MANILA — It's important to educate the younger generation on martial law under President Ferdinand Marcos to avoid historical revisionism, a government body tasked to honor the human rights victims of the late dictator said on Sunday.
The Human Rights Violations Victims' Memorial Commission (HRVVMC) said the COVID-19 pandemic was a "good opportunity" to educate students on the atrocities under the Marcos regime from 1972 to 1986, since students are not using textbooks from schools.
HRVVMC Executive Director Carmelo Victor Crisanto claimed that some textbooks were found to contain errors on martial law.
"Itong mga batang ito, they never lived through martial law, dapat sila ang maabot natin," said Crisanto, whose agency is tasked to museum in honor of human rights violation victims during the Marcos regime.
Crisanto made the statements as he appeared on Vice President Leni Robredo's weekly radio program.
He added that, just like those who spread fake news, correct information on martial law can be delivered using the internet.
Crisanto also said first-time voters in the coming 2022 elections should be educated on martial law, and urged the public to participate in webinars and view the HRVVMC's online museum (thefreedommemorial.ph) to get more details.
Both Robredo and Crisanto blamed the education sector for failing to sufficiently teach the public and the military about the Marcos regime.
"Ito [ang] pinakaproblema - ang failure ng mga post-martial law administrations, na parang nakalimutan na i-embed ang katotohanan sa kasaysayan kaya paulit-ulit na nagkakamali tayo," he Crisanto said.
Last year, the education department assured that human rights abuses committed during Marcos' martial law era were being being taught to students in schools.
According to figures presented by Crisanto, of the 75,749 applicants who applied for reparation from the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board, only 11,103 received compensation.
In Bicol region, where Robredo comes from, only 512 were given compensation after suffering from human rights violation during martial law.
"Of that 512, 205 na-torture 'yan, na-rape, pinatay at hanggang ngayon 1 dosena hindi pa nahanap ang mga bangkay o nasaan man sila," Crisanto said.
What's more painful, Crisanto noted, was the only a fraction of victims from the Bangsamoro region were compensated.
"Ibig sabihin ang ating mga kapatid na Muslim ay hindi nabigyan ng tamang recognition o hustisya," he said.
Just last week, the Philippines marked the 49th anniversary since Marcos declared martial law.
Last Friday, Marcos' son, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, was nominated to run for president by the party founded by his father.
Data from the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) showed that at least 9,000 victims of human rights violations were monitored during the Marcos administration.
During the martial law era, at least 5,040 individuals were detained, 1,217 were "salvaged" or victims of summary executions, 892 were massacred and 352 disappeared, according to the TFDP.
The Marcos family also amassed an estimated $5 to $10 billion or more than P500 billion in ill-gotten wealth, based on a study of the World Bank-United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Stolen Asset Recovery report.
— Report from Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News