Marcos, the Millenial, and Many Intelligent Filipinos
By Cha Coronel Datu
What starts with the letter M?
The Philippines was under Martial Law from September 1972 to January 1981. Many became victims of human rights violations during the time. According to an Inquirer report last September 2015, there were 79,730 claims filed with the Human Rights Victims Claims Board.
Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law just a couple of months shy from a national election where the people would have chosen his successor. First elected in 1965 and then re-elected in 1969. He should have stepped down in 1973; the Constitution then only allowed a sitting President two terms. But because of Martial Law and a new 1973 constitution, he managed to hold on to power until February 1986. This means Marcos ruled the country for 21 years!
Bongbong Marcos is his only son, currently a senator but gunning for Vice-President in the coming elections.
A number of millenials are supportive of the Marcoses and Bongbong’s VP run.
These millenials have mostly grown up knowing only a government run by Arroyo for 10 years, perhaps some had a glimpse of Estrada’s shorter 3 year reign. At any rate, both former Presidents have been great disappointments, the object of anger and ridicule, discredited and disrespected by so many because of the anomalies and scandalous levels of corruption and dishonesty that visited their respective administrations.
Thus when Noynoy Aquino became President, they, these millenials were already predisposed to disdain and disrespect for their government. It became easy to stir up that latent anger for every time the Aquino administration, in any way fell short or failed to deliver their expected results. They were easily lured into thinking that there is a better way, that there was one before that can be brought back – an iron-rule that gets results, a dictatorship that has borne sweet fruit. They were seduced by youtube videos, then continually fed with a steady diet of photos, memes, seemingly factual descriptions of a glorious time; all done through their enclave that is social media.
Massive foreign debt
The Marcoses and their apologists boast about the infrastructure built during his time, roads, schools, the cultural center, film center and so many other centers. It’s as if these all came from their own pockets. But the truth is these came from billions of dollars borrowed from the IMF-World Bank and other countries like the USA.
According to Erik Toussaint of the Coalition for the Abolition of Third World Debt, the Philippines’ foreign debt was at US$ 275 million in 1962. 3 years into Marcos’ first term in 1969, it rose up to 7 times that amount to US$1.88 billion. By the time Marcos left in 1986, that has ballooned to close to US$27 billion.
Dr. Emmanuel de Dios of the UP School of Economics, explains how the Philippines suffered its worst recession after World War 2 during Marcos’ rule, how it was brought on by a debt crisis and other poor economic policies under the regime:
The reason for the dismal performance under martial law is well understood. The economy suffered its worst post-war recession under the Marcos regime because of the huge debt hole it had dug, from which it could not get out. In fact, all of the “good times” the admirers of the regime fondly remember were built on a flimsy sand-mountain of debt that began to erode from around 1982, collapsing completely in 1984-1985 when the country could no longer pay its obligations, precipitating a debt crisis, loss of livelihood, extreme poverty, and ushering in two lost decades of development.
The economy’s record under Marcos is identical to that of a person who lives it up on credit briefly, becomes bankrupt, and then descends into extreme hardship indefinitely. It would then be foolish to say that person managed his affairs marvelously, citing as evidence the opulent lifestyle he enjoyed before the bankruptcy. But that is exactly what admirers of the Marcos regime are wont to do.
It is instructive that neither Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, nor any major Asian country catastrophically experienced negative growth in the early 1980s. The Philippines was the exception, following instead the example of protectionist and over-borrowed Latin American countries. This suggests that there was nothing unavoidable about the crisis the Philippines suffered, and that it was the result instead of failed policies. In 1977 the Philippines’ total debt was all of $8.2 billion. Only five years later, in 1982, this had risen to $24.4 billion. Thailand’s debt in 1982 was still only half that amount. Thailand and other countries of the region thus avoided a debt crisis and ultimately went on to attract foreign direct investments in export-oriented industries in the now-familiar East Asian pattern. But no such thing happened under Ferdinand E. Marcos, notwithstanding the arguments and exhortations of people like Gerardo P. Sicat (who would cease to be active in the regime by 1980). By the early 1980s, the pattern would be set where foreign direct investments in neighboring countries regularly outstripped those in the Philippines. (The intermittent coups d’etat post-Marcos did us no favors either.) – The Truth about the Economy under the Marcos Regime, Dr. Emmanuel de Dios, BusinessWorld, Nov 2015.
The Marcoses talk as if the Philippines was truly a land of peace at the time. They fail to mention the war in Mindanao, when the muslims rebelled against the oppressive and abusive rule of their patriarch.There are an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 civilians and rebels killed during that war and almost a million have fled from their communities; Raissa Robles has written in one of her thoughtful blogs.
Marcos fans also do not mention the ILAGA, a Christian group of bandits that terrorised muslim communities, grabbed their land and butchered their men. Ilaga, in Cebuano means rat, but it is also an acronym for Ilonggo Land Grabbers Association. The local government and military of the time supported and sanctioned the formation and existence of this group and other paramilitary groups in the south. In 1971, in North Cotabato, they mercilessly attacked a mosque and murdered all 65 muslims they found.
And no, they most certainly do not talk about the Manero brothers and the other ILAGAS who killed and dismembered the body of the Italian priest, Father Tulio Favali. The world was appalled and shocked by Father Favali’s. gruesome fate. His dead body when found, was riddled with bullets, his skull broken and crushed, the brain scattered to bits and believed cannibalised by his assailants.
That is Mindanao during Marcos’ rule, a time of peace.
Peace may have reigned in Manila during the early years of Martial Law but eventually, criminality came back. In the later years of Marcos’ reign, secret marshals were unleashed in Metro Manila, in response to increasing numbers of incidents of street crime. The secret marshals were police special forces who often had little regard for correct and lawful procedures in chasing and running after criminals, most of which were small-time snatchers and “holdapers”.
According to a news report in the The New York Times of May, 1985 (Manila Plainclothes Unit is Focus of Furor After Killing 14), 32 people were killed by the special forces in just 3 months in 1985, and 30 in 1984, also after just a few months of activity..
That is Manila, in the claws of light.
Meets Requirements on Integrity/Trustworthiness and Competence
These are the qualities that every voter should be looking for in the candidates that ask for their votes come election time.
If we were to assess Bongbong Marcos, on his own, based on his own qualifications, abilities and achievements, not on what his father has done or not done, will he pass? Is Bongbong trustworthy and competent?
Integrity/ Trustworthiness – means one can be expected to choose and do what is right and not what is wrong. Good. Inspires trust. Will not abuse power and not steal from the people. Not corrupt.
According to the Commission on Audit (COA), senator Marcos allotted P10 million in 2012 to a livelihood project of an NGO headed by Benhur Luy, the whistleblower in the Janet Napoles pork scam. Based on Department of Budget (DBM) records, the P10 million is part of a P65 million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation of Bongbong Marcos for that year. In August 2014, after finding the P10 million allocation of funds illegal and irregular, the COA asked the senator to return the P10 million to the government.
Does it inspire trust when a senator funnels millions of pesos of the people’s money to a fake NGO?
Here’s another one. Last July 2015, a group of human rights violations victims announced their plan to file a case seeking compensatory damages of US$352.6 million for Imelda and Bongbong Marcos’ continuous refusal to pay up and instead exhausting every means possible to block the victims’ efforts to get what is due them as determined by a historic Hawaii court ruling in 1995 awarding them US$2 billion as victims of Marcos’ cruel regime. The 9539 victims covered by this ruling have yet to receive a single cent because the Marcoses have refused to identify and disclose the dictator’s assets and properties. The victims’ lawyers have presented evidence of the steps taken by the Marcoses to hide said assets.
Is it right and good to refuse the victims of torture, rape and other forms of violence their due or the families of those who were killed or disappeared the reparation that the Court has already ruled as legally owed to them?
And how is Bongbong as a candidate for VP? What has he been doing to enhance the voters’ understanding of the issues facing the country and has he shared his plans to address them?
Last February, in celebration of the month of hearts, the senator’s office ran a competition for female voters, called “Bongbong into my Heart”. As a raffle prize for the winning lady, she gets to have the senator for a Valentine Date. The senator was dressed in trendy teen-ager clothes for the promo picture, soft lighting was used to hide his age. One would think it was Daniel Padilla courting his young lady love, from the look and feel of that promo shot.
Does it feel right that an almost 60 year old man (59 in September this year) is offering himself up to young women, possibly teen-agers still, for a Valentine date? Does that indicate good judgment?
Sure, we can say, we’ll just let this pass. Don’t put malice into it. It’s just a campaign gimmick. But are we really prepared to say this to our young daughters? That when a 59 year old man presents himself to you as a Valentine date, you shouldn’t put malice into it?
Competent – means able to perform his task correctly and satisfactorily.
In 2013, the senator filed a bill that seeks to punish and fine those restaurants and establishments who would refuse to serve half cup of rice to their customers. He called it the Anti- Rice Wastage Act of 2013. In October 2014, he even wrote a letter to his colleague, senator Bam Aquino, then Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship, pleading with the latter to already schedule a hearing for his proposed bill. He said that this bill was needed to address the problem of hunger, that ensuring that no rice is wasted in restaurants and other similar establishments is part of the solution to ending hunger. Every Filipino, he added, should do their part to ensure that no child goes hungry in the country. (bongbong.marcos.com, Senator Bongbong to Bam, Hear the Anti-Rice Wastage Bill)
Isn’t the more appropriate and correct solution to address hunger actually to feed the hungry? Why not start, instead a feeding program for the children at risk?
In June 2013, at the start of the usual rainy season, the senator lectured the national and local governments on being proactive, encouraged them to anticipate problems and think up solutions before flooding occurs instead of just acting when it happens. He lamented the lack of spillways and pumping stations nor a program for reforestration. He also noted the lack of a proper land use plan for the whole country.
But in an opinion column written by Gemma Rita R. Marin , executive director of the John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues and head of its Rural Development Program, she explained that Bongbong Marcos is actually the reason why the proposed “National Land Use Policy” was not passed in the previous congress.
Senate Bill 3091 or the National Land Use Act apparently was ready for third reading but was reverted to second reading when senators Drilon, Villar and Marcos expressed their intention to introduce amendments. Drilon was dutifully able to present his proposed 4 ammendments in the next hearing but Bongbong Marcos said that he and his staff were not prepared with theirs. Come the next hearing and final session of Congress, Bongbong Marcos did not show up. What part of this story shouts competence at all?
In August 2015, Marcos submitted a new version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the senate. He called his version the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR). Before this, in June 2015 he promised to come up with the new version of the BBL because it was “unconstitutional and will only lead the country to perdition”.
According to Father Joel Tabora, president of the Ateneo de Davao University and member of the Peace Council that president Aquino mandated to study and review the BBL, the proposed law is the product of 17 years of work and dedication of those seeking peace for Mindanao. The BLBAR was put together by the senator’s office after barely two months.
The former senator Rene Saguisag considers the BLBAR an exercise in futility because it has weakened the Bangsamoro powers that have already evolved from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and thus will be deemed a step backwards instead of forward. Rene Saguisag is a law graduate from the San Beda College, cum laude and bar topnotcher. He also earned his Master of Laws from Harvard University.
Congressman Rufus Rodriguez, on the other hand has heaped praises on the BLBAR of Marcos. He said it’s not an easy undertaking. He knows what it takes to shepherd an important bill through Congress, he added. Rufus Rodriguez is the author of the recent bill that seeks to exempt Pia Wurtzbach from paying taxes.
The haste with which the new version came into form could possibly explain why some of the changes introduced don’t seem to have been well-thought out. Take the case of the missing preamble.
The preamble is the preliminary statement at the beginning of the Constitution or any statute that explains the purpose and intent of the law. Senator TG Guingona questioned the deletion of the preamble in the BLBAR. Marcos responded that this was to avoid confusion and address fears that it was a new constitution for a separate State. Guingona had to explain that the preamble could actually address this confusion and create a better understanding of the intent of the proposed law. If there are fears that this is the start of a secession, he said, then the preamble can expressly indicate that this is not the case. Senator Guingona is a graduate of the Ateneo Law School.
So is the BBL unconstitutional as so declared by Bongbong Marcos?
The former Chief Justice Hilario Davide , another member of the Peace Panel, has stated in a separate report of his findings, that the proposed law, the BBL is compliant with the Constitution.
He also added that the BBL should not be seen as merely a granting of autonomy, or a division of the house and properties. He said that the BBL should be understood as an instrument for attaining social justice and development for the people of Mindanao and the whole country. The BBL, he stressed is a way to peace.
So much for leading the country to perdition.
The former Chief Justice Davide finished law at the University of the Philippines and was awarded Doctor of Law (Honoris Causa) by the Southwestern University of Cebu. He was a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention and became a Commissioner of the 1986 Constitutional Commission where he was Chairman of the Committee on the Legislative Power and member of the Committees on Executive Power and Judiciary, Style and Public Hearings.
Bongbong Marcos attained a “Special Diploma in Social Studies” from Oxford University. There is no record of his having completed a Bachelor’s degree from any university. In other words, Bongbong Marcos is not a college graduate.
Many Intelligent Filipinos
Intelligent Filipino – smart, thinks for himself and is not easily swayed by empty promises, unsubstantiated claims. Studies issues and investigates to arrive at the truth.
According to a recent survey conducted by Pulse Asia in January 2016, the number 1 reason voters will have for choosing the candidates they will support is good character and reputation/ not corrupt (28%). This reason ranked no.1 all over the Philippines and across socio-economic groups. The second reason is a clear program of government and platform (14%) while the third is extensive experience in governance (12%). (Pulse: 1 in 4 Filipinos will vote for presidential bet with untarnished reputation, Philstar, Feb 19, 2016)
Isn’t this an indication that there are many intelligent Filipinos, highly educated or not, rich or poor, men or women, young and old who are giving this election a lot of thought?
They will take the time to assess who is telling the truth and who is lying though their teeth. They will be able to see who is truly after the best interests of the country. I believe they also already know who are the thieves, who are incompetent, plain lazy and highly opportunistic. They know who will serve them well and who are playing them for fools.
They know who and what Bongbong Marcos is. And they know who and what makes the opposing candidate a much better choice.
They will choose the good and competent, matino at mahusay. Because they are intelligent.
But they would also need to make more noise. The loud and shrill voices of those who do not think are heard the most. Like empty cans, those ones rattle the most. But aren’t they just as easily crushed with a vessel full of substance?