"Go ahead," President Duterte says, "demonstrate against the burial of Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.”
Despite indisputable history of tens of thousands of Filipinos victimized during the regime of Ferdinand Marcos, and despite his generation-long denial of our democracy and its essential rights, and despite the truth that nobody but Marcos loyalists give a shit that the dictator's corpse is rotting unburied – despite all that, our new strongman president, Rodrigo Duterte, has called for the despot's burial next month in our nation's Cemetery of Heroes.
Change is coming, supporters proudly crow, but they seem to care little that what remains unchanging is our culture of impunity – which Mr Duterte brashly continues with his dynasty, extrajudicial killings, threats to dissolve democracy's checks and balances, shameless relations with plunderers and the family of a despot, and now this: the burial of a dictator in the best spot within the most hallowed resting place in our country.
We Filipinos have grown used to not having a voice, a say, or any real involvement in the direction of our country. Crooked politicians get caught and prosecuted, yet all they must do is wait for the political tide to turn to snag themselves a pardon, or an acquittal by allies, or a rehabilitation of their legacy funded by the very money they stole. You and I know this as fact: the powerful plunder, massacre, rape children, cheat in elections, and return happily a few years later.
How can this burial of a dictator "heal" a country if justice has never been served? How can we "move on" to a future that presents a real threat of the return of the Marcoses – who used extravagant development projects for both thievery and pomp, who used stolen billions to fund disinformation and the rewriting of history, and who have always acted and still act with the impunity that this burial perpetuates?
"Go ahead and protest," President Duterte says. We easily read the dismissiveness in his statement: Go ahead and protest, because your protests will never matter – I will give Marcos his hero's burial; suspects will continue being killed without trial; I'll do whatever I want with China; my kids will wield power; and I will coddle and empower my friends. Change is coming? Doesn't all that sound like the same-old same-old Philippines?
"Go ahead and protest." So let us heed now our president's call and protest peacefully.
Leave stones where you can
Some weeks ago, through #bawatbato, we, everyday Filipinos, gathered to occupy the grave of Ferdinand Marcos with stones memorializing his victims – ensuring that his body will be laid upon the memory of those crimes.
I urge you to continue placing memorial stones, now and forever, in, around, and on Ferdinand Marcos's grave, in a new tradition of protest – to ensure that the Marcoses will never steal the truth, our history, and the unresolved injustices they forced upon all Filipinos.
I urge you, now and forever, to go to our public Cemetery of Heroes and challenge the barriers protecting the dictator’s gravesite, leaving stones wherever you can – to memorialize Martial Law's thousands of martyrs and heroes, whose lives and deaths you can learn about here.
I urge you, now and forever, to place memorial stones in campuses where students were arrested and oppressed, and on public sidewalks in front of Camp Crame, or Camp Aguinaldo, or wherever else victims were tortured.
I urge you, now and forever, to place stones in the bustling parks and cafes in the Fort, where for years Marcos's military detained, without right or warrant, Filipinos like you and me.
Be heard, now; place stones, forever. The dictator Marcos will be buried as a hero; it's inevitable. Duterte will continue to act with impunity; it's inevitable. But you can still decide whether you'll tell the true story of our country – or if you'll leave it to the political elite who'll continue to do, inevitably and with impunity, whatever the fuck they please.
And if you cannot or dare not place stones, at least help those who can. This Bawat Bato video came from concerted effort of concerned citizens like you and me, strangers who wanted to investigate our shared history and speak out against continuing injustice. Please share the video widely, so that more people can understand why the life and death of a dictator must always succumb to the lives and deaths of all those he victimized. – Rappler.com