DESPITE stormy weather, hundreds of Filipinos have gathered in protest of President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval of dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ burial in a heroes’ cemetery.
According to police, 1,500 protesters rallied at Manila’s seaside Rizal Park while carrying a banner with the words “Marcos not a hero” to call on Duterte to reconsider his approval.
The protesters will launch a signature petition next month in attempt to stop the burial from going ahead. A left-wing group is also reportedly planning to ask the Supreme Court to stop the burial, which has been branded as a “grave injustice” to thousands of human rights victims.
Monsoon rains and strong winds did not deter the protesters. A much smaller protest took place in Cebu City at the Plaza Independencia, where 50 people from 19 organizations gathered to oppose the plan.
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Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who joined the protest, says she has filed a Senate resolution opposing a hero’s burial for Marcos, who was overthrown in 1986 and died in U.S. exile three years later.
According to GMA Network, Duterte has already issued orders for the Defense Secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, to begin making necessary preparations for the burial in the Ilocos Nortes province.
He argues that Marcos should be given a hero’s burial due to his being a former president.
The dictator died in 1989 at the age of 72 after heading a regime that became infamous for corruption and brutality, as well as extreme luxury on his and his family’s part.
His 21-year term, which started in 1965, saw the Philippine national debt grow exponentially from US$2 billion to nearlu US$30 billion. He also placed the country under martial law.
Additional reporting by Associated Press