Students affirm impact of ‘11,103’ film on them

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Herman Lagon, Ph.D.

The recent screening of the award-winning documentary “11,103” at Iloilo State University of Fisheries Science and Technology (ISUFST) profoundly impacted its audience, eliciting strong emotional and intellectual responses, as detailed in a post-event survey. The free-of-charge documentary, which delves into the harsh realities of the Martial Law era in the country, was part of the “Hilway: Human Rights, Peace Education, and 11,103 Film Screening” event held on April 25 and 26, 2024, in three different venues, participated by 600 students and faculty.

Survey results indicate a significant boost in awareness among the students and faculty about the brutalities of Martial Law. Many respondents expressed shock and newfound empathy towards the victims. A social studies major remarked, “The film opened my eyes to the cruelties that our fellow Filipinos endured,” highlighting the deep emotional engagement the screening evoked.

The educational initiative successfully shifted perspectives on social justice, human rights, and peace education, with participants feeling more informed and prepared to advocate for equity and peace. One student leader noted, “This event has made me a better student leader, ready to engage for social justice,” indicating the motivational impact of the screening.

The personal stories of Martial Law survivors resonated deeply, making the film screening the most impactful part of the event. A fisheries major described it as “very touching and informative,” saying it “moved me profoundly.”

The survey also revealed that the event inspired many attendees to take active roles in their communities, emphasizing the importance of informed voting and human rights advocacy. “The film reminds us of our duty to remember, teach, learn, and act,” stated a faculty from the main campus, echoing the call to action felt by many attendees. Additional feedback from a hospitality management major highlighted the awakening effect of the documentary: “I realized we should preserve our history and thank those who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.”

Despite overwhelmingly positive feedback, with 4 of 5 saying that the activity exceeded their expectations, there were few calls for improvements in future events. Suggestions included better venue facilities and more interactive sessions to enhance engagement and learning, points to consider as a similar initiative is now being considered to be held soon.

Reflecting on the survey insights, ISUFST President Dr. Nordy Siason, Jr., a history and social science professor himself, stated, “The responses from our students and faculty underscore the vital role of historical awareness in shaping a just society. We are proud to facilitate such impactful dialogues.”

HRVVMC Executive Director Chuck Crisanto, one of the resource speakers at the screening, emphasized the educational significance of such events: “By confronting our past, we empower future generations to build a more just and humane society. The students’ profound engagement and thoughtful reflections reaffirm our commitment to educating on human rights and social justice.”  

This survey underscores historical education’s profound effect on community awareness, social advocacy, and civic engagement. It sets a foundation for future ISUFST events that aim to enrich further the community’s understanding and commitment to social justice and human rights. The university is committed to continuing these dialogues and fostering an environment where learning from the past strengthens the resolve for a better future.

To note, the event was organized in collaboration with the Office of Student Affairs and Services, Office of International Affairs and Linkages, Office of Gender and Development (GAD), Public Affairs, Marketing, and Communication Office (PAMCO), Main Library, and the student government bodies led by the Federated Student Council. The Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission (HRVVMC) and its partner, Dakila, have shown the film for free for the ISUFST audience as part of its organizational social responsibility initiative. 

The screenings and conversations were held at the Main Campus-Tiwi Site and Dumangas Campus on Thursday, April 25, and at the Main Campus-Poblacion Site on Friday, April 26. Aside from bringing Martial Law activist Engr. Nonong Bretaña and local Dakila youth leader Rynshien Joy Olivete as guest speakers, HRVVMC also donated a book and booklets to the ISUFST libraries on the Essential Truths about 1972-1986 Martial Law, Human Rights and Institutions of Faith during the Martial Law Era, and the Tacbil Mosque Palimbang Massacre-A Reader. (Text by Herman Lagon/Photos by Clarion and H Lagon/PAMCO)

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