RECOLLECTION OF MARTIAL LAW BY FERDINAND 'BONGBONG' MARCOS, JR


[SENATOR 'BONGBONG' MARCOS AT THE PHILIPPINE SENATE]

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 (BLOG WATCH) by Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. - “It’s this time of the year that I am asked the same questions so I’ve decided to post what are answers to those questions I’ve been asked repeatedly year after year as if the things that happened in the past can still change.

"Anyway, to my friends here in FB, I will oblige you with what I hope is a comprehensive personal recollection and personal point of view of Martial Law from where we stand today.

“Firstly: though I may have been a precocious 15 year old, I would be lying if I told you I was consulted on the planning and eventual declaration of Martial Law.

"I had just turned 15 years of age and was pursuing my studies in the UK when I received a call from our Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Mr. Jaime Zobel, who broke the news to me that Martial Law had been declared. So much for having been consulted on it.

"There are people still alive today that played major roles during the Martial Law period, from both the opposition (to Martial Law) and officials of the Martial Law government as well as officers in the military at that time. They, perhaps, would be in a better position to explain Martial Law, from their points of view at least.


[PHOTO -The MARCOS Family: BONGBONG & HIS SISTERS IMEE AND IRENE WITH THEIR PARENTS]

“As a teenager in the early 70′s, I was aware of the lawlessness that prevailed, the proliferation of fire-arms in the country, the violent street demonstrations, the bombings, and mounting criminality; but the primary reason Martial Law was declared, if my understanding is correct, was the imminent danger posed to the state by the twin insurgencies waged by the armed communists and the secessionists in the south, both receiving external support from their respective benefactor countries.

"The problem of the communist insurgency was not exclusive to our country. It was the same in other 3rd world countries and had been proliferating worldwide with the active backing of the USSR and Communist China. Of course, my father was always one to comment on current events and history and the conversations I had with him cumulatively over the years, gave me a more complete, if not complex, picture of the context in which Martial Law was declared.

"On a more personal level, I remember people saying how thankful they were for the relative peace and order that followed Martial Law; the positive image of the Philippines worldwide; the emergence of a tourism industry; the cleaner streets; the dismantling of private armies of oppressive local politicians; the containment of price fluctuations of basic commodities through Kadiwa and strict implementation of price ceilings; self sufficiency in rice; world leader in geo-thermal energy, and a semblance of discipline never before seen among the populace, just to name a few.

"I mention these to give some balance to the one-sided version that has been spewed out by the few that control media over the last couple of decades as can be seen up to this day.

"In regard to the economy, one can simply peruse data relevant to those years such as the World Bank figures, which can easily be accessed from the internet (thank God for the internet).

"In 1973, our GDP growth rate stood at 8.9% that took a dip the following year to below 5% as a result of the oil embargo. Subsequently, it stayed above 5% through all the succeeding years up to 1980 with a high of 8.8% in ’76.

"The same WB figures show a negative growth in 1984 in the wake of Senator Aquino’s assassination in August of 1983 and what followed, as they say, is “history.”

"According to Global Financial Integrity, “capital flight from the Philippines (includes illicit money that is illegally earned, transferred, or utilized) was US$16 billion in the 1970s, US$36 billion in the 1980s, and US$43 billion in the 1990s which has led to a hollowing out of the economy.”

"In addition, from 2000 to 2008, illicit financial outflow from the Philippines registered at US$109Billion, according to the same source. Other recent indicators or “distinctions” such as having become the “most dangerous country, not at war, to live in for a journalist” did not occur during the years of Martial Law, just to put things in perspective.

"Human rights abuses did not stop after 1986; nevertheless, and I hasten to add, that does not justify the abuses committed under Martial Law but to say that was “government policy” during those years is a reckless statement at best.

"Human Rights victims post-Marcos are just as much victims, with sufferings just as real, regardless of who the perpetrators were or under whose administration those abuses and massacres took place, and the guilty should not go unpunished.

"We must also not forget the soldiers that have been ambushed and killed while doing civic work in remote areas of the country; the gruesome killings of our men in uniform that have been captured and some beheaded; and many other human rights violations inflicted on AFP personnel including summary executions. War is never a pleasant affair.

“As I’ve said repeatedly, I will leave to historians — those that are trained in the discipline and are capable of impartial judgment and making impassioned conclusions — to pass a verdict on those years.

"Most of what we hear today are self-serving statements by politicians, self-aggrandizement narratives, pompous declarations, and political posturing and propaganda.

“Finally, it is 2012, almost half a century since Martial Law was declared, and the world we live in is not the same as four decades ago when I was all of 15 years of age. Today, we, as a nation, are besieged with serious problems, the most glaring of which are poverty, hunger, peace and order, unemployment, the drug menace, and climate change; and even our foreign relations, particularly with China, has become wobbly if not precarious.

“We cannot change “yesterday” any more than we can foretell what the morrow will bring. However, we can shape our future by what we do today.

"Blaming others and finding scapegoats are not solutions to poverty, rising prices, criminality, the insurgency, and so on. And too much politics leaves no room for leadership.

Sure, there are lessons to be learned from the past and it is obvious that Martial law, and all the succeeding administrations for that matter, was neither “a bed of roses nor a bed of nails,” to paraphrase Bon Jovi’s lyrics.

"That’s all I will say on the Presidency of my father and those that came after. I will resist indulging in the blame game and continue to look forward.

"Do I see Martial Law as something to be considered in today’s context? Definitely not; and my actions and public record as a local executive and as a legislator, are consistent with democratic principles, participatory governance, and the strengthening of institutions that provide the framework for checks and balances among the three branches of government.

"All the government positions I have held in more than 20 years of public service have been gained through the ballot box and I have been consistent in my advocacy of devolving power to our LGU’s. I have never been implicated in anomalies involving corruption nor have I been accused of abuse of power whether that be during my father’s Presidency or after. It simply is not my cup of tea.

“But here’s the point: we have got to move on, move forward, and channel our energies in progressive and constructive pursuits, because only then will we see and realize the full potential of our people.

"If we have faith in ourselves, believe in ourselves, and declare in a unified voice that we can make real progress happen, God willing, it will happen.

"Kung maniniwala tayo sa sarili natin na kaya natin, makakayanan natin! Mabuhay po kayo!”

ALSO FROM BLOG WATCH

A youth during Martial Law

Author’s note: This photo was taken by Reuben, my late brother who was one of those who fought hard for our freedom and democracy during martial law.

I always tell stories to my children about high school and college life during martial law. I was 15 years old when Proclamation 1081 was declared by former President Ferdinand Marcos on September 21, 1972. My folks seemed overjoyed by the news.

The administration did a great job brainwashing the old folks that the country was in turmoil and thus, Martial Law needed to be declared. I didn’t know it then, of course.

I felt a bit alarmed that any house could be raided for “subversive materials”. Any reading material might be “subversive” in the eyes of the military. Dad was wise. He started buying books and magazines that were pro-Marcos.

Soon after Marcos declared martial law, one American high-ranking official described the Philippines as a country composed “of 40 million cowards and one son of a bitch” otherwise, he reasoned they should have risen against the destroyer of their freedom.

A youth during Martial Law

I spent most of my teenage years under the veil of martial law. Dad and Mom warned me that the moment my sister and I joined rallies and demonstrations in UP Diliman, it was back to Cebu.

They didn’t know it then but my sister and I joined lightning rallies. Student issues centered on Marcos, the dictator, Academic Freedom and the role of Iskolar ng Bayan in the midst of Martial Law.

I remember my first rally was in Luneta Park on May 1, 1976. I forgot who organized it now. All I remember was holding hands with my pretend-boyfriend in Luneta Park. If you know Rico J. Puno’s version of “The Way We Were“, the pretend situation brought me to stitches.

Ohhh... Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
And if we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we, could we

The organizers told us to be lovey-dovey and pretend to be sweethearts. I guess this was needed so that the police will not be suspicious of any illegal assembly.

At a certain signal, a group of a hundred students would all chant Marcos, Hitler, diktador, tuta and converge in front of the Rizal Monument. Those days, immediate arrest was inevitable.

I thought it was a giddy adventure oblivious of the danger of being arrested. Raising our fists, stomping our feet around Luneta and chanting Marcos, Hitler, diktador, tuta around ten times, we dispersed amidst the growing crowd. Makibaka, huwag matakot!

Makibaka, huwag matakot! It was an exhilarating experience and I could feel the adrenalin rush as we ran towards the Quiapo side streets. The police were just behind our back. Too close for comfort.

I pushed my luck once too many until one day, I got trapped along with some UP students inside an auto shop near Adamson University. It was Human Rights day.

To make myself incognito, I wrapped my head with a scarf and wore large sunglasses. Sadly, the police were wiser now.

They used the fire hose to disperse us and also to corner us into one place. So there I was with my friends waiting for the truck to haul us to Camp Crame.

Maybe divine intervention prevailed upon us due in part to the intercession of the St. Theresa’s Colege nuns because suddenly, we were all released. There was a hitch though. Our photos needed to taken by the Intelligence. I complied, of course.

To make matters worse, my dad found out about the near-arrest. To this day, I don’t know how he found out. The military intelligence must have informed him. Or the moles so prevalent during those days. Dad told my sister and I Stop attending those demos or go home. This time, I obeyed because I valued my education at the State University.

Reminding the youth about Martial Law

I am lucky because I never got detained or tortured unlike some of my friends. My heart broke every time I heard news of my schoolmates in detention. It angered me that traitors were around us waiting to report subversives to the military. My brother was once detained for taking photos of policemen taking down streamers of the activists. Imagine that happening to us right now.

I tell these stories to my children so they value their freedom, remember the horrors of martial law and to never let it happen again. The youth born after the People Power revolution need to know about the “human rights violation, the muzzling of the press and the curtailment of freedom during the Martial Law era.”

The youth need to know how Ferdinand Marcos “fooled the Filipino people into believing that Martial Law was needed in the whole country, even if the troubles were only of political nature. The biggest loser was Press Freedom. Newspapers, TV and radio outlets were shut down and eventually turned over to be owned and operated by Marcos cronies.”

“Rep. Karlo Nograles martial law made him value the restoration of freedom and democracy.”

“Let the lessons of martial law always teach us to value our freedom and democracy. Let us always remember the sacrifice, the blood, sweat and tears borne by those who were willing to fight so that future generations may live to enjoy life free from oppression.

"We must honor them by ensuring that, no matter what, we must all stand united to protect our democracy and willing to make our own sacrifices. We must also ensure that justice will be served for the victims of martial law against the oppressors and the guilty”.

Sometimes I feel Martial Law never really left us, as if it is ingrained in our culture. Take the alarming case of the Morong 43. Reports say that torture and inhuman treatment fell in the hands of the Philippine state forces.

There are extra-judicial killings that are left unresolved. ONE PERCENT (1.05 percent) of these incidents of heinous killings has ended in the conviction of the people who were responsible. This “one percent success rate in solving these crimes is an absolute embarrassment and we Filipinos should band together to make sure that this changes.”

Nothing has really changed for the better since democracy was restored in 1986.

The same “old people are still in power, a lot of government officials still usurp power to enrich themselves, and the Filipino is still where he was .. maybe even worse.”

Martial Law was indeed a dark part of our history but we have to be reminded of it only because we need to honor those who fought and fell to restore democracy then and now.

We need to let the evils of Martial law out of our system. Are we going to allow ourselves to be called a nation of 95 million cowards, this time around?

Never again to Martial Law!

Justice for the victims of Martial Law and human rights violations!

THE AUTHOR AT MOMBLOG & EDITOR OF BLOG WATCH: I’m Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (also known as @momblogger in Twitter), a 55 year old Filipina , a homemaker, and an Editor of Blog Watch, a citizen media site.

I am also involved in advocacy work and family recovery groups. I have 3 wonderful children: Lauren, 25, Marielle, 24 are college graduates while my beautiful son, Luijoe, is forever 6 years old.

I’m married to Butch Dado, my on-off boyfriend, a smart lawyer, my husband for 27 years. We’ve been together for a total of 33 years from the time we met on January 26, 1978 as college students in UP Diliman.

Photo by Reuben Veloso Lardizabal. Some Rights Reserved Originally posted on blogwatch.ph/thepoc.net

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