President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday defended his decision to declare a special non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte on dictator Ferdinand Marcos' 100th birth anniversary.
"He was a president. To the Ilocanos he was the greatest president. It's one day where they can celebrate the anniversary of a great Ilocano," argued Duterte, who was in Cagayan de Oro City visiting wounded soldiers.
"As far as Ilocanos are concerned, Marcos is a hero. Kaya to dwell on this thing for so long a time will just divide the nation," Duterte added.
"Sa kanila, sa tingin nila, si Marcos ay masamang tao. But that is not shared, that sentiment, that view is not shared by all."
Malacañang on Thursday released Proclamation No. 310, declaring Marcos' 100th birth anniversary a local holiday.
A highly-placed source told GMA News that it was the Marcos family that had asked Duterte to declare the dictator's birthday a special non-working holiday.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella meanwhile said that it was unlikely Duterte would attend the Marcos-birth celebration at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. — Anna Felicia Bajo/DVM, GMA News