On September 21, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos enacted Martial Law through Proclamation No. 1081. This dark era of the Philippine government has cost lives and left thousands of families hungry for justice. About 70,000 people were detained for being enemies of the state. There were also about 34,000 tortured, and about 3,240 victims of salvage. About 398 reports of enforced disappearances were also documented, and 75,730 claims were filed with the Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) from people who are victims of human rights violation during the said period.
With history seemingly on the verge of repeating itself, it is now more than ever that we need to work hand in hand to prevent the dark and bloody years of the Philippines from being repeated. But, this can only be done if the people are informed and educated about the issue, and if they are given enough avenues to fight against it.
In pursuit of addressing these issues, UP CMC ISA, a political and socio-civic student organization based in the College of Mass Communication, University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD CMC), annually conducts various events in commemoration of Martial Law. This year, there will be a Martial Law Conference entitled “MARTIAL LAW COMMEMORATION: Never Again, Never Forget” divided into three different events: the Martial Law Forum, Essay Writing and Poster Making Contests and, the Martial Law Exhibit.
The conference will launch on September 16 with the Martial Law Forum to be held in the Media Center of UPD CMC from 8:30 AM to 12 NN. It is a discussion of various aspects and effects of Martial Law: politics, media and, society. Various speakers from the academe, media, and non-government organizations will share their studies, commentaries and, experiences about Martial Law to the participants. Other than initiating an exchange of ideas and inquiries from the participants to develop social awareness and critical thinking, it will also equip the participants of the competitions with additional knowledge about Martial Law.
The essay writing and poster making contests will occupy the afternoon itinerary from 1 PM to 4 PM. These will aim to achieve the event’s goal in providing students with avenues for self-expression of opinions and criticisms on Martial Law. Judges will be invited to deliberate on their outputs. Participants with the three highest scores will receive medals and certificates of recognition for their work.
To culminate the Martial Law Commemoration event, and to reach out to a greater number of people, the entries on essay writing and poster making competitions will be showcased in a four-day exhibit from September 19 to 22 at the Old Film Lobby in UPD CMC.
This weeklong commemoration is organized to raise awareness among the youth on the effects of Martial Law, and its danger to society. It also aims to provide avenues for them to express their opinions on this controversial issue through alternative activism. UP CMC ISA hopes that this project will serve as an eye opener for the younger sectors of society to be more critical, aware, and bold in fighting against historical revisionism for the betterment of society.