At this time of the year when the country remembers the horrors and the atrocities of the Martial Law years imposed 26 years ago, my fraternity, the Upsilon Sigma Phi, traditionally gets some flak for, well, being the fraternity of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos and some of his alleged cronies and allies, from Roberto Benedicto to Estelito Mendoza to name some. The standard way of neutralizing the flak is to invoke the memory of the traditional political opposition that fought the dictatorship, from the likes of Salvador “Doy” Laurel, Joker Arroyo to Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. Rarely is it done any other way.
Today, let me take the opportunity to invoke, too, the memory of communist martyrs Merardo Arce and Melito Glor, martyred rebels, fraternity brothers all the same, who integrated with the masses and took the armed means of liberation, and from whose honor the names of the Southern Mindanao Regional Operations and the Southern Tagalog commands of the New People’s Army are named after.
Cliche as it may sound, we must always look at our present conditions without disposing of the lessons of the past. At times when basic conditions of widespread poverty and oppression persist, our remembrance must transcend mere commemoration, to a realization that perhaps the same roots that bore the resistance of the Marcos years, has only entrenched itself further and as such, creates similar tragic conditions and creates the need to sustain the struggle for genuine change.