Under Bongbong Marcos admin, Martial Law museum faces uncertain future

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 24) – Whether or not the construction of the delay-ridden martial law museum will push through would depend on the incoming Marcos administration, said the head of the commission in charge of the project.

Executive Director Carmelo Victor Crisanto made this response when asked by CNN Philippines when the Freedom Memorial Museum — the flagship project of the Human Rights Violations Victims' Memorial Commission (HRVVMC) — may be expected to finally rise.

“Will the sitting president now allow a museum to be built which will house the narrative of how his father committed certain atrocities?” Crisanto said.

In less than a week, President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. — son and namesake of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos who declared martial law in 1972 — is set to assume office.

His running mate and Vice President-elect Sara Duterte would meanwhile form part of the new HRVVMC board of trustees, which would also determine the agency’s next steps, according to Crisanto.

Should the memorial commission be given the green light, the director committed to finish the project within 18 months. He also expressed optimism that the Marcos government will abide by the law mandating the creation of the museum.

The Freedom Memorial Museum was initially expected to open this September inside the University of the Philippines Diliman.

The structure – reported to be “built in the shape of a fist rising from a brutal edifice” – is meant to remember and raise awareness about the atrocities committed during martial law.

However, the Commission on Audit in a report released last week flagged HRVVMC's failure to complete the project, noting that not a single pillar has been built since then. The memorial commission, for its part, explained the challenges it faced and maintained it is untrue they have little progress to show.

Crisanto said while their deal with the previous construction firm was terminated last December due to multiple delays, they are ready to rebid the contract and build the museum.

READ: ‘Huge mistake’ to say not much done in martial law museum project — memorial commission