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Activism

Karapatang Pantao, Paano na?

Malu Maniquis, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (Production)

2023

Karapatang Pantao, Paano na?

Malu Maniquis, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (Production)

This 21 minute film features the Museums of both the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines and the Bantayog ng Mga Bayani Foundation, while connecting the relevance of Universal Human Rights to the subject of authoritarian repression under the Martial Law Administration. Thru this backdrop, the documentary also connects issues of the past with present circumstances – laying-out critiques towards the Duterte Administration’s War on Drugs and the use of the Anti-Terror Bill, and pointing-out problems of agrarian impoverishment and labor marginalization. Speaking in the documentary are representatives of the TFDP and Bantayog organizations, as well as survivors and victims of the Marcos and Duterte administrations.

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Maniquis, Malu (2023). “Karapatang Pantao, Paano na?” Task Force Detainees of the Philippines. 2023.

Students and drivers in First Quarter Storm protest, Manila (1970)

AP Archive

2015

Students and drivers in First Quarter Storm protest, Manila (1970)

AP Archive

Students and jeepney drivers join together in a citywide strike organized by Movement for a Democratic Philippines (MDP). In this clip, demonstrators are heard chanting “sumama na kayo (come join us)!”; later, a black cardboard coffin labeled “demokrasya” (democracy) is thrown to the ground. Upon reaching the US embassy, the marchers were barred by the police from entering the establishment.

The “People’s March,” which began in Welcome Rotonda, Quezon City, and went on to Plaza Lawton, Manila, is part of a wave of student-led demonstrations from January to March 1970, now known as the First Quarter Storm. “Fascism has always been in our country ever since the puppets of American imperialism started this republican farce that we now call Philippine democratic government,” said MDP spokesperson Nelson Navarro in an interview. “Marcos has aggravated it by the use of special forces. Marcos is trying to create an armed forces of his own within the armed forces itself.”

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AP Archive,“SYND 5 3 70 Students and Taxi Drivers Demonstrate in Manila,” YouTube video, 1:18, July 24, 2015

Desaparesidos

Lualhati Bautista

2012

Desaparesidos

Lualhati Bautista

Lualhati Torres Bautista (December 2, 1945 – February 12, 2023) was a Filipina writer, novelist, liberal activist and political critic. Bautista garnered several Palanca Awards (1980, 1983, and 1984) for her novels ‘GAPÔ, Dekada ’70 and Bata, Bata… Pa’no Ka Ginawa?, which exposed injustices and chronicled women’s activism during the Marcos era.

Desaparesidos tells a vivid narrative of the life of political activists and the persecution they have experienced/endured during the dictatorship of President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Bautista weaves a heartbreaking story of the disappeared (desaparesidos)-the people who were taken by the authorities physically or those who could not forget the memories of torture and persecution under martial rule.

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Bautista, Lualhati. Desaparesidos. Mandaluyong City: Cacho Publishing House, Inc., 2012.

Tutubi, Tutubi, ‘Wag Kang Magpahuli Sa Mamang Salbahe

Jun Cruz Reyes

1987

Tutubi, Tutubi, ‘Wag Kang Magpahuli Sa Mamang Salbahe

Jun Cruz Reyes

Jun Cruz Reyes is a Filipino literary writer and Professor of Literature at the University of the Philippines. Writing mainly in Filipino, he is also an award-winning author of novels, short stories, essays, translations and biographies as well as a multimedia artist.

Winner of the Palanca grand prize in 1982, the novel “Tutubi, Tutubi, ‘Wag Kang Magpahuli Sa Mamang Salbahe” is an attempt of the author to narrate the first days of Martial law at “a time when one cannot directly say what’s in his or her mind.” This comes from his experiment to use satire in order to say what cannot be said without fear or in a way that will brings out humor in difficult situations.

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Reyes, Jun Cruz. Tutubi, Tutubi, ‘Wag Kang Magpahuli Sa Mamang Salbahe. Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1987.

Killing Time in a Warm Place

Jose Dalisay Jr.

1992

Killing Time in a Warm Place

Jose Dalisay Jr.

Jose Y. Dalisay Jr. is a Filipino writer who has won numerous awards and prizes for fiction, poetry, drama, non-fiction and screenwriting, including 16 prestigious Palanca Awards.

Winner of the 1993 National Book Award for Fiction, Co-Winner of the 1993 Palanca Grand Prize for the Novel, and Winner of the 1993 UP President’s Award for Most Outstanding Publication. KILLING TIME IN A WARM PLACE is a novel of growing up in the Philippines during the Marcos years. Told in the voice of its protagonist, Noel Ilustre Bulaong, the narrative travels through familiar social and literary territory: the coconut groves of Bulaong’s childhood, Manila hotel, the Diliman Commune, “UG” safehouses, martial law prisons, and the homes and offices of the petty-bourgeoisie. It is a story of false horizons, of betrayal, compromise, and guilt, and not incidentally of the contemporary middle-class Filipino’s migration from the village to the metropolis to the outside world.

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Dalisay, Jr. Jose Y. Killing Time in a Warm Place. Mandaluyong City: Anvil Publishing, 1992.

The Arrogance of Power (1983)

AsiaVisions

2022

The Arrogance of Power (1983)

AsiaVisions

The 38-minute “film essay” by AsiaVisions (formerly Creative Audio-Visual Specialists or CAVS) spotlights the continuation of human rights abuses even after the Marcos administration had supposedly lifted Martial Law in 1981, taking the stories of clerical actors, activists, social workers, and truth-tellers to form a picture of Marcos’ cruel grip on power. Extensive militarization was Marcos’ weapon of choice, along with the imperialistic force of the United States, as seen in the presence of American bases.

“I would have no hesitation in saying that the situation has gone from bad to worse,” says Sr. Mariani Dimaranan, chair of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, in the film. “During Martial Law years, we were focusing our attention only on three phenomena, namely: arrest and detention, salvaging, and disappearances. After the so-called lifting of Martial Law, all these phenomena stayed on or kept going, plus the fact that we had still to attend to massacres, salvaging, hamletting, and other things going on in the provinces, specifically.”

Aside from interviews, the film features archival and news footage alongside mass demonstrations of the time, including the funeral cortege of slain senator Ninoy Aquino. It documents the mounting resistance and foreshadows the ouster of Marcos via EDSA three years later. A speech by former senator Lorenzo Tañada closes the film: “Babawiin na ang mga karapatang kinuha, ang dangal na dinusta ng mga palalo at berdugo ng lahi (we will retrieve our rights that were taken away, our honor that was trampled upon by the wicked butchers of our people).”

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AsiaVisions, “The Arrogance of Power,” Cinemata video, 38:27, May 7, 2022

Cindy Domingo Oral History Interview

Cindy Domingo

2008

Cindy Domingo Oral History Interview

Cindy Domingo

An interview with Cindy Domingo. Domingo was an important figure in the Katipunan ng mga Demokratikong Pilipino (KDP), a U.S.-based movement founded in opposition to the Marcos dictatorship. Domingo was the sister of Silme Domingo who, along with Gene Viernes, was assassinated on June 1, 1981. The Marcos government was eventually found to be responsible for the murders. Domingo became integral in the Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes.

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Interview with Cindy Domingo, The Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project.

Dekada ’70

Lualhati Bautista

1988

Dekada ’70

Lualhati Bautista

Lualhati Torres Bautista (December 2, 1945 – February 12, 2023) was a Filipina writer, novelist, liberal activist and political critic.

Lualhati Bautista’s Dekada ’70 follows the narrative of a middle-class family–the Bartolome family–as they live under the precarious milieu caused by President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ Martial Law. It traces the activities of the Bartolomes as they witness the radicalization of the society as seen in the growth of the underground movement and the First Quarter Storm. The novel also recounts the struggles of the family who experienced the military’s witch-hunt for activists at the height of the dictatorship which eventually wanes at the dawn of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution. The novel paints a vivid picture of the struggles of individual family members as they confront bitter political realities that threaten to tear them apart. It is both heartwarming and hard-hitting, often portraying how the political is personal and how the personal is political. The novel was awarded the 1983 Palanca Award Grand Prize.

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Bautista, Lualhati. Dekada ’70. Carmelo & Bauermann Printing Corp., 1988.

Protests versus martial law extension (1976)

AP Archive

2015

Protests versus martial law extension (1976)

AP Archive

In this clip, we see a mass demonstration held on October 11, 1976, starting at the De La Salle University campus in Manila and marching towards Plaza Miranda in Quiapo. It was staged to protest the national referendum-plebiscite slated on October 16. According to a Daily Express report, “it was the first public meeting held by more than 5,000 students, workers, and religious leaders at the historic Plaza Miranda since martial law was declared four years ago, according to the police. The gathering was also the first congregation since Comelec allowed liberal ventilation and criticism on the referendum.”

Protesters are seen singing “Bayan Ko” while holding banners and placards that say “Down with Martial Law, Fight for Democracy,” “Bokyotin ang (Boycott the) Referendum,” and “Marcos Hitler Diktador Tuta (Dictator, Lapdog),” among others. The rally is blocked by policemen and barangay officials. A police officer addresses protesters via megaphone, saying that only debates are allowed, and the permit “does not include the marching or holding demonstrations along the streets of the city.” The clip ends with the state forces violently dispersing protesters that evening, their truncheons indiscriminately wielded against men and women, young and old.

At the time, every year since the declaration of martial law in 1972, a referendum has been held by the government to affirm the leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos, with the results always overwhelmingly positive. In 1976, the two referendum questions were:

“1. Do you want martial law to be continued?
2. Whether or not you want martial law to be continued, do you approve of the following amendments to the Constitution? For the purpose of the second question, the referendum shall have the effect of a plebiscite within the contemplation of Section 2 of Article XVI of the Constitution.”

According to the text of PD 1033, the proposed amendments include the creation of an interim Batasang Pambansa in lieu of Congress, that the President shall be Prime Minister, that “he shall continue to exercise all his powers even after the interim Batasang Pambansa is organized and ready to discharge its functions” and until the lifting of martial law.

The proposed amendments give extraordinary powers to the President, as seen in the following:

“6. Whenever in the judgment of the President (Prime Minister), there exists a grave emergency or a threat or imminence thereof, or whenever the interim Batasang Pambansa of the regular National Assembly fails or is unable to act adequately on any matter for any reason that in his judgment requires immediate action, he may, in order to meet the exigency, issue the necessary decrees, orders or letters of instructions, which shall form part of the law of the land.
7. The barangays and sanggunians shall continue as presently constituted but their functions, powers, and composition may be altered by law.”

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AP Archive, “SYND 11 10 76 Rioting in Manila Over 4 Years of Martial Law,” YouTube video, 3:16, July 24, 2015

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win: Poems and Essays from the Philippine Struggle

Clarita Roja

1974

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win: Poems and Essays from the Philippine Struggle

Clarita Roja

A book of essays and poems that were written by Mila Aguilar under the pseudonym Clarita Roja. A prolific poet and essayist, Aguilar was part of the underground movement. She was eventually arrested in 1984 and held in detention until 1986.

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Roja, Clarita. Dare to Struggle! Dare to Win: Poems and Essays from the Philippine Struggle. Manila: Limbagang Manggagawa, 1974.

Edjop (1986)

AlterHorizons

2022

Edjop (1986)

AlterHorizons

This hour-long documentary tells the life story of student leader turned Communist Party of the Philippines cadre Edgar Jopson. Jopson dedicated his life, intellect, and commitment to the struggle against Marcos until his untimely death in the hands of the military in 1982.

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Alternative Horizons, “Edjop,” Cinemata video, 56:52, May 3, 2022

Gun Dealers’ Daughter

Gina Apostol

2013

Gun Dealers’ Daughter

Gina Apostol

Gina Apostol is a writer, author, novelist, educator, activist. She won two Philippine National Book Awards: for her very first book Bibliolepsy and then the The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata.

Her novel Gun Dealers’ Daughter (2013) revisits the Philippines during the period of Martial Law. Winner of the PEN/Open Book Award, the book tells the story of the young, bookish Soledad Soliman who falls in with her radical friends from a university in Manila, defying her wealthy parents and their society crowd. Drawn in by two romantic young rebels, Sol initiates a conspiracy that quickly spirals out of control. Years later, far from her homeland, Sol reconstructs her fractured memories, writing a confession she hopes will be her salvation. Illuminating the dramatic history of the Marcos-era Philippines, this story of youthful passion is a tour de force.

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Apostol, Gina. Gun Dealers’ Daughter. New York: W. W. Norton & Company (reprint edition), 2013.