Children of struggle and freedom | Inquirer Opinion
Editorial

Children of struggle and freedom

/ 05:03 AM June 12, 2022

“Filipinos don’t realize that victory is the child of struggle, that joy blossoms from suffering, and redemption is a product of sacrifice,” wrote National Hero Jose Rizal in 1890, six years before his death by execution at the hands of the Spaniards.

He had perhaps no idea at the time that, indeed, his name, his life, and deeds would live on only after years of struggle, suffering, and sacrifice. And that the road to independence, for which he fought and gave up his life, would indeed be marked by strife, betrayal, and hardship.

Today, we mark 124 years since the journey to independence began. The theme for this year’s observance is “Rise Towards the Challenge of a New Beginning.” And indeed, it is a new phase in our history, at the same time a step back in time, as the victory of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has reminded the nation of the time 50 years ago when martial law was declared by his father.

Social media campaigns urged voters to buy into the claim of the entire Marcos rule as a “golden age.” Marcos Jr.’s huge victory at the polls would indeed seem a vindication of the claim, with voters seemingly willing to let bygones be bygones.

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Even before the new administration takes office, there are quarters attempting to rewrite what happened under martial law. Press Secretary-designate Trixie Cruz Angeles — who, before her appointment, was a prominent blogger in the Duterte-Marcos camp — has declared that the entire history of martial law should be “open to debate.”

It is unclear at this point what it is Cruz-Angeles wishes to debate. Is it the impact of martial law on the country? Is it the veracity of reports of the crimes committed in the name of martial law?

The numerous books, memoirs, findings of national and international bodies, including the local Supreme Court and courts in foreign lands, and the personal accounts of the people who lived during those days would be material to that debate.

Cruz-Angeles contends “some ideas are supported, certain ideas can always be questioned. But it doesn’t mean that they will come up with a different conclusion.”

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The lack of discourse on “key issues,” she adds, had led to the spread of misinformation and disinformation.

Marcos Jr.’s sister, Sen. Imee Marcos, has come out in public, declaring that now it’s “their turn” to tell their version of the events of martial law and the period leading to their ouster and exile.

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In commemorating our independence as a nation, it would better serve the call for unity if we come to terms with the painful truths about our history, including what took place between 1972 and 1986.

There are more daunting challenges to our independence as a nation, which are better attended to, such as another country intruding and trampling on our sovereignty. Decades of neglect of our own industry and agriculture had pushed our farmers deeper into poverty and hunger, and the government has resorted to food importation to feed our people. Huge foreign debts that keep on piling have added more and more burdens on the taxpayers.

These are the challenges that demand the full attention and earnest efforts of a new administration if it wants to count on the support of a “unified’’ nation.

Thank you, Rizal. In time, we might yet realize and appreciate that “victory is the child of struggle, that joy blossoms from suffering, and redemption is a product of sacrifice.”

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TAGS: Editorial, historical revisionism, Marcos martial law

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