“Paglaban sa Paglimot: Ika-51 Taon sa Pag-alala sa Proklamasyon ng Batas Militar” is an exhibit commemorating the victims of Martial Law and the fight to overthrow the Marcos dictatorship. Organized by the Center for Social Action and the Benilde Arts Management (BeAM), the exhibit opened today, Sept. 21, at The Atrium @ Benilde, and will run until Sept. 29.
The opening ceremony began with a speech from Ms. Nicky Templo-Perez, Vice President for Lasallian Mission and Student Life. She shared that the idea for the exhibit was conceived during the De La Salle Philippines Lasallian Justice and Peace Commission and Assembly on Aug. 23 to 27. Several La Salle schools in the East Luzon cluster agreed to do a rotating exhibit for “Ang Tanda-Tanda Mo Na, Sinungaling Ka Pa”—one of the featured works in “Paglaban sa Paglimot”. She also encouraged students, barangay partners, and associates to visit.
“For the youth, and the students that are here today, kayo ang aming pag-asa na malalabanan natin ang pagkalimot. Kayo ang pag-asa namin na maipapaalala pa rin namin ito sa mga susunod na henerasyon,” Ms. Templo-Perez emphasized in her speech.
In an exclusive interview with The Benildean, she said how she hoped for more opportunities to partner with student organizations and academic programs so that more exhibits about social issues could be made. She also talked about the importance for issues like this to be discussed in higher-education institutions.
“Having these kinds of exhibits, talking about these issues in class, it helps our students revisit things that they might have known about, pero differently. It’s the right time for you to form your own opinions already,” she mentioned.
She was followed by Alexandra Denise Alcazar, External Vice President of BeAM, who stressed how artists, from all fields, have always been advocates in fighting against misinformation and historical revisionism. She also presented the featured artists in the event—all of whom were Benildeans.
The first artworks presented were from the “Ang Tanda-Tanda Mo Na, Sinungaling Ka Pa,” which is a collection of freehand portraits of Martial Law victims. This was produced by the Center for Campus Art and first exhibited in December 2018. The students involved with the creation of the portraits aimed to disprove Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s claim that no deaths occurred during the time of the former dictator.
There were also works that could be visited online, such as Miss Conception, a website dedicated to battling misinformation. This was made and presented by Jose Romualdo Babao, Zhaine Anna Marie Guiao, Miguel Angelo Gonda, and Kayla Joy Villar at the Multimedia Arts Capstone Plenary 2023.
Meanwhile, Rekindled: Children’s Narratives, is an e-book featuring stories of children who grew up during Martial Law, and those who had parents as activists. The designs used within the book were conceptualized by 3rd term NSTP-02 students of A.Y. 2021-2022—under the supervision of Mr. Melvin Lebria.
Lastly, there was Tatsulok, a musical short film directed by Francis Angelo Abeng, a member of Dulaang Filipino under the Benilde Culture and Arts Unit. The film discussed the fight for justice and truth, capturing the dread and horror felt during the Martial Law era.
After presenting all the featured works, Atty. Chel Diokno, the Founding Dean of the De La Salle University College of Law, and a Board Chairperson for the Bantayog ng mga Bayani, was invited to give a speech. He recalled how his father was taken from his home by soldiers and detained at a military camp for almost two years—the situation that served as his awakening.
“Power without responsibility really is oppression. And power without accountability is impunity,” he stated. Such abuse of power was what spurred him to keep on fighting.
“To forget is something that I can never do. To forget is something that our people should never do. Once we forget, we surrender,” he emphasized, calling on Filipinos to stand and fight for their freedom, rights, and dignity.
In an exclusive interview with The Benildean, like Ms. Templo-Perez, he highlighted the role of the youth in the remembrance of Martial Law victims.