Teach Your Children

bongbong-marcos-620x408_inquirerdotnetIT MUST BE wonderful to grow up knowing you have a future. To be able to plan, believing that what you work for you might keep; to envision a sparkling someday and feel entitled to it. That must be nice.

I suppose that’s how young folks today feel. Many of them were reared in liberty and liberality, and possibly, to them, the sky’s the launchpad. They were taught to reach for the stars. Their parents are my contemporaries, and if they strove to give their children what they themselves didn’t enjoy, I understand that.

We martial law babies did not have much because our parents, even those who worked hard, did not earn much. This is true, despite the Marcos government’s propaganda. If they did, they probably had friends in very high places or were paying a steep price for their prosperity. While a few of them breathed the rarefied air of the alta sociedad, the rest of us choked in the morass of despotism.

I saw a Rappler piece on the EDSA 30 experiential museum last week. The images made me weep.


Hall of Orphans, EDSA 30 experiential museum (photo: Paolo Abad/rappler.com)


“Breather Room,” EDSA 30 experiential museum (photo: Paolo Abad/rappler.com)


Hall of Reality, EDSA 30 experiential museum (photo: Paolo Abad/rappler.com)


Hall of the Lost, EDSA 30 experiential museum (photo: Paolo Abad/rappler.com)

I didn’t realize I’d been so deeply traumatized; in fact, I thought I was well past it after 30 years. Though my family was actively with the Opposition, none of us was ever imprisoned or physically injured by the dictatorship. We just lived through it. – How ironic that word is,  just.

Nonetheless, my irrational response to those pictures  – the way my stomach churned and my head throbbed, the constriction of my chest, the tears – these were all oppressive vestiges of that heinous era. Like a rape I would deny but cannot, I must confront the damage it wrought in me.

I vividly recall the tension; the frustration; the prohibitions and uncertainty; the secret, silent fears; the sense of being gaslighted and never knowing the truth. These deprived the child that I was and the youth that I became of the hopes I was entitled to. After years of limitation, the only entitlement I knew then was to freedom; and having grown up without it, I was determined to win it.

The idea that we may be seeing that dark age dawn anew fills me with dread.

There is no degree of hype or restyling or reinvention that will erase the image of the dictator Marcos from his son.

There is no denial or retelling of history that will succeed while enough of us reject the lies and testify to the truth. If only we would.

I’ve no doubt that Ferdinand Marcos and his wife trained their children in the path they should go, for they have taken it. As Imee Marcos once laughingly quipped, “Alam nyo naman kaming mga Marcos, basta may lupa, tatakbo!”

Bongbong unabashedly pooh-poohs the past as he glad-hands his way to Malacañang. His publicist says it is likely the loyalists and the millennials who will get him there. Just like his father, he distorts facts with a smile. In the year that we celebrate three decades of EDSA, will we see a Marcos in his old haunt?

According to COMELEC chairman Andres Bautista

In 2016, out of an estimated 54 million voters, at least 20 million will comprise voters aged 18 to 35 which will make up roughly 37% of the voting population. Now put that in context. In 2010, President Benigno Aquino III got 15.2 million votes. This basically means that 75% of the youth vote can elect a President.

The millennials, several of whom are neophyte voters, will make themselves heard in May. On social media, many scoff at our exaggerated fears and imagined woes. They are impressed by Bongbong’s youth and dynamism and insist that the coconut has fallen far from the tree (if they grant that the tree was bad at all). They think they know whereof they speak.

We must teach our children, and do it well. It is our duty to stand as witnesses of the past and teach them to respect what we endured. This is perhaps the best way to protect them from a danger they cannot understand.

They say that lightning does not strike twice. It just might, unless we act.

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. – Deuteronomy 4:9

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Comments (2)

  1. Grace Angeles


    Thank you for articulating your thoughts. I hope that by sharing this, the young voters will make better choices in the upcoming elections. It is sad that we have become a nation of short term memory, easily forgetting and forgiving those who have robbed and abused us for the past twenty years. I am hoping that articles like these would awaken patriotism and awareness of our own history and that as a nation, we start using our heads and voting power to show our love to our motherland.

    • Candy Cruz Datu


      Thanks, Grace., especially for affirming the need for everyone to think long and hard (and more than that, to pray) about whom to elect in May. Lets keep telling our stories. No one can take that away from us. God bless you.

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