More than 1,000 scholars and educators based in the Philippines and abroad have issued an online manifesto calling for the defense of historical truth and academic freedom, as they expressed concern over escalating attempts to revise narratives about the martial law years and erase “traumatic personal and collective memories of plunder and human rights violation” under the Marcos dictatorship.
The initiative was launched a week after presumptive President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. named his running mate, Davao City Mayor and now presumptive Vice President Sara Duterte, to his Cabinet as the next education secretary, a post she later accepted.
Oscar Campomanes, a professor at the Ateneo de Manila University and one of the initiators of the manifesto, said they would conduct activities resisting censorship like book-banning, while condemning all attempts at Red-tagging.
Over 1K signatories
“We want to bring out a strong statement in defense of historical truth against unrelenting efforts to revise the historical record of plunder and human rights violations during martial law and the entire Marcos era,” he said in a statement accompanying the manifesto on Thursday.
The document comes in English, Tagalog, Ilocano, and Cebuano versions. It can be accessed by clicking here.
As of 6 p.m. on Thursday, it has gathered the signatures of some 1,200 individuals who identify themselves as scholars and educators affiliated with various higher learning institutions, including Ateneo, University of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas, Silliman University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, De La Salle University, University of Cambridge, Kyoto University, New York University and Queensland University of Technology, among others.
The document said Marcos Jr. and Duterte’s apparent victory in the May 9 elections “signals an intensified struggle over historical knowledge and pedagogy, the erasure of traumatic personal and collective memories of plunder and human rights violation” under his father’s regime.
“We pledge to combat all attempts at historical revisionism that distort and falsify history to suit the dynastic interests of the Marcoses and their allies and to fortify their power,” it added
The document also expressed the signatories’ commitment to safeguard the integrity and independence of education, historical and cultural institutions, including the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, National Historical Commission of the Philippines and National Library of the Philippines.
“We will undertake to preserve books, documents, records, artifacts, archives and other source materials pertaining to the martial law period,” it said.
The signatories, it said, also vow to take part in the vetting, writing and teaching of Philippine history in textbooks and other learning materials.