So much deception, uncertainty, misinformation

Thousands of people gathered at the campus of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) for the general assembly of an organization that had promised them a share in the alleged Marcos millions. They all held aloft copies of a pamphlet extolling the achievements of President Ferdinand Marcos which they had purchased for P30 each.

They had come in rented buses and jeepneys from the provinces, mostly in Southern Luzon. They had been told that President Marcos had bequeathed his wealth to the Filipino people and so the organizers  were asking people to register in order to qualify for a share of the wealth — P10,000 a month for the next four years. They were urged to invite others to join the organization.

Former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. denied that his family had anything to do with the organization and its Los Baños rally. It’s “a scam, pure and simple,” he said.

The UPLB incident is only the latest attempt of unscrupulous individuals to use the Marcos family and its alleged wealth to dupe people into parting with their own money in the expectation of getting thousands of pesos in return.

It has been 31 years since the end of the Marcos administration, but it remains a controversy to this day. The eight years of the two terms allowed him by the Constitution of 1935 were due to end in 1973 when  Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972, to counter, he said, a Communist plot to take over the country. He closed down Congress and arrested many opposition officials along with key figures of the press.

He proceeded to govern via Presidential Decrees, Letters of Instruction, and Executive Orders, many of which remain in effect to this day, attesting to his ability as a lawmaker. But the martial law period deteriorated in later years as thousands of people perceived as enemies of the state were imprisoned or simply disappeared. Martial law was officially lifted in 1981, but President Marcos remained in the same firm control of government until the EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986.

The generation that lived and suffered from the martial law period is now all but gone. Most Filipinos today know next to nothing about this period in our history. Some accounts that have been included in some history books have been denounced as containing misinformation and historical untruths. Secretary of Education Leonor Briones, speaking at the recent First National Assembly of Education Leaders held at the Philippine International Convention Center, noted allegations that DepEd text books today “do not reflect much about what martial law is all about.” A review of historical books that include the martial law period is now in process, she said.

If the official record as reflected in our school books are this unreliable, we can imagine the difficulty faced by ordinary people today. Among them are the people who gathered at the UPLB campus last Saturday, waving Marcos pamphlets they had bought for P30 each and hoping to get a share of the Marcos wealth promised by the organizers.

It is indeed a scam, as former Senator Marcos said, and it is part of the murky picture of uncertainty, misinformation, and outright deception. It may take years before the martial law years will be given their due in school books and in historical accounts.

In the meantime, we urge the government authorities to take care of the scam that is victimizing so many thousands of people with promises of a share of the Marcos wealth.


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