Your father’s legacy, our horrendous memory
In a conversation with World Economic Forum officials in Davos, Switzerland, President Marcos Jr. has confirmed his main motivation to become a politician. “After we came back from the United States, after exile, when we were first allowed to come back, the political issue was Marcos,” he replied when asked what made him enter politics. He added that they needed someone to enter politics to “defend our family,” and in the process, protect the legacy of their father, strongman and dictator President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. “Our own survival required that somebody entered politics…”
Thank you, Mr. Marcos, for letting the cat out of the bag. This public confession, in a world forum, no less, spoke volumes of the kind of leadership you have shown so far, in steering this beleaguered country toward a rather uncertain future, with only your own family’s interest in mind.
Now, we won’t be surprised if you continue with your foreign trips on an almost monthly schedule. You are quite tireless in this regard, as well as in speaking eloquently about how the Philippines is a promising investment destination and in getting pledges of reportedly billions of pesos for future economic projects. You have become the country’s poster boy for investment promotion, something that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) should have recognized you for. You should have taken the DTI secretary’s post for this reason, since this is something within your skill sets, that of advertising the country’s potential for capitalistic ventures.
Talking with your fellow rich citizens of the world and convincing them to bring their money here and get fat profits in return is something you don’t need extra effort to learn. You are a natural in this regard. I think you will perform better as the DTI honcho rather than as the agriculture secretary. The Department of Agriculture is mandated to help poor farmers get out of poverty. I think you can’t relate with people who have to toil the land and get dirty in the process just to get money to put food on their tables. You haven’t experienced being hungry on a daily basis. You were never without food, because you, your family, then and now, were always awash with cash, however it is sourced.
We are also not surprised that you brought along 70 people on your latest official trip to Switzerland. In your growing up years, you were always surrounded by so many human sponges, and exposed to opulence. Holding lavish parties in the presidential palace was a trademark of your ever-beautiful mother, who likes to be surrounded by expensive things, wardrobe, and footwear. In those days, the amount of just one pair of her imported shoes and one gown would have already provided potable water for some impoverished rural communities.
During the dark years of martial law (you said it was dark for your family as well), many families here in Mindanao lived in fear, misery, and deep grief as their beloved family members became victims of massive human rights violations. The Palimbang Massacre, or the killing of more than a thousand men and a few women near a mosque in a village called Malisbong in Palimbang in the province of Sultan Kudarat, was one of those. It happened on Sept. 24, 1974.
This massacre is only one among the many horrific acts done by the country’s armed forces, the killing machine that operated with orders from the president and commander in chief of the Philippine military then—your father. The awarding of individual reparations to more than 11,000 victims of human rights abuses during martial law substantiated the reality of these atrocities. The grantees’ claims were authenticated by the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board created through Republic Act No. 10766, which took effect from 2013 to 2018.
For you and your family, becoming the president is part of your rather selfish strategy for political survival, and to honor your father’s legacy. But for many of us in the Bangsamoro and in other parts of the country, where martial law caused the snuffing of many innocent civilians’ lives, it will forever remain our horrendous memory.
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