Adults, not young people, need refresher on martial law, sociologist says

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2018 05:58 AM

Young people play games during the United People's Action rally at Rizal Park on Friday. Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

With games, "hugot lines", and representatives onstage, the United People's Action rally at Rizal Park on Friday seemed designed for millennials and Generation Z, who never experienced martial law. 

Even speeches by personalities and martial law victims were fraught with special mentions to the youth to research and "never forget" the abuses of the dictatorship. 

But for sociologist Sarah Raymundo of the University of the Philippines Center for International Studies, it's not the youth that adults should be worried about. 

Instead, it's other adults who need to gain a refresher, Raymundo said. 

She said the presence of students and young professionals at the rally was proof enough that many of them know what happened even if they did not experience it. 

"Iyong mga kabataan lalo na sa unibersidad ay nagkaroon ng kritikal na lente sa bagay bagay. Sila pa mismo ang mag-uumpisa ng diskusyon sa, halimbawa, historical revisionism. Maalam na sila sa nangyari sa martial law at kung paano ito binabaluktot sa kasalukuyan ng ilang grupo."

(The youth, especially in the universities, have gained a critical lens. They are the ones who even start discussions on historical revisionism, for instance. They are knowledgeable about what happened during Martial Law and how it is being twisted today by some groups.)


This, Raymundo said, translates also to their being active in calling out government abuses even today. 

"Hindi sanay ang mga kabataan, even mga Pilipino, di sila sanay sa patayan, sa kawalan ng due process. Kaya tingin ko itong nakaraang 2 taon was very radicalizing for the youth," she said. 

"Makikita mo pinopost nila sa kanilang Twitter, Facebook accounts, nakikipag-debate sila." 

(The youth, even Filipinos in general are not used to killings and the loss of due process. This is why I think the past 2 years were very radicalizing for the youth. You can see them posting on social media accounts, engaging in debates.) 

"They are really active. So something is really happening."

Raymundo admitted that some of her fellow teachers still believe in the benefits of authoritarian rule. Coupled with what she described as incomplete discussions on the Marcos era in school textbooks, she said this needed to be addressed. 

That's where the youth could come in, she said. 

But can the youth convince their elders who believe Martial Law was good for the country and could work again? 

Raymundo cited the leaders of the 1896 Philippine revolution like Andres Bonifacio and of student activists from the UP in the First Quarter Storm as examples that the youth have always been proponents of change. 

"Madali silang nagma-mature dahil sa nga kongkretong kondisyon. At ganyan talaga yan, kasi ikaw ang may energy, ikaw ang may panahon, wala ka pang commitments sa establishment o kung kanino man. So ang naiisip mo lang, ang kasalukuyan--sino naaapi, bakit ganito at ano ang pwedeng maging future."

(They quickly matured because of concrete conditions in their time. And it has always been that way because they have the energy and time and have no commitments to the establishment or anyone else. You are only thinking of the present--who is being oppressed, why, and what could be the future.)

"Siguro yung mga nakatatanda, dapat 'bumata'. Siguro kailangan balikan ng mga nakatatanda yung mga aral hindi lang ng nakaraan kundi hanggang sa kasalukuyan." 

(Maybe the elder ones should become 'younger'. They probably need to revisit the lessons not just of the past but until the present.)