Home world Philippines' President Marcos drops public holiday marking ouster of dictator father

Philippines' President Marcos drops public holiday marking ouster of dictator father

Philippines' President Marcos drops public holiday marking ouster of dictator father
Published October 13, 2023 Updated October 13, 2023 Bookmark Bookmark Share WhatsApp Telegram Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

MANILA — Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr dropped a public holiday marking the anniversary of a revolution that ousted his dictator father, an official document showed on Friday (Oct 13), reigniting accusations he is trying to whitewash his family’s past.

A military-backed “People Power” revolt in February 1986 ended the brutal rule of Ferdinand Marcos Sr and forced the disgraced family into exile in Hawaii.

Critics have described the Marcos dictatorship as a dark period of human rights abuses and corruption that left the country impoverished.

Feb 25 was declared a “special national holiday” in 2000 by then-president Joseph Estrada. Rights activists typically hold rallies on the day to commemorate the restoration of democracy.

Mr Marcos Jr was elected to the presidency in 2022 following a massive social media misinformation campaign that attempted to paint his family’s history in a more positive light.  

Many had expected Mr Marcos to abolish the public holiday after taking office. Instead, he moved the date for the “EDSA People Power Revolution Anniversary” holiday to Feb 24 this year, which was a Friday.

But a presidential proclamation declaring holidays for 2024 — dated Oct 11 and released on Friday — makes no mention of the anniversary at all.

Rights group Karapatan said its removal showed the Marcos administration’s contempt for “meaningful social actions that pursue justice, truth and accountability”.

“It is on the road to blatantly distorting history by diminishing if not completely erasing any indication that the Filipino people overthrew the Marcos dictatorship and spurned its harmful impacts on the nation,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

Project Gunita, which is digitising books, films and articles documenting Marcos Sr’s rule, said it was another “state-sponsored attempt to whitewash the history of the brutal dictatorship”.

Mr Marcos’s office issued a statement on Friday explaining that the People Power anniversary was not included in the list of “special non-working days” because Feb 25 next year falls on a Sunday.

“There is a minimal socio-economic impact in declaring such day as a special non-working holiday since it coincides with the rest day for most workers/laborers,” the statement said.

A special non-working day, however, was maintained for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary despite it also falling on a Sunday next year.

The latest list of holidays for 2024 does include Aug 21, which commemorates the assassination of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, who along with his wife, the late former president Corazon Aquino, was revered for leading the struggle to restore democracy in the archipelago. AFP