Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Marcoses Never Learned from History by Erick San Juan

Marcoses Never Learned from History by Erick San Juan

On the eve of the 42nd anniversary of Marcos Martial Law, I happened to browse the Facebook comment of former DILG Secretary Rafael Alunan regarding the pros and cons of Marcos military rule and dictatorship. He said that it is best discussed and debated by those who lived through those years, either as spectator or as a protagonist.

"Those who have no idea what it was because they weren't born yet or too young to understand what it was then, are better off listening, reading, learning and weighing the information.",Alunan said.

The good secretary reiterated that he lived through the Marcos reign until the late president departed and was exiled in Hawaii. He said that former President Ferdinand Marcos 21 years of ruling the country slid from the second best economy in Asia to being the sick man of Asia. Marcos was allegedly booted out by the middle class(although in my book, Marcos was forced to leave the country by the western super elites when they felt that Marcos was shortchanging them in their gold recovery program), the country was reportedly suffering from 3 potent insurgencies, from Muslim secessionists, communist guerillas and the military rebels.

Our foreign debt ballooned and was overburdening the economy and eroding our capacity to pay it back.

He added that the exodus of unemployed began to increase steadily during his time with labor unrest in the urban and rural areas were at a boiling point. Protesters were being arrested and maltreated forcing many of them to go underground to join the rebel movements.

I myself joined the camp of Nilo Tayag's Kabataang Makabayan and during the battle of Mendiola where our group attacked the palace. I was caught and jailed at the Malacanang Park. I was released after several days by an officer with a good heart, then Col. Ramon Cannu of the Presidential security command. My father hid me in San Fernando, Pampanga and I worked and managed my uncle's business there.

As narrated by Sec. Alunan, disappearances and stories of torture became the new normal. Anyone could be arrested on mere suspicion or whim.

"When the late senator, Ninoy Aquino was murdered upon his return, the economy sank to its knees and interest rates rose to over 50%. The peso depreciated steeply several times. Political patronage in the form of logging concessions denuded our forests. Smuggling sank our revenue  collections. Crony capitalism snatched lucrative businesses away from political opponents and the old oligarchs. The wealth shared only among their circles."

"Impartial historians and academic circles in the world's capitals of learning have painstakingly chronicled the record of the Marcos dictatorship and it is as ugly as they come from the likes of Ceaucescu, Duvalier and Pinochet eras to name a few, possibly even worse. What is firmly  etched in the pages of scholarly papers on how the Philippines fared during the Marcos era must be the subject of public education and discourse. The government coffers were bled dry. Bribes and extortion were hitting the roof."

Alunan advised that our uninformed need to be taught how to research and comprehend because they are part of the country's social fabric and the Philippines can ill afford historical revisionism from those who were part of that abusive era and have not to this day, apologized to the people nor undertook any form of just restitution for their past sins to society and to the damage they wrought to the country's institutions.

Alunan also replied to the request of the Marcos family that he will be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani at the Fort. "If a president is booted out of office, ejected or overthrown by the people, supported by the crucial institutions of the government and society, that extinguishes his right to still be accorded the honors due him. Like a soldier that's discharged dishonorably, who forfeits all accrued and future benefits due him. To restore it means extinguishing the terrible wrongs committed  that merited his overthrow. That would be a mockery of justice and an unwarranted revision of history. We must be clear about what is right or wrong. And live up to our values if we are to be a society worthy of trust and respect."

With this clear explanation of Sec. Alunan, I am really sorry for what I did in helping this family return home. When I visited them in Hawaii, I pity them.'Sobra awa ko.'                                              The late president's entourage in returning home to Ilocos Norte from Hawaii via Guam was really scary. We were stoned and threatened of bodily harm and not one of the group dared to leave the chapels in Hawaii and Guam. I was the one who talked with the angry mob outside the chapel but in Guam, I had a fist fight with several youngsters who tried bullying us. The rest was history.

I didn't expect that the promises of Marcos ( which he tape recorded in his library in his Makiki residence) to the Filipino people and to those who helped them including the true Marcos loyalists duly documented by Ms. Rosette Yniguez-Lerias, will be in vain and denied by FM's family.

Recently, I was even told secretly by a close loyalist friend to be careful and Imelda wanted me 'silenced'. I was aghast, reason why I immediately informed the proper authorities about it. 'Di pa nga nakakabalik sa Malacanang, nagte-threat na. Much more kung sila na naka upo.' Anyway, lahat ng maling gawain may KARMA.'

I was tricked!

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