[Press Release] #NeverForget: Human rights and cultural orgs line up events to remind Filipinos of the reality of ML era -ACTIVE VISTA

#NeverForget: Human rights and cultural orgs line up events to remind Filipinos of the reality of ML era

Quezon City, Philippines – In commemoration of the 48th Martial Law anniversary, artist-activist collective DAKILA-Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism along with partners Bantayog ng mga Bayani, FORUM-Asia, and Cinema as Art Movement, through Active Vista International Human Right Festival (AVIHRF), hold series of events today to remember the realities of our recent dark past.

“The AVIHRF is an annual event that celebrates rights, freedoms, and dignity held on the week of Martial Law Anniversary commemoration. Through narratives of human experiences with the use of film screenings, exhibits, performances, forums, and events, the festival aims to engage the public in discourses and conversations on human rights and democracy,” Active Vista Executive Director and DAKILA Secretary General Leni Velasco explains.

“As our government capitalizes on the ongoing health crisis to cement its authoritarian agenda through repressive measures — such as the signing of Anti-Terrorism Law, shutting down of ABS-CBN, implementing militaristic approach to the pandemic,, and imposing digital de facto martial law, to name a few — it is a crucial time for us not to be silent and to continue speaking truth to power,” she adds. “As we commemorate the Martial Law anniversary today, we unleash the power of storytelling told through films, forums, and other innovative forms to remind the Filipinos of the reality of the Marcos era.”


DAKILA and Bantayog ng mga Bayani, with the help of FORUM-Asia, launches today a digital exhibit called “Wall of Remembrance: Digital Bantayog ng mga Bayani” in an effort to bridge gaps in Martial Law education by expanding and extending working spaces for education.

The exhibit, which recreates the Bantayog ng mga Bayani’s iconic memorial center, is now accessible to digital visitors from the regions and abroad — stylized and up-to-date, and interactive to promote and facilitate education on the heroes of the Martial Law era.

“Memories serve as markers so our nation will #NeverAgain fall in the cracks of our past mistakes. The Digital Bantayog pushes and innovates on the objective of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani not only in preserving the memory but aspiring to expand the spaces where memory is preserved,” the exhibit’s curatorial note says.


Bantayog ng mga Bayani member and Martial Law activist Iting Isberto; Free Legal Assistance Group chairperson Chel Diokno; writer, feminist, and activist Ninotchka Rosca; sociologist Dr. Nicole Curato, and spoken word artist Alfonso Manalastas shall discuss Martial Law and how to cure our nation’s amnesia and apathy so as to #NeverAgain fall under a fascist regime in the face of creeping authoritarianism in Demystifying Demagogues and Dictator forum.

The forum will be broadcasted at 3:00 to 6:00 PM today on DAKILA and Active Vista Facebook pages.


Cinema as Art Movement (CAM) and DAKILA present Dissidents, a screening of short films and talkback reflecting today’s realities surrounding the state-sanctioned violence and killings, decades-long failing war on drugs, systemic oppression, environmental degradation, and social unrest.

Showcasing the short films of Cesar Hernando — a photographer, archivist, film professor, and CAM organizer — the program shall also serve as a tribute to him and his immeasurable contribution to the Filipino cinema, art, and culture.

The program will run from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.


The Kingmaker (2019) by Lauren Greenfield headlines the festival’s film screenings for today.

“Centered on the indomitable character of Imelda Marcos, The Kingmaker examines, with intimate access, the Marcos family’s improbable return to power in the Philippines. The film explores the disturbing legacy of the Marcos regime and chronicles Imelda’s present-day push to help her son, Bongbong, win the vice-presidency. To this end, Imelda confidently rewrites her family’s history of corruption, replacing it with a narrative of a matriarch’s extravagant love for her country. In an age when fake news manipulates elections, Imelda’s comeback story serves as a dark fairy tale,” the film synopsis says.


DAKILA Communications Director Andrei Venal emphasizes how our current political and societal context indicates another threat of dictatorship. “With the current administration that openly glorifies Marcosian rule while employing its own brand of strongman rule, there is no need for an official declaration of martial law to recognize that we are yet again on the brink of democracy’s collapse,” he says. “As these warning signs of history flash red and hot, let us #NeverForget the realities of the Martial Law era. We call on you to join us and be united in saying #NeverAgain to this madness.”

“The struggle against tyranny did not end in 1986. It still continues today. And it shall continue until the truths about our history is no longer a matter of debate until all architects of tyranny are held to account, and until we as a nation #NeverAgain fall under a fascist regime in the face of creeping authoritarianism.

Through conversations, discussions, storytelling, other forms of discourse, and all fonts of the battle — online or on ground, at home or on the streets — let us stand firm in our roles as vanguards of democracy,” he concludes.

Media Contact:
Precious Marie G. Gunayon
Public Relations Manager, DAKILA
0939 118 2374 | press@dakila.org.ph

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