The Marcoses revel in Filipino forgetfulness

Three decades after the people marched along EDSA for liberation, the nation teeters on the edge of having its hard-fought history of struggle completely rewritten.

The Filipino are a forgetful people, and Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s proclamation as the 17th president of the Philippines was nothing but a culmination of his family’s decades-long quest to rewrite what should be remembered.

It was thanks to an expensive—and expansive—disinformation campaign that shamelessly rebranded his father’s barbaric Martial Law regime as a bygone “golden age.” This campaign of false nostalgia exploited the tales of the victims of the very illusion that the Marcos family built. They minimized and denied the suffering of the nation, enough to extinguish any sense of empathy and pride within Filipinos for the people who have made it their life’s mission to reject tyranny, both then and now. 

With their return to power, more disinformation machinery is in place: a proposal to replace “Diktadurang Marcos” with diktadura in basic education curriculum, the denial to enforce the EDSA People Power Anniversary as a holiday, and the tasteless attempts to revise the 1987 Constitution. These tactics are nothing short of insidious means to sow the seeds of ignorance, to erase all traces of their atrocities and of our hard-won struggles for freedom—and they are succeeding, gleefully basking in our collective obliviousness.

One should not need a reminder that about 38 years ago today, Filipinos flocked to EDSA in a spontaneous outpouring of unity, driven purely by the burning desire to overthrow absolute power after 20 years of dictatorship. Now, the millions who once roared for freedom have become merely a noisy minority.

We cry out, “Never again, never forget,” because the somber truth is that people did forget. The same force that once sent the power-hungry despot scurrying to Hawaii with their tails between their legs is, alas, the same democracy that brought them back to Malacañang.

The revolution in EDSA was only supposed to be a pivotal moment—a beginning. The movement served only as a hopeful but impermanent release after a painful struggle. We were not meant to be complacent in what followed; EDSA was never sustainable by itself as an upheaval of the very blueprint that plunged us into the depths of fascist rule. But now, we find ourselves back in the dark. Clearly, we have failed its cause. 

In the face of the relentless onslaught against objectivity, subjectivity has surged to be the king. The digital realm has transformed into a highly polarized space where being the  “correct” person, even if armed with incorrect information, takes precedence simply because of political disagreements. Opinions, even when crafted to tamper with the truth, now demand respect; History, once an evidence-based science, has been relegated to something abstract. We are now hurtling toward a national amnesia.

It is now a race against the clock. If this day reminds us of anything, it’s that we can no longer succumb to leniency. Be enraged, let this fuel us, for try as he might, Marcos Jr. is not a man powerful enough to stifle the skeletons howling from inside his family’s chamber of secrets.

As members of the press—witnesses and makers of the first drafts of history—we enjoin every Filipino in a fight to defend the freedom that was once trampled upon by the very clan seeking to reclaim it.

To demystify perception and uphold truth will continue to be a daunting task, but it is our duty to stand on the frontlines and as the last bastion against distortionism.

Filipinos are victims to the manipulation of truth, to seeing fiction as reality, and worse, to ignoring the horrors for the tall tales. We are deeply entangled with the false narrative of a “golden age,” built upon the delusions of grandeur of the despotical family. Yet, our relentless pursuit of the buried truths remains a steadfast mission—an unwavering commitment to resurrecting the essence of revolution from its last breath. And maybe, the Filipino can overcome the web of lies that ensnare us.

The LaSallian

By The LaSallian

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