The year was 1982 when my father, a then top official of National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), attended a series of seminars and meetings in a number of Catholic seminaries in Silay, Talisay, and Bacolod Cities. Luis Jalandoni of the National Democratic Front (NDF) was Parish priest in my hometown Silay City and one of the speakers in those meetings.
My father who was a law undergraduate, attracted the interest of Propaganda Organizing Team (POT), the propaganda group of the New People’s Army (NPA) that is tasked to recruit new members. My father was just one of few people at his age to reach college, and since NPA was extending their influence, my father was one of their primary targets to lead the POT.
NPA members were almost everywhere, in any day of the week. I cannot recall how many native chickens my mother had to butcher so they could eat good meals. That was then, in the rural areas of Silay City, Negros Occidental.
At first, my father told my mother that the seminars and meetings were all about running the Hacienda (my father was Encargado or care taker of Hacienda).
My father later recalled that the reason why he did not pursue to be an official of NPA was because top leaders told him to keep everything secret, including from his wife. My father thinks otherwise and decided to leave the group, and abandoned his position in NFSW. He was a principled man and don’t want others to influence his decision, especially when he sees something wrong.
His two Kumpares later on became top commanders of NPA, and subsequently died during the campaign of then Army General Raymundo Jarque.
All of those things happened in the latter years of my grade school. I am a Martial Law baby who experienced rural life, as opposed to those Martial Law babies who experienced Manila life. Although I remember everything, and still very clear even up to now, I never despise the Martial Law, or Marcos. Perhaps I was too young to understand, but not even in my college years.
Come college years and I became a student leader. I became a member of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), and was elected three times as senator in our college Student Supreme Government (SSG).
I was more active being a campus journalist than being a senator. I won several awards in photo journalism inside the then Western Visayas Region. I was even sent to Baguio three times to compete in the annual National Rizal Youth Leadership Institute (NRYLI), and won second place once.
See, other people would consider me an activist because all of these groups are considered activists – especially the CEGP.
What my father had experienced was about to happen to me.
During a CEGP retreat sometime in 1997, our resource speaker from Metro Manila introduced Joma Sison’s book “The Philippine Revolution”. He urged everyone to have a copy and must read every detail of the book, He encouraged everyone to idolized Sison.
My view towards the organization since then had dramatically changed, and I eventually left the group before I graduated from college. I believe the principle was just not for me. I joined several youth organizations before to learn different things and to improve my self-confidence, not to support the communist party.
Why I am telling all of these? Because all of those alleged Martial Law victims had similar experiences that I had, but they let their pride and principles beat them.
My father discovered that joining the leftist group was not the best interest for his family, so he withdrew. I discovered that joining youth activist groups was not productive for my young career, so I abandoned them.
Those people who had been complaining all of their lives about Martial Law atrocities are either activists, union or labor leaders, or members of civil groups who are against the then President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. Some of these people had been activists for their whole lives, and since they knew nothing other than to be an activist, they are ready to live and die for it. These people are nothing but self-centered and attention hungry.
I had a very happy childhood life I experience under Martial Law. Not because you experienced atrocities because of your stupidity, means the whole latter generation should also detest Martial Law.
I agree that Martial Law should be included in textbooks, but if these books contains only the negative side, then this will be useless.
Ordinary people who just living their normal lives daily during Martial Law had no problem with it.
Since Risa Hontiveros claims that she had been an activist as early as six years old, then her parents had serious problem growing a child.
Martial Law victims should tell young generation that “pasaway kami kaya kami nakulong”. /Rene Burgos/