On Friday, September 21, the nation will mark the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
It was actually Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile who wrote the details and implemented martial law.
I believe the implementation was a masterpiece. In one fell swoop, the nation was placed under the control of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
All media outlets were shut down and all means of transportation were canceled. Critics of the government and suspected members and supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines were detained.
Prior to the 21st of September, there had been rumors about the declaration of martial law. But it was said that Marcos felt the number 7 and its multiples would be lucky for him.
In justifying martial law, Marcos claimed that the communist movement was already knocking on the gates of Malacañang so he had to do something drastic.
According to Enrile, the last straw of Marcos was when he delivered his State of the Nation Address at the old Legislative Building and protesters threw a replica of a coffin.
For the record, Marcos was then fighting on three fronts—the communist movement, the secessionist movement in Mindanao, and civil society assisted by militants and media sympathetic to Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.
Recall that the Supreme Court upheld martial law citing these threats that Marcos was facing.
The tragedy however was that those who were arrested and detained claimed atrocities were done on them.
This Friday, many will talk about these alleged atrocities while forgetting that martial law actually made a dent on the communist movement. If the communists had not been stopped, who knows what could have happened to our nation!
I do not mean to belittle the atrocities committed on those who suffered during martial law. But I think we should remember the entire picture.
It is important for us now to move on as a nation. Sadly, many people, in pursuit of their own agenda, dredged out the past and lay the blame on Marcos’ descendants.
Personally I believe the sins of the father should not be transferred to their children.
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In the same context, President Duterte is confronted with multiple challenges far worse than what Marcos faced in his time.
Aside from the communists, Duterte is fighting terrorism from ISIS-inspired fighters in the South who want to establish their own caliphate here.
Most importantly, the nation is facing gut issues like the soaring prices of food items, water, power and transport. And then, as if we were not suffering enough, last weekend Typhoon “Ompong” caused damage in the billions of pesos to the agriculture sector.
These could push people to the brink!
Band-aid solutions like the importation of meat and fish are just that—temporary. Just how Mr. Duterte will face all these is the question. How will he act, given that he is also waging a war against illegal drugs and corruption?
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Despite all the problems hounding our nation, some members of the House of Representatives have inserted their own projects into the P3.7-trillion national budget. All these insertions amounting to P55 billion constitute “pork barrel” in any language.
It’s a good thing there is still the Senate, through which these insertions still have to go. Senator Panfilo Lacson, an avowed enemy of pork barrel, and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, have vowed to oppose these insertions.
It’s just despicable that amid all the country’s problems, some House members would still make their own interests a priority.
Unless the anomaly of pork barrel funds is stopped, legislators will continue to take the people for fools.
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There is another proposal of the diversified San Miguel conglomerate to build a P3-billion bridge connecting Caticlan in Aklan to Boracay. But it seems like government is dragging its feet.
SMC has another proposal—that P750-billion aerotropolis on 2,500 hectares of land in Bulacan. This is also being delayed.
SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said the bridge would enable the transport of waste from Boracay island and hence prevent it from becoming a cesspool again. Continuous electrical power is also assured. The proposed bridge is 1.1 kilometers. Vehicles and pedestrians will pay user’s fee.
The SMC proposal should provide synergy with the Caticlan airport, another SMC project.
All these could solve a lot of the government’s problems!