Buklod: It’s time to act and avoid the errors of Martial Law
Today is the anniversary of the Martial Law proclaimed by the late President Ferdinand Marcos 48 years ago and which had reigned for a long 14 years.
While Martial Law was declared ostensibly to solve the deteriorating peace and order problem then, it also attempted to address the root causes of those problems by creating, among others, a New Society.
In hindsight, it can even be stated that the first years of Martial Law were beneficial to the country as political stability and business confidence enabled the Philippines to wither the oil price shocks of the 1970s as well as the subsequent galloping inflations.
Unfortunately, these benefits disappeared as massive corruption and cronyism became the order of the day.
The saga of ABS-CBN comes to light as the Lopez family conglomerate were raided by Marcos cronies, notably the Benedictos and Romualdezes.
According to Ben Punongbayan, chairman and founder of Buklod, a national political party, Martial Law failed absolutely in economic terms and effectively retarded the improvement of the country’s respect for human development when it implemented, as its tools, violation of human rights and destruction of human lives.
What is more relevant, according to him, is that the benefits of the institution of Martial Law were squandered by the ruling class until they were thrown out of power in 1986.
Martial Law failed absolutely in economic terms and effectively retarded the improvement of the country’s respect for human development when it implemented, as its tools, violation of human rights and destruction of human lives.
For these failure and human abuses, the Filipino people have a good reason to be happy that it finally ended in 1986, and happier still about the way it ended.
But, according to Punongbayan, Filipino citizens are not conscious of the fact that what came after Martial Law, through 34 more years, was not any better either. There were six changes in administration throughout this time.
As a result of the mis-education of the Filipinos and because of the continuing politics of patronage, the goodwill earned by succeeding governments i.e. the governments of Corazon Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos were simply squandered.
This is also the case for President Rodrigo Roa Duterte whose popularity in 2016 could have been used in moving the country out of the rot it is in.
“There are now more Filipino citizens who are living in dire poverty. The NPA problem persists. Peace in Muslim Mindanao is still elusive. We continue to lag behind in the world’s march towards human, technological and economic development,” Punongbayan said.
The stark measure of how ineffective the country has moved through these years is the economic ranking of the Philippines among our ASEAN colleagues. We have in fact dropped several notches in the ranking since Martial Law. We may, in fact, be getting to the bottom, just ahead of Timor Leste, a tiny ASEAN country, if we do not change course.
Punongbayan urges well-meaning citizens to take action and carry as their task to inform the Filipino electorate of this lamentable historical development.
“In doing so, we may be able to elect in the next opportunity government leaders of different faces and possessing noble objectives to reverse this trend towards Apocalypse,” he said.