UP set as memorial for Martial Law victims; September 21 made ‘Day of Remembrance’

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The University of the Philippines (UP) has become the site of the country’s memorial for victims of human rights violations.

(Photo by Aldrin Casinas / MANILA BULLETIN) (Photo by Aldrin Casinas / MANILA BULLETIN)

The UP and the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission (HRVVMC) signed a memorandum of understanding to be partners in the establishment of the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial, Museum, and/or Library in UP Diliman on Friday.

The date marks the 46th anniversary of Martial Law since the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared it in 1972.

UP also designated September 21 of every year as the “Day of Remembrance” in honor of the contributions of the University’s “best and brightest” to the fight against dictatorship and despotism, citing UP’s role in the forefront of the resistance to martial law.

The “Day of Remembrance” is part of the university's “participation and sacrifice” against martial law. Proclamation 1, Series of 2018 signed by UP President Danilo Concepcion – as posted on the university’s social media accounts – authorizes and encourages “the holding of special lectures, meetings, and ceremonies” to remember the declaration of martial law which “resulted in severe political and economic repression.”

Today’s event was led by Concepcion and attended by Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, HRVVMC Chair Rene Escalante and other UP officials.

The HRVVMC was established under Republic Act No. 10368, the “An Act Providing for Reparation and Recognition of Victims of Human Rights Violations during the Marcos Regime, Documentation of Said Violation, Appropriating Funds Therefore and for Other Purposes,” which President Benigno Aquino III signed on Feb. 25, 2013.

The commission was created “primarily for the establishment, restoration, preservation and conservation of the Memorial/Museum/Library/Compendium in honor of the HRVVs during the Marcos regime.”

Its Board of Trustees include the chair of the Commission on Human Rights who sits as chair of the board; chair of the National Historical Commission, as co-chair of the board; and chairs of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, the Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the head of the UPD Main Library, as board members.