cover-ups—of history. It’s time to end history revisionism. Learn from history. Learn from Martial Law. Forget not.


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