Thursday, April 4, 2019

Freedom Memorial Museum design contest

The call for entries to the Freedom Memorial Museum design competition is now open to architects and nonarchitects. This memorial museum should stand proud when compared with memorial museums the world over, places of remembrance that honor the sufferings and courage of people in the face of tyranny and unspeakable cruelty.
The Philippines will soon have (another) one of its own that will “honor the thousands of victims and survivors who struggled for freedom, democracy and human rights during the martial law era from 1972-1986.” “A monument to heroism,” the Freedom Memorial Museum is to rise soon as provided in Republic Act No. 10368 (“An Act providing for reparation and recognition of victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime, documentation of said violations, appropriating funds therefor and for other purposes”).

When RA 10368 was passed in 2013 and signed by President Benigno Aquino III, it created two agencies: the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) and the Human Rights Violations Victims Memorial Commission (HRVVMC or MemCom). In May last year, the HRVCB completed its task with the recognition of 11,103 victims who were awarded reparations from a P10-billion fund sourced from some of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos estate recovered by the Presidential Commission on Good Government through the Swiss government. (This fund is different and separate from the $2 billion awarded the thousands of claimants in a class suit filed and won in a Hawaii court in 1994. A third tranche will be distributed soon.)
The HRVCB has also recognized motu proprio 125 Filipinos who did not apply for reparations but who shall be included in the Roll of Victims in the memorial to be erected.
Six agencies comprise the HRVVMC board of trustees: the Commission on Human Rights (chair), the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (cochair), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Commission on Higher Education, the Department of Education, and the University of the Philippines Main Library. The executive director is Victor Crisanto who has big tasks to accomplish, first of which is steering HRVVMC out “from under the radar” with the flagship project that is the memorial museum.

The HRVVMC is administering the Freedom Memorial Museum design competition and describes the subject of the competition thus: “The museum shall serve as an information portal to a moment in history when state violence and oppression spurred the growth of a widespread resistance from all corners of the nation. It shall revisit a period of tyranny that bred reformists, revolutionaries and freedom-fighters from among farmers and professionals, workers and academics, students and religious activists. It aims to build an experiential tapestry of lives, ideals, courage and determination of the victims and, in the end, the heroes of freedom.
“The museum shall house memorabilia, artifacts, educational materials, audiovisual content aimed to immortalize the triumphs and sacrifices, the blood, sweat and tears of Filipinos and allies in the struggle for freedom, democracy and human rights. It shall be a lasting symbol of the long-fought battle against authoritarian rule that culminated in the globally acclaimed Edsa People Power revolt in 1986.”
But beyond all that, HRVVMC is tasked to ensure that the lessons from that dark period of Philippine history and the heroic struggles of those who resisted dictatorial rule would not be lost and would be included in school curricula and various activities.
The University of the Philippines has entered into a memorandum of understanding with HRVVMC on Sept. 21, 2018, to provide an area of about 14,000 square meters to host the Freedom Memorial Complex in the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City. (See location map in the HRVVMC website.)
Those interested can read the mechanics online ( and Five finalists will each receive P250,000 to further develop their design concepts. The winner will receive P1 million. The names of the jurors are to be announced today.
This memorial museum will surely complement the existing Bantayog ng mga Bayani complex that has a monument, museum, archives and the awesome Wall of Remembrance (began in 1986 and just a stone’s throw from the memorial museum site) on which are engraved some 200 names of heroes and martyrs (with more being added) who struggled against the Marcos dictatorship.#