Read how these Wiki warriors fight Marcos revisionists to keep the truth about Marcos regime alive

The UK daily The Guardian published an article on August 2 about how Wikipedia warriors have been fighting Marcos revisionism amid fears of the late dictator’s family making a political comeback.

With former Senator Bongbong Marcos’s vice presidential candidacy, fears that the late dictator’s family is making a comeback came to surface again. Now, Marcos is in the middle of an electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
Marcos revisionism has been quite active in the Philippines, with some publicized instances occurring since last year. The Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines was slammed for its ‘revisionist’ caption for the photo of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. The caption that angered the netizens read: “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.'”

Ilocos Governor Imee Marcos was also hit for claiming ‘Ang liit-liit ko pa noon’ to defend herself from the admission of guilt. But netizens were quick to fact-check her, telling her how she was born in 1955, how she was already 22 years old when she had Archimedes Trajano killed by her military escorts, and more facts proving that Imee was already an adult during her father’s regime.

In December 2016, netizens warned everyone of a historical revisionism in Marcos-related Wikipedia pages, such as “Martial Law in the Philippines,” “Conjugal Dictatorship,” and “Ferdinand Marcos” pages.

Now, The Guardian’s Kate Lamb wrote about what a few committed Wikipedians devote their time editing the sensitive Wikipedia pages on Philippine history, including those about the Marcos regime.
“It’s basically like playing in the sandbox. You build a sandcastle and then another kid comes along and just kicks it over,” said Wikipedian and computer programmer Carlos Nazareno of his work.

The task of editing these Wikipedia pages has grown in significance with the growing fear of the Marcos’ political comeback and the Martial Law that President Rodrigo Duterte has declared and extended in Mindanao until December 31 this year.

As a Wikipedian, Nazareno spends hours verifying the content of the Wikipedia pages, deleting the lies, and putting in the truths along with their sources, despite the possibility that another Wikipedia user will go and delete everything that he just edited.

Nazareno describes his work, engaging in “edit war” with the revisionists, as “emotionally draining.”

According to Lamb, the “Ferdinand Marcos” Wikipedia page, which had seen about 300 edits on the average over the past 10 years, suddenly got edited 375 times on the average in 2015 and 1,328 in 2016, which was when the remains of the late dictator was buried.

There were efforts to put both Marcos Sr. and Marcos Jr. in a good light, based on how their Wikipedia pages were edited. One instance would be the deletion of the word “kleptocrat” to describe Marcos Sr. and the word “stolen” from the term “stolen wealth” to put the dictator in a more favorable light.

Joshua Lim, a Fil-Am administrator of Wikipedia’s reach, said that the page is really huge, reaching 500 million people per month. This is why he said it’s no wonder people are using the page “for their own personal agenda.”

“We want to make sure the information people get is as accurate and truthful as possible. That is undermined, unfortunately, when people make edits like this, when people try to whitewash the Marcos narrative, and simply try to portray Ferdinand Marcos as a good guy when clearly there are more sides to him,” Lim said.

Lamb wrote that there are only 500 Filipino Wikipedians, but only a few of them are focused on the Marcos pages. Most of these editors are low-profile web developers, computer programmers, and young professionals who still remember the martial law and understand how Wikipedia works.

In his decade-long experience as a Wikipedia editor, Nazareno said that he now spends most of his time correcting historical untruths, noting the increasingly active editing of Marcos-related pages since 2016.

“The editing has been really active this past year and I think this has been a result of [president Rodrigo] Duterte’s win because they’re seeing the internet is a really powerful tool and that a person on the internet, especially in politics, it can help make or break them,” Nazareno said.

Taking note of the criticisms thrown at Wikipedia’s way about it being an unreliable source, Nazareno hopes more academics would get involved in fighting misinformation.

“Because you know what’s faster than the speed of light?” he asked. “The speed of a rumor.”

Beyond the Wikipedia pages, Lamb noted how revisionism has also happened in historical websites, books, and YouTube videos, which usually exaggerate the achievements and downplay the abuses of the Marcos regime using unverified claims.

Meme Buster has written about the story of how Marcos became rich with the gold reserves he was rewarded with for defending a Filipino royal family, the Tallanos, something that a netizen debunked with facts. We also debunked the fake photo of Marcos personally being decorated by General Douglas MacArthur during World War II. Even the US Army debunked Marcos Sr.’s war claims, calling them ‘fraudulent,’ ‘absurd,’ and a ‘malicious criminal act.’

There were also fake news concerning the dictators’ children. Recently, Ilocos Governor Imee Marcos retracted her fake news about the “yellow forces” bribing lawmakers to stop her from attending the House probe on the misuse of tobacco funds. Other fake stories include those claiming Bongbong Marcos is ‘the mind’ behind the P8-billion free tuition fee, the SC clearing Marcos heirs of ill-gotten charges, and more. Even Marcos’ mortician that parts of the dictators’ remains are fake since they are made of wax.

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