Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) commemorated the 51st anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law by defacing its press stands and dousing its library fountain in the color of blood.
The GUIDON, the university’s student publication, shared pictures of the press stands wrapped with cordon tapes and with replicas of Sunday Express’ headline for its Sept. 24, 1972 issue — “FM declares Martial Law.”
FM stands for Ferdinand Marcos Sr, the late president who placed the country under a nine-year martial rule that led to the curtailment of civil rights, prevalence of extrajudicial killings and unsolved disappearances, media suppression and economic recession, among others.
The GUIDON said that the defacement and condoning of its press stands symbolizes the state of mass media under Martial Law.
“Succeeding the imposition of Martial Law through Proclamation No. 1081, the Marcos administration ordered the military to seize privately-owned mass media, eradicating press freedom entirely,” the publication said on its Facebook page on Thursday, September 21.
“Through this initiative, The GUIDON pays tribute to the journalists and truth-tellers who persist in fighting for justice amid state repression—then and now. The publication stands with those who fearlessly continue relaying the truth and holding the line despite heightened threats to press freedom,” it added.
On Sept. 28, 1972, Marcos Sr authorized the military to take over assets of major media outlets, including ABS-CBN, Channel 5 and various radio stations across the country.
The late president claimed that the outlets were supposedly involved with the Communist movement.
Teodoro Locsin Sr, publisher of the Philippines Free Press, was arrested and imprisoned on the first week of Martial Law, along with Manila Times publisher Chino Roces and several journalists like Amando Doronila, Luis Beltran, Maximo Soliven, Juan Mercado and Luis Mauricio.
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Meanwhile, The GUIDON’s post also included the popular hashtags “#NeverAgain” and “#NeverForget,” which are battle cries uttered by critics of Martial Law.
“Never Again” is a call against bringing back or imposing Martial Law anew, while “Never Forget” is an appeal for Filipinos to continue to remember the nine-year period considered the darkest moments of Philippine contemporary history.
The color of the fountain at ADMU’s Rizal Library First Pacific Hall was also turned into the color of blood “to symbolize the blood of those lost to the injustices of the Marcos regime.”
Human rights organization Amnesty International said that Martial Law “saw an unprecedented wave of torture, extrajudicial killings, and other serious human rights violations against peaceful activists and members of the public across the country.”
“From 1972 to 1981, some 70,000 people were imprisoned and 34,000 were tortured; over 3,200 people were killed,” it added.
Meanwhile, The GUIDON said that the fountain initiative is part of the university’s Sanggunian Commission on Socio-Political Development‘s installations for commemorating the 51st year since the imposition of Martial Law.
“Entitled ‘Hugas Kamay ng Batas Militar,’ the installation is done in partnership with the Rizal Library administration,” it said.
“This serves as a reminder of rampant historical distortion, particularly the recent proposal of the Department of Education to remove the Marcos name from discussions concerning their dictatorship,” the publication added.
DepEd, headed by Vice President Sara Dutere, recently issued a directive changing “Marcos Dictatorship” or “Diktaduryang Marcos” to just “Dictatorship/Diktadurya” in the Grade 6 Araling Panlipunan syllabus under the new Matatag curriculum.