How some of the country’s top universities are commemorating Martial Law anniversary

September 21, 2020 - 4:33 PM
This composite photo shows a building in Ateneo de Manila University and University of the Philippines Diliman. (AdMU/Facebook; Wikimedia Commons/Ramon Velasquez)

Two top universities in the Philippines have set up activities to commemorate the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law this week to educate Filipinos and stop attempts of historical revisionism in the darkest period of contemporary Philippine history.

The University of the Philippines will stream webinars featuring leading Martial Law activists who will share their experiences as they struggle against the Marcos dictatorship, as well as stories of courage and hope in the face of torture and near-death experiences.

The state university will also feature recorded performances and video exhibits of sights and sounds of life under late president Ferdinand Marcos Sr‘s Martial Law.

UP’s theme for the remembrance is “Dambana ng Gunita: Mga Hulagway ng Pagkamulat at Kabayanihan 1972-1986.”

It is open to Filipinos who “who wish to continue learning about our country’s history and who believe in the importance of upholding and defending basic freedoms, civil liberties and human rights.”

Inaanyayahan ang lahat ng mga guro, iskolar, at Pilipinong nais ipagpatuloy ang pagkatuto tungkol sa kasaysayan ng ating…

Posted by University of the Philippines on Sunday, September 20, 2020


UP is also set to build the country’s first and only state-sponsored museum which officially recognizes the atrocities committed during Martial Law in its Diliman campus, according to reports.

Called the Freedom Memorial Museum, visitors would have to go through a “prison bar” entrance as a reminder of the restrictions imposed during the martial rule. They will also visit a “torture gallery” which would feature various instruments used in interrogating dissidents that time.

Filipinos will also see the van that carried former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino‘s body after he was assassinated upon landing in the Philippines, an incident that sparked the historical People Power Revolution.

Meanwhile, different units of Ateneo de Manila University have prepared webinars, video pieces, panels and livestreams to mark the 48th anniversary of Martial Law this week.

“We hope that you take the time to participate in some of these activities, share lessons, and reflect on how such lessons are relevant to today’s context,” part of its Facebook post reads.

In remembrance of the 48th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines, the different Ateneo units…

Posted by Ateneo de Manila University on Sunday, September 20, 2020


September 21 commemorates the day that Marcos placed the country under Martial Law that lasted for 14 years.

Considered the darkest period of the Philippines’ contemporary history, the period saw incidents of countless human rights violations, unsolved disappearances, media oppression and economic recession, among others.


It resulted in an “era of impunity” where activists, human rights defenders and mere civilians were arrested with the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus by emboldened uniformed personnel.

Over 3,200 people were killed while 34,000 individuals were tortured and some 70,000, imprisoned.

Attempts to whitewash the period and invalidate Martial Law victims have occurred to preserve the Marcosian myth that the country supposedly flourished under such years.

Earlier this month, a House bill declaring Marcos’ birthdate as a special non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte, his bailiwick, has passed the final reading.

READ: New attempt at ‘historical revisionism’ as House OKs bill dedicating holiday for ousted dictator Marcos

It was seen as a fresh attempt at historical revisionism done to invalidate the oppression and corruption that transpired in Marcos’ 21 year-presidency.

September, the month under which the bill seeks to honor Marcos’ birthdate, is also the same month when he declared Martial Law which plunged the nation in a dark period known in modern history.