Militants, civil society groups protest against govt’s Marcos burial plans

By Michelle Joy L. Padayhag |August 14,2016 - 09:03 PM
Martial law detainee Wilfredo Naga and other activists register their protest against the burial of Marcos’s remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani at Plaza Independencia.  CDN Photos/Tonee Despojo

Martial law detainee Wilfredo Naga and other activists register their protest against the burial of Marcos’s remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani at Plaza Independencia.
CDN Photos/Tonee Despojo

AS a 15-year-old student activist in 1969, Wilfredo Naga kept busy joining small pickets and rallies in Fuente Osmeña, Colon and Plaza Independencia in Cebu City to advocate for educational reform.

About 47 years later, he was at it again, joining 19 militant and civil society groups yesterday to protest the national government’s plan to bury the remains of the late president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“When there were military men who came and looked for me in our house in Barangay Sto. Niño, I did not return to our house anymore and instead went to a mountain barangay in Barangay Bulacao,” he said.

There he organized a farmer’s organization and travel back and forth to Leyte for seven years until he returned to downtown Cebu City in February 1978 where he was arrested.

“It was a mental torture on my part. I was detained in isolation. Sometimes I could not eat my meals if I would not cooperate with them. Sometimes, they played with firearms on the table while they asked questions,” Naga said.

Naga was detained for nearly two years until a female lawyer facilitated his release together with other detainees.

Now 62 years old, Naga still remembered the pain he experienced during martial law.

“Yes, Marcos was a soldier and a president. But the question, was he a hero? He was a dictator,” Naga said. Naga is now working at a construction site, has seven children and has been living in Barangay Bulacao Pardo.

Lawyer Cathy Alvarez said they launched a signature campaign for a petition signifying their opposition to Marcos’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“We want to oppose because he does not deserve to be buried there. Not all soldiers and presidents are considered as heroes. It is very clear here there were people who sacrificed during that period and who are responsible to this,” Alvarez said.

Lawyer Democrito Barcenas, a vice mayor in Carcar City when martial law was declared, said the people should not forget what Marcos did to the country.

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