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No more revisions

To revise history is to deny the stories that shaped our current reality.

Last week, discussions on historical revisionism topped social media feeds following the controversial interview of Former Senator Bongbong Marcos with actress and television host Toni Gonzaga in her YouTube program, Toni Talks. With over four million views as of writing, the viral sit-down quickly rose to online trends – sparking multiple debates on what appears to be a desperate attempt of spewing lies about the late dictator. From painting Marcos’ “legacy” projects in a good light to dismissing narratives that history had already proven true, the 28-minute interview enabled the modern Marcos to amplify their versions of stories – the version that served their avaricious interests when thousands of voices were shut even while screaming.

This is only one of the many cases of historical revisionism from the past decades, as historians, journalists, and Martial Law victims continue to grapple with the truth amid false information and propaganda. Usually framed as the “golden era” of the Philippines because of a supposedly booming economy and low cost of living, facts tell a different story, as we still suffer the economic drawbacks of foreign loans and the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth. Human rights violations, censorship, enforced disappearances – all these are being swept under the rug as the years go by, with policymakers themselves dubbing Marcos as a “hero”, and how his brood continues to hold power in the government.

This attempt to humanize and glorify the late Marcos despite the atrocities of his regime revises history on one hand and eradicates stories of victims who have long fought for democracy on the other.

Even until now – nearly 50 years since the authoritarian rule, many families are still grieving for the loss of their fathers who promised to come home, their siblings who suffered tortures of the law, and their friends who have been missing for more than four decades. The marches, fights, and calls of true Filipino heroes are being trampled on a whim, revising stories after stories to shy away from the blood of the past. And what makes all of this possible are the accomplices that continue to peddle lie after lie, building a myth that only benefits themselves.

In the age of disinformation, allowing history to be revised is a disgrace and a disservice not just to the victims of the regime, but also to people who do not know it any better.

Enabling these kinds of narratives gives power to those who already hold and abuse it while serving nothing but deception to the unempowered.

At a time where change is crucially needed, historical revisionists and its enablers hamper progress by bringing people to the wrong side of history, furthering oppression by giving birth to more oppressors and neutrals.

Where the lives and welfare of Filipino people are involved, there is no place to put murderers and thieves on a pedestal.

To silence the atrocities of Martial Law is already history repeating itself – to revise history and erase its horrors is another.

The greatest lessons in history are paid in bloodshed, and we have lost too much to ever try to forget.

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