Last March 3, 2014 my CWTS group and I were tasked to go to the office of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines which is one of the human rights groups established during the time of the Marcos regime. Their office was quite hard to locate and it can be considered a hidden gem for those interested in history, particularly the period that involved Martial Law.
Inside their office, they had a small museum which contained different things from posters, artworks along with other memorabilia such as flags, note cards, pendants, news clippings, etc. that characterized the fight for human rights during those times. It was sort of like opening up a time capsule from the 1970s- 1980s. Our guide also showed us their records of almost 10,000 cases of human rights violations that were done under Marcos’s dictatorship most of which are unsolved until today. She told us about how extreme and gruesome the violations were and how people just started disappearing and have never been found.
They also had a wall for the heroes of that time period similar to those in the Bantayog ng mga Bayani. The names ranged from those we all know such as Benigno Aquino Jr. but there were also those who were lesser known, some of the nameless heroes who also contributed a lot to the fight for justice. The TDFP also had a lot of different kinds of records of the Martial Law period which they were generous enough to show us. It was really nice to see how they were able to compile and preserve them all.
Overall, the trip to the TFDP was good one as we were able to learn more about our history and also deepen our understanding on the concept of human rights.