Glorify the dictator. Attach to his name words like “the best president the Philippines ever had.” Brandish the then supposed roaring economy, the whopping figures, but leave out his ill-gotten wealth, which investigators estimate to be at roughly $10 billion when he was ousted in 1986. Leave out the fact that the loot is sourced from the national coffers and foreign debts that future generations will still be paying.
Include in the inventory of “achievements” the infrastructure—the Philippine International Convention Center, Philippine Heart Center, San Juanico Bridge, Cultural Center of the Philippines—but neglect in the physical count the lavish lifestyles of the family, the off-shore bank accounts, the jewelry, the art pieces, each worth more than an average Filipino will ever have in his or her life.
Lash out at the current faulty judicial system. Had it been the good old days of martial law, none of these crimes would have occurred. No holdups in broad daylight, no street brawls, no hardened criminals, although you know fully well it was the state that inflicted the violence and committed the crimes. Reiterate that at least people were disciplined back then, although you know fully well it was not discipline but fear.
Long for the “golden years.” Long for the pretense of peace. And ever so carefully conceal behind fabricated statistics of economic prosperity the staggering number of human rights violations. Dismiss the claims and suits against the “benevolent dictator,” which in 2015 numbered 75,730, as a mere ploy of the Filipino people to make money from the situation. Play deaf and blind to the literal scars, the butchered bodies, the still resounding wails of the disappeared, and the countless victims of other rights violations. And adamantly say that the Marcoses do not owe us an apology.
Diminish the 1986 People Power uprising to a mere political feud between the Marcoses and the Aquinos. It is all political propaganda to leverage the latter, to demonize the Marcoses. Reduce its historical significance. And in an all-knowing fashion, revel in the idea that the son should never be faulted for the mistakes of the father. They are different, after all. But dismiss the fact that Ferdinand Marcos Jr. knew of the faults of his father. Dismiss the fact that he is still living off his family’s wealth. And dismiss the fact that he has done nothing to repair the damage his father’s dictatorship has done.
Call Marcos a hero. Lobby for his burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Plead for people to move on. It has been three decades, after all. Treat history as just that—the past. Capitalize on the millennials, those born decades after martial law. Inject in them these ideas. Corrupt history. Twist the past to suit your interests.
And that is how gradually, you make the Filipino people forget.
Althea Abergos, 18, says she “believes in the pivotal and historic role of the masses in history.” She writes for ThePILLARS, the official student publication of Ateneo de Naga University.
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