Friday, February 1, 2013

Preserving the memory, unfolding the truth



From left to right: Dr. Myrna S. Austria,
Br. Ricardo P. Laguda, Sr. Ma. Luz Mijarez
and Dr. Sonia M. Gementiza sign the MOA
The memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the De La University-Manila (DLSU-Manila), De La Salle University-Dasmariñas (DLSU-Dasmariñas) and the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) was signed last 29 January 2013 at the Learning Commons of the DLSU by the representatives of the three organizations: Br. Ricardo P. Laguda FSC, Chancellor/President of the DLSU-Manila; Dr. Myrna S. Austria, Vice Chancellor for Academics, DLSU-Manila; Dr. Sonia M. Gementiza, Director, Aklatang Emilio Aguinaldo, DLSU- Dasmariñas; and Sr. Ma. Luz Mijarez, Board of Director, TFDP. The event was also graced by Ms. Ana Maria Fresnido, Director, Learning Commons, DLSU-Manila and Mr. Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of TFDP. 


The signing of the MOA seals the partnership of the three organizations on the digitization of the primary sources of information of the TFDP. The project was conceived when representatives of the DLSU Manila Library visited the Museum of Courage which was housed at the TFDP in Quezon City. During their visit they were amazed with the vast collection of historical materials and the documented cases of Martial Law victims of the TFDP. Knowing the importance of such materials in preserving the history of the Philippines, specifically during the Martial Law era, they came up with the idea of working together to have the documents digitized. 

During the ceremony, representatives of the organizations shared their views on the project-- Br. Ricky emphasized the power of keeping the memory alive and doing ordinary things with love; Sr. Mijarez on one hand shared a brief history of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines which was established in 1974 by the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) during the tumultuous era of the country, primarily to document the massive human rights violations of the Marcos regime. She emphasized that during that reign of terror, many human rights were suppressed; many people stood their ground and risked their lives. These are the stories documented by TFDP. According to her, the stories document sacrifices and tribulations of people who dared to fight and speak up in behalf of the Filipino people. Further, these narratives contain how, despite the all-out suppression of human rights, mass protests and actions against dictatorial rule, gathered the momentum that led to the EDSA Revolution 1 in 1986. It is the hope of Sr. Mijarez and the TFDP that the 9000 documented cases and other collections of the TFDP, once digitized and housed on both the DLSU Learning Commons and the DLSU Dasmariñas Aklatang Emilio Aguinaldo, can contribute to the retelling of the history of the Philippines during the Marcos reign. Sr. Mijarez expressed her gratitude to both libraries for this project. TFDP hopes that the younger generation will be encouraged to learn the truth and let this truth prevail and also keep in mind that the freedom they enjoy today are the results of the efforts of the people who came before them and that they will have the responsibility to fight for the continuous enjoyment of these freedom. 

As a response, Dr. Austria thanked the TFDP for the trust they bequeathed to DLSU and DLSU Dasmariñas. The realization of this project and the importance of this partnership go beyond the Lasallian community as it also affects the different sectors of the society. It is hoped that the project will be able to broaden social awareness and aid the academe as well in their quest for knowledge and research in history especially during the Martial Law era. To end, Dr. Austria assured TFDP that with the leadership of DLSU Learning Commons and DLSU-Dasmariñas Aklatang Emilio Aguinaldo, their collection would not go into waste. The University will make sure that these materials will be utilized by the students and other members of the academe. 

To culminate the event, an exhibit, dubbed as “Paglalantad ng Nakaraan, Pananatili ng Katotohanan Ukol sa Martial Law” was also officially opened. The exhibit runs until the 8th of February 2013 at the 6th/F of the Henry Sy Sr. Hall, Learning Commons lobby.


The exhibit on Martial Law was formally opened not by the cutting of a ribbon but by a more
symbolic cutting of "barbed wire and chain"


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