UP asserts relevance of remembering martial law

| Written by Jo. Florendo B. Lontoc

#WeRemember is the official hashtag of this year’s commemoration of martial law by the University of the Philippines (UP) for its annual Day of Remembrance, which it has formally held since 2018.

Details of the commemoration were announced by the UP Presidential Commission on Culture and Arts (UP-PCCA), headed by Raymundo Rovillos, a professor of History and former Chancellor of UP Baguio, which is supporting and coordinating UP Day of Remembrance activities in all UP constituent universities and its autonomous college.

“Join us in commemorating the UP Day of Remembrance, as we use symbolic forms of dissent to ensure history is never forgotten,” the UP-PCCA invitation to the public stated.

The highlight of this year’s commemoration was today’s noise barrage, or “Noises and Voices of Memory and Dissent”. Exhorting the public to “Raise your voice, break the silence!” UP led them wherever they were in making noise the whole hour between 12 noon and 1 PM.

In UP Diliman, the noise barrage was held around the Academic Oval, particularly at: the UP Theater; the College of Music; Palma Hall, where many protest actions had been launched since the First Quarter Storm; and Vinzons Hall, which is the student union building of UP Diliman and which also provides shelter to student leaders and activists of the country.

According to Rovillos, from September through October, discussions will be held on the Diliman campus on several aspects and shadows of martial law: media’s control of public discourse and society wresting it back for just ends; disinformation during the first year of the Marcos Jr. presidency; and, the memories and lessons from those who struggled. Exhibits, workshops, and presentations would be mounted: to showcase the heroism of the indigenous, the defiant pages of The Philippine Collegian, artworks on memory, and the radical figure of then UP President Salvador P. Lopez; and, to conduct research and write creatively and critically from the margins. A documentary and short films will be shown for free to highlight cinematic perspectives on the regime.

A series of activities have been lined up in the other UP campuses for a similarly extended Day of Remembrance.

UP Los Baños has an ongoing exhibit on a lot of literature on martial law, as well as on the works of eight contemporary visual artists. Later this month It will dedicate the inauguration of its Sculpture Garden to the Day of Remembrance. The campus will also stage various activities: a multi-verse production to give voice to nameless victims; display banner tarpaulin posters of heroes and martyrs from the campus and the Southern Tagalog region; mount a foodfest of “politically-charged” dishes; and house a solo exhibit on mothering and grief.

The UP Open University held a virtual noise barrage and an interactive AI poetry performance today. Its student council organized watch parties and discussion of the films “ML”, “Liway”, and “The Kingmaker”.

In UP Baguio, verses were read on September 5 on a “Makalagip Poetry Night” which focused on oral histories. By the end of October, the campus will set up an ayuyang (gathering place) for the different youth groups and community-based cultural organizations in Baguio City and nearby areas, to hold a “cultural event and mountain night” upholding indigenous peoples’ rights.

UP Cebu gathered members of the press on September 15.for a campaign to fight lies and historical erasure and amnesia.  Days leading to September 21, it held: community immersions in the public market; a “parlor fest” of fact-checking; a masterclass on Cebu press freedom; the exhibit and protest action [Proclamation] “1081”; a collaborative cultural production on the stories of Cebuano martial law victims and survivors; a forum for future journalists; discussions on the anti-terror law, the First Quarter Storm, and women in the resistance; and, a children’s reading. On September 21, it held forums on using Philippine independent historical discourses, on academic freedom, and on the historic role of media; and on September 22, a forum on the role of newsrooms in digital space.

On September 17, 2018, UP President Danilo Concepcion signed Proclamation No. 1, Series of 2018, declaring September 21 every year as UP Day of Remembrance. He cited: the evils of martial law, with UP in the frontlines of resistance, coming from a tradition of academic freedom and the championing of democracy and human rights; and, UP’s best and brightest becoming heroes and martyrs of the resistance. Through this proclamation, UP supports the holding of special activities commemorating “[its] participation and sacrifice in the struggle against martial law and the continuing education of our students, faculty, and staff on the importance of academic freedom, civil liberties, and human rights in our society”.

#WeRemember #UPDayOfRemembrance #NeverAgain #KalinangangUP #KalinangangBayan #WeRememberML51

Below are some photos of the noise barrage in UP Diliman.

Member of the UP Diliman community converge at the Palma Hall (formerly knowns as the AS Steps) to join this year’s Day of Remembrance noise barrage. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.
Participants of the noise barrage in UP Diliman attach a sign on The Oblation for the Day of Remembrance commemoration. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.
Participants of the UP Day of Remembrance 2023 noise barrage gather infront of The Oblation in UP Diliman to express their sentiments on current social issues and historical distortion. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.
Members of the UP College of Music community join this year’s Day of Remembrance noise barrage in UP Diliman. Photo by Jonathan Madrid, UP MPRO.
Members of the UP College of Music community join this year’s Day of Remembrance noise barrage in UP Diliman. Photo by Jonathan Madrid, UP MPRO.
Workers from various offices in UP Diliman join this year’s Day of Remembrance noise barrage infront of the UP Theater. Photo by Jonathan, Madrid.