The Idiot’s Guide To Philippine Martial Law

Flickr / Eric James Sarmiento
Flickr / Eric James Sarmiento

Let’s face it; a lot of millennial Filipinos are stupid. No, I won’t sugarcoat it.

There’s no other word to describe how a slew of teens-to-20-somethings can be deluded into thinking history professors, priests, US ambassadors, farmers, and ordinary citizens from the 80s banded together to rewrite history to “discredit” and “frame” the Marcos regime, even when they have access to credible information via the Internet at their fingertips.

It’s strange because even my own Danish mother-in-law knows about Imelda Marcos and the Marcos’ legacy (solely from history lessons in school and reading the news), but many Filipinos don’t.

But for foreigners still unaware, the Philippines was under Martial Law from September 1972 until 1986 by the corrupt Marcos family. Somehow my fellow Filipino youth seem to think it was our country’s “golden years” when everything flourished, despite numerous sources and facts stating otherwise, despite the murders, despite the rapes, despite the survivor accounts, despite the down-spiraling economy and worsening poverty.

You’re worried America nominating Trump? The Philippines is literally a few ballots away from electing a poor man’s Hitler’s son, Bongbong Marcos.

Clearly failing to grasp the election is not only a means of practicing our democracy, but is also an unofficial IQ test, Filipinos are rallying to support and vote for a proven criminal to become Vice President, while sharing articles from satire sites as proof of a giant conspiracy. #LolWTF

To those of you who were too busy gossiping with your classmates, sending flirty texts under the desk to your crush, daydreaming about a celebrity, or plain-old sleeping instead of paying attention during your Philippine History and Economy 101 classes – let me help you stop making a fool out of yourself.


1. “The Philippines was the best country in all of Asia! The peso was strong! Our economy was flourishing! THE GOLDEN YEARS!” – Yes, during the first few years of Martial Law, our economy rose. How? By heavily borrowing money from banks. We borrowed SO MUCH MONEY our debt rose from $2.9 billion in 1973 of the “golden years” to $17.30 billion in 1980 (Source). Our economy steadily weakened and actually grinded to a halt (Source). Unemployment rates and inflation soared immensely while the Marcos regime monopolized businesses and gained commission from many companies  (Source). The Agrarian Reform platform was also a front in order for Ferdinand Marcos to gain ownership of his enemies’ lands, only 4% of farmers owned land when he was forced to step down from the presidency (Source).

2. “Ferdinand Marcos is my idol, the greatest President we’ve ever had. He had the highest score in history in many tests and he was very intelligent.” – So was Ted Bundy and he’s a serial killer. The funds borrowed above were heavily mismanaged, with Ferdinand Marcos the dictator pocketing most of the funds and using the rest to build useless infrastructure projects with cheap materials in order to appease the Filipinos and blindside them from the theft. Another slew of BS I read is that Ferdinand is not as “bad” as other politicians of present days. No, he is not. He is probably worse (Source).

3. “Their family has always been wealthy, that’s their own money.” – Tell that to the government as it continues trying to amass the billions of dollars stolen by the Marcoses. Bongbong even tried to contest a ruling by the courts to have $40 million be returned to the government. (Source). His sister is in the Panama Papers list (Source). And remember that iconic photo of a Martial Law survivor crying after finally being compensated 20+ years later? The money used for compensation was from the Marcos’ formerly secret Swiss bank accounts containing $800 million (Source)

4. “Bongbong was just a boy.” – During the EDSA Revolution when the Filipino people rose up to overthrow the dictatorship, Bongbong Marcos was already 28 years old wearing haute couture military uniform ready to help attack thousands of innocent civilians fighting for their rights. Back in 1981 when he was still 23, he was elected as Vice-Governor of Ilocos Norte and later on became Governor from 1983-1986.

5. “The sins of the father are not the sins of the son.” – Certainly not. However, just as Bongbong was already grown enough to have pubic hair, he was fully mature enough to be aware of what his dictator father was doing and did not have any problems benefitting from his father’s regime or splurging their ill-gotten money. His father’s sins are not his own. He made his own sins. For instance, he never complained when his father handpicked him to be PhilComSat’s Chairman of the Board which gave him a cool monthly salary of $9,700 – $97,000 despite barely showing up for work. (Source) He received much more from other assignments and businesses the entire family received a cut from. People change? Bongbong is recently entangled in the PDAF scam for plunder (Source). His other biggest blunder in the present? Trying to rewrite (Source) and whitewash history (Source).

6. “They’re good people, look at what they’ve accomplished.” – So what? So what if they arguably did a few things right, maybe? Bongbong installing windmills didn’t stop the Marcoses and their cronies from murdering the student who dared question Imee Marcos in an open-forum (Source). If anything, he is possibly showing he is using the same tactic his father and mother did – put up a few visible projects, keep the rest of the money. Also, the Marcoses are barred from going back to the US after they violated a US court decision to give compensation to 10,000 Martial Law victims whose human rights were violated (Source). And what about the accident during the construction of the Manila Film Center? Do good people refuse to rescue 169 workers buried under wet cement? (Source) Do good people use taxpayers’ money for Philippine planes to deliver freshly pumped breast milk to their baby left in the Philippines as the mom vacations in Europe? (Source) Do good people use government funds to go  on a million dollar shopping spree? (Source) Or to buy custom-made jewelry, designer shoes, apartments in New York, and paintings by Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh? (Source) Do good people continue to laugh when we demand for them to apologize for the money they’ve stolen, the lives they’ve killed? Do good people refuse to say sorry despite irrefutable proof? (Source) Do good people call the victims of their crimegreedyin order to avoid paying lawful compensation? Do good people censor media (Source) or imprison (Source) and torture 1,000 people, with hundreds still missing until today? (Source) (Source). If the Marcos family accomplished anything during their political careers, its that they cemented and institutionalized the art of corruption in the Philippines.

7. “The Aquinos and Lopezes and others are the same. They are also corrupt.” – I don’t give a shit. We’re talking about how you are actively turning a blind eye to the ugly history of this country. Other political groups’ sins do not negate the Marcoses’.

8. “But they cheated! Theyre cheating now!” – IKR? Just like how the Marcos regime cheated during the violent 1986 snap elections (Source).

9. “You werent born at the time. You could never 100% know what truly happened back then.” Sweetheart, that’s what books, news articles, the Internet, and this god damn article are for.

10. “Bongbong is our rightful Vice-President. These are all lies and black propaganda. The sources stated were paid for by anti-Marcos politicians. You’re part of the conspiracy. And even if this article is true, you need to move on!” – Please don’t procreate.

There are documentaries such as Imelda, Lest We Forget, and Batas Militar showcasing footage and witness accounts of the Marcos’ debauchery. In the comments section of these authentic videos, you’ll see Filipino upon Filipino cursing the video’s uploader for being a “liar.” In case I get the same reaction, let me tell you upfront I abstained from voting so there goes your logic of “You’re paid for by the opposition!”

My fellow youth, sorry to say, spend more time ogling the latest “love team” celebrity than using google and going to the library to educate themselves. Everything is a giant ala soap opera conspiracy. They willfully choose to forget our well-documented history while screaming “Pinoy Pride!” because they’re too egotistical to admit they’re wrong, just like their beloved Marcos family.

The Filipino millennial generation is taking a giant shit on every real flesh-and-bone human being who suffered under Martial Law, both dead and living. The Philippines being a third-world country is not an excuse for your stupidity and intellectual laziness, especially when continuously presented with verified evidence. You are traitors to your own Motherland, to your own blood.

Some of you say you support Marcos because you admire Lee Kuan Yew and believe Marcos is the Philippine version.

So let’s end this lesson by a quote from Singapore’s finest leader –

“It is a soft, forgiving culture. Only in the Philippines could a leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over 20 years, still be considered for a national burial. Insignificant amounts of the loot (the Marcoses have stolen) have been recovered, yet his wife and children were allowed to return and engage in politics.”

Never again, Marcos and idiot Marcos-fanatics. Never again. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Filipina mermaid. Author of WAR SONGS and Coffee & Cigarettes.

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