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10 Essential Truths About Martial Law

Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos placed the Philippines under Martial Law after signing Proclamation No. 1081 on September 21, 1972. Despite formally lifting the proclamation on January 17, 1981, Marcos still retained his powers as dictator until he was ousted by the Filipino People during the People Power Revolution of February 25, 1986. Covering more than thirteen years of recent Philippine History, the 1972-1986 Martial Law Period contains a large amount of facts and topics that are difficult to fully discuss in a classroom setting among students of social studies and history. 

Through the assistance of various academic institutions and expert-consultants on the period, the Memorial Commission has condensed the various topics and lessons that can be drawn from the period into Ten Essential Truths:

Essential Truths
  1. Marcos declared Martial Law to stay in power.
  2. There were gross human rights violations by police and military forces during the Marcos Martial Law period.
  3. The foundations of democracy and the rule of law were dismantled to create a dictatorship.
  4. The dictatorship was resisted by different sectors and pushed many young people into armed struggle to fight for justice and freedom.
  5. Massive corruption by Marcos and his cronies resulted in mass poverty and the destruction of the environment.
  6. This was the dark age of the Philippine economy when it had the worst-post war recession due to mismanagement.
  7. Media was attacked and repressed to censor the truth.
  8. Protest art and culture developed to counter widespread deception and propaganda.
  9. Institutions of Faith were mobilized for social and political action.
  10. People power was nationwide in scope and demonstrated an alternative way of bringing down an authoritarian regime.

Reading List

Essential Truths

Educational Outreach Activities


The Winner




HRVVMC’s education program recognizes the value of using various methods in teaching the events that have happened from 1972 – 1986. Film screening has been one of these methods.

HRVVMC have been searching for partners around the Philippines who could conduct a special film screening of “Liway”, a film written and directed by Mr. Kip Oebanda. This film was one of the highest grossing Filipino independent films in Cinemalaya History that showcases the life of a child who grew up in prison because his parents were caught by agents of the state for fighting against Martial Law.

This educational outreach activity aims to impart all the values that can be learned from one of the most important periods in the Philippine History, to further understand the impacts of the Marcos Administration at the grassroots level and to gather insights from the students, teachers, parents relative to the 1972 – 1986 Martial Law. Given the value of insights and inputs of both teachers and students about the film, each screening would be concluded through a panel discussion composed of speakers from the partner institution, HRVVMC, CHR, and other organizations advocating for human rights.


If you would like to hold a Liway Film Screening for your school, you may email us at or fill up the form below.

Students of University of Pangasinan posing with their free popcorn snacks for the Liway Film Screening at their school
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