Backlash over bid to whitewash Marcos
THE Philippine government faced a backlash yesterday over claims it was trying to whitewash the history of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Critics said a series of edits to the Facebook page of the country’s official government record were an attempt to put a positive gloss on years of authoritarian rule.
Among changes that sparked fury was the claim that Marcos imposed martial law in 1972 to deal with Muslim secessionists and a communist insurgency.
Opponents charge Marcos declared martial law to keep himself in power. They also say he threw opposition figures in jail and plundered state coffers.
The gazette also said he gave up his role in 1986 to “avoid bloodshed”; historians agree he reluctantly fled in the face of massive popular opposition.
“The caption should have been ‘Ferdinand Marcos stole US$10 billion from Filipinos, had 34,000 tortured, 3240 murdered, and was so hungry for power he tried to stay dictator for life,’” one angry commentator said.
Controversial President Rodrigo Duterte – a Marcos ally – has reignited squabbles over Marcos’ legacy with a plan to bury his embalmed body in the Cemetery of Heroes.
Historians agree that Marcos’ 21year rule was a dark period for the Philippines – a time when extra-judicial killings, disappearances and corruption were the norm.
“We are not in the business of revising history,” press secretary Ramon Cualoping insisted yesterday in response to the outcry. –