Last Sept. 17 we had a "Kuwentuhan," a story-telling session around martial law, one of several activities organized by the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. The activities revolve around the theme "Martial Law@40," which is intended to bridge a growing generation gap between those who lived through martial law and experienced the worst of the dictatorship, and, since then, two generations of Filipinos.
The divide could not have been clearer at the symposium, which had a very young audience (most of the students being below 20 years of age, meaning they were born after the 1986 Edsa revolt that toppled the dictatorship). The faculty members present were also quite young, including Associate Dean Neil Marcial Santillan, literally a martial law baby born on Sept. 21, 1972. He recalls that the only "oppression" he experienced during those dark years was the banning of Voltes V, a popular Japanese cartoon, from local TV.