The National Democratic Front says the hero's burial for dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the release of political prisoners will be the top issues it will discuss with the government panel in January
National Democratic Front senior adviser Luis Jalandonivin an interview at the sidelines of the Left's rally on International Human Rights Day. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler
Contrary to the insistence of government negotiators, the state-sanctioned hero's burial for dictator Ferdinand Marcos will be a major issue when peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front resume next year, an NDF panel adviser said.
National Democratic Front senior adviser Luis Jalandoni made the statement in an interview at the sidelines of the Left's rally on International Human Rights Day, Saturday, December 10.
"It affects the peace talks because we have to listen to the sensitivities and demands and the rights of the victims of the Martial Law regime and their families and also the decision of the Filipino people to overthrow the dictator," said the former NDF chief negotiator.
Many members of the Left are victims of human rights abuses during Martial Law.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the chief government negotiator, had a different take on the implications of the Marcos burial. He had said that it would not affect the overall negotiations as there are other important issues to consider.
Jalandoni agreed with Bello but maintained that the Marcos burial, which was allowed by President Rodrigo Duterte, will still be a major point of discussion next to another contentious issue – the release of the political prisoners.
Duterte had repeatedly said he would not release the political prisoners because they are his leverage in the negotiations. (READ: Left's 1st effigy under Duterte depicts fascist monster)
"The issue of political prisoners and the issue of the Marcos burial will also have to be taken up next month, in January. The first to be taken up would be the release of political prisoners and then also the rights of the victims of the Martial Law regime," said Jalandoni.
Protests against the burial of the late dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani continued at Saturday afternoon's rally, which was co-organized by the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses in Malacañang (Carmma).
Carmma lead convenor Boni Ilagan said this will be the group's last major event this year but there will be more next year. Carmma will take the battle from the streets to the classrooms, Ilagan added. (READ: Diokno: Next anti-Marcos campaign is to educate the youth)
"Titiyakin namin. Makikipagdialogue kami sa DepEd. Titiyakin namin iyong sinabi ni Secretary Briones na pagrereview sa mga aklat ay matutupad. Titiyakin namin ang organisasyong masa, napakarami niyan, ay mag-oorganisa ng kanya-kanyang educational assemblies," he said.
(We will make sure. We will have a dialogue with DepEd. We will make sure that what Secretary Briones said – that they will review textbooks – will be implemented . We will make sure that the the mass organizations, there are a lot of them, will set up their own educational assemblies.)
Ilagan said he did not see the Marcos burial issue dying out anytime soon, especially as it had brought to the fore a dark chapter in Philippine history. He expressed disappointment over Duterte, who started his administration on a very hopeful note but disappointed many by allowing the hero's burial.
"Duterte started his term with much hope but early on, his administration trampled on human rights and now, burying the dictator. It's like he mocked the battle and sacrifices of the Martial Law victims," he said in Filipino.