This is the very first time I wrote a full article about former President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ dictatorship regime, just timed to coincide the declaration of Martial Law. In the past I rather not to write categorically about the weaknesses of Marcos’ administration because either I am not a political writer or it is untimely – yet. But with the coming out of paid ad and white propagandas that contradict to what revealed real stories, I feel I need to somehow express what’s on my mind and try to caution those who receive such propaganda who have no idea about martial law. My worry is if everyone like me will keep passive, I may allow corrupting the young minds of today who have not given the chance to experience the Marcos regime while those elders will totally forget what have transpired in our life during those years. I just pray those people known and friends to me who I may differ in politics will merely consider and respect this as personal view that will not take against me. Although hesitant at first but hoping the outcome of this writing may not cause someone’s reprisal in the future considering the dirty politics.
There is no doubt Marcos is so far, the greatest statesman that the Philippine politics ever had. He has the brilliance to fill in the highest post in the land, an exemplary academic record that top notched his class, an experience that qualified him job, wisdom that heightened him to gracefully debate, ideology that made him respected, and authoritative personality that made him a leader. But being the greatest doesn’t mean faultless, in fact Marcos regime had so many accountabilities and offences that he owed to the Filipino people from our generation to the next generations. During his first regime, Philippines was the Tiger of Asia, second to powerful Japan. But it has to remember that Marcos has just inherited the strong and robust economy of the Philippines from his predecessors. From Magsaysay’s administration where Philippines was just liberated from America who enriched and blessed us up to Macapagal’s steadfast administration, the Philippines was practically rich just like America, making the peso almost equaled the dollar. But when Marcos entered in his second term, this started the weakening of our economy, growing graft and corruption, rise of international debt, and increase of local unemployment that made the door open for overseas contract workers. There was already rampant poverty that’s why Pope John Paul II warned Marcos regarding the obvious lavish lifestyle of the First Family and their cronies despite the happening poverty. To cover the increasing poverty, Philippines loaned in IMF and World Bank to finance and to show various government projects such as CCP, Folk Arts Theater, Philippines Heart Centre, Kidney Centre, Lung Center, Manila International Airport, LRT, San Juanicho Bridge, etc. which should not be supposed the case if the country had dollar reserved skipping international debt. From 2 pesos into 1 dollar, it ended in 30 pesos is to dollar just when he was exiled from the office. Indeed, 20 years was remarkable with what goods he had done to our country except the martial law and abuse of power.
The proud claim of Marcos’ loyalist is the peace and order during its time which seemed to be true at first look but is actually in contrast because there were rampant crimes across the country that the existing martial law pre-empted them in the media controlled by government and ordinary people never able to know them. There was nationwide censorship at its best, dictatorship at its finest, people only read the good news about the country but never the summary executions, political harassment, sequestration of wealth and properties, forced obedience, warrantless arrest, tortured, raped, genitals electrocution, life threat, and of course the known desaparecidos. The terror wrapped the whole country in the iron fist that pointed to anyone who will object. People were virtually afraid on the military because the military themselves were sowing terror. The loyalist claim that there were no agitators, complaining and opposing may true because the military capture, abduct, or silence whoever attempted. Peaceful if that what it call peaceful, but people has no choice but to follow and people are not disciplined but afraid. How can an ordinary citizen come out in open to complaint if he will be killed? Human rights were clearly violated. Most of these are undocumented and never sensationalized in headline because of the wide news blackout and censorship. Merely the reasons why the leftish group (as NPA) has formed because of the corruption and tyranny of Marcos regime. For twenty long years, Marcos ruled the country through several elections that guaranteed him to win as rigged. His greatness makes him the best but the abuse of power makes his legacy a great failure.
In today’s power of social media, public relation and political advisers see it as potential tool to expose their version of story. This is a free country anyway, what not written in the books, you can run to social media. There are videos depicting the heroism of Ferdinand Marcos but can easily determine it’s from its camp when it is not merely not showing the greatness of the former president but it extremely reiterates and presents the imperfections, deformities and weaknesses of political opponents. There is a video showing the long list of accomplishments of Marcos administration compare to the combined from his predecessors. In theory, this should have not supposed the way it counted. The total numbers of accomplishments against the number of years of Marcos regime is the average accomplishment to be compared to the next leaders, I believe this should be the count. Twenty years under one leader is not possible but should be. Imagine if each president after 1986 has same twenty years of terms, how much accomplishment could they have? And then in another video is the claiming of zero massacres in the 20 years of dictatorship compare to each term of preceding presidents where each has accountabilities. How can we expect to hear news about massacres during those 20 years while media is controlled by government? And how can we compare these later massacres if they were not really schemed by the government unlike then? While in other videos compare the killing of journalists in the succeeding administration, killing is not just limited to media men. All in all, either way if tracked or not, there is no greater number of the combined massacres from the next administrations than massacring the whole nation by Marcos regime alone.
After Marcos regime, whoever takes the office will really take difficult time to put the anchor of the ship that Marcos held to suffering for a long time and left bankrupt. This is how serious he’d done to our country. There are just people who are charlatans saying life then is better than today, who severely taking advantage the freedom to criticize without fear, who are desperate to find peace and find the right man who can make our nation great once again which is used by the people behind these paid ad propagandas. If not for the democracy we restored, did they ever realize the freedom to criticize without fear they are enjoying today, that they will not able to do if there is still martial law today? In our present time, call it mother of all poverties and corruptions that need to crush thru iron fist but not the way thru Martial law we used to have. Martial law is good by the way but changed its connotation because of our history. Having that dark era we had, never allow by all means all possible ways of coming back the same personalities into power again, never give the chance of the potential repeat of history by cutting off right away the possible root. I have friends and colleague from Ilocos the bailiwick of former president. I want to apologize if this may dismay and contradict to their faith. I know how patriotic the Lakays are when it comes to Apo but I am sorry, this is my honest to goodness two-cents and I guess most of the Filipinos too. I am not having say who is the best president but we will never like to go back again in that long, dark, fearful and dangerous years.
By Alex V. Villamayor
September 21, 2015