“Despite his attempts to rehabilitate his family’s image, Bongbong Marcos’ inutility as president, onerous economic policies, his waste and misuse of public funds, his puppetry to US and Chinese interests, and his perpetuation of his father’s fascist policies and that of Duterte’s cause the Filipino people to remember the dark days of dictatorship and urge them to continue waging resistance.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
with reports from Alyssa Clarin and Dominic Gutoman
MANILA — Progressives gathered at the People Power Monument in Quezon City to commemorate the 37th year of ousting the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
This is the first People Power uprising commemoration under the dictator’s son and namesake. It may be recalled that Marcos Jr. declared February 24 a non-working day only at around 6:00 pm the day before.
“Despite his attempts to rehabilitate his family’s image, Bongbong Marcos’ inutility as president, onerous economic policies, his waste and misuse of public funds, his puppetry to US and Chinese interests, and his perpetuation of his father’s fascist policies and that of Duterte’s cause the Filipino people to remember the dark days of dictatorship and urge them to continue waging resistance,” Cristina Palabay, secretary general of human rights group Karapatan, said.
Under Marcos Sr., at least 11,103 individuals became victims of human rights violations, according to the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission.
It also marked one of the worst economic recessions in Philippine history, with poverty incidence worsening from 40 percent in 1965 to 60 percent when Marcos Sr. was ousted in 1986.
“With Marcos Jr. now in Malacañang, we are witnessing a continuation of his family’s corrupt and fascist legacy. His presidency is an insult to the sacrifices of those who fought for freedom and democracy, before, during and after EDSA,” Palabay said.
In a statement, the Southern Tagalog Movement Against Tyranny called out the parties and travels of Marcos Jr., calling him “callous to the situation of the Filipino people.”
Last month, the country had an all-time high of 8.7-percent inflation rate, around three times higher than last year’s 3.0 percent. This was caused by the increase in the costs of housing, water, electricity, gas and food.
The Movement for Good Governance and Genuine Democracy said that “the trips of Marcos Jr. are expensive, and are spent at the expense of the suffering people.”
For her part, Judy Taguiwalo of the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) said that ordinary folk suffer as their income depreciate due to inflation. “In truth, one need not look back to the fraudulent ‘golden years’ under Marcos Sr. — the worst economic crisis is right in our midst under the dictator’s son.”
Fight for truth
Francis Gealogo, lead convenor of Tanggol Kasaysayan, highlighted the importance of fighting for the truth. “The myth that Imelda is Maganda and Marcos is Malakas, and that we are the martial law is part of systematic disinformation.”
He also belied how the myth of “Tallano Gold” which is supposedly the reason behind their ill-gotten wealth. “Na-tanso tayo.” (They want to fool us.)
Gealogo also reminded the people that when commemorating the ousting of the late dictator, the fight waged and the mass struggle leading to this day 37 years ago must also be remembered. “We must commemorate not just 1986 but the long years of mass struggle.”
Lawyer Rico Domingo of the Movement Against Disinformation pointed out that the dark years of martial law left deep wounds in the people. “But this also served as a focal point to unite and to rise against dictatorship,” he said, adding that the present situation now will not diminish the importance of commemorating the first People Power uprising.
Not a vacation
In his statement, Renato Reyes Jr., secretary general of Bayan, said that when Marcos Jr. declared February 24 a holiday, he reduced it to just allowing the Filipino people to experience a long weekend instead of acknowledging the victory of the people.
In a statement, the Promotion of Church People’s Response said that they know “by heart that the long years of people’s struggles for genuine change came to an apex in the collective call of the people to oust the dictator Marcos.” They added that “the struggle did not end in ousting Marcos: the struggle for meaningful change and the just demand of the people continues.” (DAA)