Martial law survivors honor martyrs of anti-dictatorship struggle

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Members of the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) led scores of activists on November 18 to lay wreaths at the martyrs' shrine.

Press Release

18 November 2022 Reference: Bonifacio Ilagan, CARMMA spokesperson

Six years after Rodrigo Duterte accorded the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. a hero’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, a group of martial law survivors gathered at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani to honor the real heroes that emerged from the dark days of authoritarian rule.

Members of the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) led scores  of activists on November 18 to lay wreaths at the memorial shrine dedicated to the martyrs and heroes of the anti-dictatorship struggle. “We want to uphold the genuine heroism of the Filipino people and once again expose the fakery of the Marcos yarn,” said CARMMA spokesperson Bonifacio Ilagan.

CARMMA’s activity is especially significant, said Ilagan, now that the country is under the son of the dictator, “whose electoral victory was founded on grave historical distortions, empty promises of unity and return of the imaginary ‘golden age,’ fake news and misinformation, and worst of all, the unholy alliance of the Marcoses and Dutertes.”

“Marcos Jr.’s single biggest drive in returning to power,” said Ilagan, “is for his family to continue evading accountability for their human rights violations, corruption and unpaid taxes.”

In a two-hour program entitled “Ang Tunay na Mga Bayani (The Real Heroes),” members of CARMMA delivered speeches and offered flowers at the Bantayog’s Wall of Remembrance and before an installation of portraits of select martial law heroes.

The Wall of Remembrance enshrines the names of persons martyred for their participation in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship. They include peasants, workers, students, teachers, lawyers, doctors, priests, nuns, as well as journalists, politicians and freedom fighters.

Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was “not then, not now and not ever a hero,” stressed Ilagan, referencing the fact that the late strongman had even faked his World War II medals. In contrast, he said, the martial law martyrs “who have never gone gently into the night, … remain the light bearers of hope for a nation yearning for justice, accountability, and genuine social change.”

Marcos Sr. may have been buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, but this, in no way, makes him a hero, said Ilagan. “We remember—and choose not to forget—that the real heroes are those who may have also perished, but whose struggle against the dictatorship lives on.” #