Surigao del Norte 2nd district Rep. Robert Ace Barbers will file a measure that would reserve place for departed Philippine sports heroes in the hallowed Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) in Taguig City.
"I'll draft the bill," Barbers confirmed to the Manila Bulletin on Saturday, Aug. 13.
He gave the statement three days after Asian track and field legend and Philippine sports icon Lydia de Vega passed away after a four-year battle with breast cancer.
"I think they should be given a place at the Libingan ng mga Bayani for giving honor to our race," Barbers said of the country’s sports heroes.
However, the House leader is aware that burial at the LNMB--or Heroes' Cemetery in English--is a privilege that isn't given to everyone. Thus, the need for bill.
"Although there have been exceptions throughout the years, instutionalizing the right to be laid to rest at the LNMB is the proper way to honor our fallen sports greats," he said.
Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, likened local sports heroes to the heroes who took up arms and showed bravery on the battlefield.
"They are a rare breed of pinoys," Barbers said. "Not every Filipino gets a chance to represent our countr. Even if some are given that rare opportunity, not all can shine and claim victory."
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sets the rules on who can be interred at the LNMB. These are the following:
Medal of Valor awardees
Presidents of the Philippines
Vice Presidents of the Philippines
The secretaries of National Defense
AFP Chiefs of Staff
Former Presidents, Vice Presidents, secretaries of National Defense, widows of former Presidents and Chiefs of Staff
Active and retired military personnel of the AFP
Justices of the Supreme Court (either Chief or Associate Justice)
Justices of the Court of Appeals
Senators and Senate President
Former AFP members who laterally entered/joined the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)
Veterans of the Philippine Revolution of 1896, the First and Second World Wars, as well as recognized guerrillas
Government dignitaries, statesmen, national artists and other deceased persons whose interment has been approved by the commander-in-chief, Congress or the secretary of National Defense, and
National Artists and National Scientists of the Philippines
The late former President Fidel V. Ramos, who died last July 31, was recently buried in the LNMB.