Burial of Philippine dictator Marcos in heroes’ cemetery triggers debate

admin   •   August 9, 2016   •   3658

Former first lady Imelda Marcos kisses the glass coffin of her husband, late president Ferdinand Marcos, who remains unburied since his death in 1989, during her 85th birthday celebration in Ferdinand Marcos' hometown of Batac, Ilocos Norte province, in northern Philippines... REUTERS/ERIK DE CASTRO

Former first lady Imelda Marcos kisses the glass coffin of her husband, late president Ferdinand Marcos, who remains unburied since his death in 1989, during her 85th birthday celebration in Ferdinand Marcos’ hometown of Batac, Ilocos Norte province, in northern Philippines…
REUTERS/ERIK DE CASTRO

The Philippines has begun preparations for the burial of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at a cemetery for national heroes, a decision that drew criticism from the vice president and could polarize the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte said he was fulfilling a campaign promise to have Marcos, who ruled with an iron fist for two decades, interred at the heroes’ cemetery as a former president and soldier.

On Sunday, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana assigned armed forces chief of staff General Ricardo Visaya, to handle arrangements for the burial next month, in line with “the verbal order of the president to implement his campaign promise”.

“I am just implementing a presidential directive, whatever I think is immaterial,” Lorenzana told reporters on Monday.

“He deserved to be buried at the heroes’ cemetery based on the criteria from the military regulations.”

Marcos was a soldier and guerrilla leader during World War Two when the former U.S. colony was occupied by Japanese forces.

As a dictator in the 1970s and ’80s, Marcos, his family and cronies amassed an estimated $10 billion in ill-gotten wealth and thousands of suspected communist rebels and political foes were killed. His wife, Imelda, denies amassing wealth illegally.

Vice President Leni Robredo said she opposed Duterte’s decision to transfer the strongman’s remains from his home town of Batac in the northern Philippines to the cemetery.

“Mr Marcos is no hero,” she said in a statement. “How can we allow a hero’s burial for a man who has plundered our country and was responsible for the death and disappearance of many Filipinos?”

Robredo, a human rights advocate, defeated the dictator’s son and namesake, Ferdinand Marcos, in a vote for the vice presidency in May.

She said Duterte’s decision would not bring unity but would “deepen the unhealed wounds” of Marcos’ victims.

Some Roman Catholic bishops and left-wing activists also opposed Marcos’ burial.

“It is a great insult,” said one prominent bishop, Arturo Bastes.

Duterte brushed off the criticism.

“I see nothing wrong in having Marcos buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” the president said in a speech to soldiers on Sunday, referring to the cemetery.

Marcos was elected president in 1965 and re-elected four years later but imposed martial law a year before his second term ended.

In 1986, he was ousted in a “people power” revolt and fled to Hawaii where he died three years later. His remains were returned in the early 1990s and have been kept in a family mausoleum. — REUTERS

Burial for COVID-19 victims allowed but should be done within 12 hours—DOH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 13, 2020

Burial for victims of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is allowed but should be done within 12 hours, according to the guidelines implemented by the Department of Health (DOH).

“We are still following our Code on Sanitation dito sa ating bansa and ang Law for Notifiable Diseases. Nakalagay dito na ang isang pasyenteng mamamatay sa infectious disease, kailangan within 12 hours mailibing natin, (We are still following our Code on Sanitation and Law for Notifiable Disease in our country. It is stated that a patient who succumbed to an infectious disease should be buried within 12 hours),” according to the statement of DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The protocols for the burial of COVID-19 victims is based on the Department Circular No. 0067 released in February.

Vergeire also said the casket should be double sealed and should not be reopened once it is closed. She added that buried remains of patients infected with the novel coronavirus shall not be exhumed for whatever reason.

The DOH said they are aware of the increasing number of COVID-19 deaths and the long queues in crematoriums. There are also reports of dwindling supply of urns. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Robredo honors all freedom fighters during Marcos era on Ninoy Aquino Day

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019

Vice President Leni Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday honored the sacrifices of the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, and all Filipinos like him who fought against dictatorship and for the restoration of freedom in the country.

In a message to mark Ninoy’s 36th death anniversary, Robredo recalled how Ninoy’s death had inspired a movement that brought down the “rapacious” regime of then President Ferdinand Marcos.

“Every Filipino alive at that time remembers where they were when Ninoy fell. It was the defining moment for an entire generation: a moment that would inspire a movement that would ultimately bring down the dictator three years later, and bring about a restoration of the freedom Ninoy had given up his life and liberty fighting for,” Robredo said.

The vice president also pointed out that Ninoy was not the only one who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country’s freedom.

“Thousands of Filipinos fell during the dark years of dictatorship, resisting till their last breath the cruelty and corruption it brought. Thousands more were estranged from their families, were thrown into prison, were subjected to brutality and humiliation. Many of them remain nameless and unheralded in our memorials and history books,” she said.

“So, when we celebrate the 21st of August, it is not just Ninoy Aquino we remember, but all those like him, both the nameless and the heralded, who gave of themselves so that we could be free,” she added.

“In this remembrance, we express both our deepest gratitude for the sacrifices made on our behalf, and, perhaps more significantly, our persistent commitment to defend the freedom they won back for us.”

Robredo also lambasted those who “dismiss the significance of Ninoy’s sacrifice,” or “question the validity of the movement it inspired,” and those who are pushing a revised version of history, claiming that the Marcos regime “was not so bad after all.”

“The simple truth is, Ninoy Aquino was a Filipino who gave his life for his country. His love for his homeland was seen not in easy talk or slick PR stunts, but instead blazed brightly through long years of imprisonment, of exile, and in the end, of martyrdom,” she said.

“Many talk about being willing to die for our country. Ninoy was one of the courageous few who actually did,” she added.

Ninoy, a staunch critic of the Marcos government, was assassinated upon his return from a three-year exile in the United States on August 21, 1983. He was shot and killed at he was shot and killed at the then Manila International Airport (now named after him) as he was escorted off the airplane.

Ninoy’s death led to protests that sparked snap presidential elections in 1986, which led to the 1986 EDSA Revolution that catapulted his wife, Cory Aquino to presidency.

Duterte tells gov’t workers to be like Ninoy Aquino; serve with honor, integrity

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019

Ninoy Aquino | By president.gov.ph

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday hailed the sacrifice and the important role that the late former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. played in restoring the country’s democracy as the nation marks his 36th death anniversary.

In his message, Duterte said Aquino’s sacrifice altered the course of the nation’s history and still continues to ignite the spirt of heroism among Filipinos.

“Today, we remember Benigno S. Aquino Jr. and his important role in restoring our democratic institutions more than three decades ago. His sacrifice altered the course of our nation’s history and still continues to ignite the spirit of heroism among our people,” he said.

Aquino was a well-known opposition figure and a staunch critic of the then-President Ferdinand Marcos.

He was imprisoned for his beliefs during the Martial Law before he and his family moved to the United States in 1980 to seek medical treatment which eventually led to his self-imposed exile for three years.

Upon returning to the Philippines on August 21, 1983, he was shot and killed at the then Manila International Airport (now named after him) as he was escorted off the airplane.

Ninoy’s death led to protests that sparked snap presidential elections in 1986, which led to the 1986 EDSA Revolution that catapulted his wife, Cory Aquino to presidency.

Duterte also expressed hope that this “auspicious occasion” may remind us of what we had lost “so that we may remain committed to our solemn duty to safeguard the freedoms that we now enjoy.”

“I also hope that Ninoy’s remarkable life as a public servant will move my fellow government workers to serve with honor, integrity and purpose as well as inspire our youth to be of service to their country and fellowmen,” he added.

Duterte also acknowledged that even halfway into his six-year term, there is still much that has to be done to eradicate the problems that plagued the country even during Ninoy’s time.

“Despite our gains in these past three years, there is still a lot that needs to be done if we are to completely eradicate the poverty, corruption and injustice that had plagued our nation even during Ninoy’s time,” he said.

“Let his example guide us as we strive to uplift and protect the most vulnerable in our society and ensure that all Filipinos will enjoy the blessings of freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” he added.

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