Does President Ferdinand Marcos deserve a Hero’s burial?
I am writing this statement in my capacity as President of Assumption College. For over a hundred years Assumption as an institution has been dedicated to educating women to be civic and business Christian leaders with a strong love of country and respect for the dignity of all beings. I believe that every person no matter what they have or have not done in their lives deserves respect even in death. However, to be buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani affirms that those buried there were indeed heroes. And there’s the rub.
The term “hero” in 5 different dictionaries have this common theme: a hero is a person who demonstrates the highest and noblest moral qualities. Consequently, this is my litmus test: a hero is someone I can hold up before every student, teacher and staff member and declare: “be just like him or her so this world will be a better place.” Therefore, can I say, “be just like President Marcos?” Regrettably not.
Tragically, he declared Martial Law in September 1972. As a dictator he abolished: Congress, the Supreme Court, our human right to assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and media. He suspended the writ of habeas corpus, and restricted travel and communication. Freedom only returned through the 1986 People Power Revolution. How can we hail him as a hero and ask the students to do the same when he sent tanks into the street in front of nuns, priests, women and children who were standing on the front lines? … How can he be a hero of the Filipino people when certain citizens with a dissenting voice were jailed and tortured while he and his cronies plundered the country?
If only someone would step forward, in his name, and ask the Filipinos for forgiveness.
On our part, Assumption College pledges to continue teaching its students about the devastating effects of martial law while understanding the privilege of living in a democracy; to help students discern what is right and stand up for truth against all odds; and to honor all those who died in the night defending our freedoms.
Dr. Carmen Lourdes Valdés
President, Assumption College
San Lorenzo Village, Makati
Dr. Angela Fabiola Regala officially took her Oath as the 10th President of Assumption College during her Investiture Ceremony held last August 26, 2020. At the momentous event, this was speech she gave.
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Statement on Supreme Court’s Decision Allowing Burial of Former President Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani
Judgment is not the intent here, but simply to ask for respect for the historical facts and the will of the Filipino People clearly demonstrated in the People Power Revolution of 1986.
St. Marie Eugenie, our foundress, grew up in a revolutionary society very similar to ours. She was convinced that only education can bring people to transform themselves and society.
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As we mourn the deaeth of Kian, we mourn with cries for due process and justice in our country. In the face of such injustice, we join our voices with our colleagues in many academic institutions who stand by the truth: “we are our brother’s keeper.”
To students I say: be a “Horatio” for each other. See the nobility in the heart of your classmate and in your teachers and parents, too. To teachers I say, it is our call to see beyond the “shell” of fear and confusion in our students; and with tenderness, nurture the nobility in every student’s heart.
We, as a school, are dedicated to the developmenet of the young – we should always speak and stand for the rights of the children and pre-teens. Be their voice wherever you are.
Keep this in mind the next time you are about to repeat a rumor or spread gossip. “Take a moment to filter what you’re going to say. The first filter is Truth; the second is Goodness, and the third is Usefulness.”
On my way out, after I received his gift, I was ready to step out already when he held my arm and said, “Wait. Please let me give you a special blessing. I want you to know I am with you as you face trials in your ministry in your diocese.”
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San Lorenzo Village, Makati City 1223
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