DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 Nov) – Protest actions were also held in key areas in Mindanao Friday to express outrage over the Nov. 18 burial of the deposed dictator, Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, but while most of the slogans, chants and speeches focused on Marcos, President Rodrigo Duterte, the country’s first Mindanawon President, was not spared, too.
In Cagayan de Oro City, a protester’s message on bond paper read: “Marcos Duterte Singilin! Pagbayarin!” (Hold them accountable! Make them pay!)
In Davao City, the President’s hometown where he served as mayor for 22 years, only three placards mentioned him: “Pres. Duterte, atubanga ang mga biktima sa martial law ug ang ilang mga pamilya” (Pres. Duterte, face the victims of martial law and their families), “DuterTuta” and “Dutertards against Marcos.” One alluded to his promise of change: “Without justice, no healing, no real change.”
In Iligan City, two separate rallies were held — in front of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) by the League of Filipino Students (LFS), and by the Liga ng Makabagong Kabataan in front of the postal office.
In Zamboanga City, the Kabataan party-list stood on the roadside with placards stating “Marcos no hero” and “Never again! Never forget!” and “Marcos, Taksil hindi Bayani.”
In Cateel, Davao Oriental, the hardest hit town when supertyphoon Pablo struck on Decmber 4, 2012, the Supreme Student Government of the Maryknoll Academy of Cateel (MAC) displayed just outside the school the collective stand of the students, faculty and staff against the burial of the deposed dictator.
The slogans read: “Wala tayong saysay kung wala tayong kasaysayan”, “No to historical revisionism,” “Marcos is not a hero,” “Never again.” “Never was and never will be”
Students joined martial law victims in the cities of Davao and Cagayan de Oro.
The Davao City protest gathered martial law victims, students, a few teachers and representatives of various groups who made a quick march from the Freedom Park to the Veterans’ memorial passing by the landmark Marco Polo hotel, the Roxas night market memorial and back to Freedom Park where a 70-minute program was held, the number of protesters reaching about 300 at its peak.
A noise barrage was also held twice during the program that ended with a candle-lighting.
Among the organizations that joined were the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) in Southern Mindanao, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), the League of Filipino Students (LFS), Anakbayan St. Alphonsu Theological Mission Institute, Konsyensya Dabaw, and students from UP Mindanao, Ateneo de Davao and Assumption College of Davao.
Abdul Sissay of LFS Southern Mindanao said the youth today should not be afraid because the youth under martial law were not also afraid. He said the Marcoses must be held accountable for what they did during martial law and justice must be given the victims of human rights violations under the dictatorship.
Prince Harvey Arellano, councilor of the University of the Philippines-Mindanao Student Council, said even if they were born after martial law, they are aware that Marcos was a dictator and does not deserve a burial at the LNMB.
“Huwag nating ilibing ang katotohanan” (Let us not bury the truth), Arellano said.
Mags Maglana, one of the convenors of Konsyensya Dabaw, the group that earlier staged six protest actions against Marcos’ burial since August, asked the protesters to also challenge President Duterte to face the victims of human rights violations under martial since he also made that promise during the election campaign.
She said the President repeatedly mentions the massacre of Bud Dajo a century ago but forgets the historical injustices committed more recently, during the Marcos dictatorship.
Maglana said without justice, there can be no healing and no real change.
Porferio Tuna, consultant of the National Democratic Front (NDF) peace panel in Southern Mindanao said the Marcoses must be made to answer for the crimes they committed during martial law.
Tuna said they are calling on the Duterte administration to ensure the change it promised is one that is based on justice, and to listen to the cries of the victims of human rights violations under the Marcos dictatorship.
Unworthy of inspiration, emulation
In a statement issued by Fr. Jay Ramos, the faculty, staff and student body of Maryknoll Academy of Cateel, said Marcos is not a hero and does not deserve to be buried at the LNMB because he is not worth of inspiration and emulation as RA 289 says of those qualified to be buried there.
The statement said Marcos can never be considered a hero “with all the killings, human rights violations, corruption and suppression of the people’s will that happened during the Martial Law era” and that his life as President “is not commendable to be an inspiration to the youth and for the future generations to come.”
“This is not the kind of example that we want our students and the rest of the Filipino youth to look up to. We never want a dictator to inspire the values and the leadership and social skills of the youth,” the statement read. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews with a report from Violeta M. Gloria0