Groups dismayed over Marcos Day proposal: Why celebrate a ‘dictator, plunderer’?
MANILA, Philippines — Various progressive groups have expressed dismay over a proposal to make Sep. 11 an Ilocos Norte holiday in commemoration of former President Ferdinand Marcos, asking whether people should celebrate the life of a “dictator and plunderer.”
Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat and rights group Karapatan said that this move at the House of Representatives — which just approved the bill on Wednesday — merely sought to rewrite the dark history of the Marcos martial regime.
“What kind of thinking is this that calls for the celebration of a plunderer of the country’s coffers and a killer? This is a big desecration of our history,” Cullamat said in Filipino.
[Original statement in Filipino: “Anong klaseng pagiisip nito na dapat kailangan pagdiwang ang isang magnanakaw ng kaban ng bayan at mamamatay tao? Ito ay napakalaking kalapastangan ng ating kasaysayan.”]
“The bill seeks to deodorize the image of a murderer, a plunderer and a criminal. It is a grave disgrace to the memory of martial law victims and survivors, who have been violated many times over by the Marcos dictatorship,” Karapatan Secretary-General Cristina Palabay added in a separate statement.
Earlier, the House passed on third reading a bill proposing to declare Sept. 11 as President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Day in Marcos’ home province, coinciding with his birth anniversary. The House passed the bill with 197 affirmative votes, nine negative, and one abstention.
Both Cullamat and Palabay also noted that the recognition given to Marcos contradicts the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10368), which recognizes the individuals who suffered inhumane treatment during Marcos’s strongman rule.
The law mandated the financial compensation of the victims of rights violations during martial law, with the funds being sourced from the recovered assets through a class suit pursued by American lawyer Robert Swift.
“This [bill] does not respect the verdict of history and the victims of Marcos’s martial law. The people would never forget the inhumanity and the travesty done during the time of Marcos.”]
[Original statement in Filipino: “Hindi nito nirerespeto ang hatol ng kasaysayan at ang mga biktima ng martial law ni Marcos. Hindi kailan man makakalimutan ng taongbayan ang ginawang kahayupan at kalapastangan ng panahon ni Marcos.”]
“The said measure directly contradicts the intent and spirit of Republic Act No. 10368, the law passed in 2012 recognizing human rights violations committed under the Marcos regime and providing reparations for victims,” Palabay added.
Marcos has been widely ridiculed for clinging to power beyond his term and for his ill-gotten wealth claims.
In 2018, former first lady Imelda Marcos was found guilty of graft for transferring around $200 million to seven Swiss foundations while still a member of the now-defunct Batasang Pambansa, later as Metro Manila governor, and as then minister of Human Settlements.
The foundations were found to have been owned by the couple, hiding behind pseudonyms William Saunders and Jane Ryan.
But recently, the Marcos family has gained support anew with the former president’s children insisting that their father was not corrupt.
In 2016, then-Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. narrowly lost to then-Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo in the vice-presidential race, and in the 2019 senatorial elections, then-Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos ranked ninth among the candidates who made it to the so-called Magic 12.
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