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Today marks the birth anniversary of former President Ferdinand Marcos and a bill seeking to declare it as a holiday is currently sparking conversations online.

If you’ve never heard of the said bill or are only finding out about it now, here are some fast facts for you.

It’ll be named after the former president

House Bill No. 7137 proposes a no-fuss, straightforward name for the September 11 holiday—President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Day.

The late president was born on this day back in 1917 in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte. He served in the House of Representatives and the Senate before becoming president of the Philippines from 1966 to 1986. He is known for declaring martial law in the country in September 21, 1972.

It’s proposed as a non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte

Authored by Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Ria Fariñas, Ilocos Norte 2nd District Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba, and Probinsyano Ako Rep. Rudys Caesar Fariñas, and endorsed for approval by House Committee on Local Governments chaired by Tarlac Rep. Noel Villanueva, HB 7137 proposes that September 11 be a non-working holiday in the northern province. On a non-working holiday, employees in both the government and private sector EME EXPLAIN

The House has approved it on final reading

Voting 197 to 9 with one abstention, the House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading the said bill.

There’s no counterpart bill in the Senate yet

No similar measure has been filed at the Senate. Should a Marcos Day bill be filed at the upper chamber, though Senate President Vicente Sotto III says the bill will likely pass and not be debated upon because “it’s a bill of local application” and “it’s for Ilocos Norte,” as opposed to those meant to be implemented on a national level.

It’s earning mixed reactions

In Ben Rosario’s Manila Bulletin report, Barba, a grandson of the late Marcos, said the province is “proud of having produced the 10th President of the Philippines and the lone chief executive to be “elected twice by the people.”

“President Marcos laid the foundation for nation-building. Under his leadership, we were ahead of our time in agriculture, education, infrastructure, energy production and foreign policy,” he said.

Ria and Rudys, whose father originally filed the bill, said that during his 20-year presidency, Marcos’ “advocacies focused on building infrastructure, roads, hospitals and other societal services.”

“For the people of Ilocos Norte, the young and promising Marcos has brought pride to the province and served as inspiration for young leaders to exemplify his leadership and governance administration,” the two said in the explanatory note of their bill.

But not everyone is in favor of the bill.

In Vanne Elaine Terazolla’s Manila Bulletin report, Senator Leila de Lima has expressed opposition to the Marcos Day bill, saying that it will be a “wrong move” for the Senate and that it “achieves nothing but to further add insult to injury, to further offend and abuse the memories of the generation that survived the Marcos tyranny, and ignite people’s pent-up fury.”

“Anything about past presidents is not a local concern; it always has national significance. Treating House Bill No. 7137 on the Ferdinand Marcos Day as fait accompli for being a local bill and merely having local application is an act of cowardice that glosses over a dark part of our history and blots out the memory of an entire generation that suffered at the hands of an ignominious dictator,” De Lima wrote in her dispatch.

Human rights groups have also echoed concerns over the bill.

In Raymund Antonio’s Maniala Bulletin report, Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said the passage on third and final reading of HB No. 7137 or the President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Day bill was a “nefarious scheme to cover up the crimes” committed by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his family’s “blatant act of historical revisionism.”

“It is a grave disgrace to the memory of martial law victims and survivors, who have been violated many times over by the Marcos dictatorship,” she said in a Facebook post.

The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) has even pointed out how this measure directly contradicts with the intent of Republic Act No. 10368 or the law that recognizes human rights violations committed during the Marcos regime and providing reparations for victims.

The Palace is leaving it to the Congress

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque has said in Argyll Cyrus Geducos’ Manila Bulletin report that the Palace will respect the Congress’ decision.

‘Yan naman po ay katungkulan ng Kongreso, rerespetuhin po kung ano ang magiging desisyon ng Kongreso (That is the job of Congress and we will respect whatever their decision will be),” he said, adding that the bill still has to undergo the right process, from the House of Representatives to the Senate, before it becomes a law.

What are your thoughts on this bill?


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