Scholars in the Philippines are concerned about preserving history

Filipino academics have called for historic austerity because they have stepped in to oust Ferdinand “Bambang” Marcos Jr. as president later this month.

With the Times Higher Education logo, a red T, purple H and blue E.The election victory of Ferdinand Marcos’ son represents a dramatic change for the family since his return from exile in the 1990s. Between 1965 and 1986, Ferdinand Marcos’s regime was marked by corruption and martial law, according to Amnesty International, “thousands of people were arbitrarily arrested and detained, and thousands more were tortured, abducted and killed.” .

Already, the younger Marcos has tried to tackle this narrative during his election campaign, portraying the era as a golden age for the Philippines. Scholars fear that once he takes power, his administration will try to erase the truth about his father’s dark legacy, rewrite history and suppress academic freedom.

In the days following Marcos’s victory, more than 1,000 scholars signed a statement defending historical truth and academic freedom.

“Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s predictable electoral victory and [vice president–elect] This indicates an intense struggle against historical knowledge and pedagogy throughout the world, “they wrote.

“We promise to confront all attempts by historical revisionists to distort and falsify history for the sake of the dynastic interests of Marcos and his allies and to strengthen their power.”

Said Francis Zilogo, a professor of history at Atenio de Manila University and one of the authors of the statement. Times Higher Education That the Marcos campaign has already taken advantage of social media to “spread historical distortion and confusion” and academics must “face these preachers.”

Work has already begun to digitize the country’s history, with educators working to preserve primary sources from the era, he said.

Franz Jan Santos, a lecturer in the history of Atenio de Manila, agrees that academics must “keep a close eye on how narratives are determined by this administration.”

But he expressed frustration over the inability of academics to reach out to the public and confusion before the recent election.

“We need to find better ways to teach and influence public discourse. I think that’s where we failed – as in the United States, there seems to be a deep distrust of the academic community and experts in general. We need to build that trust and broaden our sphere of influence, “he said.

He emphasized the role of educators in educating their students about the civil rights to protest. Santos ’own university is already doing this, working in collaboration with volunteer lawyers to make sure its students know their rights when approached by authorities when protesting.

In the weeks following Marcos’ election, students took to the streets to protest against his presidency.

“This is a very dangerous, important moment,” said Jonas Abadilla, a fourth-year chemical engineering student at the University of the Philippines, Dilliman, and chairman of its student council.

Abdilla mentions that in the Marcos era, Philippine universities “became a fortress” to protect victims of persecution. Recently, it indicated that it would once again stand behind its students, issuing a statement saying it would protect students against the intervention of state forces and support them in red-tagging incidents – when political opponents are denounced as communists, which is Abadilla. Personally experienced.

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