Teachers should be teaching children how to think, not what to think. There is enough evidence to suggest that some teachers in the Philippines are not teaching children how to use their critical analysis faculties and are not nurturing them to become more independent thinkers. Recent statements made by the members of the Ateneo de Manila University faculty are proof of this.
A news report says that “more than 400 faculty members and formators of the Ateneo de Manila University have signed a statement refusing the historical revisionism of the Martial Law years. The act is in response to Sen. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s statement that history should be left to historians and those who study the country’s history.” Here are excerpts from their statement:
“We vow as teachers and formators to continue to tell the stories of the brutality and corruption of the Marcos family, regime, and closest allies,” the statement reads. “For as long as we remember and share these stories, we believe that future generations of Filipinos will learn the lessons of the years of struggle leading to the overthrow of the dictatorship during those historic days of the People Power Revolution in 1986.”
Before we dissect the above statements, first of all, I think the faculty members are overreacting. I searched the Net and did not find a statement from Senator Bongbong Marcos denying that the atrocities during the Martial Law years happened. Second, the so-called atrocities that transpired during his father’s term, the late former President Ferdinand Marcos, should not be blamed on the Marcos children. They were not in control of the Philippine military and the police then. To blame it on the Marcos children is tantamount to saying that children of criminals should be blamed for the atrocities their father or mother committed. As columnist Emil Jurado of the Manila Standard mentioned, Filipinos did not blame the late senator Ninoy Aquino for his father’s treacherous activities during the Japanese occupation in World War II:
Santa Banana, I cannot believe that BS Aquino does not remember that his grandfather, Benigno Aquino Sr., father of Ninoy, was the head of the Makapili Movement during the almost four-year Japanese occupation of the Philippines.
The Makapilis pointed to and turned over alleged collaborators for the Japanese Kempeitais to arrest, imprison, torture, and then killed. My family was afraid that we, too, would be pinpointed.
Did we, as a people, take against the late Ninoy Aquino that fact that his late father headed the Makapili movement? We did not. In fact, we honor Ninoy as a political martyr when he was assassinated in 1983. And the Aquinos—the late Cory and her son, BS Aquino —became the beneficiaries of Edsa 1.
I still recall when my family saw two well-known Abra personalities beheaded by the Japanese. Members of the dreaded Makapili Movement identified them as collaborators.
Some people are saying the blood of a traitor runs through current President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s veins. And this is evident in the way he negotiated with a Muslim terrorist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, without Congress’s approval. He almost got away with giving parts of Mindanao to a terror group allegedly as a front for a Malaysian takeover of the territory.
Now let us begin to dissect the statement from the Ateneo faculty members. In their statement, they mentioned “brutality and corruption of the Marcos family, regime and closest allies.” Which family members are they talking about? Do they have proof that the children, Imee, Bongbong and Irene had something to do with the extra-judicial killings and thievery that happened during their father’s term? If they do, why can’t they bring them to court? Some of us are also curious to know if they should be held accountable once and for all.
Otherwise, the Ateneo faculty members come across as a desperate group of people who do not know who to run to anymore. Their action says a lot about the lack of justice in the Philippines – lack of justice for both the victims and the accused.
How can supposedly educated people like them go on and on accusing the Marcoses of atrocities when the latter haven’t been tried in court? I know what some of you are going to say. You’ll say that just because the court hasn’t found them guilty doesn’t mean they are not. But what has become of Philippine society when Filipinos are reduced to judging others based on hearsay? At least BS Aquino’s grandfather was actually tried and found guilty of treason. It is something that media owned and operated by Aquino allies do not want to highlight.
And which closest Marcos allies are the Ateneo faculty members talking about? As far as I know, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and former President Fidel Ramos were Marcos allies during the Martial Law years but both also became Aquino allies after Marcos, Sr was ousted. As Manila Times columnist Rigoberto Tiglao wrote, “Enrile served officially as Martial Law administrator and Defense Secretary in charge of all the armed forces’ services during that time. Fidel V. Ramos, who later became President of the Philippines, was director of both the Philippine Constabulary (PC) and Philippine Integrated Police (PIP) during the Martial Law days”.
Suffice to say, the members of the Ateneo faculty are not using their critical analysis skills in dealing with the Marcoses. They are, instead, allowing their irrational bias towards the Aquinos to rule their thinking. A lot of people are baffled as to why they are not speaking out against the atrocities committed during the two Aquino regimes – Cory and BS Aquino’s term. It’s not like the extra-judicial killings had stopped after Martial Law. Military and police abuses still happened during Cory’s term and are still happening today during her son’s term.
Again, media allied with the Aquinos do not highlight the atrocities enough for some reason we can only guess. Just recently, members of the indigenous group known as the Lumads in Mindanao have been crying out for help against abuses allegedly committed against them by groups said to be trained and armed by the military. The Lumads are being systematically forced out of their native lands allegedly to give way to a mining company.
Make no mistake; there are a lot of Filipinos who are still struggling today. Unfortunately, we hardly hear from groups such as the faculty members of the Ateneo de Manila University speaking out against atrocities and methodical thievery by current public servants including BS Aquino’s own Cabinet members. They choose to advocate something they can’t do anything about. Some say they can’t speak ill of BS Aquino because he is an alumnus. That says a lot about the kind of people running the University – they are into patronage politics. In other words, they don’t seem to be fighting for the interests of Filipinos but only for the interests of their own kind. I would advice the students enrolled in that school to avoid taking what members of the faculty say seriously outside of their course curriculum. It’s not good for their own mental faculties.