The people happiest about Senator Marcos running for a higher national office, the Vice Presidency, are the ones that have made it a career to bash anything “Marcos.” They want him in the limelight so their “bashing” can also be “seen” by many. Again, we are hearing the inane “demand” that Bongbong apologize for the human rights abuses committed during his father’s reign. The self righteous moralists are happy to recite their litany of number of missing persons, number of people jailed (mostly communists or leftist students too naive to know they were being used), number of tortured, of displaced, and every other possible abuse one can think of that will make Marcos look like all he ever did was to think of ways of torturing people. Some are just too happy to be able to say once more, “never again,” to see if it sparks some new meaning in their lives or brightens the halo above their heads long ago faded. But you ask these same people if they have the official or even just a non-official tally of human rights abuses in the last 30 years under the 5 post-Marcos Presidents and they will look at you incredulously as if to say, “who cares about those.” They also invariably forget to mention that BBM was 14 years old when Martial Law was declared and his opinion today about Martial Law then, is his opinion which he is entitled to like everyone else so he should not apologize for that either. Besides, it is an opinion shared by many.
The curtailment of press freedom during Martial Law should “never be repeated” they will tell you; but these same people have done nothing to help investigate the killings of media practitioners in this country in the last 30 years, a frequent enough occurrence to earn us the distinction of being “the most dangerous country not at war to live in for a journalist,” according to CNN. (http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/04/asia/philippines-deadly-for-journalists/) But do they care? Marcos was no longer around to blame for those killings. So, what good is bringing up human rights violations or killings of journalists if you can’t blame Marcos for them? The Mendiola Massacre, the Hacienda Luisita carnage, the “Ampatuan bloodbath” and many more atrocities that continue to form part of our history post-Marcos do not get the same passionate howl from “traditional media” mostly owned by the oligarchs that rushed back to the country after 1986 to resume their stronghold on the economy as part of their share of the spoils of EDSA 1 divided up among a few families. The promises made by those that took over the reins of power in 1986 were bogus promises and the corruption that followed was worse than what they had replaced. And what was supposed to be Cory Aquino’s legacy, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, became the biggest travesty in our history when a special exemption was granted the vast land holdings of her family of more than 6,000 hectares that to this day has yet to be distributed to the farmer tenants as ordered and made executory by the Supreme Court.
But what a new generation, born after Martial Law, have experienced since 1986 is living in a country that continues to be mired in poverty, ruled by the same dynastic families, bogged down by corruption, and whose political leaders have done nothing to ensure that the economic gains of the country as a whole is felt by the majority of the people. What they continue to witness is the rich becoming richer and the poor getting poorer and growing in number. They also see how the propaganda against the Marcoses remains unrelenting but now rings hallow, to others, outright ridiculous and absurd.
But the internet has become the “game changer” where the flow of information is no longer controlled by a few. What information traditional media have been bombarding the youth with, they see does not jive with the reality on the ground and moreover, they are now able to exchange information among themselves instantaneously through social media. What they say to each other that their parents and grandparents have told them about the past are similar in narrative: that life was in many ways better then, and that the situation now, thirty long years after, has hardly improved and in many respects has, in fact, deteriorated and that the leaders of EDSA 1 betrayed them. So there is this collective realization among the young that those that continue to espouse divisiveness and continue to dwell on the past continually using Marcos as the culprit, the excuse, are themselves, the ones that hinder progress and that the country can only advance if people are willing to unite and work as one nation to push this country forward. They are tired of the “blame game,” divisive politics, finger pointing, and do not care to look for scape goats. The young call it “laro ng mga matatanda,” or simply, the “yellow lie.”
Vice Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is finding his strength among the youth, the millennial generation, where his message of unity and nation building resonates. He asks them to consider him on the basis of his track record as a public servant, and presents himself as the one to lead the way in putting to rest “trapo” and patronage politics. He has announced to all and sundry that he intends to work for the betterment of not just a few but for the betterment of all. His confidence is anchored on his track record (http://www.bongbongmarcos.com/about/) that speaks volumes of his capability to effect changes as he has done in his province of Ilocos Norte as Governor for nine consecutive years. The propaganda against him, overused to be sure, sounds tired and old and has evidently reached its limit and has been exposed for what it is. The people will have the last say when they vote him in as the next Vice President of the Philippines.