Ako ay natutuwa na maanyayahan sa pagtitipon ngayong hapon bilang bahagi ng paggunita sa ika-50th anibersayo ng deklarasyon ng batas militar sa September 21, 2022.
Naalala ko na sometimes August din yung kinukwento ko din sa inyong kasamahan. Sometime August din, way back 1973 when I was on my 2nd year of College here in UP extension in Manila na referred to as the UP College of Arts and Sciences. Kasi dito ako nag-aral ng aking unang taon tapos sa kasamaang palad sometime in August of 1973 I was arrested kung saan I was arrested in College of Arts and Sciences and repay for a period of six months, one month in Camp Crame and five months in Fort Bonifacio and that was when I was still on my 2nd year in college on August of 1973.
Siguro ang magandang bigyang diin yung panahon ng batas militar ibang-iba talaga ang katangin ng kapaligiran sa campus na kakaiba doon sa inyong kinagisnan at nakasanayan.
Inabot ko yung panahon na difference between pre-martial law period and the martial law period at gusto kong patotohanan na lahat ng inyong nababasang halimbawa katulad nung pelikulang ating napanood I think yung earlier films tungkol sa martial law that you saw na tumatalakay halimbawa sa torture, cruel and inhuman treatment and punishment particularly of people who were suspected or arrested because of their political beliefs or political activism tapos yung repression sa loob ng campus, yung pagsususpinde ng mga sanggunian ng mga mag-aaral at ng mga student papers— I can vouch that these are all true.
Nadatnan ko yan noong nasa kolehiyo ako noong panahon ng martial law, nakita ko yung difference kase I was 1st year in college before Martial law in fact I belong to the 1st batch of 1st year students here in UP Manila when Martial law was declared. I entered UP of June 1972 kaya makikita mo yung difference na malaya kang makapasok labas sa loob ng campus o sa loob ng Rizal Hall tapos sa loob ng mga silid-aralan na malaya ang talakayan tungkol sa kasaysayan tungkol sa pampulitika at pang-ekonomikong isyu.
Nakakalunsad ng pang-masang kilos sa US Embassy sa Plaza Miranda at tsaka sa Malacañang. Kaya nung ideklara ang batas militar noong Setyembre 1972 and campuses were swarming with military agents although with civilian clothes tapos may mga checkpoints.
Maramdaman mo, I felt the difference you can’t just enter the campus freely kasi pagpasok mo ng UP Manila, particularly sa Campus ng College of Arts and Sciences, all your personal belongings—your books, notebooks will be inspected as you enter the campus. It would take some time to be able to enter the campus kasi talagang bubulalaktin lahat ng iyong mga gamit, tapos sa mga classroom din hindi panatag ang buo-buong magsalita, aktibong lumahok sa mga talakayan kasi nandoon yung takot na mayroon yung mga sibilyan na militar na agents inside the classroom and watching your move or listening to what you are going to say.
Generally, ganoon yung atmosphere when martial law was declared in 1972.
But I think particularly doon sa bahagi ng kabataang estudyante; dahil doon sa kanilang idealismo, dahil doon sa political conviction and beliefs, I think those threats, those challenges did not prevent students as well other sectors in Philippine society specifically workers, peasant, urban poor, agricultural workers in the Philippine countryside would not prevent them standing for their right, for speaking the truth. Kaya iyon din ang dahilan kung bakit palagay ko kaya marami ang nahuli, maraming na-torture, maraming nawala or naging disappeared because they continue their political activism with their organizing, educating, mobilizing different sectors in Philippine society particularly the poor and oppressed.
On my part, siguro dahil na rin sa kabataan, dahil na rin sa paninindigan. Parang I could not feel any. I was not afraid in the activities that I engaged in that include organizing students. We have to shift our method in terms of organizing students, in terms of providing political education we have shift from open strategy or method so kailangan maging maingat ka, kasi on campus, a group of three would make the police or military suspicious.
Iyon ang paniniwala ko, hindi ako natakot, hindi nangamba na meron akong risk na tinetake all the more to the point when I was then arrested and detained for several months in Camp Crame.
Of course, may consequences iyon.
I have to stop my schooling here in UP for a year. Instead of graduating 1976, I graduated a year after. This time I decided to transfer in UP Diliman kasi I felt na I would not be able to do or engaged in my political activities if I remained in UP Manila kasi kumbaga kilala na ako dito, at doon ang panganib sa bawat kilos ko, bawat galaw ko ay susundan ako. It will prevent me from engaging in my political activities.
Nagtuloy-tuloy yung pagkilos ko nung batas militar pag-oorganisa ng mga estudyante and then when martial law was lifted, I continued with my political activities, I come from a political inclined family.
Kasi in my family origin, bale apat kami: tatlong babae ako panganay ta’s yung kapatid kong lalake sya bunso at during martial law. Lahat kami kumilos sa iba’t-ibang larangan, my only brother was the editor of Philippine Collegian during his time that was during 80s but he is a writer and he wrote one relatively famous books of political activist during the martial law period and that is the biography of Edgar Jopson kung nabasa nyo na or you got hold of Edgar Jopson Story that was written by my brother Benjamin and it would be very good I would strongly recommend you getting hold of that book because it gives you very vivid description the kind of life live by students, students leader during the martial law period give their lives because of their political conviction because of their political activism.
Siguro bago ako magtapos sa kasalukuyang panahom syempre ibang-iba. Ibang-iba yung sitwasyon na ating kinapapalooban and because if andyan na yung teknolohiya tapos ang tindi nung pagpapalaganap ng kasinungalingan sa pamamagitan ng media specifically social media and because of this particular kind of environment that we find ourselves.
The advise that I’ll strongly give to youth and students of today you should possess a questioning mind it is not wrong to be skeptical, magtanong sa mga itinuturo sa inyo sa loob ng eskuwelahan, sa inyong mga nababasa kase that would be a way of being able to know the truth, be able to discern falsehood from the truth and that would be one and the second talagang magandang maging practice yung pagbabasa. Kasi yung pagbabasa, it will expose you to a lot of things pwedeng parehong katotohanan at kasinungalingan pero sa pamamagitan ng inyong pagbabasa, pananaliksik at the same time the ability of questioning attitude toward the things around you.
I think that it would greatly help in the conscientious of process the students in the education process of the students so that you are able to fight against falsehood that are being disseminated at present using various cultural apparatuses or cultural media.
Iyon lang ang gusto kong sabihin and I would like to extend my congratulations to the group which organize this forum as a way to contribute to commemoration of 50th anniversary of Martial Law na talagang dapat di natin malimutan kasi bahagi yan ng kasaysayan at yung mga naganap noong panahon ng batas militar na tunay na naganap na dapat pagpulutan ng mga aral ng mga estudyante, ng mga kabataan at ng iba’t-ibang sektor ng ating lipunan.
Si Dr. Nymia Simbulan ang kasalukuyang Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas sa Maynila. Siya rin ay naging bahagi ng Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) kung saan niya ipinagpatuloy ang pakikibaka magmula nang dinanas niya ang bagsik ng diktaduryang Marcos Sr.