MANILA, Philippines – Under pouring rain, protesters greeted the centennial of the birth anniversary of the late, deposed President Ferdinand Marcos Monday, September 11, by commemorating the lives of people who were killed during the dark days of his dictatorial regime.
Three groups marked the 100th birth anniversary of the ousted former strongman, even as his family and their guests held a private celebration in his burial site inside the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery).
As early as 9 am, a dozen members of Block Marcos and iDefend staged a protest in front of the main gate of the Heroes' Cemetery, greeting those entering to attend the Marcos family event with a black streamer.
The activists also displayed photos and narrated how each Martial Law martyr was killed under the Marcos dictatorship. These included the stories of protest icons indigenous people leader Macliing Dulag, student activist Archimedes Trajano and Boyet Mijares, then the teenage son of Marcos publicist Primitivo Mijares.
Protesters tell the stories of Martial Law victims, continues to call for the exhumation of Marcos' remains from the LNMB. pic.twitter.com/NNTNpevhrI — Patty Pasion (@pattypasion) September 11, 2017
Also at the cemetery gates were some 150 Marcos loyalists who held their own program.
Some 600 members of the Philippine National Police and military maintained order by standing between the opposing groups.
Security deployed to draw the line between anti- and pro-Marcos groups. pic.twitter.com/wl4DJBTrU2 — Patty Pasion (@pattypasion) September 11, 2017
Aside from the small rally at the Libiingan ng mga Bayani, a simple program was held simultaneously at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City to honor the memories of Martial Law martyrs.
Marcos no hero
Meanwhile, before noon, some 300 members of various leftist groups led by lawmakers Gabriela Representative Emmi de Jesus, Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate, and former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares took their turn at the entrance of the Heroes' Cemetery. All 3 leaders were victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime.
The Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses in Malacañang, which strongly opposed the vice presidential bid of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, also joined this group.
"Talagang sampal sa alaala ng biktima ng Martial Law. He is being celebrated as a hero samantalang dapat nating itatak sa isipan ng mga mamamayang Pilipino at susunod pa na salinlahi na diktador si Marcos," said Zarate. (It's a slap on the memories of the Martial Law victims. He is being celebrated as a hero when we need to ingrain in the minds of future generations that he is a dictator.)
Zarate called on the government to honor the sacrifices of the Martial Law victims beyond granting them the compensation they are entitled to under the law. (READ: NHCP objects to Marcos burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani)
"Ang compensation ay hindi mo pwedeng ibigay na isang act of mercy...dapat maitala sa ating educational materials sa ating eskwelahan na siya ay diktador," he said. (Compensation should not be given as an act of mercy. We should put in our educational materials that he is a dictator.)
Meanwhile, activist Mae Paner, more popularly known as Juana Change, urged the police to be "real heroes".
"Ang mga bayani nag-iisip. Kapag sinabi bang patayin ako, papatayin niyo ako? Mag-isip tayo... Ang tunay na bayani nag-iisip, nagtatanong, ginagamit ang utak, ginagamit ang puso. Kung hindi man maari pang maging katulad ni Marcos na bayani," she said. (Heroes think. When you're told to kill me, would you kill me? Let us think. Real heroes use their heads, use their hearts. If not, might as well be a hero like Marcos.)
Paner's message came as members of Caloocan City police were linked to the drug-related killings of students Kian delos Santos and Carl Arnaiz.
Progressive groups have repeatedly condemn Duterte's drug war and the martial law in Mindanao as manifestations of his "Marcosian rule" and authoritarian tendencies. – Rappler.com