Book on Marcos dictatorship wins 2017 National Book Award


Posted at Nov 17 2017 10:57 PM

“Marcos Martial Law: Never Again", investigative journalist Raissa Robles' history of the dictatorship and its atrocities, has won the 2017 National Book Award in the category of Non-Fiction Prose in English.

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The 36th National Book Awards winners were announced on Friday, November 17 in the National Book Development Board's (NBDB) website.

The yearly award is jointly administered by the NBDB and the Manila Critics Circle.

Edited by Robles' husband Alan, himself a veteran journalist, "Marcos Martial Law: Never Again" recounts the systematic way then-President Ferdinand Marcos plotted to grab power by declaring martial law in 1972 and installing himself as a dictator. Marcos described martial law as an instrument to reform society but using extensive documents and interviews, Robles writes that the 14-year dictatorship was a regime of oppression and plunder that didn't hesitate to round up, torture and murder thousands of Filipinos.

The Marcoses have been accused of stealing billions of dollars, which have not yet been fully recovered. A peaceful "people power" uprising chased the Marcoses out of the country in 1986 and Marcos died in exile, but they have since rebuilt their political fortunes.

Published by Filipinos for a Better Philippines, an NGO founded by retired businessmen from Ateneo de Manila University, the book was released in 2016 and was on the bestseller list of National Bookstore. It is now on its third printing.

American historian Dr. Alfred McCoy, who has written extensively about Marcos, wrote about Robles' book: “Just at the moment when the collective memory of Marcos’s brutality was fading and his partisans were recasting his Martial Law regime as a bold developmental initiative, Raissa Robles has delivered a powerful corrective. After years of rigorous research, she carefully documents the regime’s orgy of corruption and recovers persuasive eye-witness testimony to its tortures from both the perpetrators and their victims. More than any other work published in the thirty years since the dictator’s downfall, this book inscribes all this evidence of the regime’s excesses in the historical record for future generations of Filipinos.”

The book is also a finalist in the National Book Awards' Book Design category. The winner in this category is “Colonial Manila: 1909-1912: Three Dutch Travel Accounts by Karl Frederick M. Castro, published by the Ateneo de Manila University Press.

The Ateneo de Manila University Press is this year’s Publisher of the Year, since it won the most number of awards (eight) in various categories. Among them is a ground-breaking book on the shadow economy of Mindanao which relies heavily on gun-running, drug-dealing and kidnapping. The book, “Out of the Shadows: Violent Conflict and the Real Economy of Mindanao", is written by Francisco J. Lara, Jr. and Steven Schoofs.

Alfred A. Yuson is this year’s winner for Novel in English with “The Music Child and the Mahjong Queen”, published by Anvil Publishing, Inc.

Francis A. Macasanto is the winner for Poetry in English with “Snail Fever: Poems of Two Decades” published by the University of the Philippines Press.

Below is the complete list of winners in the 36th National Book Awards:

Short Fiction in English:
"Mariposa Gang and Other Stories"
Catherine Torres
University of Santo Tomas Publishing House

Short Fiction in Filipino:
"Sangkatauhan, Sangkahayupan: Mga Kwento"
Alvin B. Yapan
Ateneo de Manila University Press

Literary Division:

Novel in English:
"The Music Child and the Mahjong Queen"
Alfred A. Yuson
Anvil Publishing Inc.

Novel In Filipino:
"Tito O."
Charmaine Lasar
PageJump Media

Non-Fiction Prose in English:
"Marcos Martial Law: Never Again"
Raissa Robles
Filipinos for a Better Philippines

Non-Fiction Prose in Filipino:
"Sulyap sa Aking Pinanggalingan"
Roque J. Ferriols, SJ
Ateneo de Manila University Press

Poetry in English:
"Snail Fever: Poems of Two Decades"
Francis C. Macansantos
The University of the Philippines Press

Poetry in Filipino:
"Banayad: Mga Tula"
Rowena P. Festin
The University of the Philippines Press

Poetry in Waray:
"Taburos Han Dagat"
Victor N. Sugbo
The University of the Philippines Press

Anthology (Bilingual):
"Remembering/Rethinking EDSA"
JPaul S. Manzanilla and Caroline S. Hau
Anvil Publishing Inc.

Anthology in Filipino:
"Batang Rizal at iba pang Dula"
Christine S. Bellen
Ateneo de Manila University Press

Anthology in Waray:
"Susmaton: Oral Narratives of Leyte"
Merlie M. Alunan
Ateneo de Manila University Press

Graphic Literature:
Bong Redila
Adarna House Inc.

Literary Criticism/Literary History:
"Migrations and Mediations: The Emergence of Southeast Asian Diaspora Writers in Australia 1972-2007"
Jose Wendell P. Capili
The University of the Philippines Press

"To the People Sitting in Darkness... and Other Footnotes of Our Pasts"
Jose Victor Torres
University of Santo Tomas Publishing House

Ramon Muzones and Maria Cecilia Locsin-Nava
New Day Publishers

Non-Literary Division:

"Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary"
Edgie Polistico
Anvil Publishing Inc.

"Feeding Manila in Peace and War, 1850-1945"
Daniel F. Doeppers
Ateneo de Manila University Press

"A Field Guide to Flight: Identifying Birds on Three School Grounds"
Amado C. Bajarias, Jr.
Ateneo de Manila University Press

Social Sciences:
"Out of the Shadows: Violent Conflict and the Real Economy of Mindanao"
Francisco J. Lara Jr. and Steven Schoofs
Ateneo de Manila University Press

"Peryodismo sa Bingit: Mga Naratibong Ulat sa Panahon ng Digmaan at Krisis"
Kenneth Roland A. Guda
The University of the Philippines Press

"Pinoy Manners: A Modern Guide to Delicadeza for All Generations"
Joy Lumawig-Buensalido, Christine Jocelyn Buensalido

"Gusto Kong Maging Voice Talent: Mga Sikreto sa Likod ng Dubbing, Voice-over at Voice Acting"
Pocholo Gonzales
PSICOM Publishing Inc.

"Eiga: Cinema in the Philippines During World War II"
Nick Deocampo
Anvil Publishing Inc.

Language Studies:
"Capampangan Roots"
Papa Osmubal (Oscar Balajadia)
Holy Angel University Press

Book Design:
"Colonial Manila, 1909-1912"
Karl Fredrick M. Castro
Ateneo de Manila University Press

Publisher of the Year:
Ateneo de Manila University Press