Martial law survivors, progressive group hit Senate panel approval of Marcos Day bill
Dictator Ferdinand Marcos announces on live TV on the evening of Sept. 23, 1972 that he has imposed martial law throughout the country.
Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines
Martial law survivors, progressive group hit Senate panel approval of Marcos Day bill
Bella Perez-Rubio ( - October 27, 2020 - 2:27pm

MANILA, Philippines — A group of Martial law survivors and progressive group Akbayan on Tuesday slammed a Senate panel for approving a bill declaring the birthday of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. a special non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte. 

"The committee acted as a Marcos deodorant to hide the awful stench of the dead dictator's brutal rule, tamper with history and invalidate the people's struggle against the dictatorship," Akbayan Chair Emeritus Etta Rosales said on Tuesday.

"We call on the rest of the members of the Senate to reject this measure, the same way it was rejected by their predecessors 14 years ago. The Senate must not allow itself to become a Marcos deodorizer. It must not become a tool of historical revisionism," she urged. 

House Bill 7137 seeks to declare September 11 as "President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Day" in the late dictator's hometown. The measure, labelled by Rosales as "unconscionable," was transmitted to the upper chamber and was approved by the Committee on Local Government, chaired by Sen. Francis Tolentino, on Monday. 

According to Rosales, a former Akbayan partylist lawmaker, the panel's approval of the measure runs "contrary to the spirit of the dissenting opinions issued by members of the Senate in 2006 rejecting proposals to create a non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte for Marcos."

She further said that it is "diametrically opposed" to an existing law which seeks to provide reparation and recognition to victims of human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship — or  the Human Rights Victim Reparation Act of 2013. This was also pointed out by the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto —  a group of former political prisoners whose members include martial law victims and survivors. 

"This is no ordinary bill of local application. This is no harmless local holiday. This bill seeks to repudiate the mandate of the 1986 People Power Uprising, whitewash the atrocities of the Marcos dictatorship and attack our sense of history," Rosales said. 

Martial law survivors: We are 'enraged and offended'

"Words are not enough to express how enraged and offended we are with this brazen act of perpetuation of historical lies. This measure is a complete mockery of the sufferings and struggles of the Filipino people during the Marcos dictatorship," SELDA Vice Chairperson Danilo dela Fuente said. 

"It is an insult to all victims of human rights violations, who throughout more than two decades have sought to make the Marcoses accountable for their crimes," he added. 

Global human rights organization Amnesty International in a report said the Marcos dictatorship was marked by wanton human rights violations, logging 34,000 tortured and 3,240 killed.

In addition to flagging its being contradictory to the Human Rights Victim Reparation Act of 2013, Dela Fuente called the measure "inappropriate" amid the pandemic-induced health and economic crisis. "This move is further evidence of this administration's incompetence and heartlessness," he said. 

While the group was enraged by Congress' approval of the measure, Dela Fuente said the move was not surprising given the presence of Marcos' daughter in the upper chamber and his nephew in the lower chamber. He was referring to Sen. Imee Marcos who currently sits as vice chairperson of the upper chamber's local government panel and Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba (Ilocos Norte) who is one of the bill's primary authors. 

“With a president who is an ally of the Marcoses and with a Congress dominated by the president’s allies, this piece of proposed legislation is an embodiment of a tyrant’s celebration of another tyrant," Dela Fuente said. 

"We condemn this shameless act of honoring a bloodthirsty plunderer, murderer, and tyrant. We will not stop in opposing all attempts of the Marcoses to rehabilitate the dictator and their family’s bloody legacy," he added.

RELATED: NewsLab: 31 Years of Amnesia 

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