A group of martial law survivors denounced a Philippine Senate committee’s approval of a bill declaring September 11, the birth anniversary of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, as a special non-working holiday in the province of Ilocos Norte.
The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto or SELDA said they are offended by the Senate Committee on local government’s approval of House Bill No. 7137 to commemorate the birth of the late dictator.
“This measure is a complete mockery of the sufferings and struggles of the Filipino people during the Marcos dictatorship,” said Danilo dela Fuente, SELDA vice chairperson.
Dela Fuente said the bill is an insult to the victims of human rights violations “who for more than two decades have sought to make the Marcoses accountable for their crimes.”
While SELDA is enraged by the approval, they said that the move was not surprising.
Senator Imee Marcos, daughter of the late dictator, is currently the vice chairperson of the Senate committee on local government.
At the lower house of Congress, the bill was primarily authored by Marcos descendant Ilocos Norte Representative Angelo Marcos Barba.
Meanwhile, Akbayan Chair Emeritus Loretta Ann Rosales said the prioritization of the bill amid the pandemic is “unconscionable.”
“The committee shamed and cheapened itself by acting as a Marcos deodorant to hide the awful stench of the dead dictator’s brutal rule, tamper with history and invalidate the people’s struggle against the dictatorship,” said Rosales.
SELDA noted that the bill is in conflict with Republic Act 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, which recognizes the atrocities that happened under Marcos’ rule.
“Aside from being contradictory to an existing law, it is another inappropriate measure amidst a pandemic and the economic crisis,” said Dela Fuente said.
He said the move is “further evidence of this administration’s incompetence and heartlessness.”
In 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed signed Proclamation 310 declaring September 11 as a special non-working day in commemoration of Marcos’ birth. In September, he said that he will leave the bill’s fate to Congress.
Marcos, born in 1917 in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, was the 10th President of the Republic of the Philippines.