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UPV Tacloban College remembers Marcos’ martial law years

In commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law during the Marcos regime, “Kaluwasan: Creative Expression and Social Criticism at a Time of Terror” was held in the afternoon of September 29, 2017 at the Multipurpose Building of UPVTC, Tacloban City. The activity was jointly sponsored of the Divisions of Humanities (DH) and Social Sciences (DSS) of UP Visayas Tacloban College (UPVTC).

Kaluwasan, a Waray word for freedom, was a three-in-one event that aimed to provide a venue for narratives from lesser-known martial law survivors, and allow freedom of expression in the processing of current social issues in the country. It also intended to enrich the critical discourse of narratives of survival from past and present terror as well as encourage partnership among UPVTC Divisions, students, and the larger community.

The first activity for the afternoon was a DSS-organized forum (huruhimangraw) on “What Millennials Can Learn from Martial Law Survivors.” This featured the stories of four guests from Samar and Leyte who experienced the martial law years.

Mr. Emil Justimbante, a local historian, talked about key features of and figures behind the martial law declaration as well as his experience with torture. Mr. Bert Ada also shared his experience as torture survivor owing to his involvement as leader of a progressive organization.

Mr. Resurrection Salvatiera told stories about his years as union leader in the Philippines and in the US during the Marcos presidency and offered insights into the role of Imelda Marcos in the dynamics of martial law in Tacloban.

Finally, DH Chair Prof. Joycie Dorado Alegre narrated how she grew up during the martial law years, from having a father who was tagged as “undesirable government official,” performing for Mrs. Marcos’ grandiose shows, and eventually becoming an officer of UP Tacloban’s Faculty Union – which president was later apprehended and never found (desaparecido).

The forum was followed by a performance art (pasundayag) on the courage and creative freedom by the Theater Arts 108 class of Prof. Alegre. This segued into “Pamuhaypuhay: Songs and Poetry for Justice,” organized by the DH, UP Ideopraxist, and the Katig Writers Network, Inc.

Pamuhaypuhay included a candle-lighting and posthumous tribute to multi-awarded Waray poets Jose Victor Peñaranda and Imelda Agustin-Ruiz; a poetry reading by Waray writers including Professor Emeritus Merlie Alunan; and song performances of by the An Balangaw Performing Arts Group.

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