Building a foundation of dissent vs Marcos dynasty

Miguel Syjuco

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Building a foundation of dissent vs Marcos dynasty
This is a call for all Filipinos to use stones not as weapons but to build a foundation of dissent against those who long denied our country democracy, equality, safety, and truth.


MANILA, Philippines – On Sunday, June 26, scores of Filipinos took to Libingan ng mga Bayani to leave stones in an open gravesite. To that public place honoring our country’s heroes, they all quietly came: concerned citizens, relatives of martial law martyrs, and survivors of the dictator’s years of wrongful detainment, torture, and abuse. They all set aside any political allegiance, ideology, background, and affiliation to unite simply as Filipinos in support of a conviction: that Ferdinand Marcos does not deserve to be buried in our Cemetery of Heroes. 

On their stones the participants wrote the names of real heroes: the students, community organisers, farmers, clergy, journalists, civil servants, artists, teachers, and other resisters killed by the dictatorship. The bottom of the grave was blanketed in their memory, in peaceful protest against the dynasty now seeking to rewrite history and regain power. This was a call for all Filipinos to use stones not as weapons but to build a foundation of dissent against those who long denied our country democracy, equality, safety, and truth.  

This is where the grave is

FOUNDATION OF DISSENT. Bawat Bato is a non-partisan, peaceful initiative moving diverse Filipinos against the hero’s burial planned for Ferdinand Marcos. Stones were carried by representatives from groups such as UP SAMASA Alumni, the Martial Law Chronicles Project, Claimants 1081, Nameless Heroes & Martyrs, Akbayan Youth, Akbayan, the Filipino Freethinkers, and Dakila. Photo courtesy of Bawat Bato

And this is the call to take action:

Bawat Bato

A non-partisan initiative against the burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. 

A stone means many things.

Upon it faith can be founded, or blood be spilled. 

Each stone can begin a foundation, or complete an edifice.

It can be thrown at glass houses, or through gas at gun barrels.

Each stone can be cast in punishment, or to bring down giants. 

It can be pried from the street to reveal the beach, or piled to mark a place on an unending landscape.

Each stone can be left at a grave to memorialize those who were killed.  

There are many stones in Libingan ng mga Bayani, a public space for all Filipinos. 

A sign at its gates reads: “I do not know the dignity of his birth, but I do know the glory of his death.”

In the center of our Cemetery of Heroes lies a hole – across the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, beneath the Philippine flag at half mast. 

It is intended for a man who is neither hero nor patriot, who denied millions dignity, and died not in glory but in shame.

We, Filipinos, are counted in an election, a census, a petition, at rallies. We should be counted now. Now we should be heard.  

Before the grave is in September unjustly claimed, we can each place a stone: To occupy the grave with our remembering. 

We can each place a stone: at his grave or in places stained by the atrocities of martial law – memorializing its thousands of victims, and for us tens of millions who’ve not lived as we all deserved in the decades since. 

We can each place a stone: Our silent symbols of dissent – heaped high upon any monument built there, burying now and constantly the vainglory and lies.

We can each place a stone: In peaceful defiance, in wordless rebuke. We can each make this forever our tradition of protest.   



Follow and share @bawatbato on Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo and Flickr.

KA PEPE. A stone dedicated by a martial law victim to Jose Diokno, a Philippine senator whose human rights advocacy saw him arrested without a warrant and imprisoned for two years by Ferdinand Marcos. He famously said: '€œNo cause is more worthy than the cause of human rights... they are what makes a man human. Deny them and you deny man's humanity.'€ Photo courtesy of Bawat Bato

Bawat Bato

Pagtutol sa paglibing sa labi ni Ferdinand Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani. 

Ang isang bato ay may iba’t ibang kahulugan. 

Minsa’y saligan ng pananalig; o marka ng madugong kasaysayan.

Minsa’y panimulang pundasyon ng isang gusali; o di kaya’y huling bato na magwawagas nito. 

Kayang gibain ng bato ang mga tahanan; o magsimula ng ningas na paglao’y magiging lagablab.

Kaya nitong pagbayarin ang makasalanan; o pabagsakin ang higanteng makapangyarihan.

Maaari nitong bungkalin upang tuklasin anumang nasa ilalim natin; o ilatag sa daan bilang gabay sa landas na tatahakin.

Maaaring iwan ang bato sa isang puntod bilang pag-alala sa mga pinaslang.

Maraming bato sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, isang makahulugang sulok ng Pilipinas.

Dito’y sasalubong ang mga salitang “hindi ko batid ang karangalan ng kanyang kapanganakan, ngunit batid ko ang kadakilaan ng kanyang kamatayan.”

At sa gitna nitong Himlayang ng mga bayaning walang pangalan ay may isang hukay. Hukay sa ilalim ng bandilang nagluluksa.

Isang hukay na inilaan hindi para sa isang bayani, hindi para sa isang makabayang Pilipino, kundi para sa isang ganid na yumurak sa dangal ng bayan – namatay hindi dahil sa kadakilaan, kundi sa kawalan ng dangal. 

Panahon na para dinggin tayong mga Pilipino. Tayong nakalista lamang sa bilang ng mga balota, sa census, sa mga petisyon, sa mga rali. Panahon nang iparinig ang tunay nating tinig.

Bago pa nila angkinin ng diktador ang kapirasong lupa ng kasaysayan sa Himlayan ng mga Bayani, tabunan natin ang hukay. 

Sa alaala ng mga biktima ng Batas Miltar at patuloy na pagluluksa nating mga naiwan, punuin natin ng mga bato yaong hukay, at tabunan din ng mga itong batong pag-alala sa iba’t ibang lugar sa bansa, lalo na sa mga lugar na saksi sa mga pagyurak sa karapatang pantao.

IN HONOR. Lisandro Claudio, historian, political scientist, professor at Ateneo de Manila University and editor of The Manila Review, €”leaves his stone in honor of a friend of his mother.  Photo from Miguel Syjuco



I-follow at i-share ang @bawatbato sa Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo at Flickr. –

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