Groups slam Marcos admin’s attempts to ‘erase’ martial law atrocities

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 21) — Human rights and educators' groups called out what they said is the administration’s efforts to cleanse the name and bury the abuses of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos' regime, as the country marks on Thursday the 51st anniversary of martial law.

The elder Marcos, father and namesake of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., declared martial law on Sept. 21, 1972.

"But like his father, his “vision” for a New Society proves to be a myth with the soaring prices of basic commodities and the worsening living conditions of ordinary Filipinos," the Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND) said in a statement.

"Despite this alarming situation, the Marcos Jr. administration has been relentless in its efforts to cleanse the name of the Marcos family in Philippine history," it added.

Meanwhile, human rights group Amnesty International's (AI) Philippine office said in a separate statement that with only a little over a year of Marcos' presidency, "the horrors of his father’s dictatorship marked by human rights violations, abuses, and atrocities have already been botched using subtle but significant load of propaganda and political nudges, ironically being maneuvered using taxpayers’ money, creeping its way one institution after another."

It cited the Department of Education's (DepEd) memorandum to change the term "Diktadurang Marcos" to "Diktadura" [Dictatorship] in the Araling Panlipunan curriculum of Grade 6 students.

“This act initiated by the Bureau of Curriculum benefits neither the students nor their teachers but the Marcos family and their cronies’ interests alone,” AI added, calling the move "a crucial step guaranteeing the revision of our collective consciousness about Marcos’ dictatorship and erasing its harrowing effects to the Filipino people as a nation."


Educators condemn DepEd's plan to change the term 'Diktadurang Marcos' in curriculum

DepEd: No pressure from admin to disassociate Marcos from martial law

The current president has refused to apologize for the abuses of his father's administration, saying he can only apologize for himself if he has done something wrong.

In his inagural speech, he also prasied his father's achievements as the country's leader, saying "he got it done" and "so will it be with his son."

In May last year, Sen. Imee Marcos said they hope to "clarify" their father's legacy now that they have returned to Malacañang. The late Marcos patriarch was president for over 20 years.

READ: Poised for Palace return, Marcos family hopes to ‘clarify’ legacy of late strongman

On Sept. 21, 1972, the elder Marcos placed the Philippines under martial law, ruling the country with an iron fist for the next 14 years until his ouster in a people power revolt in 1986.

His one-man rule was marked by human rights abuses and corruption.

AI estimates some 70,000 people were imprisoned and 34,000 tortured under the Marcos regime.

Meanwhile, over 11,000 fell victim to summary execution, torture, and other human rights violations, according to the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act.

The law recognizes “the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations” under the Marcos regime through monetary or non-monetary reparations sourced from the ₱10 billion ill-gotten wealth retrieved by the government from the former dictator's family and cronies.

Meanwhile, various groups and institutions will mark the anniversary by holding screenings and film festivals to revisit the struggles of martial law survivors.

Members and partners of iDefend have also scheduled simultaneous rallies at the People Power Monument in Quezon City.