Ateneo professors to Bongbong Marcos: Stop ‘distortion of history’

I have included this article, sent to me by Myles Garcia, author of “Thirty Years Later”, as I strongly believe the Philippine education system has betrayed the youth of today by glossing over or ignoring completely the abuses and excesses of the Marcos era. It is this wholesale “rewriting” of history that has sadly allowed so many young people today to view those years through rose-tinted glasses as something of a “golden age”. But, for those of us who lived through it, who did not benefit from being a Marcos “crony”, this total distortion of the factual history, the continued promotion of false achievements during that time, is a crime in itself. I welcome the Ateeneo professors speaking out at this time. Others should too. And rather than continue to offer the pathetic excuse, “We must not look at the past, we must look to the future” Bong Bong Marcos should face reality, address the wrongdoings of his family, apologize profusely to the people and promise to make amends.

Ateneo professors condemn attempts to whitewash the Marcos regime’s ‘wanton violation of human rights’ and call for justice on behalf of abuse victims

Bea Orante
Published 2:12 PM, March 02, 2016
Updated 2:51 PM, March 02, 2016
AGAINST REVISIONISM. Ateneo professors release a statement condemning Senator Bongbong Marcos' comment about martial law and reminds voters to stay vigilant. Image courtesy of the Ateneo de Manila University

AGAINST REVISIONISM. Ateneo professors release a statement condemning Senator Bongbong Marcos’ comment about martial law and reminds voters to stay vigilant. Image courtesy of the Ateneo de Manila University

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – After vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr said historians, not politicians, should judge his father’s regime, professors of the Ateneo de Manila University said they oppose the “ongoing willful distortion of our history.

A statement titled, “We are not blind to the darkness and oppression of the Marcos years”, was signed by at least 412 faculty members and released Wednesday, March 2.

Signatories from different departments, including several from the history department,refuted the vice presidential candidate’s claim that the Marcos years were good for the country. “The Marcos regime’s economics of debt-driven growth was disastrous for the Philippines,” they said.

“The regime was not interested in inclusive development, long-term state-building, nor genuine social transformation of the country, despite its ‘New Society’ rhetoric,” they added.

They deplored “the shameless refusal to acknowledge the crimes of the Martial Law regime” and said they “reject the revision of history, disturbing vision of the future, and shallow call for ‘unity’ being presented by Marcos Jr and like-minded candidates in the 2016 elections.”

This included Bongbong Marcos’ recent calls for a hero’s burial for his father. “We reject any attempt to give Ferdinand E. Marcos a hero’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” the signatories said.

In their statement, they said Marcos simply created “new elites or ‘oligarchs’ rather than abolish them – suppoedly one of his main justification for declaring martial law.” Those who dared challenge the dictator were “intimidated, imprisoned, kidnapped, tortured or summarily executed.”

The faculty members also reiterated the need for justice for victims of martial law abuses and the need to pursue recovery of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth.

One of the darkest periods

“The Marcos dictatorship should be remembered as one of the darkest periods of Philippine history. We reaffirm our responsibility as teachers and professionals to keep the spirit of EDSA 1986 alive by imparting to the young that the structures, actions and ideas – including the many lies – that allowed the Marcos dictatorship to impose and perpetuate itself, should be eliminated and never again be allowed to flourish,” the statement said.

Marcos has staunchly defended his father’s regime, refusing to apologize for whatever may have happened during that period. (READ: ‘Bongbong Marcos knows what to apologize for’)

This “revisionism” did not escape criticism from the faculty, who criticized “attempts by some individuals and particularly public figures, to whitewash the Marcos regime’s wanton violation of human rights, and to distort its political-economic record.”

Historian and professor Dr Jose Edito Tirol previously commented about the issue saying, “It is our fault too, we the present, who chose forgiveness and forgetfulness over justice, of reconciliation over taking back what is rightfully ours, not just our lost national wealth, but our very dignity as a people.”

Looking to the elections, the signatories wrote: “We call on all our politicians, especially those who are running for office in the 2016 national and local elections, to take a definite stand on the abuses of the Marcos dictatorship.”

Marcos was tied at No. 1 with vice presidential candidate Francis “Chiz” Escudero, obtaining 26% in the latest February 5-7 survey of Social Weather Stations.

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