WATCH: Songs of protest to remember horrors of Martial Law
MANILA, Philippines – On Thursday, September 21, a day dubbed by President Rodrigo Duterte as the "National Day of Protest," Filipinos expressed their frustration and stood up for their rights in various ways – including through art and music.
Across the country and even around the world, Filipinos remembered how, 45 years ago, Ferdinand Marcos appeared on television to declare Martial Law. For them, the day marked the beginning of a bloody and lawless regime that resulted in extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and repression.
On Wednesday, September 20, a Filipino version of Les Miserables' iconic protest song Do You Hear the People Sing? made rounds online.
For netizens, it was a timely push for those planning to join the nationwide protest amid malicious messages and threats of the mobilizations turning violent.
The Filipino version entitled Di N'yo Ba Naririnig was translated by award-winning composer Vincent A. De Jesus. Additional lyrics were provided by Palanca awardee Rody Vera and actor Joel Saracho.
The song was performed by Eunikkoh Castillo here.
"I thought this could be an effective medium to channel my personal thoughts creatively on sustaining the primacy of freedom and dignity in the country," Castillo said.
The same version was played during the multisectoral protest at Luneta on Thursday night.
"When I was watching the recorded version on Facebook, it made me [think] that music, indeed, conveys strong emotions and that it could really create an impact to one's life, or in this case, a society. Though I was not physically with them, it felt like I was singing with them," Castillo said.
Sa ugoy ng duyan
At Luneta, singer Bituin Escalante also performed a heartbreaking rendition of Sa Ugoy ng Duyan while photos of minors who were killed in the government's war on drugs, such as Kian Loyd delos Santos, were shown in the background.
The juxtaposition of the lullaby and the vivid images of slain minors moved some of the protesters to tears.
Delos Santos, whose death Malacañang described as "isolated," is just one among at least 54 people aged 18 years old and below killed in either police operations or vigilante-style killings in Duterte's first year, according to data from the Children's Legal Rights and Development Center in July 2017.
Kicking off the week-long remembrance activities, the University of the Philippines-Diliman played Bayan Ko at the Carillon on the morning of Thursday.
Bayan Ko is one of the most recognizable patriotic songs in the country. With bold lyrics like, "Pilipinas kong minumutya, pugad ng luha ko’t dalita. Aking adhika: makita kang sakdal laya (Philippines, which I treasure, a place for my sadness and poverty. My aspiration is to see you absolutely free)," the song easily became an anthem for protest for Filipinos through the years.
This is not the first time the state scholars heard the familiar melody within the school grounds. As part of the mourning for the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on November 18, 2016, the UP's iconic bell tower also played Bayan Ko from morning until midnight.
A number of known Martial Law personalities and activists who were either abducted, killed, or jailed during Martial Law were from UP, including Lean Alejandro, Enrique Voltaire Garcia II, and Lorena Barros. (READ: Young and gone too soon: How Martial Law took our future)
The same song was also performed at Luneta Park during the multi-sectoral mobilization later in the day.
Considered seditious, Bayan Ko was also banned in radios during Martial Law.
On September 23, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos announced the declaration of Martial Law by virtue of the Proclamation 1081 which was supposedly signed on September 21. – Rappler.com