“Itong ginagawa natin is not only for ourselves. Ito ay para sa susunod na henerasyon.”
This is what Anthony Sumagui, vice president for external affairs of the BongBong Marcos (BBM) Loyalists Movement, constantly reminded himself during the signature campaign petitioning for the burial of Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos (FEM) at the LibinganngMgaBayani (LNMB).
The BBM Loyalists Movement began collecting signatures ahead of most other groups, initiating their efforts immediately after President Rodrigo R. Duterte declared he was in favor of a hero’s burial for FEM.
In the case of Jovanne Baring, he remained motivated despite challenges “dahil sa suporta naming sa mga Marcos, at dahil na rin sa panawagan ng ating president para sa pambansang paghihilom, para sa kapayapaan.”
Baring is currently the screener of the BBM Loyalists May 11, 2016, Bagumbayan Inc., a group that focused on gathering signatures around Quiapo, Manila, and the nearby provinces of Cavite, Laguna, and Bulacan.
“Sobrang init━tirik na tirik yung araw, eh. Nakadalawang palit nga ako ng damit sa isang araw,” he shared of his personal experience campaigning. It was always rewarding though, Baring added, when they observed a positive response among the majority of people they encountered.
Many of the elderly would say, “Isama n’yo na ang buong pamilyako, pipirma kami diyan,” he said, as well as, “Madami talagang nagawa niyan. Madali ang pera noong panahon ni Apo Lakay.”
Mirroring this support, the Sirib Ilokano Kabataan Association (SIKA) was a prime mover for the campaign in Ilocos Norte.
Weenter Ventura of SIKA shared, “Ang mahirap lang dito is that magkakalayo ang mga lugar. Yung demograpiya ay kalat-kalat… kaya tumulong ang SIKA, kasi naniniwala kaming mga kabataan nasa kahit saang sulok man ng Ilocos Norte, dapat marating namin at makuha yung mga pirma ng mga naniniwala sa petition na ito.”
He explained that as the bailiwick of the Marcos family, Ilocos Norte has a generally positive attitude across all age groups towards the burial.
“Kahit limited yung time namin, marami pa rin yung nakalap na signature kasi maraming naniniwala. Hindi nagpatigil ang kabataang Ilocano sa mga negative comment. Hindi nagpatigil ang mga kabataang Ilocano sa mga negative na binabato kay President Ferdinand E. Marcos,” Ventura added.
The youth continue to believe in FEM’s heroism “dahil nga sa mga nagawa niya para sa ating bansa, para sa kabataan, at para sa kalakhang Pilipino,” he stated.
Sumagui, Baring, and Ventura represent those who persevered in the door-to-door campaign to collect more than a million signatures in support of FEM’s burial at the LNMB.
“Minsan, sasaraduhan ka ng pintuan,” shared Sumagui, “kinakailangang mai-explain sa mga tao kung ano yung adikhain at layunin.”
He remains optimistic, saying, “Bukas ang kanilang kaisipan para sa pagbabago, at higit sa lahat, para maghilom ang sugat ng nakaraan.”
In addition to the door-to-door and on-ground campaign, a Change.org petition titled “#ilibingNasiPresident Ferdinand Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani” allowed more Filipinos worldwide to show their support. Nevertheless, loyalist groups among OFWs also collected tangible signatures.
The final result of these efforts, as well as that of the Friends of Imelda R. Marcos (FIRM) 24k, Buong Bayan Magkaisa (BBM) Youth Movement, United Marcos Loyalists in the Philippines (UMLP), and numerous other pro-Marcos and activist organizations, yielded a total of 1,158,606 signatures that were presented formally to the Supreme Court (SC) today, October 6, 2016.