MANILA, Philippines – A youth activist group on Friday chastised Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for trying to distort history and the legacy of the 14-year martial rule of his father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
In a statement, the Akbayan Youth group took exception to the younger Marcos’s statement that the Philippines would have been like Singapore had his father stayed as president.
“We strongly oppose the rehabilitation of Marcos’s memory as a response to today’s problems. Ferdinand Marcos ran a brutal government that fundamentally limited the freedom and liberty of many Filipinos. Those who opposed him cannot simply be dismissed as undisciplined children who sought to foment discord in society. Many of them fought for the restoration of democracy and the marginalized: those who suffered under martial law-era cronyism, corruption, and brutality,” the group said.
It added: “There is simply no excuse in the world to rationalize the illegal detentions, disappearances, and killings that occurred under Marcos.”
The group said the Marcos government engaged and promoted widespread corruption, leading to the emptying of the nation’s coffers and the ballooning of our national debt.
It said the Philippines remains poor today as a result, in large part, to actions and policies that can be traced back to the Marcos regime.
“The debt burden of Cory Aquino and other post-EDSA presidents was a result of a Marcos-era economy designed to enrich cronies and family members. No amount of nostalgia for an ‘orderly past’ will change this,” the group said.
The group said the 1986 EDSA revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship ended a corrupt and violent regime and started the process of restoring democracy in the country. It added the organization remains committed to a long-term struggle that aims to turn the dream of EDSA into reality.
“For those who want change, the solution is not to glorify past authoritarianism, while neglecting opportunities for genuine change in the present. EDSA will, indeed, become a failure if young people do not participate in the building of a vibrant democracy. The end of authoritarianism opened opportunities for citizen’s participation; it is our task to make the most out of this. Otherwise, there will be no one else to blame,” it said.