Over 1,300 Filipino scholars and academics from around the world vowed to combat disinformation and historical revisionism under the incoming Marcos Jr. administration.
In an online petition titled "Manifesto in Defense of Historical Truth and Academic Freedom," scholars said the victory of presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and vice president Sara Duterte-Carpio "signals an intensified struggle over historical knowledge and pedagogy, the erasure of traumatic personal and collective memories of plunder and human rights violations under Martial Law."
The scholars who signed the petition also warned about "unbridled myth-making" about the so-called "Golden Age" during the "conjugal dictatorship" of Marcos Sr. and wife Imelda.
"As scholars and academics, we oppose all forms of disinformation that rely on fabrication, manipulation, deceptive rebranding, and propaganda using social media and other digital and information technologies," they said.
Under the regime of Bongbong's father Ferdinand Marcos, data from the Amnesty International showed that there were over 3,200 extrajudicial killings, 35,000 tortures, 70 “disappearances” or desaparecidos, and 70,000 imprisoned.
According to the World Bank and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Marcoses siphoned as much as $10 billion (P521.8 billion) from the government coffers during their two-decade rule.
Marcos Sr. was booted out of Malacañang in 1986 through the EDSA People Power Revolution. Years after their exile, however, the Marcoses are now back in power. The resurgence of support for Marcos Jr. in the run-up to his presidential campaign have been, however, fueled with misinformation.
"We pledge to combat all attempts at historical revisionism that distort and falsify history to suit the dynastic interests of the Marcoses and their allies and to fortify their power," the scholars who signed the petition said.
Preservation of Martial Law books
The scholars who signed the manifesto also pledged to "staunchly defend the right to freedom of thought, inquiry, and expression."
"We oppose all forms of censorship and book-banning. We condemn attempts at red-tagging individuals, groups, and institutions," they said.
The National Intelligence Coordinating Agency recently red-tagged Adarna House after putting books about Martial Law on sale, accusing the publisher of having ties with communist groups and "subtly radicalizing" children against the government. It drew flak from several institutions and personalities, including English author Neil Gaiman.
Petitioners also vowed to preserve books, documents, records, artifacts, archives, and other source materials pertaining to the Martial Law period and other aspects of the Marcos era.
They also vowed to protect the integrity and independence of educational, historical, and cultural institutions.
"We shall critically intervene in the vetting, writing, and teaching of history and other textbooks and educational materials," petitioners said.