written by: Aurora Parong
Soon to rise in the Philippines is the Freedom Memorial Museum 72-86. This will be located at the University of the Philippines, Diliman campus, in Quezon City at a 1.4 hectares land.
The Freedom Memorial Museum will honor the victims of gross human rights violations during martial law under the Marcos regime so that their sufferings and sacrifices will not be forgotten, as provided by Republic Act 10368. The lost days and years, the lost properties and livelihood, the lost lives and disappearances without trace during those dark period in the history of the Filipino nation, will be remembered so that those losses would not have been in vain. The Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) approved the recognition and reparation of 11, 103 victims of abuses, pursuant to RA 10368.
The Freedom Memorial Museum will memorialize the heroism of the peoples of the Philippines who struggled with courage and bravery, despite difficulties, against authoritarianism to achieve freedom, human rights and democracy. Men and women of various ages, with a concentration of those whose ages range from 18-30 years, fought relentlessly against the dictatorship. The solidarity of individuals and other peoples in various parts of the world to the Filipino people boosted their morale and strength to continuously take action for several years to oust a dictator. Actions of other States and United Nations human rights bodies helped expose the horrific realities in 1972-1986.
The Museum will also enshrine essential truths about martial law under the Marcos regime so that peoples of different generations will learn lessons relevant to ensure that freedom, human rights and democracy are defended and nurtured. It will show that when democratic institutions are weakened and/or controlled by one persons, the peoples will suffer the negative consequences from the hands of State agents. The Museum will showcase that martial law was declared in 1972 by President Ferdinand E. Marcos Jr., as planned in the 1970s, to perpetuate himself in power because he was not allowed by the 1935 Philippine Constitution to have himself re-elected as President. It will show the destruction of democratic institutions to give way to authoritarian rule which resulted to gross human rights violations. It will house evidences about the decline in the economy and how the Marcos family and their cronies plundered the wealth of the Philippines for more than 13 years.
In addition, the Library housed in the Museum building will have books, archives and stories of victims and survivors of human rights violations which may be accessed by students and professors of history, governance, political science and law as well as the general public. There will be a space for inter-actions of survivors of martial law 72-86 with peoples who visit the Freedom Memorial Museum and discuss lessons learned from the experience of 72- 86. Memorabilia from that phase in the history of the Philippines maybe bought at the Museum store.
The Freedom Memorial Museum on Martial law 72-86 will be established, managed and enhanced by the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission (HRVVMC).
“The powers and functions of the Commission shall be assumed by the Board of Trustees which shall be composed of the following; Chairperson of the CHR as Chairperson; Chairperson of the National Historical Commission as Co-Chairperson; and Chairpersons of the CHED, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Secretary of the Department of Education and the Head of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Main Library, as members”, pursuant to Section 27 of RA 10368.