KASAMA Vol. 11 No. 2 / April–May–June 1997 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

BAGUIO CITY (NORDIS) 21/28 Feb 1997 —

The lights go out on Marcos this Monday. The refrigerated crypt which houses the body of the late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos in his hometown in Batac, llocos Norte will have its electric power shut down on March 3.

The president of the local electric cooperative said the Marcos estate in Batac has already racked up about P5.643 million in electric bills since 1986. The deadline was end of February.

If his widow lmelda comes up with the amount by sunrise on Monday, Ferdinand Marcos would be saved, Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative president Rornillos Pascual said.

Otherwise it would be a sad ending for the dictator who once boasted that he would light up the whole Ilocos provinces as early as the 1970s.

These provinces still voted solidly for lmelda Marcos when she herself ran for president in 1992 against, among others, a Marcos cousin, Present Fidel Valdez Ramos. This is the only area where attachment to Marcos's former party, the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (Movement for a New Society), is still an advantage.

Pascual admitted that he was not pressured by any politician. "Awan ti political color ko (I have no political color)," he said.

Pascual sent Imelda, now a Congresswoman of Leyte province, an ultimatum last February 2 but there was no response. "I tried to approach her during the fiesta of Laoag (Ilocas Norte’s capital town) but I couldn't," Pascuat said in Ilocano. "She was mobbed by her many fans."

The Marcos Mausoleum, installed when his body was returned from exile in Hawaii in 1993, was Batac’s main tourist spot. Inside the airconditioned mausoleum Marcos lies in a glass case. Baroque music and Gregorian chants waft in the air. No picture-taking is permitted.

Beside the mausoleum is the Marcos museum which houses everything about Marcos from his license plates to his old photos.

Many of the residents of Batac are not aware that power in the mausoleum will be shut down. "I wasn’t aware of that. What are they going to do now? What’s their alternative?" Diego Yapo, a school dean said.

— by Frank Cimatu

Northern Dispatch (NORDIS) is a weekly packet of news, features and analysis produced by the Cordillera Resource Center, Suite 314, Laperal Building, Session Road, Baguio City, Philippines. Tel: 442-4175