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MANILA, Philippines – Liberal Party president and Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman criticized the Malacañang’s move to exclude the commemoration of EDSA People Power Revolution in the list of holidays.
“The inordinate arrogance of the second Marcos administration in failing to celebrate February 25 as a regular public holiday is a continuing distortion of the verities about the evils and repression of the Marcos martial era,” Lagman said in a statement on Saturday, October 14.
The lawmaker added: “Ever since the Philippines has marked February 25 as a day of national celebration, irrespective of whether or not it falls on a Sunday. The more Marcos Jr. would sweep under the rug of historical perfidy the profligacy and oppression of his father’s dictatorship, the more unreachable reconciliation and justice will be.”
Lagman heads the party of late former presidents Corazon Aquino and Noynoy Aquino. In 1986, the people-led revolt toppled the dictatorship of late tyrant Ferdinand E. Marcos, and paved the way for Corazon Aquino’s presidency.
Human rights group Amnesty International estimated that 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 were tortured, and 3,240 were killed under the Marcos regime. In 2022, dictator’s son, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., won the presidential election, which signaled the return of the Marcoses in Malacañang.
On October 13, the Palace issued Proclamation No. 368, which listed the special non-working days and regular holidays for 2024. However, February 25 was not included in the said list as a special non-working day.
Malacañang reasoned out that there would be “minimal socio-economic impact in declaring this day as a special non-working holiday since it coincides with the rest day for most workers and laborers.”
This year, Marcos also declared – in last minute – that February 24 would be a special non-working day, instead of February 25. Again, the Malacañang justified the move by citing “holiday economics.”
‘Attempt to revise history’
The group Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law, led by Martial Law survivor Judy Taguiwalo, condemned the Palace’s move, calling it an attempt to push into oblivion all the atrocities under the president’s father.
Aside from the Malacañang announcement, Taguiwalo also noted other so-called efforts of the Marcos administration to revise history. This includes the changing of “Diktadurang Marcos” to “Diktadura” in the grade 6 Araling Panlipunan curriculum of the new Matatag curriculum.
“Hindi papayag ang mga mamamayan na kalimutan ang madilim at madugong diktadurang Marcos. Patuloy naming sisingilin ang pamilyang Marcos sa mga krimen nila laban sa bayan (The people will not allow to forget the dark and bloody regime of Marcos. We will continue holding the Marcos family for their crimes against the country,” Taguiwalo added.
Project Gunita, a “Filipino academic research organization primarily focused on countering historical distortion,” posed questions to Malacañang. In slamming the move, the organization asked “Will the holiday on Ninoy Aquino’s murder be stricken off the calendar next in 2025?”
The group added: “People Power left its mark in the world for toppling one of the most atrocious and corrupt dictatorships in the 20th century, which inspired other nations to boot out their own tyrants. Even if the government of Marcos the son strips EDSA 1986 of any official recognition, the people’s commemoration next year will matter more.”
Meanwhile, rights group Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates said the current moves of the administration showed the disregard to historical facts, and downplay of the “monumental achievement” the Filipino accomplished during the EDSA People Power Revolution.
“By removing the commemoration of EDSA People Power as a regular holiday, we risk diminishing the historical significance of this momentous event and the sacrifices made by countless Filipinos who yearned for a brighter, just future,” the group added. – Rappler.com