The Dark Years : Martial Law Had Brought Havoc to this Nation

Today, September 21, marks the 40th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines. In 1972, former president Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1081 to put the entire country under authoritarian rule, one that had lasted for nearly a decade and became what today is considered as one of the darkest years in our history, where freedom of speech and of press, among others have been suppressed by often cruel and manhandling tactics of the military. It was a dangerous time for Filipinos as political activists, academicians and rival politicians disappeared one by one, or incarcerated in dingy cells. One of them was Senator Benigno Aguino Jr., also known as Ninoy, the man who could have been president, loved and adored by the masses, champions of the poor, wife and father to future presidents of this country.

I was born that year that perhaps I can be called now a martial law baby, which I resent a bit. It was growing up years for me that personally I haven’t have the opportunity to savor and experience how Martial Law years were except that on television, it was often President Marcos declaiming and announcing this and that, and of course Former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

It was not until the assassination of Ninoy in 1983 that I have become fully aware of the gravity of the situation, a nation in full turmoil, that shot rang out at the then Manila International Airport that fateful August day, and then witnessing the upheavals of the masses, as the fallen body of the dead Senator was ushered by thousands of supporters to his grave.

I was overwhelmed by the ensuing events - millions crying justice for Ninoy; Finance Minister Cesar Virata announcing on TV that the nation is in dire economic crisis; General Ver standing so fearfully beside President Marcos – it was a collage of tumultuous mages and events that had shackled the nation like a giant leech, unable to free itself.

In my young mind, I was asking “what is happening to this nation?”

The military dictatorship is one singular event that can directly be blamed for the nation’s economic decay, when before that, the Philippines was one of the most vibrant economy in Asia, at one time touted to be only second to Japan. But the decade of authoritarian rule had stymied the nation as violence pervaded and persecution prevailed. Business went away and jobs and opportunities became scarce as poverty increased exponentially.

We could have been so much better situated now if the Martial Law years did not occur, most possibly.
The declaration of Proclamation No. 1081 was accordingly, borne out of fear of widespread upheavals, especially from the communist. This was the justification of President Marcos, to which many see now as completely made up and baseless.

In Taiwan and Singapore, authoritarian rule or strict governance was also implemented and they have somehow prevailed as a nation in terms of social and economic development.

Whether or not President Marcos had the right intention and motivation, in the end, it was one huge mistake that had wrought such havoc and social degradation to this nation.

The nation must learn from the lessons of the Martial Law years, to never ever let it happen again.

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8 comments

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Franc Ramon
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4:14 PM GMT+8 delete

The martial indeed were the dark days and was not really needed and no matter how history would eventually paint it, staying in power for 20+ years is not good for the country as the needed change were never established.

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Y.B. Masdal
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7:50 AM GMT+8 delete

Exactly Franc, it was one nightmare for the country; wish it did not happened.

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Anonymous
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11:22 AM GMT+8 delete

its a bloody days!

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