Philippine Literature – Dekada 70 Reflection

Dekada ’70 (2002) Reflection

Vilma Santos as Amanda
Christopher De Leon as Julian

Dekada ’70 is one of the best history movies I’ve seen regarding martial law era. It describes the life of a Filipino family during the violent period of Martial Law. Amanda, the typical housewife with five sons with her very conventional husband. The movie shows the various challenges faced by a Filipino family during that time. It describes the internal conflicts faced by a typical Filipino during that period in our history.

Maybe not the evident form of human rights violation in the movie is gender inequality. The film describes Amanda as a traditional martyr wife stuck in a patriarchal society (patriarchal- society or government controlled by men). Her views concerning emotions are not given much value in the film. She is considered little help to the family instead of an actual individual. As seen in the movie, her husband did not understand the reason why she wanted to get a job; not because she needed the salary, but because she wishes for achievement and personal growth.

The Writ of Habeas Corpus requires that a person under imprisonment is brought to court and conduct proper trial and judgment. When this law was suspended during the 1970s, it allowed people to be arrested without a guarantee that he will have his day in court and thereby denying him the due process of law. The law provided the right to free speech and peaceful assembly. However, during Martial law, there was media restriction and forceful dispersal of demonstrations. Media were either closed, stop or controlled by the government. People who went to rallies were either physically hurt during the dispersal or captured and detained by the police (Metrocom).

Jason, Amanda’s sons, was wrongfully detained and afterward released only to be killed and dumped like garbage in the park. Jason represents at least thousands Filipinos who were salvaged or tortured during Martial Law. It is sad to say that until now, summary executions were known as extrajudicial killings still exist. This is wherein the year 2009, 58 people were killed in Maguindanao including around 34 are media personnel. The Extra-Judicial Killings are known at Maguindanao massacre and referred to as “The deadliest attack on the press.”

Aside from Extra-Judicial Killings, some various events during that time where the bill of rights is suspended. Bill of Rights provides individual that no torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation can be used against the prisoner to extract confessions or information. The movie showed the various torture methods used by the military against the leftists. These torture methods include water torture, battery, and electrocution.

Charlie Del Rosario was briefly mentioned in the movie by Julian. Charlie del Rosario is believed to be the first desaparecido in the Philippines. He was last seen well before the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. The term “Desaparecido” refers to victims of forced disappearances through abduction. Their families undergo a destiny worse than having to mourn a family member. For these Desaparecidos are missing, leaving their families without a corpse to see and touch if even for the last time.

Therefore, from the Marcos Era until the present, human rights violations are still widespread in the country. Worse as it may be, there has been little improvement at all in the country from the human rights protection. While there are laws improvements concerning the upliftment of some marginalized sectors in our society, the enforcement of constitutional rights were left behind in the old age. The country is still considered one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. We Filipinos should take a more active role in the promotion, upliftment, and protection of our rights. The only thing I’ve seen is changing, the women are now given the same rights as men in the workplace and in the family.

Tags : LiteraturePhilippine Literature
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