Photo l-r: Steve Dueck, Jomay Amora-Dueck, Reyna de Mesa, Nico Alfafara, Sophia Upton, Ed Upton, & Ning Upton. Photo by Ning Upton
Filipino group remembers Martial Law
A Filipino group in Winnipeg will host a variety of special events on Friday, September 23, 2022, at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR).
Balik-Tanaw: Martial Law at 50 is a free public event that features a martial law exhibit, a showing of the Showtime documentary The Kingmaker, and a cultural celebration in commemoration of the 50th year since the declaration of martial law on September 21, 1972.
Members of the Philippine-Manitoba Historical Society, Inc. (PMHSI) organized this event to ensure the horrors and atrocities of the Martial Law era remain alive in the collective memory and consciousness of the Filipinos in Canada.
“Revisiting this dark chapter of Philippine history is not only important but necessary given the rising threat of misinformation, disinformation, and historical distortion,” said Jomay Amora-Dueck, event organizer and co-founder of PMHSI.
“In this time when social media heavily influence historical perspectives, we want to provide an academic approach that will spark conversations and promote critical thinking in our youth and community members. This is also our way to help amplify the voices of martial law survivors and victims,” she added.
Nico Bryle Alfafara, also one of the co-founders of the organization, stressed the importance of protecting historical truths and commemorating the Filipinos’ resistance against authoritarianism.
“Filipino youth are vulnerable to the constant stream of disinformation and misinformation on social media and other major arenas of discourse. This explains why generations of youth are confused or are unclear on what had truly occurred during the dark days of martial law. As a young person, I felt the need to step up and take a stand,” said Alfafara.
“The youth have a pivotal role to play in upholding the democratic and patriotic aspirations of the Filipino people now and in the future. There is so much at stake, but the future rests in our hands,” he added.
One of the highlights of the event is the participation of Marichu Antonio, a martial law victim and survivor. She was one of the “Pangasinan Seven” who was abducted by the military in 1984 and subjected to gruesome torture and abuse at a secret military safe house.
She disappeared for 12 days and later was imprisoned without due process from 1984 to 1985.
Antonio recently made history in Canada as the first Filipino and woman of colour to be named Calgary’s Citizen of the Year in 2021. She was also awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for her outstanding community service.
“Let us keep our hopes burning by spreading the truths of our history as Filipinos – not by denying, forgetting nor revising the truths about poverty, injustice and oppression. This way, we are able to come together stronger in action to realize our dream for a truly democratic, just, and prosperous Philippines,” said Antonio.
Frank Evers, the award-winning producer of The Kingmaker, said he personally learned the importance of teaching and remembering history, protecting the freedom of the press, the independence of the judiciary, and an election process free of corruption while filming the documentary.
“I am honored that the Philippine-Manitoba Historical Society have chosen to screen The Kingmaker as part of this special event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines,” said Evers.
“The global rise of autocracy, coupled with the manipulation of social media by sophisticated disinformation campaigns and deployed by troll armies, demands that we ensure democracy is not subverted by the actions of the wealthy and powerful. The people alone should decide their governments based on truthful information enabled by a free press,” he added.
“Democracy is fragile and needs to be safeguarded by all citizens,” he pointed out.
The featured film, The Kingmaker, will be screened for free on September 23 at 4:00 p.m. The award-winning film is an extraordinary look into the controversial political career of Imelda Marcos. A journey through the Marcos family’s long history of corruption, extravagance, and brutality, this documentary tells a cautionary tale of a powerful female leader whose questionable sense of reality divided a nation.
The event concludes with a cultural celebration at 7:00PM, featuring some of Winnipeg’s greatest Filipino-Canadian artists such as Alex Canlapan, Jovelle Balani, Mervin Sison, Hazel Wallace, Jett Panganiban, Paolo Camus, Danilo “Ka Daning” Ramos, Mar dela Cruz, Alapaap and the Missing Page. A cash bar and pop-up shops will be available at the event.
The group is actively seeking financial support from the community. Your donation will help them cover the costs of hosting this event and support future programs and initiatives in our communities.
For more information, contact Reyna de Mesa or Ning Upton at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.bantaykasaysayan.com.
The Kingmaker is written and directed by Emmy® winner Lauren Greenfield and produced by Frank Evers and Lauren Greenfield of Evergreen Pictures for Showtime with executive producers: R.J. Cutler, Geralyn Dreyfous, Julie Parker Benello, Dan Cogan, Bill Haney, Lilly Hartley, Patricia Lambrecht, Nion McEvoy, Vinnie Malhotra, Patty Quillin, Regina K. Scully, and Jamie Wolf.