PART II – Seven reasons Marcos should never be given a heroes burial
(TFS: This is the second of a two-part post. The first three reasons can be read in this link.)
4) He mired generations of Filipinos in billions in foreign debt
While Marcos truly deserves credit for the infrastracture projects that were built during his time, we should not forget that a lot of those were funded by international creditors. In other words, the situation is not dissimilar to a poor family that was able to build a beautiful new house by securing millions in loans from a bank.
According to the Freedom from Debt Coalition, Marcos left the country with US $28 billion in foreign debt – with a third of that money said to have went straight to his pockets instead. Making things worse, when given a chance, the late former President Corazon Aquino refused to renounce the odious debts, despite the urging of then-National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Solita Monsod.
Now, due to high interest rates and endless borrowings by Marcos’ successors, the country’s foreign debt now stands at $77 B as of September 2016. Just imagine this – the billions the Philippines spend on debt servicing each year (it was over P800 billion last year) could have been better spent on public health and education.
5) He killed press freedom and other civil liberties
These days, a lot of Marcos and Duterte supporters use the social media to routinely lambast individuals associated with the former Aquino administration, Liberal Party politicians, as well as members of the foreign and local media that they perceive as biased against their icons. They seem to be oblivious of the fact that during the Marcos years, press freedom and basic civil liberties were non-existent.
Several years ago, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility published an article where journalists during the Martial Law years recounted that government censors literally go through every newspaper issue before they can get published and distributed.
Augusto Villanueva, group editor of the Journal Group of Publications (JGP) and one of the founders of People’s Journal, noted that the Marcos administration resorted to intimidation to make sure that only positive stories see print. If all else fails, government forces can easily get erring journalists jailed, abducted, or killed.
6) Thousands of cases of torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings happened during the Marcos dictatorship
In his 1999 essay titled “Dark Legacy: Human rights under the Marcos regime,” American historian Alfred McCoy gave what can be considered the most authoritative quantification of the extent of human rights during the Marcos dictatorship.
The numbers are just staggering: 3,257 killed, 35,000 tortured, and 70,000 incarcerated. In fact, when the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III established the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board, the agency received more than 75,000 claim applications, which necessitated a two-year extension of its mandate.
Now, it won’t be easy for others to claim McCoy’s figures as mere fabrications. The numbers are based from two authroritative books: Richard J. Kessler’s “Rebellion and Repression in the Philippines” (1989) and Rev. La Verne D. Mercado and Sr. Mariani C. Dimaranan’s “Philippines: Testimonies on human rights violations” (1986).
“To reach the figure of 3,257 killed under Marcos, Kessler’s enumeration for 1975-85 is supplemented by adding 93 more ‘extrajudicial killings’ in 1984 from data in Rev. La Verne D. Mercado and Sr. Mariani C. Dimaranan’s Philippines: Testimonies,” McCoy explained.
7) They have not apologized any of their sins
The Marcos family has never apologized for all the documented transgressions that their family committed during their twenty years in power. Two months before he officially launched his campaign for the Vice Presidency, then-Senator Bongbong Marcos claimed that there is a “general sentiment” among the public that life was better during his father’s dictatorship.
“I think it’s the history in the recent years, the political history in the recent years and the constant refrain na ‘buti pa noong panahon ni Marcos, maginhawa ang buhay, buti pa noong panahon ni Marcos, tinutulungan kami ng pamahalaan, maraming programa, maraming proyekto. Mula noong pinalitan s’ya, wala na kaming nakitang ganun. Sana maibalik ‘yun.’,” the younger Marcos said.
It’s a comment that he has steadfastly reiterated even during the height of the campaign and after his narrow loss to eventual winner Leni Robredo. As Elton John once said, “Sorry” is indeed the hardest word.