TAGAYTAY CITY – Senatorial candidate Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan recounted to student journalists from different schools at the 2nd MBC Students Workshop for Social Journalism his experience as a student activist during Martial Law.
“Hindi maganda ang diktadura. Minsan, hindi kami makauwi ng bahay dahil mayroong information na kami ay huhulihin (The dictatorship was not pretty. Sometimes, we couldn’t go home because of information that would be arrested). There were times when we went to safehouses to protect ourselves so that we would not be arrested,” Pangilinan said.
Together with other UP students at that time, Pangilinan, who was a UP university student councilor during the EDSA People Power Revolt, went to the then PTV4 station, which was a battleground between the soldiers fighting and those defending the Marcos dictatorship.
However, according to Pangilinan, many millennials are not aware of what happened before the People Power 30 years ago.
He called on the young people, especially those striving to become journalists, to raise people’s awareness about one-man rule and its excesses.
According to the Nameless Project, a group seeking to remember the victims of Martial Law, 3,257 people were killed, 35,000 were tortured, and up to 70,000 were jailed under the Marcos regime. Also, the military rule saw up to $10 billion in government money plundered, although only $4 billion was recovered.
“Wala pang Facebook noon, wala pang Internet, pero ang lahat ng balita kontrolado (There was no Facebook then, no Internet, but the news were controlled),” Pangilinan said. “Sa halip na magkaroon ng kaalaman ng katotohanan ay nagkakaroon ng kaalaman ng kalokohan o ng hindi totoo (Instead of truth, there were nonsense and lies),” he said.
Pangilinan urged the youth to try and effect change in society, even if only through the use of social media.
“Pagka ang kabataan ay nanindigan para sa mga usapin ng progreso o usapin ng kapakanan ng bansa, maraming nangyayari (If the youth stand up for progress and the welfare of the nation, things happen),” he said.