State U declares Sept. 21 ‘UP Day of Remembrance’
After taking flak for KB on-campus reunion, UP head signs order honoring ‘heroes of the resistance’
Nearly a month after his widely criticized participation in the Kabataang Barangay (KB) reunion held on the Diliman campus, University of the Philippines (UP) president Danilo Concepcion signed his first proclamation for the year, declaring Sept. 21 of every year a “UP Day of Remembrance.”
Proclamation No. 1, which was signed on Monday, authorized and encouraged the holding of special lectures, meetings and ceremonies “devoted to the commemoration of UP’s participation and sacrifice” on all of its campuses on the day the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law through Proclamation No. 1081.
“The University of the Philippines — both as an institution and through the individual efforts of its faculty, students and staff — stood at the forefront of the resistance to martial law,” Concepcion said.
Celebrating the “heroes of the resistance,” the declaration also recognized the contribution of UP’s “best and brightest” in the fight against despotism.
Memory, legacy enshrined
“Both the fallen and the living … deserve to be specially remembered, and their memory and legacy enshrined for younger Filipinos and UP students to emulate,” it said.
Earlier, UP students, faculty and alumni sharply rebuked Concepcion for attending the KB reunion held at UP Bahay ng Alumni in August.
Also present at the event was Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos who was appointed by her father as KB national chair in 1975. Concepcion, on the other hand, was president of the KB Federation in Metro Manila from 1976 to 1978.
Concepcion later apologized and assured the UP community that he did not support any attempt to politically whitewash martial law.
In Monday’s signing ceremony, Concepcion was flanked by martial law survivors, including National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto chair Trinidad Herrera-Repuno.
“The attempt at historical revisionism of the Marcoses, particularly with the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani, is essentially forgetting the dark chapter of our history and the sacrifices of so many people, including teachers and students of UP campuses,” Taguiwalo said.
‘Never forget, never again’
“We hope that the young students of today will act and use their skills and knowledge in joining the people who say: ‘Never forget, never again.’”
In an earlier statement, the UP Diliman University Council, composed of regular faculty members, called for the development of more general education courses and electives that would integrate lessons from martial law, such as resisting authoritarianism.
Calling the proclamation “historic,” UP vice president for public affairs Jose Dalisay Jr. expressed hope that it would mark the “reawakening of the militant consciousness,” not only among students and faculty, but also among university officials.
“We need to push back against this ongoing revisionism in our history, in our political life … Who else will act but the university that led in the struggle against martial law?” he said.
“In this sense, we are our peoples’ memory and conscience.”
“We must remind ourselves—not only the people, but the university community—of what we have stood for all these decades,” Dalisay added.
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