Imee Marcos
File photo shows Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos arrives at Comelec to file her COC for the Senate race.
Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas
‘A dance for a Marcos is a dance for shame,’ Igorot youth tell Imee
(Philstar.com) - June 26, 2019 - 5:32pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 8:52 p.m.) — "We will not dance for you, because a dance for a Marcos is a dance for shame."

That was the message of indigenous youth group Progressive Igorots for Social Action to Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos after the senator-elect said she would first perform an “Igorot” ritual at the office that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV will vacate when his term ends on June 30.

“May we then remind Imee that there is no such thing as ‘mga Igorot namin.’ You don’t own us, and you never will. We pride ourselves with our refusal to be owned, if you care to read about our history of struggle way back to the Spanish colonization,” Progressive Igorots said in a statement.

“Moreover, may we remind Imee that our dances are a sacred heritage from our beloved ancestors, who, we reiterate, taught us how it is to fight for our own, to refuse to be owned,” they added.

“And. Imee, asking the Igorot to dance for a blessing is a mockery of the sanctity of our rituals and traditions.”

'We will dance with the Igorots to bless this office'

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, the daughter of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos said Trillanes' office went to her through a raffle.

“Maybe I can call some of our Igorots because we need to bless the office because it was occupied by Sen. Trillanes,” the younger Marcos said in Filipino.

“If Senator Trillanes agrees, I will tell him we will dance with the Igorots so we can bless the office,” she added.

In the same statement, Progressive Igorots said they “flinched with anger and disgust,” when Marcos made the remarks.

“A murderer and a thief taking our culture for granted, and stealing our identity to the point of even owning it—that person must be held accountable and condemned,” they said.

"With the outright electoral fraud in this year’s elections, Marcos’ office deserves no blessing, add the fact that her family ushered the historical plundering of our resources in the Cordillera in the 1970s,” they added, recalling how the Marcos patriarch “allowed the construction of the Chico dam despite the displacement of indigenous communities that goes along with it.”

“It was the militant movement of the Igorot that led to the project’s demise—a historic contribution to the dictator’s eventual downfall. And Imee is no stranger to these atrocities—she holds a record of theft, falsification of records, and murders of her own,” the group continued.

CPA: Yet another form of discrimination upon the Igorot people

In a separate statement, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance called Marcos' comment 'yet another form of discrimination upon the Igorot people,' saying the people and rituals of the people of the Cordillera "are not spectacles for anyone’s amusement or political gimmickry."

"Our rituals are a significant expression of our values. They are a reflection of how we uphold, protect and defend our lives, land and rights. To use them out of context is a great dishonor," CPA said in a statement with the Cordillera Elders Alliance, Cordillera Human Rights Alliance, and Dap-ayan Ti Kultura Iti Kordilyera.

They said Marcos' comment "further exacerbates the institutional discrimination, marginalization and oppression of Igorots and all indigenous peoples in the country."

Marcos placed 8th in the 2019 midterm elections despite controversies surrounding her scholastic records.

Princeton University has confirmed that although she attended the school, Marcos did not graduate from there. Marcos also claimed that she graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Law, which has been disproven by the school’s officials.

Despite that, she has insisted that "as far as she knows," she earned degrees from those schools.

Marcos ran under the administration-backed Hugpong ng Pagbabago, whose campaign manager is Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, the president's daughter.

She said she would focus on poverty-alleviating measures. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

IMEE MARCOS
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