With a vote of 7-1, the House of Representatives committee on higher and technical education has approved a measure seeking to rename an Ilocos Norte university after the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. who had recorded thousands of human rights violations during his regime.
During the house committee hearing on Tuesday (Aug 16), only Makabayan bloc member and Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel objected to the proposal.
Lawmakers voted 7-1 in favor of House Bill No.2407 or the bill seeking to rename Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac, Ilocos Norte to Ferdinand E. Marcos State University (FEMSU).
Ilocos Norte Second District Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba authored the bill.
“In recognition of President Marcos’ unparalleled vision and undying legacy, this bill seeks to rename Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) as [FEMSU] – from one generation to the other. A generation that has honored the father and is now ready to honor the son, similar to how a father passes the torch to his son,” read the bill’s explanatory note.
Manuel, who rejected the bill, said that while he respects the community’s views there should be more discussions regarding the proposal as Marcos Sr has done grave abuses against the Filipino people.
“I believe na ‘yong ganitong (that this) bill, it runs contrary to the essence of some of legal actions and executive orders that recognize that Ferdinand E. Marcos or Ferdinand Marcos Sr. has done some abuses on our Filipino people,” Manuel said during the hearing.
“For instance, we have Republic Act No. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, at nabanggit po dito na kinikilala ng ating pamahalaan ‘yong mga biktima ng summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and gross human rights violations under the martial law of former president Marcos Sr.,” he added.
(Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 recognizes the victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance, and gross human rights violations under the martial law of former president Marcos Sr.)
The youth leader also highlighted that the Supreme Court has already ruled that the Marcoses’ declared wealth is much more than what they could have earned as former government officials.
“Ibig sabihin, ‘yong ating pamahalaan mismo ay kinikilala na maraming nangyaring abuso no’ng siya ay nanungkulan bilang pangulo,” Manuel said.
(Meaning, our government itself recognizes the abuses that hapened when he was still president.)
“Meron ding Supreme Court ruling na nagsasabi na ‘yong assets and properties ng mga Marcos ay hindi kapantay – sobrang laki, disproportionate to their aggregate salaries as public officials. This simply means, or implies, na nagnakaw sa kaban ng bayan ang pamilya nila,” the Kabataan Rep. added.
(There are also Supreme Court rulings that state that the assets and properties of the Marcoses do not align – it’s so big, disproportionate to their aggregate salaries as public officials. This simply means, or implies, that their family stole from the government’s coffers.)
Meanwhile, MMSU president Dr. Shirley Agrupis said that they will continue to support the bill.
“So I strongly mentioned before that if there is one SUC that should carry the name of the man who was most instrumental in realizing their existence, it should be MMSU, one that is located in Ilocos Norte and the President’s hometown in Batac,” Agrupis said.
Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings. The views expressed are her own.
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