September 29, 2014—Students and former anti-Marcos activists retold their experiences and shared their insights during the 17th Pakighinabi at the Pakighinabi Room, Community Center last Tuesday.
Three esteemed discussants, as well as student leaders and members of the University community led the flow of the discussion. Students from different programs and year levels were also invited to join in the said forum.
Ms. Mags Maglana, a development worker and activist, narrated what she could remember about the Marcos regime.
“Marcos dictated what is wrong and right. His desire for power and influence permeated in his every action”, Maglano said.
According to Maglano, Marcos banned the TV show “Voltes V” because of fear that the people could pick-up the ideas of fighting against the regime from the show.
Maglana also retold the story of Ariel Ureta.
Ariel Ureta, a TV host and comedian, sarcastically made fun of Marcos’ tagline “Sa ikauunlad ng Bayan, Disiplina ang Kailangan”. He rephrased it to “Sa ikauunlad ng Bayan, Bisikleta ang kailangan”. Allegedly, Marcos ordered Ariel to bike around Camp Crame.
However, the bike punishment never happened, as Ureta confessed in a report.
The direst act of the Marcos’s thirst for power, according to Maglana, was when Imelda harassed the Beatles. Imelda invited the band to perform live at the Palace. The Beatles, however, needed to rest on the day Imelda requested for their presence. The day after, reports of the Beatles allegedly snubbing the presidential wife filled the front page.
“Marcos was the best recruiter of the NPA,” Maglana added.
Another of the lead discussants, Bro. Karl Gaspar, CSSR, also contributed his insights to the discussion. “Wala pang NPA noon,” Gaspar said. However, when Martial Law was declared, he said that activists escaped and hid into the mountains, eventually forming the New People Army.
Before the declaration of Martial Law, Bro. Gaspar involved himself in student rallies. He remembered the first student rally in Davao City, concerning the lack of a proper water system. The water ruined the digestive systems of those who are not used to drinking rain water from tank reservoirs, according to Gaspar.
He also focused himself, along with his fellow actors, in theatre arts, creating plays with revolutionary themes.
Macario Tiu, writer and activist, shared his experiences about hiding from the Marcos during Martial Law, and the people who worked underground to spark the revolution. The underground was supported by professionals and members of the religious sector who involved themselves in activism.
“The underground’s job is to support the NPA,” Tiu said.
Tiu also elaborated about the implications of the Vietnam War, and the victory of the communists against the United States of America. The US feared that a “domino effect” was going to take place once Vietnam successfully fell into communism, and would lead to the rest of Southeast Asia turning communist.
In order to prevent this, according to the conspiracy theory, the US supported the dictatorship of Marcos to prevent communism from spreading.
Regel Asuero, SAMAHAN President, then gave a statement affirming the desire of the youth to fight the status quo, and to change the structures and the culture of apathy that society faces today.
Fr. Joel added to the discussion, saying that activism before and today is very much the same. Both strive to free the people from “the discomfort of the status quo.”
He also emphasized the notion of “private property” and how it hinders the generosity of the people. People limit their generosity to their “private property”, and should therefore be extended to society’s poor.
For the closing remarks, the lead discussants gave their final thoughts on Martial Law.
Macario Tiu affirmed Fr. Tabora’s idea on “private property”, urging everyone to help those in need.
Bro. Gaspar said that the theories that the students learn in their Philosophy, Theology, and other classes should be applied in real life. He reminded the students to prepare themselves with these theories as these will help them in the real world.
Maglana ended the forum, saying, “Maraming Marcos. Maraming gusto ng kapangyarihan…pwede pang magkaroon ng isa pang Marcos,” and Martial Law can dawn again once the circumstances align and it will be different from before. It will be up to us, the new generation, to make sure it does not happen again.