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Martial Law

Martial Law

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Published by Hannibal F. Carado

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Published by: Hannibal F. Carado on Oct 02, 2010
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01/11/2013

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³This Nation Can Be Great Again´
THE MARCOS PRESIDENCY
(1965-1986)
Ferdinand E. Marcos¶ defeat of Macapagal was accomplished by the usual pattern of eliteinterdependence ± the help of Ilocano allies in consolidating his Northern Luzon bailiwick, a tacticalalliance with the Lopez-sugar-media-energy dynasty, and a war chest of funds accumulated as a member of the Senate. On the campaign trail, Marcos promised that ³this nation can be great again,´ that the daysof corruption and inefficiency were over. By 1965, however, the idea of a new president turning thingsaround was hardly believable. The corruption of the Garcia and Macapagal presidencies had nurtured public cynicism, and Marcos himself has been accused of corruption while in the Senate. Neither hiscandidacy nor his slogan inspired much optimism, although the candidate was youthful and his beauty-queen wife Imelda gave his campaign a touch of glamour.First Term (1965-1969)1.
 
Marcos¶ rural development strategy was to increase productivity on existing rice lands in order tomake newly opened land especially in the interior of Mindanao available for foreign investmentin the new export crops of bananas and pineapples.a.
 
He therefore launched an ambitious rural infrastructure program funded by local andexternal borrowing and development aids. b.
 
He built new irrigation systems, supported technological innovations, and began toupgrade existing road systems.c.
 
He also pumped credit into the rural economy through the state-owned Land Bank.2.
 
 Not to neglect social development, Marcos upgraded rural education with the construction of ³Marcos schoolhouses,´ prefab buildings designed for public elementary and secondaryeducation. (This and other projects funded by U.S. aid obliged him to break a campaign promisenot to involve the Philippines in the American war in Vietnam. Soon after he became president, a battalion of military engineers were sent to South Vietnam.)3.
 
To lessen dependence on agricultural exports, Marcos pushed the 1967 Investment Incentives Actthrough Congress. This legislation encouraged investors of foreign capital to participate indomestic industrial development and to use the country as a base for export production.4.
 
Like Magsaysay, Marcos deployed the Armed Forces of the Philippines in development projects particularly in areas where civilian agencies lacked the resources to undertake projectsthemselves. This laid the groundwork for further military involvement in national and localadministration and politics.In his first-term initiatives ± economic liberalization, pursuit of productivity gains over comprehensiveland reform, and the use of executive and military agencies to shape society ± we see continuity with past presidents. Neither did Marcos differ in the use of power to enrich himself, his clan, and his allies.Marcos¶ first term developmentalist though it was, exhibited the self serving corruption of his predecessors. Increased government involvement in agriculture led to overpriced rice in times of shortage, and in the infrastructure program, officials took kickbacks from construction companies owned by Marcos supporters who built roads with inferior materials.What undermined Marcos was the fact that economic progress could not be sustained:
 
1.
 
The government had borrowed heavily for development programs on the assumption that exportearnings and other revenues would finance debt repayment.a.
 
But export revenues did not improve as much as expected. The rising cost of importswas not offset by the value of such a narrow export base (sugar, coconut, and forestry products), which was subject to the fluctuation of global commodity markets.2.
 
Other sources of government revenue went untapped. From 1959 to 1968, Congress passed notax legislation at all, despite significant structural changes in the economy.3.
 
American development assistance declined in the late 1960s ± from $190 million in 1968 to $144million in 1969.4.
 
Foreign investment plunged fro $20 million to $8 million as the international community becamewary of corruption and inefficiency.The president had lost much of his original panache and was confronted by growing criticism from political opponents and even the hitherto tolerant middle class. Nevertheless, in 1969 Marcos became thefirst Philippine president to win reelection.Second Term (1969-1972)Marcos¶ reelection plunged the country into crisis.1.
 
The unprecedented government deficit of more than one billion pesos forced Marcos to float thecurrency in early 1970. A sense of unease spread in urban areas as the m idle class feared aneconomic tailspin.2.
 
Social and political activism became much more urgent and student protest on Manila campusesgrew in frequency and intensity.3.
 
Activism addressing national and social themes also emerged within the Catholic Church whose political influence had grown with its anticommunist offensive of the 1950s.4.
 
After almost a decade of silence, the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) renewed organizingfor parliamentary struggle. With its peasant and worker base still recovering from the Huk debacle, the party recruited students at the UP and the Lyceum of Manila who were alreadyattracted to Marxism.5.
 
It was also a time of unabashed opportunism. Radical propaganda got a great boost whenMarcos¶ discarded allies, notably the Lopez and Laurel families, sensing that he was faltering,announced their sympathy with the ³revolution´ and opened their media outlets to studentradicals.6.
 
The intensification of political battles outside the state was paralleled by escalating combatwithin. Anti-Marcos delegates to the 1971 Constitutional Convention planned to prevent him (or any immediate family member) from seeking another term. In Congress, the opposition regaineda majority after key Nacionalistas withdrew their support and a Communist bombing of a Liberal party rally in August 1971 was popularly attributed to Marcos.The ³US-Marcos DictatorshiThe declaration of martial law devastated Marcos¶ opponents.1.
 
Overnight the entire network of anti-Marcos forces had disappeared from the public arena.Politicians were jailed, their patronage machines adrift, and private armies demobilized.2.
 
Students, academics, journalists, businessmen, and labor and peasant organizers had also beenarrested.

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