EILER Press Statement
9 November 2016
A labor nongovernment organization is saddened by decision of the Supreme Court on November 8, allowing the hero’s burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in Libingan ng mga Bayani.
The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Inc. (EILER) expresses its dissent over the high court’s ruling, citing countless cases of human rights violations, including abduction of numerous labor rights activists, and passing of questionable labor laws.
During martial law, strikes were specifically forbidden and thousands of Filipino workers were denied fundamental rights. Systematic trade union repression, labor rights violations, the killings of unionists and the culture of impunity were institutionalized under the Marcos dictatorship. The impact of the fascist state on Philippine society goes beyond many generations of Filipino workers.
The Libingan ng mga Bayani was established in 1947 as final resting place to national heroes, national artists and scientists, and Philippine military and presidents. The decision yesterday was not only a disservice to the nation, but a deliberate push towards revision of historical facts: that Marcos is no hero and he and his family ruled a regime of violence. He was corrupt, a tyrant, and his ill-gotten worldwide wealth, estimated at least $10 billion, ran the Philippines to the ground.
“We demand President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his statement on allowing the former dictator to be given a hero’s burial. This act will not result in building unity and healing among the people. The systemic violation of the Marcos dictatorship against the Filipino people will never be forgotten and not looted as political concessions among ruling elites” said Executive Director Anna Leah Colina. “We also express our sincerest support to the various groups filing a motion for reconsideration to reverse the high court’s decision.”
The high court reasoned that Marcos is “not convicted” of any crimes, among others. Marcos was not convicted of any crimes because he left the country at a time when he was being pursued by the justice system and came back a corpse years later. The technical nature of the events should not diminish the nation’s collective memory that during Marcos’ regime, freedom was curtailed and those who resisted were tortured and killed.
Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Inc. (EILER)