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The ominous silence from the Office of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on the 51stanniversary of his father’s declaration of martial law is both deafening and revealing.

It would appear that President Marcos Jr. refuses to acknowledge the very huge elephant in the room – the avarice-tainted and repression-filled years of his father’s misrule that he and his family continue to deny and refuse to atone for.

We cried “Never again!” to the atrocities and horrors of the tyrannical dictatorship of Marcos Sr, but now state-sanctioned narratives on the “golden era” of martial law flourish in both traditional media and online sites. Historical revisionism and negationism have even creeped into our schools with the Department of Education’s September 2023 memorandum mandating the change from “Dikdaturang Marcos” to plain “Diktadura” in the Araling Panlipunan syllabus of Grade 6 students. 

We cannot alter historical facts. We have a civic duty to be faithful to the truth and promote a culture of remembrance if we really want to come to terms with the disgraceful history of the Marcos Sr dictatorship and honor the men and women who have died; disappeared; and were raped, tortured, and maimed by the henchmen of the dictator Marcos.

There can be no forgiveness without remorse and repentance from the surviving martial law implementers, perpetrators, and beneficiaries.