[CARMMA] Press Statement: The alleged $1 million donation to Harvard of Speaker Romualdez : A Vanity Project that Should Be Condemned

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KARAPATAN Public Information

Sep 14, 2023, 8:35:07 PM9/14/23
to karapatan...@googlegroups.com, KARAPATAN Human Rights Update on behalf of publicinfo, karapatanhr
Press Statement
15 September 2023

The  alleged $1 million donation to  Harvard  of Speaker Romualdez : A Vanity Project that Should Be Condemned

Recently, the Inquirer came out with news on the donation of $1million (about P56 million) to Harvard University for offering a course on the Filipino language. The alleged donor is Speaker Martin Romualdez, a nephew of Imelda Marcos and a first cousin of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. A few hours after the article came out, it was taken down. The office of the Speaker neither denies or confirms the report.

We, in CARMMA,  are concerned about what appears to be press censorship with the removal of the article.
At the same time we condemn this donation as a vanity project, a project towards rehabilitating the Marcos name. The amount is not only $1 million; it is $2 million according to the Harvard Crimson. If true, the $2 million is equivalent to 20-25% of the Speaker’s declared wealth.

Why the need to keep the donation a secret? Is it  because Speaker Martin Romualdez is a philanthropist who quietly helps? Or because the Marcoses and the Romualdezes don't want the public to know where the funds come from?

We can't simply be happy just because the $1million or $2 million donation  will go to teaching the Filipino language at a prestigious school like Harvard University. How can we be happy if the funds came directly from the thief's family, which until now remains unaccountable  for billions of dollars of ill-gotten wealth?

The justification that teaching Filipino is a good way to propagate Filipino culture and identity is hogwash. Language teaching is political. It can be used to spread historical distortion such as the Marcos dictatorship were golden years, there was no plundered wealth nor human rights violation.

If Harvard really sees the importance of including the teaching of Filipino in its curriculum, why do Filipinos need to fund it? Why should the money come from us, from a poor country to the richest university in the world?

The historical revisionism and narrative change of the Marcoses truly know no bounds -- not only in the Philippines, but overseas, as far as America. These moves to deodorize their name, as they enjoy their stay in power, all fail to silence the struggle of Filipinos to demand truth and justice and to call for  accountability for all the sins of the Marcoses.

Prof. Judy Taguiwalo, CARMMA convenor
CARMMA secretariat, 09189790580

Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties.  It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign. 
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