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Sillimanians, Dumagueteños, show defiance against Marcos burial

By Ray Chen S. Bahinting

GUSH OF PATRIOTISM was felt last Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016 at the East Quadrangle of Silliman University.

Forming a circle around the Philippine flag and right in front of the blue cross of Silliman University church, an “unexpected” 150 Dumagueteños including Martial Law victims, faculty, staff, students and millennials accepted the challenge of voicing out.

They all came in black for the Indignation Assembly to express their disappointment, anger and divergence to the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) to bury the most infamous dictator of the Philippines, Former President Marcos, in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Renz Torres, co-organizer of the assembly, said “This rally is to Dumaguete and to Silliman and for everyone else to actually raise their voice and say that the decision that SC has made for the burial of Marcos in the honorable land is absolutely not righteous and shouldn’t be done. “This is exactly why should speak up, this is why we came here (in the indignation assembly) and be present and call out people when they are not making sense.”

Ian Casocot, head organizer of the assembly, said “For the most part of my life, I do what I stand, I voice what I need to voice in Facebook. I never really do things like this. So yesterday when my friends were telling me you should do something in Dumaguete. I thought, yeah this is my chance. If I don’t do anything, I just condemn myself to be a Facebook activist.”

He said that they were notexpecting that number of people who joined the parade. He jokingly said that he was just expecting five or ten of them in the assembly.

Morevoer, Casocot said that what he really wanted was the assembly to be organized by young people. So he informed his former students to have the assembly.

“There’s always this thing that millennials don’t care about anything. Millennials don’t know anything about Martial Law. These are millennials and they are the ones doing something, in fact they are more of them tonight than old people. We kinda wanted to prove a point that maybe there’s hope in the next generation that maybe this will spark the current generation to do the things that needed doing and changing,” he said.

On the other hand, during the one and a half hour assembly, most students lit their candles while listening to heartfelt testimonies of Martial Law survivors.

Rosalinda Ablir, even brought a megaphone with her, narrated before the audience how she fought for her freedom and safety as a kid during the Martial law.

Atty. Golda Benjamin and David Ryan Quimpo, Martial Law survivors, gave speeches and convinced the audience why Marcos is and was never a hero to be buried in the LNMB.

At the latter part of the assembly, everyone sang “Bayan Ko” in unison. It is also the same song echoing the corners and blocks of Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue when millions and millions of people convoked to end their suffering under the hands of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“I am here participating in the indignation rally for the SC ruling because I think that the ruling is outright offensive to the victims of the Martial Law era. I think this is a symbolic victory to Marcos which is disparaging and dehumanizing to the victims,” Allison Cruyff Ladero, president of the debate society said.

He added that everyone, especially the youth should not be afraid to speak out and participate in activities like the rally aside from posting on Facebook and other social media platforms.

“Let us show the world and the Philippines that you can still fight for justice, that you can still be part of justice despite the very unfair justice system in this particular country.”

While everyone just wore a sheer black colored shirt, one woman in her sixties was wearing a statement shirt that says “We will #neveragain shut up,” and “Real heroes fought Martial law.” She was Angeli Gabagat, an activist during the Martial law and was present during the People Power I in EDSA.

She said, “Real heroes are those who fought Martial Law. A hero kasi has made sacrifices to attain something, against all odds. They were a lot of heroes during the martial law. Some have not been found. Some have been finding the atrocities of martial law. Martial law ended because of their sacrfiices. Heroes are those who have given much for others, not have taken much from the others.”

She said that the assembly was very personal since during the Martial law, two of her family members were “unjustly” captured during the Martial Law. Her sister was jailed for several months in Bicutan and her uncle was sent to group “selda.”

When asked about the SC ruling, Gabagat said, “The Supreme Court is supposed to be the last bastion of democracy. They are not anymore. The people should fight for what is really justice and not the Supreme Court.”

“That decision was a slap [to the face], disgrace, dishonor, to all those who fought Martial Law and to our history and to the Filipino nation because that is already rewriting history. I have never seen a country who has rewritten its history; only the Philippines.

Moreover, Shamah Bulangis, an activist and co-organizer of the assembly challenged the “millennials” to read biography.

She said that it is the best window for the “millennials” to know the real stories during the Martial Law,

“I personally think that the millennials are still also victims of martial law. We are still experiencing the economic inequalities up until now, we are paying the debts that the Marcoses incurred during their regime and we are still trying to patch up everything that has happened during that time.

“It is very important to know that because it gets personal, on a personal level and that we might act on it as well,” Bulangis said.

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