Martial Law museum set to open by 2022

FALL OF BRUTAL. The winning design of the Freedom Memorial Museum Design Competition. Photo from the HRVVMC

FALL OF BRUTAL. The winning design of the Freedom Memorial Museum Design Competition.

Photo from the HRVVMC

MANILA, Philippines – A museum remembering the horror and state oppression under the brutal dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos is set to be built inside the University of the Philippines – more than 30 years since the reinstatement of democracy. 

The Freedom Memorial Museum is the realization of one of the actions points under the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 – which laid out the monetary compensation for victims of the Marcos dictatorship. (READ: #NeverAgain: Martial Law stories young people need to hear)

Expected to open by 2022, or the 50th anniversary of the martial law declaration, the museum will occupy 1.4 hectares of land inside the UP Diliman campus.

The museum is following the “brutalist” architecture design that won the contest launched by the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission (HRVVMC). The winning architectural plan was made by architects Mark Anthony Pait, Mark Angelo Bonita, and Wendell Crispo and bested more than 100 entries.

Called as “Fall of Brutal,” one of its distinct features is the raised fist which “commemorates the momentous revolution” that ousted Marcos in 1986. Other features include the plaza form which symbolizes the military rule that led to oppression, violence, and deaths.  

The museum and memorial will also feature a Roll of Human Rights Victims where the names of the victims – regardless whether they applied for reparations or not – will be enshrined. (READ: Plans for Martial Law victims, martyrs memorial move forward) 

Considered as the darkest period in Philippine history, the Martial Law years under Marcos was marred by gross human rights violations. According to Amnesty International, about 70,000 people were imprisoned while 34,000 were tortured, and 3,240 were killed during this time. (READ: Martial Law, the dark chapter in Philippine history)

According to HRVVMC executive director Carmelo Crisanto, the museum will showcase facts and evidences for the youth to look at and “create their own conclusions.” 

“The memorial commission is very strict that the truth should be triangulated and that triangulation could be made by taking various perspectives,” he was quoted in a story on the UPDate website. –

Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.