November 29, 2016

Maria Serena Diokno Resigns As Chair Of The National Historical Commission Of The Philippines

Maria Serena Diokno, the chairperson of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has resigned from her post. According to reports, she resigned because she didn't agree with the administration's decision to bury the remains of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB). Diokno submitted her letter of resignation on Tuesday. It will be fully effective on December 1 (Thursday).

Diokno also released a long statement detailing her reasons why she's leaving her post. In the statement she titled History Lives, Diokno said that "the burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is wrong" and that the act "denies our history, erases the memory of lives lost and destroyed, mocks the collective action we took to oust the dictator, and denigrates the value of our struggle for freedom." Diokno added that she has deep respect for all her co-workers in the commission and that she's saddened in leaving them. She ended her statement with a promise that she will be joining the scheduled protests on November 30 (Wednesday) against the burial of Marcos at the LNMB.

The NHCP is the primary government agency responsible for the promotion and protection of Philippine history. Its functions include commemorating significant historical events, declaring historically significant sites, conducting research, disseminating historical works, managing national shrines and monuments, and resolving historical controversies and issues.


Here's a full transcript of Diokno's statement that came along with her resignation:
"At this moment in our history, every voice counts, and I wish to place mine on the side of History: not the history that the Duterte government ignores, but the History that beckons our people to demand justice that even the highest court of the land will not bestow. The burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is wrong; it denies our History, erases the memory of lives lost and destroyed, mocks the collective action we took to oust the dictator, and denigrates the value of our struggle for freedom.

Notwithstanding the narrow view adopted by the nine members of the Supreme Court, President Duterte could have taken the higher ground. But he chose not to. Worse, he justifies his 'legalistic' action by claiming, falsely, that "there's no study, no movie about it [Marcos's record as leader], just the challenges and allegations of the other side" [November 18, 2016].

For a moment I thought I could remain at the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and protect our history from those in and out of government who attempt to deface it. But the multitude of especially young Filipinos who have come out in defense of History and are prepared to co-author it for their generation and the future point to one clear realization: they, we all, will guard our history.

Today I tendered my resignation from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (effective December 1, 2016). I have deep gratitude and respect for my fellow workers at the Commission, whom I will miss, I am saddened at leaving them. Tomorrow, I will join the popular assertion of our history and look forward to more in as many public venues as possible. Never again will we allow any remnant of the authoritarian past to take hold of our country."







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