Malacañang has directed all government agencies and educational institutions to display photos, paintings, and visual representations of Philippine heroes instead of elected or appointed government officials.
The order is enclosed in Memorandum Circular No. 25 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea by the authority of President Rodrigo Duterte last Sept. 15.
The directive covers all government agencies and instrumentalities, including state-run or controlled corporations (GOCCs), state universities and colleges (SUCs), and public schools.
The heroes on the list, selected by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), were Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Juan Luna, Melchora Aquino, Gabriela Silang, Lapu-Lapu, Father Jose Burgos, Father Mariano Gomez, Father Jacinto Zamora, Emilio Jacinto, and Jose Abad Santos.
“It is the policy of the State to promote and popularize the nation’s historical and cultural heritage,” the memo read.
It added that the move should strengthen the nationalism, love of country, and respect for heroes and to raise social consciousness and patriotism.
It can be recalled that Duterte ordered the replacement of his pictures in government offices with photos of national heroes, saying displaying portraits of politicians is silly.
“I intend to also issue a decree – ipatanggal ko iyong mga litrato namin [I will have our photos removed],” Duterte said.
“Nabuang man iyong mga ganoon na tao [Those people are insane]. Put your family photos in your living room,” the president added.
Duterte also said he wants national heroes, not corrupt politicians, to be the model for children.
“Gusto ko iyong mga hero natin, na ma-emulate ng mga bata. Eh iyong iba diyan na picture, limang beses dumaan ng graft and corruption sa kaso eh [I want our heroes to be emulated by the children. Some of those pictured faced graft and corruption charges five times],” he added.