Pangilinan: Why push for Marcos Day declaration in face of pandemic?
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Pangilinan on Monday questioned the timing of a Senate committee’s endorsement of a bill declaring September 11 a local holiday in Ilocos Norte in honor of ousted dictator, former President Ferdinand Marcos, to the technical working group (TWG).
According to Pangilinan, a member of the minority and the opposition, it is baffling why the Senate is even pushing to make Marcos’ birthday a local holiday when Congress in 2013 acknowledged the atrocities committed during the late strongman’s two-decade rule.
Marcos’ cling to power and his infamous martial law regime were marred by heavy corruption and extensive abuses, including a crackdown on critics with many human rights defenders and opposition members ending up either dead or missing.
“Congress in enacting the Human Rights Compensation Measure in 2013 recognized the widespread abuses and atrocities committed by the Marcos regime and apportioned 10 billion pesos as compensation to thousands of its victims taken from proceeds of recovered ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
“Also, why is this being pushed when the country is in the middle of a calamity brought about by the pandemic?” he also asked.
Earlier, the Senate committee on local government approved – subject to some “wordings” of a technical working group – a bill declaring September 11 a special non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte to commemorate the birth anniversary of the late dictator.
If passed, the said proposal — House Bill No. 7137, which was transmitted by the House of Representatives to the Senate — would formally proclaim September 11 as “President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Day” in his home province.
For Pangilinan, it is not correct to honor Marcos, especially that no less than the Supreme Court has declared billions of pesos of Marcos’ wealth as ill-gotten. The Sandiganbayan even recognized the martial law atrocities when it ordered the return of that ill-gotten wealth to fund compensation for human rights abuse victims during Marcos’ iron rule.
“The amount of 10 billion pesos was declared as ill-gotten by no less than our Supreme Court. It would be inappropriate to honor a tyrant and a thief,” Pangilinan pointed out.
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