The Volatilian™ View

When history repeats

former Philippine president Ferdinand E. Marcos

For supporters of former Philippine president Ferdinand E. Marcos (photo) yesterday was an auspicious day. It marked the centenary of his birth. Predictably, it was also an occasion for Marcos-haters to come out in force and once more condemn the late president for putting the country through nine years of martial law; for human-rights abuses; for grand plunder and for dictatorship.

Everything followed the usual script – it was another rerun of a remake of a remake of a rerun of a story that goes back to 1986 when Marcos was forced from power by a People Power revolution that remains the benchmark of all protests in the Philippines.

The disgruntled progressive Left united once more to denounce their bête noir, with the usual groups, including those from the 12 parties of the Makabayan politically progressive coalition well represented. There was the ubiquitous presence of students – most of whom would have been around the age of minus 30 when martial law was declared, and around minus 10 when Marcos died. They managed to vividly recall the horrors of that era though as if they’d lived through it.

But it wasn’t the late president they had on their minds. All they know about him is what they’ve been told; what they’ve been taught. It was the current one – Rodrigo Duterte; who allowed Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the Hero’s Cemetery in Taguig, Metro Manila at the end of last year; who speaks fondly of Marcos, revering him as a patriot and, in many ways, the nation’s “best president”. He’s who was really on their minds. The man who one week ago declared 9/11, Marcos’s birthday, a ‘Special Non-Working Holiday’ in the province of his birth, Ilocos Norte in the Philippines far north.

Ilocanos, according to Duterte’s declaration, should be allowed to celebrate Marcos’s “life and contributions to national development as [a] World War II veteran, distinguished legislator, and former president”.

All that was like salt in the wound for sure, but the real focus of their ire was Duterte, a man who’s close to the Marcos family and makes no apology for it. Imee Marcos, the late president’s eldest daughter and the Governor of Ilocos Norte, supported Duterte in his run for the presidency; her brother, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos is a close Duterte confidant. And if he’s successful in his challenge to reverse the May 2016 vice-presidential election result – he has a protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal alleging electoral fraud – he’ll become Duterte’s VP.

It was Duterte, then, who was on their minds and the real target of their anger; that’s who they were really talking and thinking about at their protest jamborees which they turned up to with their anti-Marcos signage. They were invoking the spectre of Marcos as a metaphor for Duterte. Ferdinand Marcos Snr has become the last real rallying cry for the Liberals and the Left. They believe that image is so powerful that it can destroy Duterte and bring them to power. And the image is a simple one – that Duterte is Marcos in the mirror.

Of course they’re wrong. Much as they want to keep all that alive, memories of Marcos martial law have become dim. On top of that, there are real and present threats which face the country, making – for most people – what happened in the 1970s virtually irrelevant. At this stage, three-decades-plus on, it’s a bleep in history which few can actually remember anyway. Furthermore, the thoughts of a new imposition of martial law is not seen as re-entering a dark age. For those who support this president, if that’s what he needs to do, so be it.

But for Duterte the Marcos era does remain relevant – though for very different reasons. For him there are clear parallels between then and now. And what propelled Marcos to invoke martial law could also make Duterte do the same. Let us digress for a moment.

The place, Southeast Asia; the time, the last third of the last century – a volatile period on the region’s socio-political landscape. To meet the challenges of that time, the people of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines chose leaders who they believed could quell the turbulence and bring order to their lands. They say history repeats itself – and it does.

For while Singapore and Malaysia – more or less – have continued to progress societally, Indonesia and the Philippines have not to anything like the same degree. Violence, crime, insurgency and inner conflict continue in these places. And so, “cometh the hour, cometh the man” – and the people in those two places have once more installed leaders they believe can rescue their lands.

In the case of the Philippines, there are wars on several fronts – illegal drugs and criminality; Islamic extremism with the emergence of Islamic State on the southern island of Mindanao, and a resurgence of the communist rebellion that’s flared and smoldered for little short of half a century.

It’s the last of these that convinced Marcos to impose martial law in 1972 – and that’s the one most likely to cause Duterte to impose it again. Certainly, the jihadist threat is extremely serious, but at this stage it’s very much centred on Mindanao – that’s the country’s Muslim heartland; it’s where all but possibly one of the Islamist terror networks operate.

The communists, however, present a more pan-archipelago threat – they’re in Mindanao, certainly, but they’re also in the large northern island region of Luzon. And – despite the shams of peace talks with the government – they’re as committed to the Proletarian Revolution as they ever were.

They would like nothing more than to see the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) flag flying above the Philippine Senate building in Pasay City. That’s their goal – to install a communist government in Manila. And that can’t be done via the ballot box so it will have to be done at the barrel of a gun.

No one knows for sure, but had Marcos not taken on the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist New People’s Army (NPA) – the CPP’s military wing – which he utterly broke, the Philippines today could be a one-party state emerging from a civil war and a litany of communist purges that attend all such people’s revolutions. It might have gone through the same wretched baptism of death experienced by Cuba under the Castro Brothers, Kampuchea (Cambodia) under the hideously barbaric Pol Pot; Russia under the Bolsheviks and, of course, NPA-backer, China, under Mao Zedong’s Red Guards.

At its height, the NPA commanded a fighting force somewhere north of 25,000; in 1994, according to the Belgium-based International Crisis Group, its strength was down to 6,000. Today, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines the NPA has less than 4,500 troops.

That figure, however, is questionable and could have a certain amount of wishful thinking built in. The fact is, the NPA has been boosting its recruitment drives and building its war chest by imposing more revolutionary taxes on local communities and on anyone entering the territories it controls. They’ve patiently regrouped, re-recruited and gone back into battle.

There’s nothing fluffy or romantic about the NPA. It’s engaged in an armed rebellion and is fully committed to its cause – a very bloody one. Between 1969 and 2008 there were more than 43,000 insurgency-related deaths.

Now Duterte wants to end what Marcos started. He wants the NPA completely eradicated before the end of his term in office. Back in July, Philippine National Police chief, Ronald dela Rosa, announced that a “full scale campaign” would be launches against the NPA. Duterte’s instruction to him was unambiguous; consign them to history “whatever it takes”.

He told dela Rosa “You better get ready, we will wipe out all NPA after [dealing with] the problem in Marawi” – a reference to the siege and occupation of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur in Mindanao by the Islamic State-affiliated Maute Group. That confrontation is now in its fourth month.

Only time will tell whether Duterte will impose martial law, but one thing’s for sure; he’s running out of patience with the communist insurgency and wants to do what no other president before him has succeeded in doing – he wants to wipe out the NPA from their last stronghold.

In January 1970 – two full years before he imposed martial law – Marcos wrote this in his diary: “I have several options [referring to a coup plot uncovered by his security branch]. One of them is to abort the subversive plan now by the sudden arrest of the plotters. But this would not be accepted by the people. Nor could we get the Huks [communists], their legal cadres and support. Nor the MIM [Maoist International Movement] and other subversive organizations, nor those underground. We could allow the situation to develop naturally then after massive terrorism, wanton killings and an attempt at my assassination and a coup d’état, then declare martial law or suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus – and arrest all including the legal cadres. Right now I am inclined towards the latter”.

Right now, Duterte may seem similarly inclined. Last Saturday, while visiting wounded troops at a hospital in Cagayan de Oro City he issued this warning to communist rebels: “Do not commit the mistake of staging a rebellion, where there is fighting in the streets. I will not hesitate to impose martial law all throughout the country and order the arrest of everybody”.

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  • mas gusto ko subukan na ng mga supporters ng mga NPA o mga ISIS o alin man sa suportado ng mga LP at mga YELLOWTARD…BIFF man o mga binabayaran nilang mga IP’s at pati na ang mga estudyante ng UP sumama na lahat at pati mga bayarang organizers ng mga rally at sumama na rin ang mga pari at madre…subukan nyo na now na guluhin ang bansa kung handa na kayo mag civil war.

  • Nakakapagod…. Paulit ulit….. sigaw ng sigaw… Un mga bayaran nag po protesta e mukhang walang alam sa buong nakaraan kasaysayan.. Ride on lang ng ride on basta nay Bayad sila!,,

  • kung hindi sa decision ni Marcos malamang komunistang bansa na ang Pilipinas at hindi na pwede ang ginagawa ngayon ng mga anti-marcos na magrally…. kagaya na sana tayo ng North Korea na walang kalayaan ang mga mamamayan….

  • I was Grade 6 when Marcos was elected president. I admired his early years of presidency. There were many big projects and MM was peaceful. But the latter part of Marcos regime was marred with corruption, lavish lifestyle, Filipinos were getting poorer and poorer each day. May rallies lagi at magulo at noong nagkasakit na si Marcos umabuso na rin ang military Remember the behest loans ng mga Marcos cronies? Laspag na laspag ang Pinas. Sinara ang Central Bank of the Philippines at nagbukas ng panibago naging Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas actually ang change ay from English to Pilipino lang. I don’t want for another Marcos to rule the country. TAKE NOTE, tinanggap ba ni Digong si BBM noong pumunta siya sa Davao para kunin maging VP niya? HINDI!!! Try to think what might be the reason. Wala akong ill-feeling kay Marcos pero dapat huwag na nating ibalik ang isang Marcos as president. Look at Cory at Pnoy naging salot sa Pinas kawawang JUAN DELA CRUZ.

    • Nko maam Nelda.kung pumayag kya si Cory na umuwi cyasa pinas maging ganyan prin kya ang sintiminto mo?lahat ginawa ng kalaban siraan c Marcos habang nsa Hawaii.Ang tanung ko sayo at sagutin mo ng maayos..bakit ayaw mkipag uaap ni Cory kay Doy Laurel galing ng Hawaii..cge nga maghintay ako sa sagot mo..marami tayong d alam na lihim ni Cory na pilit pinagtatakpan hanggang sa ngaun kya wag kang magbalat ahas tulad ni tanda mong yang bata kpa rin mag isip pla sa tunay na historya ng Bansa natin..anu bang ginawa ni cory?Wag ka kc madalas manuod ng Teleserye at pti utak mo naging Kardo bka dmo alam may Batas na pinirmahan si Cory sa 1987 Constitution na wlang sinumang may bayag na kumestyun nto khit na presidente na sumonod sa sa kanya?Sinara ag Central Bank pra malaya sa mata ng taong bayan ang knilang planong pagnanakaw dahil alam nila may nkalagak doon na ilang libong toneladang ginto..

    • Jess Gonz Hindi ko naman sinasabi na gusto ko ang adminstrasyon ni Cory at Pnoy alam ko paano nila binaboy ang Pinas. Basahin mo nga maigi ang post ko. Anti-LP ako, ang opinion ko ayaw ko na rin na may isang Marcos pa na maging presidente. Just respect what I post if you believe we are in a democratic country. ✌️

    • Masyado ka lng nabulag sa mga naririnig mo nung kapanahunan ni Marcos Nelda..sino ang gusto mong mamuno sa bansa?ilang presidente nba dumaan anung naiba?Paraan nla ang Salitang Martial Law pra mkaapghabol cla sa Yaman ng mga Marcos dhil kung d nla gagamitin na ML wla silang mahahabol..

    • I’d rather have another Marcos to rule our country coz they have compassion for the people rather than those yellows who keep on fooling us that democracy is still alive but it’s not and it never was with them!!

    • It’s the same Duterte has plans parallel to that of Marcos! They have the same visions for the Filipino people and have the same real compassion! That’s why people voted him…and PRRD is just continuing the 30 year master plan of FEM! I voted MDS but my respect and support goes to PRRD all the way!!

    • Ginugulo mo lang ang sarili mong isipan nelda, kung di ka lang sana mahilig sa yellow pages or yellow printed textbooks medyo lumawak yata ang iyong power, sabi nga ni ka ernie kung walang knowledge? Ang tanong ay kung bakit nagkaletseletse ang pamumuno ni President Marcos habang tumatagal ay dahil sa mga panggugulo ng oposisyon. Peru ito ang pagbasihan mo, WALA sa KALINGKINGAN kung paghambingin mo ang mga FINISHED projects ni FEM at noong LIMA na pumalit sa kanya from Cory to Noynoy.

    • Mdz Orapa intindihin mo nga maigi ang comment ko bago ka magkomentaryo. Saan banda sinasabi ko na pro-DILAW ako? At basahin mo pa ang lahat na mga comments sa taas. Satsat ka ng satsat, gamitin mo utak mo!!!

    • Mdz Orapa Nabasa mo ba ang kabuohang article ng The Volatilian? Karamihan sa mga nagco-comment sulat lang sulat hindi binabasa ang article. Ang point ko ayaw ko ng may isang Marcos na maging presidente pa. Sabi ko maganda ang pagpapatakbo ni Marcos sa early years of his governance then ang latter years was marred with corruption, lavish lifestyle. Nangyari din noon ang abuso ng military i.e., Enrile, Ramos. Hindi ko naman kini-question ang mga infrastructure na nagawa sa panahon ni Marcos. Sa katunayan nga mas matibay pa ang LRT ni Marcos kay sa MRT. Don’t bark at the wrong tree. KATAW-ANAN RA KA GAW!!!

    • #NeldaOrapaAlmario pwes magbalot2 kna sa mga susun0d na panah0n dahl hnd m0 mapipiglan ang mga ta0ng gust0ng ibalik ang mga Marcoses.. nakta m naman paan0 minahal ng ta0ng bayan nadaya lang sure ako.

    • pwes #NeldaOrapaAlmario wagkang magk0mento na makakasakt dun sa mga naniniwala para dka sagutn ay0n sa mga cnasbe m0.. sbgay like PRRD ang umaayaw ay may mga gawaing labag sa batas cguro gan0n dn kau n0n kya hate m ang marcos dhl naunsiyame famly m0.

    • Floren Avila Aguja mas gusto ko Duterte pa rin ang sunod na presidente, no question sa akin kong si BBM ang mananalo sa protest para ma palitan ang FAKE VP LUGAW. Hindi rin ako against sa paglibing kay Marcos sa LNMB. I am just saying my views and opinion. I don’t have to argue with anyone. ✌️

  • Repost

    Fact: Alam niyo bang noong bata pa si Ferdinand E. Marcos naakusahan na ito ng kasong murder ? Isa pa lamang siyang estudyante sa law noon. Ang nakakabilib doon ay di siya kumuha ng abugado bagkus siya mismo ang nagligtas sa sarili niya at kinatigan siya ng korte ang sabi pa ng isa sa mga hukom ” huwag nating sayangin ang buhay nang batang ito, malaki pa ang maiaambag nito sa bansa” ani ni Osmeña. Alam niyo rin ba na ang batang Marcos din ang nakakuha ng pinakamataas na grado sa kasaysayan ng pag aabugasya ? Dahil ang grade nito ay halos 100% kaya naman pina-retake sa kanya dahil baka nandaya raw at oral exam ang ginawa s kanya sa loob pa ng korte. At nakakuha siya ng 95% pinakamataas parin sa kasaysayan Alam niyo bang Si FEM ang pinakabatang pulitiko na nanalo bilang Mayor, Congressman, Gobernador at Senador ? Alam niyo rin bang mayaman talaga ang pamilyang Marcos ? Dahil sila ang kinuhang abugado ng Pamilyang Tallano na nagmamay ari sa buong pilipinas. Ang bayad ay tone-toneladang ginto. Na dati ang pangalan ng bansa natin ay The Maharlika.(Do research about this) Isa pang trivia. Ang mga tallano ang nagbayad o totoong bumili saatin nung isuko ng Espanya ang Pilipinas sa Amerika. Ibinigay ito ng Tallano sa Amerika para pambayad o pantubos sa ating bayan. Alam niyo bang Si FEM ay isa sa pinakamagaling na leader at hinahangaan sa buong mundo ? Dahil sa aking nitong talino at husay sa pagpapalakad at pagpapalakas ng bansa. Kaya naman maraming inggit sa kaniyang galing, 1 dollar is 2peso lang ang pilitan, sumunod tayo sa Japan sa pinakamalakas na bansa sa buog Asia. At tayo ang Tiger of Asia! Alam niyo bang nagpadala si Marcos ng tulong sa Korea at Vietnam para makatulong na matapos ang digmaan sa kanila ? Alam mo bang sa Pilipinas pa nangungutang at humihingi ng tulog ang bansang South Korea para madevelop at mapaganda after Korean War ? Kaya ganon nalang utang na loob ng south koreans saatin.( search niyo speach ni dating Pres. Park) Alam niyo bang magka-brod o iisang fratternity lang si Marcos at Aquino ? Matalik talaga silang magkaibigan nasira lang dahil sa pulitika at mga kakampi ni Aquino. Alam niyo bang sa loob ng mahigit 20yrs niya sa panunungkulan ay umabot lamang sa mahigit 500bilyong piso lamang ang kabuuang budget na nagastos niya ? Ikumpara mo sa 1 trilyon ni Cory na di naman natapos ang termino at 1.5 trilyong piso ni Ramos na isang termino lang ? Alam niyo bang kahit pagsama-samahin lahat ng proyekto ng mga sumunod na presidente sa kaniya at di parin mangangalahati sa lahat ng accomplishment niya ? Simula kay Aquino at kay Aquino uli haha. Karamihan sa mga proyekto o iba ay puro pinalitan nalang ng pangalan. Kagaya ng Manila International Airport naging NAIA. LRT na kauna unahang Vertical Railway System sa SouthEast Asia. NLEX Basta marami pang iba. Visit Ferdinand E. Marcos page para makita niyo yung iba o halos lahat makikita niyo dun. Alam niyo bang idineklara ni Marcos ang Martial Law dahil sa Pambobomba ng mga terroristang NPA at pag-usbong ng iba pang rebelde gaya ng MNLF at ibpa. Alam niyo ba na balak bawiin ni Marcos ang Sabah ? Dahil parte ito ng pilipinis regalo ito ng Bormeo(Im not sure) sa sultan ng Sulu dahil sa pagtulong sa kanila sa pakikidigma. Binalak itong bawiin ni Marcos sa Malaysia sa pamamagitan ng pagsakop dito para mabilis mabawi. Gumawa siya ng isang grupo ng mga muslim para di mahalata ng mga Malaysian ang pagsakop. Tribo ito ng mga tausug at dinala sa Corriedor upang sanayin subalit may napabalitang may namatay na tausug at ito ang tinawag ni Aquino na Jadiha Massacre. Isa ito sa dahilan ng pag-usbong ng MNLF. Alam niyo ba na kaya nagkasundo ang Gobyerno at MNLF dahil sa kasunduan na pinagigitnaan ng libya ? Kaya nabuo ang ARMM ? Maraming miyembro ang di nakuntento kaya nabuo ang break-away faction na MILF ? Na nakikipag kasundo naman ngayon sa gobyerno kaya nabuo ang BIFF ? Alam niyo ba kung bakit walang namatay noon People Power sa edsa ? Dahil sa utos ni Marcos. Non-Verbatim: Gen Ver: Pres. Nakaporma na ang mga sundalo natin at handa ng umatake. FEM: My order is not to shot. End. Alam niyo bang bago pumunta si Marcos sa hawai ay hiniling nito na buksan ni Aquino ang Bataan Nuclear Plant upang masustentuhan ang National Grid na na plano ni Marcos upang mapababa ang presyo ng kuryente ? Alam mo bang proyekto ni Marcos ang mga rural banks, kooperatiba upang matulungan mamuhunan ang maliliit na mangingisda at magsasaka ? Alam niyo ba na proyekto ni FEM ang Green Revolution(corrct me if im wrong) na nagresulta ng self effiency natin sa bigas at nakakapag export pa tayo na kumikita ng mahigit 3bilyong dolyar kada taon. Alam niyo ba niya siya lang ang natatanging Leader na kailanman ay hindi gumamit ng kahit kodigo sa talumpati nito o interview ng english ? Alam mo bang pagmamay ari ng gobyerno o GOCC ang mga PNB, Petron, PAL, NAWASA, channel 4 and 13 etc. Marami pang iba ngunit ang iba ay napalitan ng pangalan o di kaya ay binenta sa pribadong kumpanya. Alam niyo bang hawak ng gobyerno ang MERALCO noon dahil nalugi ito at humingi ng tulong ang mga Lopez sa gobyerno para di mabangkarote ? Ngunit nabaliktad ito nang pamaalis ang Marcos at nakuha uli ng mga Lopez. Alam niyo bang hanggang sa ngayon tinatamasa parin natin ang halos lahat ng proyekto niya ? Panoorin ang Interview ni Mel Tiangco kay Ms. Imelda Marcos sa Power House. Ipinakita doon ang isang silid na naglalaman ng papeles o documento na magpapatunay sa yaman nila. Kung hindi ako nagkakamali pinabasa niya ito kay Mel at umaabot na ito halos isang trilyon kasama ang interes dahil tatlong limang dekada na ito nakatago. Ani pa ni Ms. Marcos itinatago daw nila ito para sa buong pilipinas at maging sa mundo. Alam niyo bang libo-libong kaso ang kinaharap ni Ms. Marcos sa korte ng New York subalit ni isa dito ay walang nanalo. Kaya naman tinawag itong “fight of the century”. PS:Share ko lang sana may pake kayo.
    -Credit to the owner of this message!

  • NPA ang dahilan ng pagdeclare ng martial law ni Marcos noon. Kung hindi sya nagdeclare ng martial law, naging communist country na tayo noon pa. Patuloy pa rin sinisira si Marcos ng mga kampi ng NPA .. kasama ang mga Aquino… Sino ba ang magsasabi ng totoo? Sa tagal na ng panahon na nagdaan, hindi ba puede ipa sa Dios na lang ng mga mapanira kay Marcos kung masama nga ba ang ginawa niya. Alalahanin rin natin na siya ang president na pinakamarami ang nagawa sa pilipinas na pinapakinabangan pa hanggan ngayon. For all you know sya ang naging santo at hindi
    si cory. he he he…

  • Two sides lang: Marcos was then the President, declared ML because of treats, communist and rebellion , ,,,as president his duty is protect the people and preserve our country,,, kung lumaban k s gov’t, it’s your choice, you don’t have the right to complaint?

  • Marcos was and still d best! W/out him maybe we are nOw cOmmunists under d rule of Joma Sison and Benigno Aquino , bOth are allies!
    The bombing of Plaza Miranda which was conducted by d CPP-NPAs and Benigno Aquino was d special guest speaker of d Liberal Party ay “DI PO NAG ATTEND”!
    They blame it on Marcos!
    Ang tAtAngA, di pO ba?
    KakapAl ng apog nyo!
    During d 80’s, economic crisis was worldwide not only d2 sa Pinas, that was d time wherein my gyera between IRAQ and US!
    Alamin nyo muna kung bkit bago ngaw ngaw ng ngaw ngaw!
    After d ouster, lalong NGA NGA ang Pinas!

  • Pinaka da best….na presidente ng Pilipinas si Marcos…may nagawa man sya pagkakamali….pero napakarami kabutihan nagawa nya sa bansa….hindi gaya ng mga pumalit sa kanya…..wala nagawa kundi mag ngangawa……at lahat ng naka pwesto corrupt…..

  • Without a strong leader like marcos these type of infrastructure would not be built . Eh kitang kita naman na yung mga ginawa at contributions of marcos to the filipino people. Why would you not bury him in the hero’s cemetery kung di niyo ginagamit ang heart center . Why would you not bury him if di niyo ginagamit ang roads .

  • I like 10 years of ML. I was there in Manila, studying. Generally peaceful. Crimes are at it’s lowest. Only criminal elements, political radicals & communists are heavily affected & sufferred. Civilians are at peace. No drugs. Massive developnents were accomplished. Marcos was tagged locally & internationally…. the BUILDER!

  • For the past 30 years our Gov. has had a virus, a disease called corruption–it has grown steadily, had Duterte lost it would have escalated beyond proportion we would not have known w info kept underground the way it was done for 30 years, But the miasma is surfacing.–enough is enough– with justice easily bought–Martial Law is the only solution–

  • mayaman ang bansa natin noon, kaya gusto ng ibang bansa na pabagsakin, yun ibqng pinoy nagpagamit ng ibang politiko, kaya ganun nnlang naranasan natin BAON SA UTANG…


  • I admired him being brilliant. But I really don’t know what was the truth of his presidency if he’s good or bad because I was still very young when he’s still in power. We can’t relied on the history books about him coz we don’t know if its true or manipulated by some people against him or vice versa.