CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Lived in darkness and buried in secret

HONG KONG (SE): The Filipino community in Hong Kong joined the angry reaction in The Philippines to the burial of the architect of martial law and state plunder, Ferdinand Marcos, alongside those who gave their lives heroically for the betterment of the nation in the Heroes Cemetery (Libingan ng mga Bayani) in Manila.

In the days leading up to the 1986 massing of people in EDSA to form the People Power Movement that saw Marcos evicted from Malacañang and dishonourably discharged as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Filipinos overseas joined the cry of the people.

This year, the community in Hong Kong also joined the Black Friday push against the burial of the dictator’s body in the pride of place in the nation, saying they refuse to heed the call from the Marcos family to move on or forgive and forget the crimes he committed that have never been acknowledged.

“How do we move on without justice?” was the question asked at a Black Friday rally outside the offices of the Philippine Consulate General in Admiralty on November 25.

A statement from Bayan-Hong Kong also had condemning words for the current president, Rodrigo Duterte, saying, “He promised to be true to the Filipinos… He promised to end corruption, but he’s allowing the glorification of one of the most corrupt in the world. A dictator and a plunderer can never be called hero.”

The statement adds that Duterte would do better to work to rectify the wrongs of past regimes and pursue prosecution of the Marcos family, recover the riches they robbed from the nation and give justice to the victims of the brutal Martial Law.

“President Duterte promised to do good for the country. Restoring the Marcoses definitely runs contrary to such an aim and the change he pledged for the people,” the statement concludes.

The rally held up posters remembering some of the victims of Martial Law; Bobby dela Paz and Juan Escandor, two doctors working with the rural poor who were shot in their clinics in 1982.

Liliosa Hilao’s gang-raped and butchered body was found bereft of the black clothes she had worn since the declaration of Martial Law, almost severed in half, with cigarette burns on her mouth, the mark of a gun on her leg, bullet hole in her throat and brains cut out after drunken security officers abducted her in 1973.

Another poster carried a reminder of the Escalante Massacre, when security forces fired on a rally on the 13th anniversary of Martial Law that left at least 30 dead bodies on the street with as many wounded.

These are the bodies, along with many like them that should lie with the heroes of the nation, people who honoured the dignity of their fellow Filipinos and stood bravely to protect them.

But it is the president, who presided over this regime and protected those who carried out these atrocities that now lies as a glorified hero desecrating the very ground that is the last resting place of some of the bravest to have graced the country with their lives.

Bonifacio Tago says in an article published by UCAN that they are the saints of civil society and like the saints of the Church have been proclaimed for their virtuous lives.

“The burial of former dictator Marcos in the country’s cemetery for heroes was made in secret. Contrary to the dignity given to the place of burial, Marcos’ family made it obvious that Marcos was no hero,” Tago says.

“People whose funerals are kept secret are in no way worthy of being emulated by the public. Secrecy is the work of the corrupt, the handiwork of the devil and the masterpiece of those who live in darkness,” he continues.

Tago adds that the good and the loving reveal themselves to people in public, not in private. Goodness is the property of all, not just the privileged few.

A hero of the people does not have to be buried in the secrecy of a security cordon.

For those who have been forced to migrate to find decent jobs it is indeed a time to remember; remember who created the national debt that migrant labour is still paying for; remember who robbed the country of leadership and the administrative expertise that has bequeathed a dysfunctional public service; and remember that all those who to this very day have left home to find better opportunity are victims of Martial Law as well.

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