The Official Gazette of the Philippines drew flak on Sunday evening after posting a graphic commemorating the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' 99th birth anniversary, with some social media users accusing the government outfit of historical revisionism.
On the graphic was a photo of Marcos with a quote from his inauguration in 1965 superimposed near the bottom. This image was shared three different times, with the Official Gazette editing the accompanying caption from three paragraphs down to one.
The initial caption read:
Celebrating his 99th birthdate, Ferdinand Marcos started his political career in 1949 as a Representative of the Second District of Ilocos Norte. 10 years thereafter, Marcos was able to secure a seat as a member of the Philippine Senate in 1959 and was elected Senate President in 1963. Ferdinand Marcos became the 10th President of Philippines in 1965. He was the longest-serving President of the country for almost 21 years.
Marcos was the first post-independence president to be re-elected in 1969. In 1972, he declared Martial Law to suppress a communist insurgency and secessionism in Mindanao.
In 1986, Marcos stepped down from the presidency to avoid bloodshed during the uprising that came to be known as "People Power".
The post was met acerbically by social media users, criticizing the wording used by the Official Gazette as "historical revisionism". The hashtag #superficialgazette was used to parody its tone.
Shortly afterwards, the Official Gazette revised the post and removed "to avoid bloodshed" in the last paragraph, but the post continued to attract negative comments from social media users.
The Official Gazette ultimately removed the paragraphs containing both Martial Law and People Power, but not before users had the chance to take screencaps.
On its third revision, people on social media continued to chastise the post.
"Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, please don't do this to us. In your earlier post, the term 'Martial Law' was there and now it's not there anymore?" Facebook user Jules Guiang wrote.
He added, "I understand that the loyalists claim that his 'Martial Law' wasn't bad for the country, but with this move, are we erasing it in history that Marcos declared Martial Law and instead just say that he served the longest in history as President. No. Don't do that.
"Again, we both work in the government, we support CHANGE but not this kind of ridiculous change."
"This is slightly better because you used facts.. but still. Please don't omit. You have the moral responsibility AS THE OFFICIAL GAZETTE OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES to inform Filipinos of the truth. You're not lying, but you're not being truthful as well. Wag kayong funny funny," Alecanda Mohica Pascua wrote.
"Damage has been done. Own up to the original text accompanying this post and issue an apology to the Filipino people for twisting the truth, making a mockery of our history, and dishonoring the lives of the thousands of people murdered, tortured, and made to disappear during Martial Law," chimed Naomi Fontanos.
Late Sunday, Assistant Secretary Ramon L. Cualoping III of the Presidential Communicationa Operations Office responded to the criticisms and released a statement which said that the Official Gazette of the Philippines conveyed "what is documented in the official records" and was not "in the business of revising history".
— JST, GMA News