Martial law survivors, militants to gatecrash ‘Libingan party’
Late Dictator’s 100TH birthday celebration
Survivors of the dictatorship of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos will gatecrash his 100th “birthday party” on Monday at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.
The Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (Carmma) and the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) will hold a protest program at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, where the dictator’s remains now lie and where the Marcoses have announced they would celebrate their patriarch’s 100th birth anniversary.
The event at the military-run public cemetery is not open to the public or even for media coverage.
“As far as I can remember, it is only now we will protest on the birthday of Makoy,” Bonifacio Ilagan, Carmma spokesperson, told the Inquirer in Filipino in a phone interview. “Normally, we don’t even recognize it.”
Makoy is a nickname commonly used by Filipinos — anti-Marcos activist or not — to refer to the late president.
But the groups’ outrage have been stoked further after President Rodrigo Duterte issued a proclamation last week making Sept. 11, the late dictator’s birthday, a holiday in Ilocos Norte, Marcos’s home province.
“We were surprised,” Ilagan admitted, even if their group had earlier slammed Duterte for his active part in the political rehabilitation of the erstwhile exiled Marcos family.
Ilagan conceded that Ilocos Norte was bound to already recognize the strongman’s birthday as a local holiday.
But he said there was an implied attempt to make the commemoration national “now the President has underscored it.”
“We won’t be surprised if he turns it into a national holiday next,” Ilagan said.
Aside from Carmma and Selda, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and Sanlakas will also hold rallies outside the Libingan.
Renato Reyes, Bayan secretary general, cited in a statement Duterte’s declaring Sept. 11 a special holiday in Marcos stronghold, Ilocos Norte, as among the reasons for the group’s protest and condemned Duterte’s “political rehabilitation” of the late dictator.
“After giving Marcos a hero’s burial last year, Duterte saw it fit to declare September 11, the dictator’s birthday, a special holiday in Marcos’ home province of Ilocos Norte,” Reyes said.
The President’s proclamation, Reyes said, conveniently whitewashes Marcos’ record of plunder and human rights violations when the latter declared martial law in 1972.
Ilagan, for his part, also said that Duterte seemed to be “in cahoots” with the Marcoses in their bid to return to power.
Ilagan also cited the Duterte’s proclamation of Sept. 11 as a holiday in Ilocos Norte, his admission that the Marcoses had donated to his presidential campaign, and his moves to allow the dictator’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani as among the reasons for his observation.
“How else would we explain his affinity for the Marcoses?” Ilagan said of Duterte, whose own mother, ironically, was a staunch anti-Marcos activist in Davao City.
“Everything we fought for in the 1986 uprising on Edsa has been nullified,” he said. “Even the essence [Martial Law Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013] has been set aside by the continuing actions of the President all leading to the rehabilitation of the Marcoses. He has only been giving recognition to the Marcoses.”
Ilagan appealed to the public to keep the fight against “truth versus lies,” for “justice against plunderers.”
“The basic message we want to impart to people is to not to forget history,” he said. “We have to learn lessons of history… Everybody wants change, but change has to start with a recognition of what we experienced in the past otherwise we will simply be repeating the tragedies of history.”
Meanwhile, the Philippine Army will secure the “private” celebration of the late dictator Marcos’ birth centennial at Libingan ng mga Bayani on Monday.
The Marcoses have invited government officials, family friends and diplomats to the birth centennial of the strongman.
Col. Edgard Arevalo, the Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs division chief, explained on Friday that the Army, as the physical custodian of the heroes’ cemetery, would have to handle the security measures for the “private event.”
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