The Marcos Regime Research (MRR) program is the response of the UP Third World Studies Center (TWSC) to the unabated tide of historical revisionism in favor of the Marcos regime—a re-prioritization of research on the rule of Ferdinand Marcos and the continuing influence of the Marcos family and their cronies in the Philippines. Currently, the program mainly consists of funded and in-house historical research projects conducted by the Center’s Marcos Regime Research group. Among the outputs of this program are academic journal articles, conference presentations, and short articles released via online media outlets.
The work of the Third World Studies Center’s Marcos Regime Research program can be linked to a research thread running back to the Center’s origins. In 1977, TWSC was established as a non-degree granting program within what was then called the College of Arts and Sciences in UP Diliman, providing researchers a space to articulate scholarly dissent against Ferdinand Marcos’s authoritarian rule. In the immediate aftermath of the Edsa Revolution, the Center continued to engage in or propose research that analyzed the ousted regime while exploring the limits and interstices of the post-dictatorship democratic space. The Center’s director at the time, Prof. Randolf David, even briefly took over and oversaw the closure of the Marcos regime think tank in UP, the President’s Center for Special Studies.
Over time, TWSC increasingly became more focused on democracy and democratization, social movements and civil society, political economy and globalization, peace and human security, and culture and identity in the context of the post-Edsa administrations; research on the Marcos regime was largely relegated to the background. Dr. Teresa Encarnacion Tadem, during her directorship of TWSC (2004-2010) was involved in the oral history project titled “Economic Policymaking and the Philippine Development Experience, 1960-1985,” interviewees for which were technocrats of the Ferdinand Marcos administration. The Center housed the project and provided staff support to its researchers.
It became evident, however, within the 2010s that a Marcos resurgence was in the offing. The Center’s first serious effort to understand and analyze the almost untrammeled march of the Marcoses toward new political heights came in 2013. In UP Diliman, an entire college was renamed in honor of the Marcos regime’s “chief technocrat,” Cesar E.A. Virata. Thus, TWSC researcher Joel F. Ariate Jr. contacted Dr. Eduardo Tadem of the UP Asian Center to discuss the possibility of organizing a public forum to challenge what was seen to be an effort toward unwarranted historical revisionism. The TWSC research staff then wrote a concept note for the forum, which was discussed in June 2013 during a meeting of the staff and then newly appointed TWSC director Dr. Ricardo Jose with Dr. Tadem and Dr. Amado Mendoza Jr. of the UP Diliman Department of Political Science. The forum became the first in a series titled “Marcos Pa Rin! Ang Mga Pamana at Sumpa ng Rehimeng Marcos,” which ran from July 2013 to February 2014.
In July 2016, TWSC held a protest-forum on the then impending burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Titled “Ang Bangkay ni Duterte,” it was the first of TWSC’s efforts that year to counter giving state-sanctioned honors to the late dictator. This was followed by a series of articles published by Vera Files that tried—unsuccessfully—to highlight reasons, historical and legal, why Marcos’s remains should not be interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. These were the first of many research outputs of the MRR group published by Vera Files, at times syndicated by other media outlets, which were written in response to Marcos-related developments or in commemoration of Marcos-related anniversaries.
Also in 2016, while the Center and its researchers were involved in the research program titled “The Mass Transit System in Metro Manila: From Tranvia to MRT, 1879-2014,” Dr. Meynardo Mendoza of Ateneo de Manila University gave the Center access to select digitized files in the custody of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) that were related to mass transit during the Marcos regime. Realizing the value of this cache of files as a largely untapped source for historical research, then TWSC director Ricardo Jose requested a complete set of the PCGG files digitized as of September 2017 from one of the cache’s official repositories, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). The refinement of the file catalogs and cataloging of uncategorized files was initiated as an in-house project of the MRR group, after the inclusion therein of Larah Vinda Del Mundo, in late 2018.
Late 2017 saw the publication of a seven hundred-page issue of Kasarinlan: Philippine Journal of Third World Studies containing the proceedings of the “Marcos Pa Rin!” public forum series and relevant appendices. The volume was co-published by NHCP.
In September 2018, in reaction to the deluge of pro-Marcos narratives borne out of lies that have colonized social media, the Facebook and Twitter pages called “Did a Marcos Lie Today?” were established by Ariate to swiftly counter the lies that the Marcoses often resort to to advance themselves in politics; lies from the Marcoses themselves serve as prompts for the pages’ posts. “DAMLT” thus serves as the MRR group’s social media fact-checking platform.
In late 2019, under the term of TWSC director Joseph Palis, the MRR group secured funding for two research projects: “The ‘Marcos Truths’: A Genealogy of Historical Distortions,” co-headed by Miguel Paolo P. Reyes and Ariate, funded by the Consortium on Democracy and Disinformation; and “A Bilateral Anatomy of Plunder: Ferdinand E. Marcos and the Looting of the Japanese War Reparations,” led by Reyes, funded by the Office of the Chancellor of UP Diliman through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Development. The former was concluded in October 2020.
- Limpin, Dianna Therese N. 2019-2020. “Pushing Back Against the Lies: Efforts to Fact-check the Marcoses on Social Media.” Social Science Information Vol. 47-48: 9-13. https://pssc.org.ph/wp-content/pssc-ssi/2019-2020/PSSC-SSI%20Vol%2047-48%20(2019-20).pdf.
- Casilao, Joahna Lei. 2020. “Imee Marcos’ Claims Misleading, Downplays RITM Achievements – Report.” GMA News Online, April 25. https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/735590/marcos-claims-misleading-downplays-ritm-achievements-report/story/.
- Berdos, Enrico. 2020. “Propaganda Web: Pro-Marcos Literature, Sites, and Online Disinformation Linked.” Vera Files, December 11. https://verafiles.org/articles/propaganda-web-pro-marcos-literature-sites-and-online-disinf. Syndicated in ABS-CBN News.
- Pangue, Jene-Anne. 2020. “Disinformation Researchers Unpack the Game of Lies and its Impact on Democracy.” Rappler, December 10. https://www.rappler.com/moveph/disinformation-researchers-unpack-lies-social-media-impact-democracy.
- Gregorio, Xave. 2020. “Researchers Find Links Between Pro-Marcos Books, Sites, Online Disinformation. Philstar.com, December 12. https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2020/12/12/2063307/researchers-find-links-between-pro-marcos-books-sites-online-disinformation.
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- D&D. 2021. “One Fiction Ends but False Narratives Remain.” #FightDisinfo, February 19. https://fightdisinfo.substack.com/p/one-fiction-ends-but-false-narratives.
- Gomez, Buddy [Tomas III]. 2021. “Marcos Delusion Anchored on Deception and Disinformation.” ABS-CBN News, February 27. https://news.abs-cbn.com/blogs/opinions/02/27/21/marcos-delusion-anchored-on-deception-and-disinformation.
- University of the Philippines Open University. 2021. “UPOU Launches Free Online Course on Wikipedia Editing and Fighting Historical Distortion.” University of the Philippines Open University, accessed November 2, 2021. https://www.upou.edu.ph/news/upou-launches-free-online-course-on-wikipedia-editing-and-fighting-historical-distortions/.
- Regalado, Pia. 2021. “Those Marcos Videos on TikTok are Rooted in Decades of Misinformation.” Reportr, September 21. https://www.reportr.world/news/from-books-to-tiktok-why-fake-news-about-the-marcoses-persists-60-years-later-explainer-a4832-20210921-lfrm.
- CFMR Staff. 2021. “From Numbers to Testimonies: Media Remembers Grim of Martial Law.” Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility, September 24. https://cmfr-phil.org/media-ethics-responsibility/journalism-review/from-numbers-to-testimonies-media-remembers-grim-of-martial-law/.
- NB. 2021. “Marcos Sr. Lied About Bongbong’s Oxford Stint as Early as 1978 – Vera Files Report.” GMA News Online, November 2. https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/809248/marcos-sr-lied-about-bongbong-s-oxford-stint-as-early-as-1978-vera-files-report/story/
- Cos, Rowena. 2021. “Marcos Sr. Knew and ‘Lied’ About Bongbong’s Academic Woes at Oxford: Vera Files Research.” ABS-CBN News, November 2. https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/11/02/21/bongbongs-oxford-degree-a-43-year-old-lievera-files.
- Buan, Lian. 2021. “Dictator’s Officials Lobbied Oxford to Give Bongbong Marcos Diploma – UP, Vera Files.” Rappler, November 3. https://www.rappler.com/nation/ferdinand-marcos-officials-lobbied-oxford-to-give-bongbong-diploma-up-vera-files-reports.
- Montalvan, Antonio II. 2021. “People’s Money Used for Bongbong’s Education in Oxford, Wharton.” Vera Files, November 3. https://verafiles.org/articles/peoples-money-used-bongbongs-education-oxford-wharton.
- Collas-Monsod, Solita. 2021. “Yes, I Tutored Bongbong in Economics.” Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 6. https://opinion.inquirer.net/146064/yes-i-tutored-bongbong-in-economics.
- Ponce de Leon, Inez. 2021. “Babying BBM.” Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 12. https://opinion.inquirer.net/146310/babying-bbm.
- Sherwell, Philip. 2021. “Row Over Oxford Degree Comes Back to Haunt Ferdinand Marcos Jr.” The Sunday Times, November 21. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/row-over-oxford-degree-come-back-to-haunt-ferdinand-marcos-jr-695gbdg5l.
- Montalvan, Antonio J. II. 2021. “Dictator Marcos Used Diplomats to Lie.” Vera Files, November 23. https://verafiles.org/articles/dictator-marcos-used-diplomats-lie.
- Berdos, Enrico. 2021. “Vera Files Fact Check Yearender: Marcos Jr.’s Presidential Bid Props Up Pro-Marcos Propaganda.” Vera Files, December 18. https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-yearender-marcos-jrs-presidential-bid.
- Vitug, Marites Dañguilan. 2022. “Marcos Jr.’s House, Servants, and Guns in the US.” Rappler, January 31. https://www.rappler.com/plus-membership-program/exclusive-content/marcos-jr-s-house-servants-and-guns-in-the-us/.
- Buan, Lian. 2022. “Josefa Marcos Nagsinungaling din Tungkol sa Papel niya sa World War II.” Rappler, February 26. https://www.rappler.com/nation/josefa-marcos-also-lied-paper-world-war-2-university-philippines-vera-files-reports/.
- Cabato, Regine and Shibani Mahtani. 2022. “How the Philippines’ Brutal History is Being Whitewashed for Voters.” The Washington Post, April 13. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/04/12/philippines-marcos-memory-election.
- Roa, Ana, Krixia Subingsubing, and Mariejo S. Ramos. 2022. “TikTok as Poll Battlefield: Lies Spreading Unchecked.” Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 27. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1588389/tiktok-as-poll-battlefield-lies-spreading-unchecked.