Bantayog ng mga Bayani, Quezon Ave. cor. EDSA
Diliman, Quezon City
21 September 2012
President Benigno S. Aquino III led the wreath-laying ceremony to honor the deceased Martial Law heroes and martyrs during the 40th Anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City.
In his message, President Aquino recounted childhood memories when President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. “Labindalawang taong gulang pa lang ako noon at wala akong ideya sa laki ng magiging epekto ng Setyembre 1972 sa buhay ng aming pamilya,” he said.
According to the President, much have changed when Martial Law was declared especially when his father, the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., a staunch critic of President Marcos, was incarcerated and many others who opposed and questioned the dictatorship. He also revealed how the late President Marcos meticulously planned the series of events leading to September 23, 1972 when he proclaimed 1080 “placing the entire Philippine under Martial Law,” just to stay in power.
“Kung pinirmahan niya ang proklamasyon sa ika-21 ng Setyembre, bakit naghintay pa siya ng dalawang araw bago isapubliko ito? Ang sagot: upang pansamantalang ikubli ang Batas Militar sa taumbayan, at mabigyan siya ng sapat na panahon na masugod at dakipin ang mga walang kamalay-malay na kumokontra sa patakaran niya,” he said.
President Aquino also clarified that the success of the EDSA People Power I was not triggered by the assassination of his father but of the people’s will to fight for the country’s rights and freedom from the Marcos regime.
The President also expressed dismay on how some people justified the need to install martial law in the country with its “seeming” economic boom and have somehow forgotten the atrocity committed under the Marcos regime. In order to correct this wrong information to be passed in the next generation, the President has instructed the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to collate historical records, memoirs and stories from the victims of Martial Law to be published in a book which will be distributed in schools.
“Hindi ako makakapayag na maipasang muli sa susunod na henerasyon ang mga pagkakamali ng kasaysayan. Pahalagahan natin ang pamana’t aral ng Batas Militar. Tungkulin ng bawat isa sa ating alagaan ito, gamit ang tiwala sa isa’t isa, pagmamahal sa katotohanan, at higit sa lahat, sa pagkilala’t pagbibigay-halaga sa sakripisyo ng ating mga bayani. Huwag nating sayangin ang kanilang ipinaglaban,” he said.
The Bantayog ng Bayani Foundation currently holds 207 names of heroes and martyrs enshrined in the Wall of Remembrance. Among the prominent names are Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr. and former Pres. Corazon Aquino, Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, film director Catalino Brocka, journalist Jose Burgoz Jr., Gov. Cesar Climaco, historian Renato Constantino, nun Mariani Dimaranan, Sen. Jose Diokno, Italian priest Tullio Favali, legislator Bonifacio Gillego, Gov. Evelio Javier, Edgar Jopson, Dean Armando Malay and his wife Paula Carolina, Sen. Raul Manglapus, Justice Jose B. Reyes, Dr. Nemesio Prudente, Sen. Lorenzo Tanada and Justice Claudio Teehankee.
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