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:
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.
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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