On September 21, various Philippine groups joined forces to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, a somber period in the nation’s history. This declaration, made by Ferdinand E. Marcos on September 21, 1972, was marked by widespread human rights abuses, including the imprisonment of around 70,000 individuals, the torture of 34,000, and the tragic loss of 3,240 lives.
Concerns about historical revisionism, particularly within the education system, have arisen due to another member of the Marcos family holding political power. The Department of Education is contemplating a change from “Diktadurang Marcos” to “Diktadura” in the grade 6 Araling Panlipunan curriculum.
To address these issues and shed light on the significance of this historical event, various organizations have organized on-ground and virtual activities and initiatives. Some of the activities are as follows:
- BAYAN and progressive groups will hold a protest in Manila, urging participants to wear black and carry placards and photos of Martial Law and current administration victims. The protest will end with a march to Mendiola bridge.
- Cinemata, in collaboration with The Polytechnic University of the Philippines Center for Heritage Studies, will screen “Legacy of Struggle: Cinematic Perspectives on Martial Law” in Quezon City on September 22.
- The Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHCR) introduces a reel series on Memories of Martial Law, featuring survivors of this dark period. The public is encouraged to share their insights by posting these reels on Instagram Stories. Additionally, AHCR is hosting a watch party for the documentary “The Kingmaker” on September 22 from 6 pm to 10 pm via Zoom, followed by a roundtable discussion.
- EdukSine offers a selection of local films to mark National Teachers’ Month and the 51st Martial Law commemoration this September.
- Kabataan Partylist – Pasig invites all to its educational discussion on the Marcos regime, titled “Panlipunang Reyalidad ng Pilipinas,” on Sunday, September 24, at 5 pm via Google Meet.
View the full list of activities here.
In addition, Retired Catholic bishops Deogracias Iniguez Jr. of Kalookan and Antonio Tobias of Novaliches conducted a mass at the EDSA Shrine in Manila in line with the commemoration.
The EDSA Shrine emphasizes the importance of remembering the victims of martial law and expressing prayers that this dark period in history will never repeat.
Furthermore, Liberal Party president Rep. Edcel Lagman underscores the necessity of preserving the memory of this grim chapter in Philippine history to prevent its recurrence. He emphasizes that anniversaries serve not only as opportunities to commemorate past achievements but also to condemn past atrocities.