If PH was progressive under martial law, who benefitted? – CHR to Marcos admirers
MANILA, Philippines — It’s easy to fall victim to historical revisionism — with admirers of the late President Ferdinand Marcos repeatedly saying that his martial law regime was the country’s golden age, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said on Monday, the 48th anniversary of the declaration of the rule.
But the CHR, created after the Marcos regime to prevent rights violations in the future, posed a lot of questions to Filipinos who continue to believe that the country back then was progressive:
Who enforced military rule and who benefitted from it?
CHR posed this question amid several movements on social media labeling the Marcos regime as the best thing that had happened to the country, and in circumspect, that the EDSA People Power Revolution was a bane.
“Madaling maging biktima ng naratibong umunlad ang Pilipinas sa ilalim ng diktadurya. (Pero) Kaunlaran bang maituturing ang pagpaslang at pananakit sa libu-libong indibidwal na nagsalita’t umaksyon laban sa mga kalabisan?” CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia asked in a statement.
(It is easy to be a victim of the narrative that the country developed under the dictatorship. But could we consider killing and hurting thousands of individuals who spoke and acted against the abuses a sign of progress?)
“Habang patuloy na ginagawang mapanghati ang usapin ng batas militar, bakit hindi natin suriin ang pwersang nasa likod ng pagpapatupad nito at kung sino nga ba ang tunay na nakinabang. Hindi dapat tayo magpadala sa ginagawang panglilito sa tao tungkol mga tunay na nangyari sa panahong iyon,” she added.
(While discussions about the martial law regime continue to be divisive, why don’t we analyze the forces behind its implementation and who benefitted the most from it. We should not be persuaded by efforts to confuse people about what really happened before.)
According to De Guia, it is important for people — especially those who were not around to witness martial law atrocities first-hand — to continue studying history and observing the past. She also urged people to understand why certain laws have been passed to compensate human rights violation victims, as the laws admit that violations took place during the said period.
“Maaaring karamihan sa atin ay hindi direktang nakita o naranasan ang mga pang-aabusong nangyari. Subalit hindi ibig sabihin na hindi mo naranasan, hindi ka na makikialam,” she noted.
(Many of us may have not seen or felt the abuses that happened before. But this is not enough reason for you not to engage in discussions and sit idly.)
“Kabilang sa mga pilit itinatanggi ng iilan ay ang mga paglabag sa mga karapatang pantao ng nakaraang diktadurya na gobyerno na mismo ang kumilala at umaalala sa pamamagitan ng pagpapasa ng Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act noong 2013,” she explained.
(Some of the things that are being denied are the gross abuse of human rights under the dictator’s rule, but the government itself acknowledges these abuses by passing the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition act last 2013.)
Marcos’ 21-year rule was marred with allegations of massive corruption, extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture of political enemies, and economic downturn.
But decades after Marcos was toppled in a peaceful revolution in 1986, a lot of people dissatisfied with the lack of progress after the martial law period believed that the country is better off with a military regime.
Some even insisted that the rights violations committed during the period did not exist, and was only hatched by critics of the Marcos family who wanted to taint the reputation of the dictator. However, as CHR said, the paintings and various bank accounts recovered from the Marcoses — described as ill-gotten wealth — were used to compensate relatives of martial law victims.
CHR stressed that there are a lot of families still grieving over the loss of their loved ones during abuses in the martial law regime — with some unable to confirm if their relatives indeed passed away.
The commission added that true healing of the country — as some Marcos apologists have insisted — would start by acknowledging that the martial law period brought pain to a lot of people.
“Bagama’t mahigit apat na dekada na ang nakalipas, nananatili pa rin ang sakit at pangungulila ng mga pamilya ng mga taong inalisan ng buhay at pinatahimik ng administrasyong Marcos,” De Guia said.
(While four decades have spanned, the pain and agony remains for families whose relatives were killed, or forcibly taken and silenced by the Marcos administration.)
“Walang mangyayaring paghilom kung hindi natin kolektibong kikilalanin ang mga hindi makataong pagtrato sa mga nagpahayag ng pagtaliwas. Hindi natin madidepensahan ang ating mga kalayaa’t mga karapatan kung hindi natin isasabuhay ang mga aral na ipinakita na mismo sa atin ng kasaysayan,” she added.
(No healing would happen if we cannot, collectively, acknowledge the inhumane treatment given to people expressing dissent. We cannot defend the rights and freedom that we experience today if we do not live the lessons that history itself taught us.) [ac]
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