28 April 2016
Subsequent to the creation of the Human Rights Violations’ Victims Memorial Commission (HRVVMC) that has a primary role of establishing, restoring, preserving and conserving a museum in honor of the victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime, President Benigno S. Aquino III led the launching of the Freedom Memorial Museum that will be built inside the compound of the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City.
One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of materials for inclusion in the virtual time capsule. The first material, “Freedom is Ingrained in Every Filipino,” an infographic from the time of Lapu-Lapu, was presented by Philip Suzara who was a human rights victim during martial law.
The second material was presented by Doris Nuval, a freedom fighter and a political prisoner during the dictatorship. “The Cost of Freedom under a Repressive Regime” shows still photos from the protest period.
The last material, with the title “What Freedom Means Today and for the Future,” and a combined artwork from a group of children, was presented by Aika Robredo together with two students who participated in the artwork making activity, Yanna Santos and Veronica Crisanto.
In his speech, President Aquino stressed the negative effects of martial law in the lives of its victims and in the country’s economy. He said that the museum would serve as a reminder of the “dark chapter” that the country experienced under martial rule, as well as the heroism of the Filipino people who fought for the nation’s freedom. Through the museum, he added, the lessons from this period can be imparted to the youth so that this chapter will never happen again.
The President said, “Hawak ninyong mga kabataan ang inyong kinabukasan. Patuloy sana kayong mamulat, makilahok at makiambag sa pagsisikap naming itaguyod ang mas magandang bukas para sa inyo at sa ating lahat. Sa Daang Matuwid, may gobyerno nang tunay na kakampi at nagmamalasakit sa taumbayan; may gobyerno nang isinusulong ang katarungan at ang kapakanan ng mas nakararami. Ang hamon sa bawat isa: ituloy ang labang nasimulan sa EDSA. Ipaglaban natin ang kalayaang kay tagal nating minithi at ang katuparan ng ating pangarap.”
After his speech, President Aquino led the locking of the virtual time capsule that signaled the launching of the Freedom Memorial Museum and indicated that the digital vault has already been locked for the next ten years. He was joined in the ceremony by Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje, National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chairperson Maria Serena Diokno, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Patricia Licuanan, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Commissioner Karen Lucia Gomez-Dumpit, National Commission on the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Chairman Felipe De Leon, Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Mario Deriquito, and University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman Librarian Professor Chito Angeles.
The establishment of the HRVVMC is stated in the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 (RA 10368) that recognizes the heroism and sacrifices of the victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime, and acknowledges the government’s obligation to provide reparation to them and to their families.
The soon-to-be-built museum will have facilities such as an auditorium or theater with a seating capacity of more or less a thousand, smaller function rooms for meetings and workshops, an outdoor performance area, an art gallery, a serenity garden, a dining area and a souvenir shop.
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