History behind the ‘Bagong Lipunan’ hymn played at a proclamation rally

February 9, 2022 - 4:51 PM
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Supporters of Philippine presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and vice-presidential candidate Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, raise their flags during the first day of campaign period for the 2022 presidential election, at the Philippine Arena, in Bulacan province, Philippines, February 8, 2022. (REUTERS/Lisa Marie David)

A modern version of a propaganda song during the Martial Law era was played during a proclamation rally on Tuesday, February 8.

The song titled “Bagong Lipunan” was first released on radio and television stations during Martial Law as an anthem to trumpet the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr’s vision of a new society.

Decades after, a new version of it was played in front of thousands of Filipinos at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.

This time, the crowd danced to the tune of the song to support the dictator’s son Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who is running for the presidency.

Marcos Jr’s running mate is Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who was also present at the event.

After the song was played, the host Toni Gonzaga claimed that the fight is already over.

“Tapos na, may nanalo na, tapos ang laban. Buhay na buhay ang pagmamahal kay Apo Lakay Ferdinand Marcos,” Gonzaga told the audience.

Aside from the old song, OPM hit “Umagang Kay Ganda” was also performed during the proclamation rally.

The artists who performed the song include Wency Cornejo, Dulce, Robert Seña, Isay Alvarez and Randy Santiago.

The campaign activity was live-streamed on Facebook that garnered nearly 100,000 viewers.

History

Felipe Padilla De Leon Sr., National Artist for Music, was the composer of “Bagong Lipunan.”

The lyrics were written by Levi Celerio, also conferred with the National Artist for Literature and Music.

De Leon also composed a similar marching song called “Bagong Pagsilang.” 

He was commissioned by former first lady Imelda Marcos to compose both songs following the declaration of Martial Law in 1972.

“Bagong Lipunan” was later broadcast on all TV and radio stations throughout the dark regime.

Marcos Sr. effectively used music to espouse his vision for a new society or new republic through a movement called the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL).

Marcos Jr.’s political party bears its namesake.

The song’s positive message was also an effective tool for the Marcos family to cover up the killings, torture, extreme poverty and other pressing national concerns that happened under Martial Law.

Years after the fall of the dictatorship, it became a chilling reminder to the regime’s victims and their relatives.

How social media reacted

Following the proclamation rally, the name “Bagong Lipunan” reached the trending list of Twitter Philippines.

Several Filipinos shared how hearing the old anthem again stirred up bad memories.

“My parents are talking about how they still vividly remember Bagong Lipunan and the way the propaganda played on the radio every single day,” one user said.

“Hearing the Bagong Lipunan brings back chills up my spine. That jingle played over n over again during my childhood w/ Macoy and fam plastered on TV during Martial Law. Nothing but bad, unhappy memories,” another user commented.

Other users slammed the attendees who sang the hymn at the arena.

“Bagong Lipunan Hymn was a FASCIST song. It played as farmers were massacred and activists were tortured. To revive it as a ‘modern rendition’ is equal to a neo-Nazi movement,” one activist wrote.

“Disgusting. They might as well dance on the victims’ graves,” another user said.