Imee Marcos calls off Iloilo forum; youth group holds anti-Marcos rally
ILOILO CITY — A scheduled student forum with Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos was called off over the weekend here amid a protest by youth activists decrying authoritarian rule.
The “Tsikahan with Gov. Imee” was set at 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Audio Visual Room at the N Building of the Iloilo Science And Technology University (ISAT-U) in La Paz District here.
But Marcos, the eldest child of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos who was expected to run for a Senate seat in next year’s elections, did not show up at the state university and the forum was called off.
JC Alejandro, Kabataan Partylist group spokesperson in Panay, said around 30 youth protesters held a picket in front of the main entrance of the school to protest Marcos’ visit.
Holding streamers and placards, the protesters decried the massive human rights violations and plunder under Martial Law, and the refusal of the Marcos family to admit and own responsibility for these.
Alejandro said they ended the protest an hour after Marcos failed to show up.
In the invitations sent to student councils, student leaders were asked to join a discussion with Marcos on various concerns of “millennials” where they would be also allowed to ask questions to the governor.
In a statement, the ISAT-U clarified that it did not organize the forum but only rented out the venue to the event organizer Society Agri Venture Enterprises Inc.
It said none of the personnel and students of the state university joined the protest.
In the statement issued by Heinz Gumaquil, ISAT-U public information officer, the school also refuted reports that school personnel prevented Marcos from entering the campus.
“The (cancellation of the forum) was due to (Marcos’) and her representative’s personal decision,” according to the ISAT-U statement. Repeated calls of the INQUIRER to the representative of the Society Agri Venture Enterprises Inc. were unanswered as of 3:50 p.m. on Monday.
During the 2016 national elections, then vice presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Imee’s younger brother, was also hounded by protests by Martial Law survivors and former political detainees.
He was confronted by a protest of students and teachers during a campaign sortie with his then running mate, the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, at the Iloilo City campus of the University of the Philippines Visayas. /kga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.