THE UNIVERSITY was uncharacteristically silent and made no posts on its official channels about the 50th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law on Wednesday, unlike in recent years.

The declaration of Martial Law in 1972 is known as the start of a dark period in Philippine history characterized by human rights abuses, tortures and killings.

In 2021, UST posted an image of a lit candle on social media with the words, “Our forgetfulness is their license. #NeverAgain” as early as the evening of Sept. 20.

In 2018, UST reposted a social media age representation of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s declaration of Martial Law with a #NeverAgain hashtag.

As of this story’s writing, UST has not released anything about the Martial Law anniversary.

Other Philippine universities, such as UST’s sister school Colegio de San Juan de Letran, have released statements calling for justice for Martial Law victims and vowing to “never forget.”

“We must stand together as one faith, as one nation, and as one Letranite community, to actively remind ourselves and our brethren of our dark history, so that we may learn from our mistakes,” Letran said in a tweet.

De La Salle University-Manila’s facade displayed banners showing the Lasallian martyrs who fought against the dictatorship. 

The University of the Philippines (UP) held its annual UP Day of Remembrance and conducted a “historian’s meet” streamed on Facebook via TVUP.

The Ateneo de Manila University posted a statement by the Society of Jesus Social Apostolate Philippine Province and the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan that called for “accountability and justice from the perpetrators of the atrocities of Martial Law.”

“Amidst calls to ‘move on,’ we insist on the necessity of memorializing and remembering so that the facts and truths concerning the dictatorship and Martial Law are not muddled by post-truth narratives that rob our people,” the statement read. “When we collectively forget and distort the truth of our history, we also begin to lose part of our identity as a people.”

The UST Central Student Council (CSC) has publicly denounced the “proliferation of fake news” aimed to deliberately distort the country’s history. 

“[The year] 2022 may be 50 years away from 1972, but the political climate remains. Corruption and bad governance still plague our lands, now coupled with the proliferation of fake news to distort past events,” the CSC said.

“Thomasians will remember. We will never forget. With history as our witness, we hold our fists high and say: NEVER AGAIN,” the council added.

Some local student councils and organizations have changed their profile photos to black and white as a sign of solidarity with the victims of Martial Law.

Some Thomasian student activists also joined the Martial Law commemoration program at the UP Diliman campus.

The 50th anniversary of Martial Law was the first to be commemorated under the presidency of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the only son and namesake of the ousted dictator, whose current chief of staff and former executive secretary, Vic Rodriguez, is a Thomasian.

In June, Rodriguez returned to UST for a “closed-door” meeting with UST officials including UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., Secretary General Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P., Civil Law Regent Fr. Isidro Abaño, O.P. and Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina. Details of the meeting were undisclosed.


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