Burial of Ferdinand Marcos

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Burial of Ferdinand Marcos
Libingan ng mga Bayani.jpg
The Heroes' Cemetery where the remains of Ferdinand Marcos were buried.
DateNovember 18, 2016 (2016-11-18)
July 11, 1998 (1998-07-11) (cancelled)
LocationHeroes' Cemetery, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines
BurialFerdinand Marcos

The burial of Ferdinand Marcos, the 10th President of the Philippines (1965–1986) [1][2][3][4] was originally scheduled on September 13, 2016 and later on October 18, 2016 at the Heroes' Cemetery in Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines. On November 8 of the same year, the Supreme Court eventually decided that Marcos be buried at Heroes' Cemetery on an unspecified date.[5] The burial of Marcos took place on November 18, 2016.[6]

The burial of Ferdinand Marcos, who died in 1989, has been a controversial issue. Critics, particularly victims of human rights violations during the martial law era, and participants of the People Power Revolution, have opposed attempts to bury Marcos, who they deem unfit to be buried at the Heroes' Cemetery for his 20-year authoritarian rule, and allege that the Marcos family is yet to return money illegally removed from the country's treasury.[7] Opinion on his burial remains split: 50% of the 1,800 respondents of a survey conducted by SWS in February 2016 said Marcos "was worthy to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani" while the other half rejected a hero's burial.[8]

There were conflicting claims on where the deceased Marcos wished to be buried. Former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan III, one of the signatories of an agreement to move Marcos' body from Hawaii to the Philippines during the term of then President Fidel V. Ramos, said that Marcos wished to be buried beside his mother in his hometown in Batac, Ilocos Norte, while his wife Imelda Marcos said that his wish was to be buried in Manila insisting that he should be buried at the Heroes' Cemetery.

Former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos had opposed moves to bury Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery during their respective terms, while Former President Joseph Estrada attempted to bury Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery but later cancelled the burial. Rodrigo Duterte, during the campaign period and debates and as well having won the presidential elections, repeatedly asserted his plans for the burial of the remains claiming the act is in accordance with the existing laws of the Philippines, as well as an insisting the burial will be an instrument for the beginning of "nation-wide healing" but the plan was met with criticism due to claims of historical revisionism or negationism. The burial of Marcos, with military honors, was conducted in a private ceremony on November 18, 2016.[9] It resulted in widespread expressions of indignation and nationwide protests.[10]


Transfer of Marcos' body from Hawaii[edit]

After Ferdinand Marcos died in 1989, his family attempted to bring his remains from Hawaii to the Philippines but the administration President Corazon Aquino imposed a ban against the entry of Marcos' remains into the country. This was lifted on October 9, 1991 by Aquino on the condition that Marcos' burial would not be used for political purposes and on the condition that the body of Marcos be flown directly to Laoag. Aquino's executive secretary Franklin Drilon said that a "hero's burial" would be allowed if held in Marcos' home province instead of Manila. Imelda Marcos, the wife of Ferdinand Marcos opposed the move saying that the dying wish of her husband was to be buried in Manila.[11] In January 1992, the Philippine government stated that it may not oppose the burial of Marcos anywhere in Metro Manila provided that Marcos' body was flown into the country after the 1992 Philippine election in May. The Marcos family opposed the condition and was waiting for a ruling of the Supreme Court at that time regarding their petition to bury Ferdinand Marcos as soon as possible.[12]

The transfer of Marcos' body would not be done until the administration of President Fidel V. Ramos. It was during Ramos' term that a memorandum of agreement was made between the government and the Marcos family in 1992.[13] There were four conditions agreed by both parties and these were:[13][14]

  1. The remains of Ferdinand Marcos were to be flown directly from the US state of Hawaii to the province of Ilocos Norte.
  2. Military honors for someone with the rank of major were to be given to Marcos. This was the last rank to be held by Marcos during his service with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
  3. No parade displaying Marcos' body was to be held in Metro Manila.
  4. Marcos' body was not to be buried at the Heroes' Cemetery but in Ilocos Norte.
The body of Ferdinand Marcos was stored in a refrigerated crypt at the Ferdinand E. Marcos Presidential Center in Batac, Ilocos Norte until 2016.

According to Rafael Alunan III, former Interior Secretary and one of the signatories of the agreement, the third clause was agreed upon due to "wounds [that] were still fresh in the minds of many people" and to avoid potential instability. He also said that the former President Marcos wanted to be buried beside his mother in Batac, Ilocos Norte.[14] Also according to Alunan, after the signing of the agreement, Imelda Marcos crossed out the burial clause and wrote in that Marcos was to be "temporarily interred" instead of being buried in Ilocos Norte. Alunan said that the terms of agreement could not be changed after it was signed but Mrs. Marcos insisted and came up with a new agreement paper with the changed clause. The revised paper was not signed by the government.[13]

It was on September 7, 1993 that the body of Ferdinand Marcos was flown into the Philippines. From Hawaii the body was flown to Guam then to Laoag in Ilocos Norte. The body of Marcos was not buried but was instead preserved in a refrigerated crypt hosted inside the Ferdinand E. Marcos Presidential Center.[14] In Honolulu, Hawaii, Marcos' body was also stored in a refrigerated crypt.[12]

Cancelled 1998 Heroes' Cemetery burial[edit]

Ramos' successor Joseph Estrada attempted to organize a burial of Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery. Then President-elect Estrada had negotiations with Marcos' wife Imelda who initially also demanded state honors for the burial but later agreed to a burial without state honors. It was determined that Marcos would be buried on July 11, 1998. The planned burial of Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery still received opposition even after state honors were not to be included in the planned burial. Former President Corazon Aquino was among those who opposed the move. Estrada remained firm on his decision until[15] July 1998 when Estrada decided against the plan amidst public opposition saying that it would be better if the Marcos family agreed that Ferdinand Marcos be buried in Batac to put an end to "bitter differences" and give rest to "various emotions and sentiments that flared up".[16]

2011 Batac burial recommendation[edit]

In April 2011, then President Benigno Aquino III tasked then Vice President Jejomar Binay to study whether to bury Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery or not. The Office of the Vice President received 3,000 responses from various political parties, sectors, organizations, and members of the public on the issue. Binay recommended the burial of Marcos in his hometown of Batac with full military honors. Aquino did not act on the recommendation.[17]

2016 Heroes' Cemetery burial[edit]

Rodrigo Duterte supported the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery, even before he assumed presidency and expressed this stance at his presidential campaign in the 2016 elections. Duterte has expressed that a burial of Marcos at the site would commence the "healing" of the Philippines and pointed out Marcos' idealism and vision for the country through his projects which "stood the test of time" and that Marcos' dictatorship "remains to be debated". Duterte previously stated that Marcos could have been the best president if not for the abuses during the Martial law period under Marcos' watch.[18] At the Visayas leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016, Duterte and fellow candidate Jejomar Binay expressed their support for a Marcos burial at the heroes' cemetery.[19]

2016 burial[edit]

Announcement and rationale[edit]

On August 7, 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte gave the order to bury former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery saying that Marcos was qualified to be buried at the cemetery due to being a "former president and a soldier". Duterte said he was open to demonstrations against the burial plan but insisted that the former President was qualified to be buried at the cemetery. He also added that the burial date may be moved to September 11 which was the birthday of the deceased president.[20]

Amidst criticism that Marcos did not deserve to be buried at the cemetery, Duterte said that burying Marcos at the site did not equate to Marcos being a "hero in the true sense of the word". He pointed out that former soldiers and presidents are allowed to be buried at the cemetery and that he would be violating the law if he did not push through with the burial and added that the previous administrations should have passed a law to bar Marcos from being buried at the Heroes' Cemetery. Duterte said he doesn't care about the dispute regarding the authenticity of Marcos' war medals and the non-appearance of Marcos' alleged World War II service in United States records.[21] While at Peru attending the 2016 APEC Summit during the burial day, he even said of Marcos: “Whether or not he performed worse or better, there is no study, there is no movie about it. It’s just the challenges and allegations of the other side, which is not enough.”[22] These insinuations however were disputed by many individuals and organizations - providing an exhaustive list of books, movies among other related media, about Marcos and/or Martial Law. [23] [24] [25] [26] There had been also a doctoral dissertation in Filipino Studies at the University of the Philippines, Diliman which featured Marcos' falsehoods. [27]

Supreme Court decision[edit]

Saturnino C. Ocampo, et al. v. Rear Admiral Ernesto C. Enriquez, et al
Seal of the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines.svg
CourtSupreme Court of the Philippines
Full case name
DecidedNovember 8, 2016 (2016-11-08)
  • G.R. No. 225973
  • G.R. No. 225984
  • G.R. No. 226097
  • G.R. No. 226116
  • G.R. No. 226117
  • G.R. No. 226120
  • G.R. No. 226294
Questions presented
Constitutional validity of the interment of the remains of President Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani
Court membership
Judges sittingMaria Lourdes Sereno, Antonio Carpio, Presbitero Velasco, Teresita de Castro, Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Jose P. Perez, Jose C. Mendoza, Bienvenido Reyes Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa
Case opinions
Decision byJustices Diosdado Peralta
ConcurrenceBrion, Velasco Jr, Peralta, Bersamin, Del Castillo, Perez, De Castro, Mendoza and Perlas-Bernabe
DissentChief Justice Sereno and Justices Carpio, Leonen, Jardeleza and Caguioa

Marcos was originally scheduled to be buried on September 13 then October 18 after the oral arguments on petitions to stop the burial.[28][29] Eventually, on 8 November, the Supreme Court of the Philippines allowed Marcos to be buried of Heroes' Cemetery with the votes of 9-5, with one abstention[30][31] dismissing the status quo ante imposed to block attempts to bury Marcos in the Heroes' Cemetery.

Supreme Court decision regarding the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery[31]
In Favor (9) Opposed (5)
Abstained (1): Bienvenido Reyes

Opinion summary[edit]


The concurring judges said that the Supreme Court cannot decide on the matter since it is a political question which was deemed not justiciable. They argue that President Duterte did not abuse his discretion when he allowed the burial of Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery. It was noted that the petitioners failed to specify a specific law that was allegedly violated by proceeding the burial.[32]

The majority of the judges disagreed with the dissenting opinion that Marcos is disqualified to be buried at the said site due to Marcos' ouster following the People Power Revolution, which the dissenters consider as an act of Marcos being dishonorably discharged. It was noted that while Marcos was also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the position is not a military position and the particular clause in the 1987 Constitution which gave the designation to Marcos only enshrines the principle of supremacy of civilian authority over the military. It was concluded that Marcos could not be prosecuted before the court martial therefore he could not be "dishonorably discharged, reverted or separated" under the AFP Regulations G 161-1375. Marcos ouster through the People Power Revolution is judged to be extra-constitutional and direct sovereign act of the people which was concluded to be outside the scope of the court. Marcos was also found not to have convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude and court cases cited by the petitioners abroad were decided to have no bearing due to the cases being civil in nature.[32]

It was added that it's up to the people to decide on the matter. The concurring judges also clarified that the court is exercising judicial restraint on an issue they say is "truly political in nature" and that the resulting stigma of Ferdinand Marcos' martial law regime will "not be forgotten by the Filipino people" and Marcos' burial at the cemetery "will not rewrite history".[32]

Protesters opposing the burial of Marcos.

The Chief Justice said that the burial disregards both international and domestic laws in regards to giving justice to victims of human rights abuses during Marcos' term. The Philippine government was noted to have an obligation to provide compensations to the victims, both monetary and non-monetary, the latter of which includes symbolic reparation. The burial of Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery was deemed by the dissenters as contrary to symbolic reparation entitled to the victims. By allowing the burial, President Duterte was "encouraging impunity". Marcos was described as "a dictator forced out of office and into exile after causing twenty years of political, economic, and social havoc in the country".[32]

The argue that Marcos' ouster following the People Power Revolution disqualified him from being buried at the Heroes Cemetery even if the claim of him being awarded the Medal of Valor is indisputable since he was deposed by the "sovereign action of the people" which was described as "the strongest form of dishonorable discharge from office".[32]

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, in her dissent, affirmed that the Court must take cognizance of the issues presented in order to preserve the Constitution as well as the judiciary's own prerogatives under the Constitution. She maintained that the President acted with grave abuse of discretion in ordering the interment at LNMB because it violated domestic law and international law in relation to the obligations to do justice for human rights victims. After a review of the applicable international agreements and protocols, the Chief Justice pointed out that the Philippines is bound to affirmatively protect the rights of the human rights victims under martial law by providing effective reparations, which would include monetary compensation as well as non-monetary remedies (such as symbolic reparation). The Chief Justice pointed out that the interment of the Marcos remains at LNMB would be the antithesis of symbolic reparation. She also pointed out that the interment would run counter to the duty to combat impunity as well as to preserve memory—all of which are international commitments that the Philippines is bound to observe.[citation needed]


Following the Supreme Court decision, preparations for the burial were commenced. Ilocos Norte Governor and daughter of Ferdinand Marcos, Imee Marcos says that the burial will be done with "simple rites like an ordinary soldier", and insisted that the event will not be a state funeral but a "funeral for a soldier" which she says her father wished for. She also added that the family is willing to airlift the former President's remains from Batac to Fort Bonifacio.[33]

Santa Monica Church in Sarrat, the Immaculate Conception Church in Batac, and the Saint Agustine Church in Paoay were earlier prepared for the wake for former President Marcos before the burial at the Heroes' Cemetery.[33]


The Philippine National Police were informed on the night of November 17, 2016 that the burial will take place the day after.[34] The police confirmed the scheduled burial in the morning of November 18.[35] The November 18 burial was scheduled to take place at noon.[34]

The remains of Ferdinand Marcos was airlifted from Ilocos Norte at 9:00 a.m. (UTC+8) and was brought to the Heroes' Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig.[35] Marcos was then buried in his grave at the Heroes' Cemetery in a burial ceremony closed to the public. Marcos' wife Imelda Marcos and his children were in attendance, as well as the late president's only living sibling at the time, Fortuna Marcos-Barba.[36] About a hundred were in attendance including personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and reportedly PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa. Military honors were given including a 21-gun salute during the rites.[37]

There was no public announcement of the burial plan, and the public only became aware of the plan shortly before the burial. The Marcos family requested the government to conduct the burial in private, and confidentially. A budget was allocated by the government on the burial and the exceeding budget reportedly will be shouldered by the Marcoses. No exact figures regarding the budget allocated for the burial rites were disclosed.[37]

Ferdinand Marcos was buried in a marble finished tomb with a cauldron that has a flame burning inside.[37]


Opinion poll[edit]

Religious Leaders[edit]

2013-2017 Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, a protegé of late Manila Archbishop Jamie Sin during EDSA 1986, said through text to Rappler, on the same day, that he is saddened with the decision and "the burial is an insult to the EDSA spirit".[39] Villegas also stated that he backed the anti-Marcos protests,[40] making him much hated by many Filipinos for his actions, with people claiming that the church should not interfere with state issues.

Unlike Villegas, then-Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, who was still the sitting Lipa Archbishop, called on Filipinos for prayers and forgiveness for the Marcos family, encouraging pro and anti-Marcos groups to pray for Marcos' soul, while condemning groups calling for exhumation with the words "give the dead peace, respect Marcos' body".[41][42]

Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle remained silent on the burial and instead chose to offer prayers for the Marcos family and the Filipinos.[43] The late Leopoldo S. Tumulak of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines echoed the same sentiments of Arguelles.


A poll conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in March 2011 showed that opinion is split.[38][44] The same trend appears in a follow up poll by SWS in February 2016. However validated voters instead of just anyone who is 18 years and above as done in the 2011 poll, where queried for the 2016 poll.[8]

An initiative called Bawat Bato (lit. For each stone) was launched, urging those who oppose the plan to dump stones with names of victims of abuses during the Martial Law era of Ferdinand Marcos or a personal message at the proposed site of the burial of Marcos within the Heroes' Cemetery.[45]


Burial of Ferdinand Marcos protests
Part of protests against Rodrigo Duterte
Marcos burial Ateneans protest.jpg
Students of the Ateneo de Manila University along Katipunan Avenue protesting against the burial of former President Marcos insisting that Marcos was not a hero but a dictator.
DateJuly 17, 2016 — February 25, 2017
(mainly Metro Manila)
Caused by
  • Planned burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani
  • Supreme Court decision of allowing Marcos to be buried
  • Marcos buried in a private manner
  • Prevent the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (until November 18)
  • Exhumation of Ferdinand Marcos remains from the Libingan ng mga Bayani (since November 18)

  • Resignation or Removal of President Rodrigo Duterte from office (since December)
  • Demonstrations
  • protest marches
  • internet activism
  • petitioning
  • concerts
Parties to the civil conflict

On July 17, 2016, a group of people participated in a protest run around the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City led by Fr. Robert Reyes.[49] Reyes said, “whom, in the minds of martial law victims, is a traitor and dictator, is a terrible insult to history and the country itself.”[49]

About 2,000 people protested against the burial plans, saying that Marcos was not a hero; organizers clarified that the protests were not against the Duterte administration itself, but were targeted towards the burial plan.[50]

It was reported that Rafael Alunan said that those who oppose the burial plans of Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery could invoke the 1992 agreement with the Marcos family and the Philippine government under then President Fidel V. Ramos[14] but he clarified on August 17, 2016 that the agreement was a memorandum of understanding which is not binding compared to a formal agreement or deal.[13]

On September 30, Ateneo de Manila University wrote a memorandum, stating that the students should wear black T-shirts on UAAP Season 79 to protest the Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani".[51][52]

On November 6, Former President Benigno Aquino III described the burial as a “desecration” of the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The next day, Aquino briefly joined the crowd at the Luneta for the “Pray for 8” event, a prayer rally calling at least eight justices of the Supreme Court to vote against the interment of Marcos.[53] Former DILG secretary Mar Roxas and senator Francis Pangilinan later joined the group.[53]

Following the 8 November decision of Supreme Court allowing the burial of Marcos, government officials and politicians of the country expressed their disappointment and frustration; among them was Senator Pangilinan calling the decision "shameful and deplorable."[54] Pangilinan also describes the Supreme Court's decision “This is a horrible day for democracy.”[55] Incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo was saddened with the decision; Senator Bam Aquino saying that "my heart goes out to the thousands of victims during the darkest years in Philippine history."[54]

On 11 November, the Martial Law victims filed a temporary injunction against the burial before the Supreme Court.[56]

Various groups and sectors also joined the rally, protesting the burial. On 12 November, hundreds of people, protesting the burial, participated in the run at the University of the Philippines Diliman.[57] Lawyers and law students wore black T-shirts 13 November and rallied in front of the University of Santo Tomas where the bar exams held.[58][59][60] The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) called on 14 November for widespread demonstrations across the country, hoping to discourage President Rodrigo Duterte from proceeding the burial.[61] On 16 November, the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (Council of the Laity of the Philippines) calls the planned hero's burial of Marcos "barefaced disrespect".[62]

In Cebu City, a day before the burial, an effigy of Marcos, the same look as he kept in a refrigerated mausoleum, was displayed in a garbage cart, deserving to put as a garbage said by at least 500 members of militant groups.[63] Retired Judge Mienrado Paredes, who is among the person jailed during the martial law, said that "the real heroes are the people. Marcos was garbage in history. He is not a hero."[64]

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar apologized for using the term "temperamental brats" to the protests against it.[65] Andanar clarified on his Facebook post that he used the term "to express my frustration against those who seek to further divide the country for reasons that have nothing to do with genuine patriotism and civic duty."[65]

EDSA Shrine where the main protests are held.

On 18 November, the day of Marcos burial, various groups gathered in some places. Among those who gathered to opposed the burial was a group of youth. The League of Filipino Students described the transfer of Marcos remains for the eventually successful burial the former president as being done like "a thief in the night." They also criticized the government's involvement in the burial of the former president which they describe as a "fascist dictator". The Kabataan condemn the burial labeling it as a "grave travesty" and as "galawang Hokage" (lit. Hokage move; Hokage is a high-ranked ninja in the Naruto anime franchise).[47]

Vice President Robredo expressed disappointment stating that “like a thief in the night, the Marcos family deliberately hid the information of burying former President Marcos today from the Filipino people.”[66] Students from various universities and other groups joined the protest held across the country including Metro Manila, Cebu City, Davao City, etc.[46] Senator Franklin Drilon gave a statement about the burial, “like what Marcos did for 21 years, he caught us off-guard like a thief in the night. His burial is anything but noble. Even in death, he is a thief.”[67] Senator Risa Hontiveros, who opposed the burial, said that "no hero’s burial can erase the historical fact of Marcos’ atrocities."[67] Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said the burial was a "sad development."[67] Former President Fidel Ramos criticized the burial of the late president, describing it as "a step backward".[68][69]

On November 25, 2016, the day called by the protestors "National Day of Unity and Rage" and "Black Friday", various groups in the country held mass demonstrations in the afternoon.[70] Left-leaning groups called on President Duterte to end his alliance with Marcoses.[71] Anti-Marcos protestors and Marcos loyalists started a debate on the issue after the two sides made an encounter.[72]

Maria Serena Diokno, chairperson of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) submitted her resignation on November 29, 2016 in protest of the Marcos burial. She said that the burial "erases the memory of the lives lost and destroyed" during the Ferdinand Marcos administration and that it " mocks the collective action the Filipinos" took to remove Marcos from his post as President. She added that Duterte could have taken a "higher ground" by disallowing the burial despite the Supreme Court decision not to stop the then burial plan. She also praised the youth who expressed their opposition to the burial which she described as an act "in defense of History" and said she would personally join mass demonstrations scheduled on November 30, 2016. Her resignation will be effective on December 1, 2016.[73]

In the last week of November, several Facebook users who expressed their opinions against the burial of Marcos were locked out of their accounts.[74] Some of the users involved suspected that other Facebook users might have compromised their accounts.[74]

Female activists, mostly students, who joined the Marcos burial protest became targets of cyberbullying for their actions. Photos of the female protesters were filled with misogynist and chauvinist comments alongside death and rape threats.[75] St. Scholastica College students have been victimized in a similar scenario. In response to the incident, Senator Risa Hontiveros later filed the "Tres Marias Bill" to prevent such action from repeating,[76] while a team of lawyers headed by UP Law professor John Molo offered free legal services for the sexually-harassed-online female protesters.

Thousands of protesters gathered again on 30 November, Bonifacio Day, at the People Power Monument in Quezon City.[77][78]

On December 10, about 11,000 protesters marched on the streets in Capiz, Iloilo, Bacolod, Aklan, and Cebu, commemorating Human Rights Day.[79] On the night of December 15, about 150 members of a group called Coalition against Marcos Burial gathered at the People Power Monument to attend the mass.[80]

Thousands of people celebrating the 31st anniversary 1986 People Power Revolution on February 25, 2017 with protests.[81]

Other opponents (Opposition Bench)[edit]


Well-known personalities[edit]


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