Despite tourism loss, Batac mayor backs hero’s burial for Marcos

Mara Cepeda
Despite tourism loss, Batac mayor backs hero’s burial for Marcos
Batac City Mayor Albert Chua admits the city stands to lose a major tourist attraction if Ferdinand Marcos' remains are transferred to the Libingan ng mga Bayani

ILOCOS NORTE, Philippines – While it would mean less tourism revenues, Batac City Mayor Albert Chua supports giving a hero’s burial for former president Ferdinand Marcos.

Admittedly, [losing a tourist attraction] ang magiging epekto (Admittedly, losing a tourist attraction would be the effect) but the local government of Batac is trying to fill in the vacuum and the gap of having Apo Marcos hopefully to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” Chua told Rappler on Saturday, September 10.

Anyway, Chua added, “we still have a lot of tourist destinations here, kaya nga (that’s why) Batac City [is the] home of great leaders – we have Marcos, [General Artemio] Ricarte, [Gregorio] Aglipay, and a lot more.”

He said a new park is being built just in front of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Concepcion Parish that will feature some of the famous people hailing from the city.

Batac is called the “home of great leaders” because some historical figures were from the city. Ricarte is considered as the “Father of the Philippine Army” while Aglipay is the founder of the Philippine Independent Church. 

Marcos, perhaps the most prominent among Ilocanos, ruled the Philippines for 21 years.

His presidency, however, is mired in controversies including killings, torture, disappearances, corruption, and media oppression. 

The late dictator’s remains are currently in a masoleum within the Ferdinand E Marcos Presidential Center in Batac, a prime tourist destination in the city. 

But Filipino historian and anthropologist Dr Antonio Montalvan II said the body displayed at the masoleum is merely a wax replica, and that Marcos’ real remains were buried beneath the glass coffin. (READ: Are we really burying Marcos’ ‘body’?)

The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte began preparing for the transfer of Marcos’ remains to the Libingan ng mga Bayani, but the Supreme Court temporarily stopped this following 6 petitions filed by activists and Martial Law victims. (READ: How justices pursued on Marcos burial on days 1 and 2 of SC orals) 

For the petitioners, the atrocities committed during Marcos’ rule disqualify him from receiving a hero’s burial.  

But Chua insists Marcos should be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani because he is a former president, commander-in-chief, soldier, and war veteran. (READ: Bongbong Marcos’ 14M votes show end of Martial Law trauma – SolGen

Ang dami naman talagang nagawa but hindi naman sinasabi (He did many things that people fail to mention). There were a lot of hospitals in the Philippines, electrification in the Philippines, irrigation in the Philippines, all those things, all those projects were [by] the Marcoses, ‘di ba (right)? And some naipagpatuloy (And those that were continued) were all in the pipeline before he left,” said Chua.

Batac will host a series of events to celebrate Marcos’ 99th birthday on September 11. (WATCH: Ilocanos kick off Marcos’ 99th birthday celebration)

These include a cook-off at the Imelda Cultural Center, Mass at the Batac church, a boodle fight for Marcos supporters, and a program over dinner at the Marcos ancestral mansion. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.