Historian to Marcos loyalists: Look at EDSA 1 from victims' perspective


Posted at Feb 22 2016 12:33 PM | Updated as of Sep 25 2018 06:38 PM

A historian has urged Marcos loyalists to look at the People Power revolution from the perspective of those who suffered from the dictatorship.

In an interview on radio dzMM Monday, Prof. Xiao Chua said there are people who actually believe that victims of martial law deserved to die because they were criminals.

The professor, however, emphasized that the victims were not criminals but individuals who were courageous enough to oppose military rule.

READ: Pinoys need cure from 'collective amnesia' on EDSA 1

"Hindi sila mga kriminal, sila'y nag-martsa o gumawa ng leaflet o sumulat, pero sila'y hinuhuli at tino-torture ng matindi," he said.

"Sana isaalang-alang natin na mayroong ibang perspektibo, ibang pananaw ng mga naapektuhan," Chua added.

The challenge with remembering EDSA 1

Chua said people think of the People Power as the point when millions gathered along EDSA, blocked tanks, and offered flowers to soldiers.

"Ang hindi alam, 'yung four days na bloodless revolution na nagpatalsik sa diktadura, 'yan po ay nagsimula hindi noong 1986, not even in 1983 during the Ninoy assasination. "

The historian said movements actually began in the 1970s when people started questioning the dictatorship. But back then, any hint of opposition could cost lives.

However, some people insisted instead that the Marcos years was Philippines' golden era: a time of peace and prosperity.

While the historian says he respects such views, he cannot say the same when he thinks of the victims.

Chua admitted that among the reasons why the atrocities of Martial Law is facing oblivion is because these are not being discussed in-depth.

Textbooks, for example, do not contain detailed stories of what happened during the Marcos years.

"Marami sa mga nababasa ko, halos mga proyekto ng mga pangulo ang nalalaman natin. Imbes na kasaysayan ng Pilipinas, isa siyang libro ng mga proyekto ng mga pangulo. May improvements na nangyari, pero maraming hindi makita ang kuwento ng karahasan."

He also added that when pressed for time, some teachers discuss only the World War II. Martial Law, the EDSA uprising, and the intricacies of the lawsuits filed against the former dictator are dropped.

Teachers, especially those handling gradeschoolers, also find it difficult to discuss the violence. "Iyong guro ay nahihirapan ding ikuwento, kasi kunwari, elementary, paano mo ituturo ang karahasan?"

Chua said another problem is that those who lived during the Martial Law but who had no active participation in protests, who had no friends who went missing or were killed, have no stories to tell this generation.

The EDSA 1 narrative: 30 years and more

The professor proposed that writers and curriculum-makers include the atrocities of Martial Law and balance that with the good that came with the dictatorship.

Chua called particular attention as to how institutions may be run.

"Ituturo ang Martial Law pero ituturo kung paano patatakbuhin ang mga insitusyon gamit ang ating pagbabantay," he said.

He reiterated his call for loyalists to read up on victims' stories and look at history from the latter's perspective.

"Pare-pareho nating mahal ang bayang Pilipinas kaya natin ginagawa ito, pero sana basahin din natin at ikonsidera ang perspektiba ng iba," he said.

He also urged continuing dialogues between the victims of Martial Law and the youth of today in order to preserve the narrative of EDSA 1.