‘Shield the reality’: A Marcos return in Philippines triggers worry for historical past


MANILA, Could 27 (Reuters) – Books concerning the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his brutal period of martial regulation are flying off the cabinets, spurred by “panic shopping for” after his son and namesake gained a Could 9 presidential election.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s presidency, set to start on June 30, has many individuals anxious about shedding entry to books and different accounts of his father’s rule, given his household’s decades-long effort to rehabilitate its identify by means of what critics describe as a marketing campaign of historic revisionism.

“They’re panic shopping for,” Alexine Parreno mentioned of her prospects, many them mother and father shopping for books about martial regulation geared toward kids.

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“They’re actually anxious and scared that the books might be pulled out and that the whole lot might be revised.”

One shopper was Religion Alcazaren, a mom of two, who picked up additional bundles of books to ship to pals abroad.

“I felt just like the smallest factor I can do and have management over is to guard the reality,” she mentioned.

1000’s of opponents of the senior Marcos had been jailed, killed or disappeared throughout martial regulation, from 1972 to 1981, when the household identify grew to become synonymous with cronyism and extravagance as billions of {dollars} of state wealth disappeared.

The youthful Marcos has referred to as for a revision of textbooks that cowl his father’s rule, saying they’re instructing kids lies.

His selection of schooling minister, vice president-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of outgoing strongman chief Rodrigo Duterte, has raised fears the Marcos household will lastly succeed at entrenching its sanitised model of historical past.

“We already thought that textbooks and the instructing of historical past in fundamental schooling was woefully insufficient when it comes to explaining to our youth and kids what the martial regulation interval meant,” mentioned Ramon Guillermo, a professor on the College of the Philippines.

“If the Marcoses come again to energy and Dutertes are supporting them, we may actually have a harder scenario in instructing what actually occurred,” mentioned Guillermo.


Guillermo, with a gaggle of fellow students, launched a manifesto final week pledging to fight makes an attempt to falsify historical past to go well with the Marcos narrative, and to oppose all censorship and book-banning.

The manifesto, signed by 1,700 individuals, got here after a authorities job drive labelled as communist a kids’s e book publishing agency promoting 5 titles on martial regulation and dictatorship it referred to as “#NeverAgain Ebook Bundle”.

“By no means Once more!” was the battlecry of thousands and thousands of protesters who joined the historic “individuals energy” revolution that toppled the 20-year dictatorship in 1986, when the senior Marcos and his notoriously extravagant spouse, Imelda, fled with their kids into exile in Hawaii.

“Historical past can’t be purchased, however books about historical past might be bought,” one e book purchaser mentioned on Instagram.

“We’ll proceed to struggle historic revisionism.”

Marcos and Duterte-Carpio didn’t reply to requests for remark. In a 2020 media discussion board, Marcos dismissed accusations his household was trying to rewrite historical past.

“Who’s doing revisionism? They put it within the books, the youngsters’s textbooks that the Marcoses stole this, we did this … what they’ve been saying about what we stole, what we did, not all of them are true.”

Years of investigation and authorized proceedings adopted the rule of the senior Marcos. The Presidential Fee on Good Authorities arrange in 1986 has retrieved about $5 billion of the Marcos fortune, its chairman, John A. Agbayani mentioned. One other $2.4 billion continues to be caught up in litigation, he mentioned.


The youthful Marcos fought the election with the slogan “Collectively, we will rise once more”, invoking nostalgia for his father’s rule, which his household and supporters have portrayed as a golden age.

His marketing campaign rode what lecturers referred to as a “tsunami of disinformation” with social media flooded with narratives enjoying down rights abuses and corruption underneath his father.

On the day it grew to become clear that Marcos had gained, a e book revealed in 1976 that particulars corruption and abuses through the Marcos regime offered 300 copies, its writer mentioned.

Greater than per week later, 500 copies of the e book, “The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos”, had been offered inside an hour of being posted on-line.

“I needed to be sure that inside our house, I can preserve a model of the martial regulation period that has not been tampered with by their palms,” mentioned faculty pupil Jose Anonat, who bought the e book.

In a sign of the kind of historical past re-writing that Marcos supporters need, Juan Ponce Enrile, the late dictator’s defence minister, mentioned in a dialog with the youthful Marcos that appeared on YouTube in 2018, that not one particular person was arrested for political and non secular views, or for criticising the elder Marcos.

The clip has been seen greater than 1.5 million instances.

There have been additionally makes an attempt to take away the phrases “dictator” and “kleptocrat” describing the elder Marcos on Wikipedia, mentioned Carlos Nazareno, of the Wiki Society of the Philippines, a part of a motion in opposition to disinformation.

Carmelo Crisanto, who heads an company memorializing martial regulation victims, is digitising paperwork regarding 11,103 survivors who had been awarded reparations from seized Marcos household wealth. He hopes the database might be on-line by September, in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the declaration of martial regulation.

“These archives might be alive,” mentioned Crisanto. “They’ll by no means be suppressed.”

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Reporting by Karen Lema;
Modifying by Robert Birsel

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.


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