MAGANES: Let Marcos’ remains be buried at the “Libingan ng mga Bayani”
We are a country divided not by ideology but by sheer hatred.Writers of our present history have focused on the darkest side of Martial Law and deliberately escaped in their writings the gains of the country’s development under the Marcos regime. While it may be true that the late strongman President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos had despotic rule during the years of Martial Law, i.e. 1972 to 1981, it will be best for us Filipinos to reflect on the reasons why he declared Martial Law in the first place.
In the 1970’s, rebellion and subversion have increased. Militants actions among students particularly from the colleges and universities of Metro Manila had became uncontrollable. These militant actions followed the grenade throwing at the Plaza Miranda of a political rally of Liberal Party in 1969. On the countryside, the New Peoples Army (NPA) of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) had grown in numbers. They had recruited cadres from all sectors of the society- farmers, fishermen, laborers, etc. with the purpose of toppling the Marcos administration,
Marcos in that time had to restore peace and order in the country. Thus, at first he suspended the “habeas corpus” and eventually declared Martal Law on September 11, 1972. It was an act he did not on his own but in consultations with his cabinet secretaries and the magistrates of the Supreme Court. Under Martial Law, the Constitution was changed in 1973. He launched the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (New Society Movement) with a new order of discipline among the Filipino people. He closed the Congress. Laws were all penned by him through Presidential Decrees (PDs) and Letter of Instructions (LOIs), all are now part of Philippine jurisprudence.
While he imposed a new order and discipline, militancy and the escalation of NPA recruits continued.Those who fought the government were incarcerated, many of them were tortured. Many militant students disappeared and their bodies had not been recovered. We were then in a Martial Law regime, meaning under the military control where Marcos was the Commander in Chief. There might be a magnitude of human rights abuses, as what the Martial Law survivors claimed, but aren’t these parts of the Martial Law scenario? Why were they abused in the first place? Was it because they continued to fight the order and discipline imposed by Marcos?
During the Marcos presidency, we have many development gains to be proud of. Philippines was once an exporter of rice because we have production surpluses under the Masagana 99. Food on the tables of Filipinos abound with the Green Revolution Program. Pupils in public schools were freely fed through “nutribuns” with regular rations of milk. These were just few of the programs he did coupled with the many infrastructures he built like the improvements of highways to include the North and South Luzon Expressways, San Juanico Bridge that connected Samar and Leyte, National Kidney Institute, Philippine Heart Center, Cultural Center of the Philippines, and the list continues.
During the election campaign period in the 2016 elections, then presidential candidate Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte promised that if he will win the election, he will allow the remains of Marcos to be buried at the “Libingan ng Mga Bayani.” His statement at that time was strongly criticized by the militant groups including those followers of former President Benigno S. Aquino III. They openly opposed the idea of Duterte even to the extent of campaigning against him. They said Marcos doesn’t deserve to be buried there because he was a “dictator”, not a hero and all filthy words that could be accorded to him.
But the Filipino people did not hear their voices. More than 16 million Filipinos voted for Duterte to the presidency. Their cries for change reverberated into the air claiming that Duterte could end all forms of criminalities, illegal drugs as well as corruption in the country. Duterte is a man of promise. He wanted that his promises will be fulfilled and one of them is for the Marcos’ remains to be buried at the “Libingan ng mga Bayani”. Why do we have to defy that promise? According to Duterte, he’s just following the law that Libingan ng mga Bayani is for soldiers and presidents. Marcos was once a president and a soldier, too. By simple analogy, he’s given the privilege to be buried there. Duterte was even asking why was the law not repealed during Cory’s and PNoy’s presidency, so that Marcos could not be buried at the Libingan?
Now, the militant groups and the “yellow army” of PNoy are threatening for massive rally to stop the interment of Marcos at the Libingan. On this, Duterte is unperturbed. He challenged them to do it as it is their right to air their grievances with only a wish to respect also the rights of others. The interment is scheduled on September 18 with preparations underway. Marcos will be given full military honors, not as a dictator but as a president, while laden with shortcomings as a mortal person, has done also good for the country.
Enough for the hatred! Let’s move on as one nation. Let Marcos be judged by his Creator, who I think is a loving and compassionate God. We should not be haunted by the past. Let’s work together as one Filipino race, for the love of our country’s future.
(For comments and suggestions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at http://www.virgilmaganes.wordpress.com. Listen to my radio program “VIRGIL MAGANES SA DWPR” aired over DWPR Radyo Asenso, 1296 KHZ AM Band at 8:00-9:00 AM, Mondays to Saturdays.)
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