Modern-Day Hero Refused Burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani
(Taguig City, Philippines) – Modern-day hero and former migrant worker Idelfonso Torres, who passed away last Tuesday at the age of 56, was refused burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery of Heroes), his son Manuel Torres, 27, revealed at a press conference Tuesday.
“The gate of Libingan ng mga Bayani is walking distance from our house, so I thought it’s ideal to bury my father there–preferably close to the greatest Filipino hero President Marcos–so we could visit his grave regularly,” Torres explained in Filipino.
“However, when I asked about acquiring a plot, the guy at the information counter just laughed in my face. Then, when I tried to explain that my father was a migrant worker and a modern-day hero, they called the security on me.”
“Is that really how we treat our OFWs?”
Lynne Mae Batumbacal, spokesperson for the Philippine Army Support Command of the AFP responsible for the administration of the Libingan ng mga Bayani, confirmed that migrant workers–though often dubbed ‘modern-day heroes’–are not, in fact, qualified to be buried at the heroes' cemetery.
“As far as I know, no migrant worker is buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” said Batumbacal, “unless you count the Filipino soldiers who died heroically fighting America’s wars abroad. As for OFWs being heroes, I think that is just a hoax.”
Asked for comment, Department of Migrant Workers Undersecretary Hans Leo Cacdac did not directly address Mr. Torres’ grievance at this morning’s press conference, but released a statement later that read:
“Our office regularly receive reports of unscrupulous recruiters offering lucrative jobs and hero status to migrant workers. These are scams. Well-paying jobs abroad are exceedingly rare these days and nobody becomes a hero doing construction work. The public is enjoined to be vigilant about these fraudulent job offers.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Lani Cayetano of Taguig City, where the Libingan ng mga Bayani is located, offered words of comfort to the younger Mr. Torres. “It saddens me that modern-day heroes like your father are not properly recognized as such,” said Cayetano, “but they will always be heroes in our hearts.”
“Incidentally, we have a vacant plot that we could offer for free inside the Taguig Municipal Cemetery, right beside the Libingan. If you stand on a tomb inside the municipal cemetery and look over the wall, you would see the green plains of Libingan right next door. It’s almost the same thing.”
As of this report, it has not been determined whether Mr. Torres has accepted Mayor Cayetano’s generous offer.