UP theater group apologizes for presence of Marcos daughter in campus

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 8) — A theater organization of the University of the Philippines has apologized for the presence of a daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the state university last Saturday.

“Individuals in DUP (Dulaang UP) may have differences in political leanings but we wish to assure the UP community and the public that DUP will be more discerning in its actions in the future. We have not forgotten the atrocities of Martial Law and we are one with the community in its protest against human rights abuses,” the organization said in a statement.

DUP also apologized for the “disruptions during and after the performance.”

Irene Marcos was among the guests at the gala performance of DUP’s play The House of Bernarda Alba.

Her presence in the UP campus, which has been a hotbed of student activism and the breeding-ground of student leaders who fought against the Marcos regime, was met with a flash protest by more than a dozen students.

UP’s campus paper the Philippine Collegian first reported that Irene, the third child of former President Marcos and graft convict Imelda Marcos, was among the sponsors of the play, but later said DUP members have denied this.

Citing unnamed DUP members, the Philippine Collegian said Irene was there to support the play’s director Alex Cortez, who was a member of the Marcos-era Kabataang Barangay (Barangay Youth), a pro-Marcos youth organization. The Kabataang Barangay was chaired by Irene’s elder sister, Senator Imee Marcos.

Back in April, an Ateneo de Manila University official was forced to resign after the Ateneo community protested the presence of Irene at the opening of an outdoor art installation at the art hub of the Jesuit-ran institution.

The Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act or Republic Act No. 10368 recognizes that there “were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations” during the Marcos regime.

The law established the Human Rights Victims' Claims Board, which processed more than 75,000 claims for reparations and approved around 11,000. Approved claimants should receive reparations that will be obtained from the recovered ill-gotten wealth of Marcos and his cronies.

The former president’s rule that lasted more than two decades also led the country into a foreign debt crisis. The Marcos government resorted to extensive foreign borrowing from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s to fund a number of projects. From $4.1 billion in 1975, external debt ballooned to $24.4 billion in 1982.

CNN Philippines’ Xave Gregorio, Luchi de Guzman and Chad de Guzman contributed to this report.