|Protesters in New York against the Marcos burial.(Photo: Joshel Melgarejo)|
On November 18, the body of Marcos was buried secretly in LNMB. This action taken by the Philippine government was an insult to the thousands of people who were victims of Martial Law.
In Queens, NY, heart of the Filipino community, several groups expressed their condemnation of the burial of a dictator who is far from ever being considered a hero in the eyes of the Filipino people.
“Today the Filipino youth may never learn the history and the atrocities caused by Marcos,” said Chrissi Fabro, Secretary General of the Filipino youth community organization, Anakbayan New York. “His burial in the Cemetery of Heroes in the Philippines erases the experiences of the victims of Martial Law.”
Representing the militant Filipino alliance BAYAN USA was Red Tirona, whose parents were also victims of the brutal Marcos dictatorship. “The Marcos dictatorship was a puppet of the United States. All the policies of the Marcos regime were designed to serve the interest of the US.” Red also referenced the creation of Labor Export Policy (LEP) under Marcos as a band-aid solution to the growing need of the Philippines to pay off the billions of debts to the IMF and World Bank accumulated by Marcos. Drawing a comparison between the growing fears of fascist rule in the US and the memories of brutal oppression under Marcos, Tirona emphasized, “...overseas Filipinos must continue the struggle for genuine national liberation in the Philippines while upholding the rights and interests of their kababayans abroad.”
“Marcos is not a hero,” said Potri Rankamanis of Kinding Sindaw, who was a former political detainee and torture survivor of Martial Law. “Philippine history cannot be played upon by Dictator Marcos and his bullying family! Marcos was a fascist murderer of Filipinos! Marcos must be exhumed from the burial ground of Libingan ng nga Bayani because his name as a dictator can never pass as a hero. Burying this dictator in LNMB will blur the years of his plunder and robbery of the Philippines. The future generations must know the truth about Philippine history!”
Zarah Vinola, Secretary of Community Affairs of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns stated “Let’s remember the fact that Marcos instituted the Labor Export Policy, a policy that has been responsible for sending Filipino people away from their families. While Marcos robbed people millions of pesos and borrowed from The World Bank, he paid back these debts by sending people out of the Philippines, just to find themselves in horrible conditions. This policy is responsible for deaths of workers overseas and number of Filipino people trafficked here in the United States and other countries. To this present day this policy continues and is now being studied in other countries to be used as part of false economic development. Marcos should not be remembered as a hero, but we must continue to remember his fascist acts to ensure that this does not happen again.”
This rally and vigil was part of the world-wide actions being conducted by Filipinos to condemn the burial of Marcos in LNMB. The waves of indignation of the Filipino people spread throughout the whole world as the many survivors of Martial Law, their children, grandchildren, and concerned citizens gave voice to the pain and heartache of a generation that lived under the scourge of military rule.
Cries of “Marcos, Hitler, diktador, tuta!!!” could be heard echoing through Roosevelt avenue reflecting the perspective of many of those whose lives were destroyed by the Marcos family’s crony rule over the Filipino people. For the tens of thousands unjustly detained and tortured, for the hundreds of thousands of family members affected, and for the millions of Filipinos who can never forget the violence perpetrated by Marcos’ rule.
Martial law was one of the darkest periods in the history of the Philippines. In response to the growing mass movement of people for genuine freedom and democracy, Marcos declared martial law in 1972. He continued to reign as a dictator for 14 more years until he was overthrown by a strong mass movement of the people.
“At least I survived,” said Potri. “But there are many voices who have been silenced by Marcos.”
“To honor the lives of those lost, we must continue to tell the true history of events under Marcos and continue to organize and mobilize our communities for our liberation,” ended Chrissi Fabro.
NAFCON is a national multi-issue alliance of Filipino organizations and individuals in the United States serving to protect the rights and welfare of Filipinos by fighting for social, economic, and racial justice and equality. At present, NAFCON members encompass over 23 cities in the United States. For more information, please visit our website at http://nafconusa.org/ or email NAFCON Northeast at firstname.lastname@example.org