The days leading up to February 25 are the period of time where we are always reminded about what happened on that day in the year 1986. From tv commercials to newspapers and social media articles, like this one, for example, we are being informed about the EDSA People Power Revolution. This year the country will commemorate its 34th EDSA Revolution anniversary, giving us a throwback on the historical moments that took place on the Manila grounds. This is to remember when democracy was restored in the country as “the revolution that surprised the world”. The “Yellow Revolution”, its other name, at the time was the largest non-violent demonstrations in the world. Statements like that left me in awe and want to learn more than focus solely on textbooks. Momentous events like this can’t just be crammed in 3 pages so it’s on me to ask questions.
Surprisingly, I don’t have to look far to get some of the answers because my thirst for knowledge was quench last February 19, 2020, at the Millenium Hall, La Consolacion College, Bacolod City. The event, “Days Of Disquiet: A Forum on Martial Law and People Power in Negros in the Time of Marcos”, was made possible by student leaders, teachers, and people who deeply care and are sincere in educating the students. They invited inspiring speakers who are firsthand witnesses of the Marcos regime.
Veteran journalist and activist during the Martial Law, Mr. Edgar Cadagat, emphasized how his 20-minute talk can’t fully cover all the experiences he had. He spoke with the aura of someone who you might meet in a sidewalk café where you would bond over his stories. National Union of Journalist of the Philippines (NUJP) President, Mr. Nonoy Espina, graced us with his presence and talked about younger years during the Martial Law where news and information were filtered and controlled for the president’s image. This didn’t deter Mr. Espina’s nationalism though he still went out with his group and distributed pamphlets of information secretly. Third speaker, Mr. Harry Pineda, welcomed us to his speech with his calming voice and powerful song. He then highlighted how this generation should never forget about all the human rights violations, deaths, abuses, and how the whole nation stood back up. How to always seek the truth and learn to ask questions.
As time goes by, we tend to disregard many things because we often think it’s already in the past and it won’t happen again. We need to open our eyes because there are many events in this regime that are alarmingly similar to what led to the declaration of Martial Law. Many people who are against the government are being killed, those dares to question them are being shut down and those who are raising their voices are being silenced. Mr. Espina said, on the open forum part, “Sukta niyo teachers niyo. Sukta niyo ginikanan niyo. Sukta niyo ang katigulangan. Sukta niyo kami.” (Ask your teachers. Ask your parents. Ask the elderly. Ask us.) It’s being talked again and again how this generation deserves answers. How the older generation owes us and to let us know about that chunk in our history. Like what Mr. Espina told us, “If you love your country, you need to remember.”