The Student Christian Movement of the Philippines joined calls against “‘tyranny and historical revisionism” as they marked on November 18 the fifth anniversary of the burial of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the country’s heroes’ cemetery.
“There is a united, unequivocal sentiment among freedom-loving Filipinos that there must not be any hero’s treatment toward a dictator who plunged the Philippines into dire poverty and who has also committed unfathomable human rights violations,” said Kej Andres, the group’s spokesperson.
An estimated 70,000 people were arrested, 34,000 were tortured, and more than 3,240 were killed by state forces during the 20-year rule of Marcos in the 1970s and the 1980s, according to Amnesty International.
From 4 out of 10 families being said to be poor before the start of the Marcos administration, it became 6 out of 10 during the end of the authoritarian rule.
The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Marcos rule as the greatest robbery of a government, with a national loss estimating from US$5-US$10 billion.
“There is no golden age, as Filipinos suffered extreme poverty and experienced wanton killings, arrests, and abuses. It is clear that it is the darkest part of our modern history,” said Andres.
The Christian youth group, however, noted in a statement that disinformation has been rampant in recent days especially with the candidacy of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in next year’s presidential elections.
In a separate statement, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines called on the Filipino youth “to block any forms of historical revisionism and distortion that glorify the tyrannical rule of Marcos and whitewash the human rights violations.”
“We remain firm in our stand that a dictator responsible for the deaths of many Filipinos do not deserve to be laid in a place of honor,” said Regina Tolentino, the group’s secretary general.
The Promotion of Church People’s Response, meanwhile, said all efforts to counter the restoration of Marcos in power is “vital for all freedom-loving Filipinos,” adding that “our faith impels us to stand up and fight for truth, justice and accountability.”
“The historical revisionism of the Marcoses must be shattered especially among today’s youth,” said the faith-based ecumenical organization.
“As Christians, we cannot allow another six years of injustice, inhumanity and untold suffering on the people,” read the group’s statement. “To truly build God’s kingdom on earth, it is our moral duty to translate our faith into concrete action against these dark forces of evil.”
Various faith-based groups have earlier warned Filipinos about what they described as “an attempt to distort and reframe history” to paint a different picture of the years of martial law under former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“With the election season upon us, we underscore that every Filipino should assess and consider carefully what is true: Marcos is no hero,” read a statement released by the ecumenical group “One Voice.”
“Let us not be misled by any attempt to distort and reframe history,” read the statement issued on the fifth anniversary of the “hero’s burial” accorded by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to the late dictator in 2016.
The group said “evidence of the dark days of martial law are before us,” citing the reported torture, imprisonments, and killings of people that continue to proliferate in the country, and “the widespread poverty and massive corruption.”
“We encourage everyone to discern the truth of our history and to apply such wisdom to present realities,” read the Church leaders’ statement.