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Monday, 18 November 2019

Quezon City- Human Rights defenders, members and network of In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) held a “PROTESTART” this afternoon to condemn the burial of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) on this date three years ago.

Rose Trajano, Secretary General of PAHRA and Convenor of iDEFEND said the “continuing impunity of the martial law atrocities is epitomized by this Marcos burial at the LNMB, and perpetuated by the successive dismissal of cases against the Marcos family. Despite the human rights claims awarded to thousands of victims of martial law, the Marcos family refused to acknowledge the atrocities on the Filipino people.”

Avowed Marcos loyalist President Duterte allowed Marcos’ burial at the LNMB in 2016 in fulfillment of his campaign promise to the Marcoses, hoping it would lead to political reconciliation. Protesters said “there is no reconciliation without justice”.

Close to 70,000 people were imprisoned and more than 30,000 of them were tortured. More than 3,000 were killed by state forces. Widespread hamletting, internal displacement, land grabbing and sexual violence have been perpetrated by the armed forces, while Marcos himself amassed between $5 billion to $10 billion dollars from the country’s coffers. Graft-laden infrastructure projects were undertaken with Marcos cronies. At the end of martial law, the Philippines’ foreign debt exploded to a staggering $24.4 billion.

Senator Imee Marcos said the people should move on from the past, insisting that allegations against her father are merely ‘political accusations’. She also said that she hoped martial law education in the University of the Philippines can include their family’s side in its history.

The protesters held an open mic cultural event with various young artists to emphasize the importance of remembering Marcos’ heinous crimes, and of resisting historical revisionism, citing the repeated denials of Imee Marcos.

“During the martial law years, cultural performances took the place of mainstream media, when speaking the truth became very dangerous for ordinary people. We want to honor the role of art in protest especially against today’s growing authoritarianism by Duterte,” said Kelvin Vistan, PAHRA’s education officer.

The group vowed that Marcos will never be a hero and that the peoples’ voices will never again be silenced.
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