Lies are not historical revisionism | Inquirer Opinion
Looking Back

Lies are not historical revisionism

/ 04:06 AM September 09, 2020

How will the current Senate vote when the House of Representatives transmits House Bill No. 7137—“AN ACT DECLARING SEPTEMBER 11 OF EVERY YEAR A SPECIAL NONWORKING HOLIDAY IN THE PROVINCE OF ILOCOS NORTE IN COMMEMORATION OF THE BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF FORMER PRESIDENT FERDINAND EDRALIN MARCOS TO BE KNOWN AS ‘PRESIDENT FERDINAND EDRALIN MARCOS DAY’”—to the appropriate Senate committee for discussion? One can only wish at this point that history does repeat itself, because what we have before us today is a bad case of déjà vu.In 2006, then Sen. Alfredo Lim, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, recommended the approval of HB 4562, or “An Act Declaring September 11 of Every year a Special Nonworking holiday in the province of Ilocos Norte and in Laoag City to be known as ‘President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Day.’” The bill was filed by Ilocos Norte Rep. Roque Ablan Jr. The signed committee document is available online, and from it we see dissent to the bill in the following remarks:

Aquilino Q. Pimentel: “Let Laoag declare its own Marcos holiday!” Franklin Drilon: “Too many holidays!” Rodolfo Biazon: “The S[angguniang] P[anlalawigan]/S[anggunian]B[ayan] can do this.” Panfilo Lacson: “Let the City Council do it.” Sergio Osmeña III and M.A. Madrigal: “Dissenting.” That’s six of 16 members who expressed their dissent. Are we to take the signatures of the rest of the senators in the affirmative?


Searching online for more information on the declaration of Ferdinand Marcos’ birthday as a holiday in Ilocos Norte revealed that the bill was hidden under a mixed bag of laws, like providing young women’s kits to female students in all public academic institutions in the Philippines; giving toll discounts to motorists using electronic toll collection; the creation of a national grassroots sports development program, a magna carta for the disabled, and a program for Philippine agricultural growth and stimuli acceleration, whose acronym Pagasa would add another shade of meaning to the weather bureau name we know.

As if we were not awash with holidays, there was also an act to declare Sept. 8 the Blessed Virgin Mary’s birthday. And another designating the third Sunday of November as a national day of remembrance for road crash victims, survivors, and their families. Further research will surely uncover more mindless bills up for consideration.


It is not well known that during the martial law years, Sept. 11, Marcos’ birthday, was declared a holiday. Proclamation No. 1495 of September 1975 designated Sept. 11 as a “Special Barangay Day” to enjoin “all citizens of the country both public and private to render civic action work during their off hours.”

The Marcos holiday bill recently approved on third reading—with 197 affirmative and nine negative votes, and one abstention—was introduced two years ago by the brother-sister tandem of Ilocos Norte Rep. Ria Fariñas and Probinsyano Ako Rep. Rudys Caesar Fariñas. They argued that: “For the people of Ilocos Norte, the young and promising Marcos has brought pride to the province and served as inspiration for young leaders to exemplify his leadership and governance administration… For his 20-year tenure as President, his advocacies focused on building infrastructure, roads, hospitals, and other societal services.” Nowhere is it mentioned that Marcos was removed from office and charged with massive corruption and human rights violations.

Not to be outdone, and to ensure a back-up, Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba, nephew of FM, also filed HB 2218, which was eventually incorporated into the Fariñases’ bill, “as a salute to a brilliant man whose vision for the country remains unparalleled… His extraordinary display of leadership and incomparable brilliance serves as an inspiration to his fellow Ilocanos. He is a man of vision, action, and wisdom. Thus, it is only necessary that his life, works, remarkable achievements, and inherent love for his fellow Ilocanos be remembered.”

I wish people will call a spade a spade, and stop describing the whitewash of the Marcos dictatorship and the martial law years as “historical revisionism.” Historical revision means correcting what is wrong, erroneous, or false. The pro-Marcos narrative continually foisted on us, especially in social media, is nothing but barefaced lies and half-truths. This is not historical revisionism.

Comments are welcome at [email protected]

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TAGS: Ambeth R. Ocampo, Ferdinand Marcos, Looking Back, Marcos martial law, Philippine history, proposed Marcos Day
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