Palace fine with martial law subject at UP Diliman
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has no objection to the University of the Philippines’ latest general education subject devoted to the country’s experience under martial law during the Marcos dictatorship.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo finds it a good idea, when asked to comment on UP Diliman’s subject tackling the language, literature and culture during the dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law regime.
Apart from that period, martial law was declared in the Philippines during Spanish rule and during the Pacific War.
“That’s good if it’s a subject matter,” Panelo said in a press briefing on Monday.
“Every student should know and learn any subject that concerns governance,” added Panelo, who served as counsel for the Marcoses in their ill-gotten wealth cases.
The late dictator Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law about a year before his second term under the 1935 Constitution was about to end.
His Proclamation 1081 declaring martial law nationwide was announced on the night of Sept. 23, 1972, exactly 47 years ago this Saturday, but was antedated to Sept. 21.
Thousands of Filipinos fell victim to human rights violations during Marcos’ martial rule until the early 1980s.
The Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas under UP Diliman’s College of Arts and Letters will be offering the three-unit subject beginning next semester.
The course will be called Philippine Studies 21: Wika, Kultura at Panitikan sa Ilalim ng Batas Militar sa Pilipinas.
The course will not only dwell on the martial law years under the Marcoses, but also military rule by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and by President Rodrigo Duterte in his administration.
In December 2009, Arroyo placed Maguindanao under martial law for nine days to prevent the escalation of violence and allow the swift arrest of suspects in the Ampatuan massacre.
In May 2017, the President placed the entire Mindanao under martial law following the siege of Marawi City by the Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorist group. Military rule in Mindanao remains in effect.
The offering of the new general education course was approved by the University Council, a policymaking body composed of regular UP faculty members.
The new course came on the heels of a plan to construct a martial law museum in UP Diliman to be called the “Fall of Brutal.” It is expected to be completed by September 2022.
Protesters were encouraged to wear black on Sept. 20, for the “Laban Kabataan, Laban Bayan” rally in Luneta Park at 3 p.m.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes said that there will be a “passing of the torch drama” as activists from the 1960s and ’70s will “meet up” with today’s young activists.
Former Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno said various youth groups initiated the Friday protest following the criticisms against students.
—With a report from Nikka G. Valenzuela
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