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Martial Law victims to Duterte: You cannot substitute your private interests for the public interest 



President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to give the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos a hero’s burial was met with several oppositions, especially from the victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos regime.

Duterte promised to have Marcos buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in February when he visited Ilocos Norte during his campaign.

On August 7, he defended his decision, saying that he believes that the late strongman deserves a spot at the cemetery because he was a former President and a soldier.

But the Martial Law victims voiced out their disagreement, saying that a hero’s burial for Marcos is adding insult to injury.


Former human rights commissioner Etta Rosales said that honoring Marcos as a hero is changing Philippine history.

“It is rubbing salt on raw wounds that still need to be healed. That is what it is doing. Because it is making a mockery of the struggle of the Filipino people to restore democracy,” Rosales said.

Rosales claims that as an activist during the Marcos dictatorship, she was illegally detained and repeatedly raped by soldiers. Now, she is appealing to Duterte to separate his personal views from his decision.

Duterte’s father was a member of the Marcos cabinet. The President himself claimed that he voted for Marcos during his first term as President.

“I know you have a soft heart for Ferdinand Marcos because he gave your father employment. That is personal and private between you and the Marcoses, which we respect. But you are a president and you cannot substitute your private interests for the public interest,” Rosales said.

Bonifacio Ilagan, another Martial Law victim who was illegally detained and tortured during the Martial Law, agreed with the former human rights commissioner.

He said honoring Marcos in death is sending the wrong message to the Filipinos, especially the young ones.

“In the Philippines, yung kriminal ay binibigyan ng karangalan,” Ilagan said.

He also considers this move as beneficial for the dictator’s family and their political plans.

“Can you imagine, the newly elected president of the Philippines is saying that Marcos should be honored? Napakalaking boost iyan sa claim ng mga Marcos,” he added.

Compensation for human rights victims

For Ilagan, he said Duterte can pursue closure after Martial Law by giving the human rights victims their compensation.

Former President Benigno Aquino III signed the Human Rights Victims Reparations and Recognition Act in 2013, which aims to provide financial compensation to those who suffered abuses during the Marcos dictatorship.

When he first talked about his plans for Marcos’ burial after the elections, Duterte was asked about what he’d say to the victims during the late dictator’s rule.

“Nandiyan na yung k’wan, kobrahin nyo na yung pera,” he responded.

The claims board has received over 75,000 applications for compensation, only 22 percent of which have been evaluated due to the tedious verification process.

“Kelangan naming i-verify ng mabuti. This is because we need to safeguard the rights of the legitimate claimants,” said claims board chair Lina Sarmiento.

“We would like to see to it that the list will really reflect the actual victims of human rights violations during martial law,” she added.

Martial law victims are still organizing efforts to appeal to Duterte to reconsider through protests, online petitions, or other means.

One such initiative is “Bawat Bato.”

The non-partisan initiative entails putting the names of Martial Law victims on stones.

“We can each place a stone: at his grave or in places stained by the atrocities of Martial Law – – memorializing its thousands of victims, and for us tens of millions who’ve not lived as we all deserved in the decades since. We can each place a stone: Our silent symbols of dissent – – heaped high upon any monument built there, burying now and constantly the vainglory and lies. We can each place a stone: In peaceful defiance, in wordless rebuke. We can each make this forever our tradition of protest,” the statement of the “Bawat Bato” organizers reads.

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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’



President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks


His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show



Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.


Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal



Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.


In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

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