Thursday, September 5, 2013

Martial Law Era

(1972 – 1981)


                For the first time since gaining our freedom in 1946, the Filipinos experienced the impact of martial law (1972-1981). President Marcos used martial law in order to prolong his stay in power. He claimed other reasons in public – to save the Republic and reform the society – but these objectives were secondary to his primary aim of becoming a dictatorial president and establishing a political dynasty.
Thus, the strong powers assumed by Marcos eventually did far more harm than good, because under the New Society which he established, the Philippines suffered the worst political, economic and moral decline in its post war history.
The following terrible events prepared the country for the drastic measures taken by President Marcos in declaring martial law:
1.       Plaza Miranda Massacre on August 20, 1971
2.       Demonstrations and rallies by militant students, workers, intellectuals and religious groups
3.       Terrorist bombings of public and private property and residences
4.       Dramatic proof that the dissidents received military aid from foreign sources
5.       Assassination attempts on Marcos and another national leaders (September 22, 1972- Ambush on the official car of Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile)

*September 23, 1972, 7:30 PM: formal announcement of Marcos that he placed the entire Philippines under martial law as of 9 PM of the previous day, September 22, 1972 by implementing Proclamation No. 1081, which was signed earlier on September 21, 1972

*Martial Law: an extraordinary measure taken by the head of the state to defend or to protect the people from extreme danger due to lawless violence, anarchy, rebellion or invasion (Article VII Section 10, Paragraph 2 of 1935 Phil. Constitution)

*Advanced contingency plan by the President and his military advisers, code named Plan Sagittarius.
1.       Anti-Marcos were arrested
2.       All newspapers, television and radio stations , printing press and other means of mass media were  closed and placed under military control
3.       Vital public utilities and industries, including PLDT and Iligan Integrated Steel Mill were seized and placed under control of the government
4.       Prohibition of student rallies and demonstrations
5.       Travel ban abroad
6.       Confiscation of arms
7.       Congress of the Philippines was abolished

                Among salient features of this constitution, favorably suit to the desire of Marcos of a “constitutional authoritarianism”:
a.       Established for the first time in Philippine history a parliamentary government, a Prime Minister and a President. Both were elected by the National Assembly
b.       Legislative powers would have been vested in a unicameral National Assembly elected by the people
c.       Emphasized duties and obligations of the citizens
d.       Termination of parity rights between Americans and Filipinos
e.       Legalized all decrees, proclamations and orders of President
1.       Restoration of peace and order
2.       Crime rate greatly reduced
3.       Mailed fists policy against the rebels (NPA and MILF)
4.       Policy of attraction for the Muslim Filipinos by granting them economic, political and socio-cultural reforms
5.       Reorganization of government
6.       Military emerged as a major partner in the governing process
a.       Fabian C. Ver: appointed Major-General and Armed Forces Chief of Staff, also headed the National Intelligence and Security Agency
7.       Educational system was reformed by means of Educational Decree (P.D. No. 6-A) of Sept. 29, 1972
Aside from saving the Republic, President aimed to form a New Society – a society which would be disciplined, self-sufficient, peaceful and self-reliant. For martial law to be of lasting benefit to the nation, according to him, there must be great reforms in all spheres of national life. Marcos also said that the conquest of mass poverty and the democratic distribution of wealth and property were among the major economic goals of the New Society. He promised to strengthen the national economy, expand and improve government services to the people, institute land reform and redistribute incomes and opportunities.

1.       Land Reform: greatest achievement
2.       Establishment of National Economic Development Authority (NEDA): super policy-making body to plan and supervise the national economic development program
3.       Infrastructure: construction of roads, bridges, ports, airports, dams, irrigations, schools, hospitals, housing projects and communication facilities
4.       New sources of energy were tapped
5.       Double increased of both local and foreign investments
6.       Number of tourists increased
7.       Strengthened the ASEAN and relations to other foreign countries
1.       Worst political and economic crises
2.       Heavy tax structure
3.       Economy became more dependent on foreign creditors and foreign investors
4.       Indulged in image – building and a degree of corruption
*April 7, 1978: first national election under martial law
                * KilusangBagongLipunan (KBL or New Society Movement)
                * Lakasng Bayan (Laban or People’s Power): Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.

* June 12, 1978: Inauguration of Interim BatasangPambansa (Provisional National Assembly)
                New Motto: “IsangBansa, IsangDiwa” (One Nation, One Spirit)

*January 17, 1981: Marcos signed Proclamation No. 2045 ending 8 years and four months of martial law

*April 7, 1981: Ratification of the Amended Constitution which established a strong presidency in a mixed presidential-parliamentary form of government
1.       President became the head of the State and chief executive.
2.       He may run for as many six-year terms as he wished.
3.       In case of the President’s death and incapacity, a group called Executive Committee would exercise the executive power until a successor is elected.
4.       Creation of a regular parliament called BatasangPambansawhich could only check the prime minister and not the President.
*June 30, 1981: Inauguration of the Fourth Republic and Marcos hailed as the President.
*August 21, 1983: Assassination of Benigno Aquino Jr.who returned from a three-year exile in the United States
*October 14, 1983: independent board of inquiry (Agrava Board) created for the investigation of Aquino’s murder
                *Minority Report (October 23, 1984): Military conspiracy with a soldier as assassin, not Rolando Galman
implicated Brig. Gen. Luther Custodio and six other soldiers
                *Majority Report : Military conspiracy with a soldier as an assassin but implicated 26 men in crime,
including General Ver, Maj. Gen. Olivas, Brig. Gen Custodio and others


                After the end of eight years of Martial Law, the government of Philippine Republic changed drastically from the intended parliamentary democracy to a mixed presidential-parliamentary dictatorship under Marcos. This was done through a thorough revision of 1973 Constitution. Later changes in 1981 gave birth to what President Marcos called the “New Republic” or historically speaking, the Fourth Philippine Republic. However grand was the dream of Marcos for the new government, he plunged the country into the worst political and economic crisis in its postwar history after the assassination of his political rival, ex-Senator Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino, Jr.                 

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