Protest against ‘hero’s burial’ for Mar­cos

The Myanmar Times - - World -

PROTESTS took place in Manila yes­ter­day over Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s plans to honour the late dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos with a state burial.

About 2000 peo­ple gath­ered in heavy rain to de­nounce Mr Duterte’s plans to move Mar­cos’ re­mains from his north­ern home­town to the Na­tional Heroes’ Ceme­tery in Manila next month.

“We would be the laugh­ing stock of the en­tire planet,” said Se­na­tor Risa Hon­tiveros, one of four mem­bers of par­lia­ment to at­tend the rally.

She called Mr Mar­cos an “un­re­pen­tant en­emy of our heroes”.

Mr Mar­cos’s fam­ily have kept his pre­served body on dis­play af­ter he died in ex­ile in 1989 fol­low­ing a pop­u­lar re­volt three years ear­lier, de­mand­ing that it be buried with full hon­ours in the Heroes’ Ceme­tery.

Mr Mar­cos was elected pres­i­dent in 1965 and de­clared mar­tial law in 1972, al­low­ing him to rule as a dic­ta­tor while he, his fam­ily and his al­lies en­riched them­selves through mas­sive cor­rup­tion and his troops bru­tally stamped out dis­sent.

But Mr Duterte, who has styled him­self as an anti-cor­rup­tion cru­sader, de­fended Mar­cos, not­ing that his fa­ther had served in the Mar­cos cabi­net and he him­self had even voted for Mr Mar­cos be­fore.

Mr Duterte has pre­vi­ously said that he won the May 9 elec­tions partly with the sup­port of the Mar­cos fam­ily who re­main in­flu­en­tial in their baili­wick in the north­ern Philip­pines.

A small protest was also staged by hu­man rights vic­tims out­side Mr Duterte’s south­ern home­town of Davao city, where can­dles and flow­ers were placed out­side the city hall, tele­vi­sion re­ports said.

The protests yes­ter­day were joined by Mar­cos-era vic­tims of tor­ture and im­pris­on­ment as well as rel­a­tives of vic­tims of ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings, which his­to­ri­ans say claimed thou­sands of lives.

Pro­test­ers shed tears dur­ing the three-hour protest and or­gan­is­ers launched a sig­na­ture cam­paign to try to reverse Mr Duterte’s de­ci­sion.

“I was jailed when I was young. It’s so hard to imag­ine that he will be buried in the Heroes’ Ceme­tery,” for­mer Mar­cos pris­oner Danny Tang said.

University of the Philip­pines Pro­fes­sor Ri­cardo Jose al­leged that in or­der to win war medals for brav­ery, Mr Mar­cos faked his ser­vice record in the anti-Ja­panese re­sis­tance when Ja­pan oc­cu­pied the coun­try in World War II.

“There are World War II heroes buried there who sac­ri­ficed their lives .... But here’s one guy who dis­torted things in his favour,” Mr Jose said at the rally.

Mr Duterte’s spokesper­son Martin An­da­nar told re­porters that while the leader al­lowed protests against the burial plan, he “re­mains firm” it will be car­ried out. –

Pro­test­ers hold a ban­ner at a park in Manila yes­ter­day against plans to honour the late dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos with a state burial.

Photo: AFP

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