The Truth About the Economy Under the Marcos Regime

Posted on November 15, 2015 10:58:00 PM
Emmanuel S. de Dios

Nearly three decades after it ended, still no proper account has been written of the economy under authoritarian rule, which is a big reason that Millennials have only an inkling of what transpired during those years. It is also why one now hears the mind-blowing judgement that “Marcos was the best president the country ever had.” And if you ask Millennials today who in their mind was the country’s worst president, their likely answer is “Gloria Arroyo.” (Sigh.)

This is obviously no place to write an economic history (hanc columnis exiguitas non caperet). But there may be enough room to correct a few bad habits when thinking about the Marcos period.
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Solita Monsod Says “Economy Was in Shambles” After Marcos’ Regime

Published: Feb 28, 2011 – 9:10am

In an interview with Business Nightly aired last week, Unang Hirit’s resident political analyst Solita “Winnie” Monsod said the Philippine “economy was in shambles” after Ferdinand Marcos’ regime in the 1980s.

Monsod, who served as a Cabinet member from 1986 to 1989 during Corazon Aquino’s administration, said the inflation rate in 1985 was “something like 50 percent.”

After the debt crisis in 1983, the Philippines was in “total shambles,” Monsod told Business Nightly. “We had no money and no infrastructure projects in the pipeline because the Philippines was actually sending out more dollars than it was receiving in loans. So there was what we called a negative net resource transfer. It was as if we were sending aid to the developing countries.”

“Marcos’ excesses in terms of projects—overpriced projects—and diversion of funds, etc., had finally caught up with the Philippines. We were borrowing money like it was going out of style. The projects that the money was being devoted to had no immediate redemptive or return value,” Monsod told Business Nightly.
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Bad Economic Record of Marcos’ Martial Law

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:36:00 02/24/2011

EVEN AS Filipinos commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, there seems to be a growing impression that despite gargantuan corruption and human rights abuses, Marcos’ 20-year rule, including 14 years of martial law, produced remarkable and unequalled economic and social gains for the nation. This impression has more and more assumed the semblance of truth as years pass and memories fade, and as post-Marcos administrations perform just as, or even more, badly.

To begin with, poverty drastically increased during the Marcos years. In his Pulitzer prize-winning book “In Our Image, America’s Empire in the Philippines,” Stanley Karnow wrote: “A World Bank study estimated that the proportion of people living below the poverty line in cities had risen from 24 percent in 1974 to 40 percent in 1986. The countryside was no better.”
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The Economic Decline That Led to Marcos’ Fall

Ping Galang February 21, 2011 5:23pm

In the three years following the 1983 murder of Benigno Aquino Jr., the Philippine economy steadily declined amid a combination of growing political instability and eroding investor confidence that eventually led to the collapse of the autocratic regime of Ferdinand Marcos.

When Marcos first came to power in 1966, the Philippines was one of Asia’s dynamic economies, second only to highly industrialized Japan. By the early 1980s, many of its neighbors had overtaken the Philippines as Marcos perpetrated a regime of misguided economic directions, corruption across the bureaucracy, favoritism in the grant of state incentives and financing that bred inefficient industries under an environment of crony capitalism, and widespread poverty amid a land of opportunities controlled by monopolies.
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