Cemetery for Heroes awaits Marcos

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THE Philippine Army has been directed to provide all necessary military honors that are accorded Presidents of the Philippines when the strongman Ferdinand Marcos is buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery), an Army official disclosed on Friday.

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The order, according to Col. Benjamin Hao, Army spokesman, was issued by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and was received by the Army on August 10.

“The directive is signed by Rear Adm. Ernesto Enriquez, deputy chief of staff for Reservist and Retiree Affairs, AFP, by command of Gen. Ricardo Visaya, chief of staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Hao said.

Based on the order, the Army is required to provide the following: “vigil, bugler/drummer, firing party, military host/pallbearers, escort and transportation, and arrival and departure honors.”

The Army has designated a protocol officer to coordinate with the Marcos family on details of the interment.

The hero’s burial for Marcos is scheduled for September 18.

Security has been beefed up at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City (Metro Manila) amid threats of protest rallies from groups opposing the hero’s burial of Marcos.

Besides the demonstrations, the anti-Marcos protesters are also planning to lay rocks and stones on the site, Hao said.

“We have [tightened]security at the Libingan ng mga Bayani to maintain its peace, sanctity and tranquility because it is still the Cemetery for Heroes and it is supposed to be peaceful and tranquil. There were threats to stage rallies, lay rocks and stones. It is not the place for such activities,” he added.

Malacañang on Wednesday said President Rodrigo Duterte, who gave the go-ahead for the Marcos burial, won’t stop the protests of several groups, including relatives of Martial Law victims.

Critics of the late strongman, who declared martial law in 1972, cited human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings and acquisition of ill-gotten wealth by the Marcoses.

But Duterte has insisted that Marcos was qualified to be buried at the military-run Libingan ng mga Bayani as a former soldier and a former president.

Burying Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery was among the campaign promises of Duterte.

Hao clarified that the security measures would be carried out by the Army only inside the cemetery.

FERNAN MARASIGAN

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