Imee cites technicality: PH doesn’t have any hero
MANILA, Philippines — “The reality is that, officially, we have no heroes.”
This was Sen. Imee Marcos’ take on Philippine history as the country on Monday (Aug. 26) celebrated National Heroes’ Day.
“Little do most Filipinos know that ever since the Philippines gained independence, the government has never officially proclaimed who our national heroes really are, even if it has been taught as early as grade school that the likes of Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio are among them,” she said in a statement.
Marcos said in 1995, the Philippine National Heroes’ Committee has officially recommended several figures to be designated as national heroes —Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat, Juan Luna, Melchora Aquino, and Gabriela Silang.
“However, the issue deteriorated into a debate involving regional interests that never was resolved,” said Marcos, whose father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was buried at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani at the insistence of the family and on orders of President Rodrigo Duterte, a beneficiary of an unspecified amount of campaign donation by the Marcos family.
Marcos, in her statement timed for National Heroes’ Day, said the only measure seeking to proclaim a national hero had been filed in 2014 yet by Bohol Rep. Rene Relampagos, seeking to officially name Jose Rizal as the Philippines’ hero.
The bill, however, remained pending at the House committee on revision of laws, said Marcos.
“What we only have are implied heroes, despite having official dates for their commemoration,” Marcos said, citing that these figures continue to be honored yearly during public municipal or provincial holidays.
Marcos called for the inclusion of Macario Sakay on the list of true Filipino heroes.
“Sakay was the first president of the Tagalog Republic who fought against Spanish and American colonizers in the Philippines during the early part of the 20th century,” Marcos said.
“Sakay’s negative image as a bandit was just black propaganda contrived by American colonial authorities who found it hard to subdue him,” said the senator, whose family reigned for more than 20 years and had been accused of amassing billions of pesos of ill-gotten wealth.
The Marcos family had been sent to exile following a popular revolt that ousted the dictator and lived in Hawaii. Upon their arrival, US Customs authorities seized boxes of valuables and financial papers worth hundreds of millions of pesos and believed to be part of the family’s stash of ill-gotten wealth.
The Marcos heirs had been accused of engaging in revisionism by trying to change the narrative of the dark years of martial law under the late dictator and proclaiming Ferdinand Marcos as worthy of burial as a hero despite an investigation that showed he faked his war medals during World War II./TSB
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.