Who can be buried at Heroes' Cemetery? AFP explains rules
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Given the controversy generated by the proposed burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday, May 27, explained the guidelines on who may be interred at the cemetery.
The Heroes' Cemetery, a property of the AFP, is the designated resting place for Filipino soldiers, war veterans, and citizens considered as heroes and martyrs.
In the 103-hectare cemetery, around 49,000 are buried. This includes late Philippine presidents, national artists, scientists, dignitaries, and AFP chiefs of staff.
Burial at the cemetery – considered sacred ground for Filipino heroes – has been a topic of controversy in recent days, after President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said he would allow Marcos' burial at the cemetery.
The proposal is opposed by various sectors, including some relatives of those buried there. (READ: Relatives mull move out of Heroes' Cemetery to protest Marcos burial)
On November 8, 2016, the Supreme Court voted 9-5 to allow Marcos' burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
In a press release, the AFP said that under its regulations, the following persons are qualified to be interred at the cemetery:
- Medal of Valor awardees
- Presidents or commander-in-chief, AFP
- Secretaries of national defense
- AFP chiefs of staff
- Generals/flag officers of the AFP
- Active and retired military personnel of the AFP (including active draftees and trainees who died in line of duty, and active reservists and CAFGU Active Auxiliary who died in combat-related activities)
- Former members of the AFP who laterally entered or joined the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police
- Veterans of Philippine Revolution of 1890, World War I, World War II, and recognized guerrillas
- Government dignitaries, statesmen, national artist and other deceased persons whose interment and re-interment has been approved by the commander-in-chief, Congress or the secretary of national defense
- Former presidents, secretaries of defense, dignitaries, statesmen, national artists, widows of former presidents, secretaries of national defense and chief of staff
However, those who have been dishonorably discharged from service, or personnel convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude, do not qualify for interment at the cemetery.
Read a copy of the AFP guidelines below.
The AFP said there are 46 allocated grave sites for presidents; 94 plots for secretaries of national defense, government dignitaries and statesmen; 133 for the AFP chiefs of staff; 118 for Medal of Valor awardees; 183 for other generals and flag officers; 5,334 for World War II veterans; and 1,375 for national artists and scientists.
The rest of the grave sites are designated for retired AFP personnel and veterans. – with Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com
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