By Manuel F. Almario, Martial Law detainee and spokesman, Movement for Truth in History | Updated February 27, 2011 – 12:00am
What was the true record of President Ferdinand Marcos’ 20-year rule, including 14 years of martial law and dictatorship?
In the Feb. 13, 2011 edition of the Philippine STAR coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the overthrow of the Marcos regime, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was quoted as saying:
“If there was no EDSA I, if my father was allowed to pursue his plans, I believe that we would be like Singapore now …. The truth about the administration of my father is now becoming clear that he accomplished a lot, he helped many people and there was great progress during his time.”
We must restate the historical record, lest many of our countrymen, should forget, being perhaps afflicted by fading memories and gripped by an undeserved nostalgia for an authoritarian regime especially when compared with faltering succeeding administrations.
To begin with, poverty significantly worsened during the Marcos years. “A World Bank study estimated that the proportion of people living below the poverty line in [Phl] cities had risen from 24 percent in 1974 to 40 percent in 1986 [the year Marcos was ousted]. The countryside was no better.” Thus wrote the well-respected journalist and historian Stanley Karnow in his book, In Our Image, America’s Empire in the Philippines, which won the Pulitzer Prize for History.
Economic growth slackened. Penn World Tables reported that while real growth in GDP per capita averaged 3.5 percent from 1951 to 1965, under the Marcos regime (1966 to 1986) annual average growth was only 1.4 percent (Wikipedia). So how could the Philippines have overtaken Singapore which had witnessed “unprecedented economic growth” averaging 12.7 percent of real GDP from 1965 to 1973, according to the Library of the US Congress? Thereafter, Singapore frequently reached growth rates averaging 8-10 percent.
Workers’ wages decreased drastically. Between 1982 and 1986, real wages of unskilled laborers in Metropolitan Manila declined annually at 5.8 percent, and those of skilled laborers at 5.2 percent. Agricultural wages also declined at the same rate, according to James K. Boyce, associate professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts in his book, The Political Economy of Growth and Impoverishment in the Marcos Era.