To commemorate the Man on the 500 Peso Bill

Just this morning, a short documentary entitled Ninoy sa Puso ng mga Pinoy was replayed in ABS-CBN. It was first shown in August 21 to commemorate Ninoy Aquino’s death. I was doing some house chores and only got to watch some parts of the documentary but it made me teary-eyed. He was a very admirable man and he did all that he could for his country. Alongside People Power Revolution, Ninoy, and Cory, the Martial Law is also one of the most memorable events in the lives of the Filipinos. Maybe it is because when injustice happens and pain occurs in one’s life, it just can’t easily be forgotten.

“In 1972 Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law with Proclamation 1081. He did it, he said, to save the Republic and to create what he called a “New Society.” A whole generation of Filipinos now exists which only has the faintest recollection — if at all — of the Marcos dictatorship. Kids, this is what you missed. Perhaps it’s what you should pass on when you have kids of your own.” – Alan C. Robles.

And so they say, we failed to feel what it was under a dictatorship. I heard that it was a smiling dictatorship with the dictator the only one smiling. I cannot quite visualize and comprehend what really happened. No matter how many times I read or watch about the Martial Law, I find it hard to empathize.

Nevertheless, without any doubt, I will say that it was unjust. By the word itself, martial means war. And I do not want war. Who wants a “War Law” anyway?

Seriously, now.

Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law for his family. He wanted protection; he wanted power, and money. True enough, he got them all in his hands. He got them all while the people of the country he was supposedly serving suffered in exchange. He made up stories. He said this was for the good of the people when it wasn’t. Everybody feared that they would be killed when they fight for their rights. If they had fought for it, they never had justice. The media was censored and the only news on TV and paper were pro-administration. There was a huge increase in the percentage of poverty in the country. The Marcoses raked the country’s money as easy as raking the dried leaves on a hot afternoon. The Martial Law was all about the lies, fear, injustice, censorship, poverty, and corruption.

Politics as defined is the art of governing or managing a state for the preservation of its safety, peace, and prosperity. Indeed, Marcos was safe and he prospered but I don’t know if he had peace of mind or something. Politics was for the good of a people and not just for one or five. If equality was impossible neither was equity that time. So was there justice? Absolutely none.

But if given the chance, I would probably ride a time machine and feel the unexplainable joy and victory after being in bondage for so long a time. They say after all that nothing beats feeling good again after feeling so awful. The man on the 500 peso bill should have seen where we are now (or should he?).

What can I say?

Too bad we missed it, too bad they were there.

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