Do anti-Marcos protesters care about the people?

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Ricardo Saludo

Ricardo Saludo

Which is more outrageous — burying the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in Libingan ng Mga Bayani, or delaying billions of pesos for Yolanda victims, despite P1 trillion unspent in the past administration?

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For this writer’s alma mater Ateneo de Manila University and its fellow burial opponents, the first seems far more deplorable, judging from their indignation on the streets and in mass and social media over the Marcos burial, and their general silence over distress and deprivation afflicting the supertyphoon-displaced homeless.

For sure, the Marcos era caused nationwide agony with its repression, kleptocracy, and wrong-headed policies. But Yolanda also bludgeoned the nation, and the three-year-delay and denial of rehabilitation funds surely deserve at least one rally or public statement decrying the past regime’s failings and demanding speedy remedial action.

At this point, one may have to bid goodbye to some Ateneans and others protesting the burial, but saying nil about disaster rehab fiascos. They may turn the page or browse another site, dismissing the comparison between burying Marcos and depriving Yolanda victims inappropriate.

Others may go the ad hominem route and ignore the writer for his years of work in the Arroyo Cabinet. Still others may argue that the Filipino youth must be told of Marcos excesses, hence the need for open and sustained indignation. We respect their views, though some of them might not return the favor.

To rage or not to rage
Despite arguments against comparing Marcos and Yolanda, however, there is a constant intersect among all public concerns: Each one vies for national attention and action. Hence, one can rightly ask if certain causes deserve more or less of the people’s eyes and ears, heartbeats, and raised fists, than other concerns.

Now, when thousands rage over one issue and ignore another, the disparity raises questions about priorities and values. And if the problem given minimal outward regard affects mainly the poor, the focus of protest action may then fail to win mass support.

The same disparity in dissent seems to have happened with extrajudicial killings (EJK). As this column has said, those condemning the thousands of suspect deaths have given little attention and agitation to the explosion in crime and drugs, and the millions of victims of murder, rape, robbery, theft, and assault during the presidency of Benigno Aquino 3rd.

Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority data yearbook, crime tripled to 1 million incidents a year since 2013, from 324,083 in 2010 — an unprecedented escalation that could only have been perpetrated by well-connected syndicates, not random criminals.

At a low estimate of 1.5 victims per reported offense, that’s nearly 5 million victims. Add 3 million addicts, plus the families and close friends of those bloodied by crime or burdened by narcotics, and at least one-third of the nation has suffered from the two scourges in the past three years alone.

Yet the movement decrying 3,000-plus suspected EJKs have said little on behalf of those many millions of Filipinos murdered, raped, robbed, assaulted, or distressed, most of them poor and powerless. Maybe that’s why the masa don’t share the protesters’ rage.

What happened to ‘man for others’?
What makes the disparity in protesters’ priorities puzzling is the avowed concern among many of them, especially the Ateneo, for the poor and marginalized. Even when this writer was studying there in the 1970s, the Jesuit-run university already extolled and instilled the ideal of “a man for others,” serving the least of one’s brethren, as Jesus Christ instructed.

The lack of Atenean outcry over post-Yolanda neglect seems strange also because the Ateneo School of Government is a coordinating entity among non-government organizations involved in disaster response and risk reduction.

This DRRR role gives the Ateneo access to calamity information, presumably including post-Yolanda rehab problems recently reported by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Citing the DSWD report, the ReliefWeb NGO said: “Wide discretion given to the barangay chair and other officials in the selection of ESA beneficiaries … paved the way for ineligible beneficiaries to be included.” But many survivors were excluded, being from faraway areas or having temporarily moved away to find work.

Moreover, letting barangay officials determine which homes were totally or partly destroyed — the former getting P30,000 ESA; the latter P10,000 — led to irregularities. Besides implementation problems, the Budget Department recently denied the DSWD request for P1.17 billion ESA for 83,228 families, despite P1 trillion in unspent budget.

Yet activists and educators advocating care for the needy have not shown as much anger over the neglect and hardship of tens of thousands of destitute, if not desperate Yolanda survivors, as they do over the Marcos burial.

Ditto the minimal protestations accorded to millions of crime and drug victims, and for that matter, on behalf of millions of working-class commuters immensely burdened by the corrupt maintenance contract which made the Metro Rail Transit a daily hell.

Politics trumps compassion
So what’s behind the contradiction between “man for others” and the seeming lack of concern for victims of calamity, crime, narcotics, and the graft-gutted MRT?

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte may have pointed to one big reason. In his speech at the 80th anniversary of the National Bureau of Investigation, Duterte cited Aquino’s failure to see or look into the narcotics eruption under his watch.

“Maybe he did not realize the gravity of the situation, because he simply did not know or never attempted to know how much is the scale of 3 million” drug users, Duterte said.

It so happens that Yolanda problems and MRT sleaze and deterioration also transpired during Aquino’s rule. And Duterte’s marching orders on disaster rehab and metro traffic shows the presidential drive once missing.

Could it then be that rallyists raging over Marcos’s burial and EJKs don’t decry calamity, crime and commuter woes because the latter expose the past regime’s failings, including those of officials close to activist groups?

Well, if partisan politics moves protesters more than compassion for all, one wonders if they truly serve the will and welfare of the Filipino people.

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30 Comments

  1. One of the great masterpieces of Marcos is the 13th month pay which continues to benefit hundreds of thousands of employees—are you not one of them , anti-Marcos protesters?
    You brood of vipers ! If Marcos is evil , declare the 13th month pay as immoral and evil too.
    Do not accept it!

    • Straight to the point. no bulshit.the recycle martial law victims are not asking an apology, they are looking a settlement o bayaran sila..paano magigng bayani yung mga biktima daw kung nagpapabayad

  2. Jaime Dela Cruz on

    There is another parallel to the Marcos rule and typhoon Yolanda. Cory Aquino, the mother, was president when Marcos supposedly “damaged” the country and BS Aquino, the son, was president when our country was devastated by Yolanda. In both calamity, neither mother nor the son did anything to help the people and uplift the country.

    “The lack of Atenean outcry over post-Yolanda neglect seems strange also because the Ateneo School of Government is a coordinating entity among non-government organizations involved in disaster response and risk reduction.”
    Many will refute my suggestion, but as far as private christian school goes, notwithstanding their mottos and slogans, none of them are built to serve the poor. They are all built for profit to their respective churches. My four years in one of these schools convinced me so.

  3. What A brilliant observation, I salute you sir, i am not d30 follower but i am very observant to everyday situation and i can vividly see the amazing context of your column. Keep on writing and more power, Saludo ako sa iyo.

  4. With due respect, we can not compare the burial of Marcos at LNMB and the delay in the release of funds for Yolanda victims These are two different events and issue. The Marcoses should apologize for the abuses of their father There are 75,000 victims of martial law. I could not believe myself to see the powerful and filthy rich Marcoses to bury the late tyrant in the LNMB. Once again the Filipino people were rob of their rights and freedom.

  5. Four institutions are most influential in shaping public perception: A. institutions of learning, B. religious institutions, C. media, D. government. In the Philippines the yellows hold the first three and they have used them effectively to capture the fourth institution for so many decades. PPRD has exposed the corruption and hypocrisy of religion, media and government. Now the working class Filipinos including OFWs are exposing the corruption and hypocrisy of the exclusive, elitist schools which not surprisingly are owned by the filthy rich religious hypocrites.

  6. A few years from now when FVR or JPE breath their last will there be militant protest against their burial at LNMB, both are also entitled to it under the law.

    Considering they too had a direct hand in martial law abuses, will yellow apologist claim they are exemption that redeemed themselves by defecting from the dictatorship.

    If so, it may also be argued that Marcos fought his own dictatorship when he himself revoked Martial Law in 1981 redeeming himself worthy of a patriots burial. There was in fact no more martial law in 1986 when the EDSA coup happened, that is a historical fact.

    Unlike the un-historic brainwashed version of the yellow hypocrites who have the gall to say read you history, read your history and not have historic truth on their side.

  7. A few years from now when FVR or JPE breath their last, will there be militant protest against their burial at LNMB, both are also entitled to it under the law.

    Considering they too had a direct hand in martial law abuses.Will yellow apologist claim they are exemption that redeemed themselves by defecting from the dictatorship.

    If so, may it also be argued that Marcos fought his own dictatorship by himself revoking Martial Law in 1981redeeming himself worthy of a patriots burial. There was in fact no more martial law in 1986 when the EDSA coup happened, that is a historical fact.

    Unlike the un-historic brainwashed version of the yellow hypocrites who have the gall to say read you history, read your history and not have historic truth on their side.

  8. LEON, actually the yellows have been identifying themselves with the ADMU for a long time now, since many of their members hail from there. Uncertain as to when this became a thing.

    Windy, he only conceded to the enormity of the problem and not who is to blame for it. To blame the pnoyhead would have been to hold him responsible for it like mister pnoyhead has done to his predecessor time and again.

  9. Since they argue that FM does not deserve burial there because he is not a hero, when he is finally buried at the LMB that means they lost the argument that they themselves started, Marcos is a hero, period. As for their apathy towards the poor, what do you expect from a coalition of forces that is led and funded by the elite?

  10. Ric you are one atenista that I respect, an exception among the elitistas of society who can only think of how to add to their power and riches and are in the perfect position to do so. Are not Kris and Noynoy from Ateneo too? They represent their alma mater very well for they have the same insensitivity to what is happening to the 99% of Filipinos suffering from the ill effects of Daang Matuwid.

  11. Trying to juxtapose Yolanda victims with Dictator’s burial as a competing issue is a non-sequitur in an honest debate. For the same argument can be used against those who are demanding that burial be made in such a specific place. To the Marcos adherents, by demanding that burial be made in the hallowed ground it opened the wounds of the victims of Marcos oppression and harnessed untoward animosity in a nationwide conflict, involving the supreme court and all those opposed to it. With all the time, energy and expense used to pursue the cause it was inevitable that the government diverted its full attention on helping the Yolanda victims. So I ask the same question, which is more important the obsession to demand the dictator’s burial or the suffering of the Yolanda victims? If it’s the victims then why did you pursue it?

  12. Galit ang magnanakaw sa kapwa magnanakaw (daw si Marcos). Kleptocracy after Marcos years is very rampant and large scale. The Aquinos and Yellow Cults used their cohorts to rob the Filipinos for their own good through the implementation of DAP and PDAF.

  13. Prior to this administration it seems we had the same number of riding-in-tandem victims if we look at present
    casualties. The number of killed may have spiked immediately after the elections but now the dead highlighted daily starts to trend towards similar figures reported in the last three years of the past, unlamented admin.

    The failure of the past administrators to handle the Yolanda tragedy just highlights their lack of concern and compassion as they consistently avoided giving attention to any situation requiring their presence to show empathy and sympathy, this present President even went to Batanes when they were hit recently, If I had been in his shoes I may have just delegated the visit. But not deny , delay assistance maliciously.

  14. St. Ignatius de Loyola must be turning many many times over in his grave. Some prominent and influential Ateneo people have willingly became “men only for the yellows”. These self-righteous hypocrites have transformed themselves into the Pharisees of our modern times. With their relentless condemnation and hatred of selective “sinners”, they have become too partisan and theirs is a religion which is dead as it has lost the core spirituality of Jesus which is unconditional love and forgiveness.They’ve gone astray as they have lost the high moral ground to be true men for the neglected Yolanda victims, and many more hapless victims of their beloved yellow heroes. They preach and spread hate and not love. Pathetic!

  15. Windy, at least Duterte does not glorify parent’s deaths in almost every speeches.

    In all fairness to Duterte he does not go out screaming PI’s to the past admin. With the foul mouth he has he could just lambast Pnoy’s admin in every media outing:

    “T*ng-*n* mo Pnoy wala ka naman ginawa dati e! Kaya lumobo to ng ganito ngayon! Abnoy, wlang kwenta!”

    How is this pointing out being tagged as kettle calling the pot black?

  16. Embarrassing how they allow themselves to be used. Specially the milleniels who know nothing about what happened then, I specially abhor how Catholic schools misinform their students and use them for their own agenda.

  17. The immediate solution to the problem is to create agad-agad a “Libngan ng mga Presidente.” Perhaps, nearby Libingan ng mga Bayani. This new Libingan will be the place for the dead president and Marcos will be the first and thereafter. Presto, wala ng problema as everyone will have a place of their own.

  18. The yellows are anti-poor that’s why they won’t fund indignation rallies against Aquino III and his cohorts. They can only face dead people who can’t fight back.

  19. By harping on the inadequacies or inactions of past Administrations does not necessarily mean that he (Duterte) is any better. He is no longer on the Voters campaign for the Office. Rather he is in power.

    In as much truth there is to blame, Duterte conceded that the Drug problem is beyond his own capability and he needed more time and the involvement of the Congress. Later he excused his war by stating that the State’s coffers had no money for drug rehab.

    That is just one example of ineptitude when the kettle calls the pot black.

  20. I am sure Mr. Saludo that protest against Ferdi Marcos’s burial in the Libingan nang mga Bayani and the Yolanda rehabilitation are distinct needs that have to be addressed to, for both have their fundamental values to our society.

  21. Please answer me why yellow Ateneans are so one-track-minded Aquino supporters? Seems like they don’t have the critical minds that the Jesuits want them to have. Hehehe.

    • This is not a question of colors you belong. It is a question whether Marcos who stole billion of dollars from Filipinos and instrumental in disappearance and killings of Filipinos is worth to be called a Hero.

    • Simple to answer..ateneo was a religious run university. Obispo’s are also playing politics. It is time to tax their religious business