By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte has appealed to the “Yellows” to once and for all move on from the issue on the burial of former President Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, saying that the elections are already over anyway.
Duterte made the statement in his speech Wednesday during the second Kanlahi Festival in Tarlac City, the bailiwick of his predecessor President Benigno Aquino III. The Aquino family is known as the political opponent of the Marcoses.
The President, as he picked off and shook a yellow flower on the stage, asked the audience to accept the wish of the Ilocanos have Marcos considered as a hero.
“Sana pagkatapos ng election, tama na (I hope this will stop since the election is over, anyway). If Ilocanos, or the Ilocano speaking, would like to have a hero in the name of Ferdinand Marcos, ibigay mo sa kanila (give it to them),” Duterte appealed.
“Otherwise, it will continue to divide the country. So ‘yung yellow, wala (So the yellows, please stop),” he added.
Duterte also defended his decision to allow Marcos’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, saying this was one of his promises during the campaign and that Marcos, being both a president and a soldier, was qualified for a spot in the said cemetery.
Duterte, meanwhile, reiterated that he would not like to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and instead would like to be cremated with his ashes placed beside the urn of his late mother in Davao City. The President joked that he will have his place at the said cemetery raffled instead.
Marcos died in exile in Hawaii on September 28, 1989 after being ousted through the peaceful People Power Revolution in 1986. His burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani last November 6, 2016 took the public by surprise and sparked protests.
Last year, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 310, declaring a special non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte on September 11 to commemorate the centennial birth anniversary of the late strongman.
Duterte confirmed that the Marcos family had asked him to declare the holiday but justified his decision, saying Marcos, being a hero to the Ilocanos, is not debatable.
“Yes [they requested]. And I readily agreed. Bakit [Why], what’s wrong? He was a president. To the Ilocanos, he was the greatest president. Why do we have to debate on that?” Duterte told reporters in Cagayan de Oro in September, 2017.
“It’s one day where they can celebrate the anniversary of a great Ilocano. As far as the Ilocanos [are] concerned, Marcos is a hero,” he added.
Duterte said others may view the late dictator as an evil person but said the sentiment is not shared by all, especially the Ilocanos.
“[To others], sa tingin nila, si Marcos ay masamang tao [they think Marcos is an evil person]. But that is not shared, that sentiment, that view is not shared by all.” he said.
“To the Ilocanos, that’s a lot of hogwash. Basura ‘yan [That’s rubbish],” he added.
In his Proclamation No. 310, Duterte said the Ilocano community has been “annually celebrating the birthdate of the late Ferdinand E. Marcos, and commemorating his life and contributions to national development as a World War II veteran, distinguished legislator, and former president.”
“It is but fitting and proper that the people of the Province of Ilocos Norte be given full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies,” he added.