Ferdinand Marcos photograph

Ferdinand Marcos

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Gender Male
Death33 years ago
Date of birth September 11,1917
Zodiac sign Virgo
Born Sarrat
Date of died September 28,1989
United States
Full nameFerdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos
Presidential termDecember 30, 1965 – February 25, 1986
Parents Mariano Marcos
Josefa Edralin
Height 170 (cm)
Job Politician
BooksThe democratic revolution in the Philippines
Tadhana: The History of the Filipino People
Toward a New Partnership: The Filipino Ideology
The New Philippine Republic: A Third World Approach to Democracy
Marcos Reader: Selected Essays and Speeches
The Filipino Ideology
Quotations from Marcos
20 Years After: Germany in 1945 and 1965
The Filipino Ideology
Presidential termDecember 30, 1965 – February 25, 1986
Spouse Imelda Marcos
Children Bongbong Marcos
Aimee Marcos
Imee Marcos
Irene Marcos
SiblingsPacifico Marcos
Elizabeth Marcos-Keon
Fortuna Marcos-Barba
Party Kilusang Bagong Lipunan
Full nameFerdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos
Date of Reg.
Date of Upd.
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Ferdinand Marcos Life story

Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos Sr. was a Filipino politician, lawyer, dictator, and kleptocrat who was the 10th president of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986.

Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos Sr. (Tagalog: [ˈmaɾkɔs], English: MAR-kawss; September 11, 1917 – September 28, 1989) was a Filipino politician, lawyer, dictator, and kleptocrat who was the 10th president of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He ruled under martial law from 1972 until 1981 and kept most of his martial law powers until he was deposed in 1986, branding his rule as "constitutional authoritarianism": 414  under his Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (New Society Movement). One of the most controversial leaders of the 20th century, Marcos' rule was infamous for its corruption, extravagance, and brutality.Marcos gained political success by claiming to have been the "most decorated war hero in the Philippines", but many of his claims have been found to be false, with United States Army documents describing his wartime claims as "fraudulent" and "absurd". After World War II, he became a lawyer then served in the Philippine House of Representatives from 1949 to 1959 and the Philippine Senate from 1959 to 1965. He was elected the President of the Philippines in 1965 and presided over an economy that grew during the beginning of his 20-year rule but would end in the loss of livelihood, extreme poverty, and a crushing debt crisis. He pursued an aggressive program of infrastructure development funded by foreign debt, making him popular during his first term, although it would also trigger an inflationary crisis which would lead to social unrest in his second term. Marcos placed the Philippines under martial law on September 23, 1972, shortly before the end of his second term. Martial law was ratified in 1973 through a fraudulent referendum. The Constitution was revised, media outlets were silenced, and violence and oppression were used against the political opposition, Muslims, suspected communists, and ordinary citizens.After being elected for a third term in the 1981 Philippine presidential election, Marcos's popularity suffered greatly, due to the economic collapse that began in early 1983 and the public outrage over the assassination of opposition leader Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. later that year. This discontent, the resulting resurgence of the opposition in the 1984 Philippine parliamentary election, and the discovery of documents exposing his financial accounts and false war records led Marcos to call the snap election of 1986. Allegations of mass cheating, political turmoil, and human rights abuses led to the People Power Revolution of February 1986, which removed him from power. To avoid what could have been a military confrontation in Manila between pro- and anti-Marcos troops, Marcos was advised by US President Ronald Reagan through Senator Paul Laxalt to "cut and cut cleanly". Marcos then fled with his family to Hawaii. He was succeeded as president by Aquino's widow, Corazon "Cory" Aquino.According to source documents provided by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the Marcos family stole US$5 billion–$10 billion from the Central Bank of the Philippines. The PCGG also maintained that the Marcos family enjoyed a decadent lifestyle, taking away billions of dollars from the Philippines between 1965 and 1986. His wife, Imelda Marcos, made infamous in her own right by the excesses that characterized her and her husband's conjugal dictatorship, is the source of the term "Imeldific". Two of their children, Imee Marcos and Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., are still active in Philippine politics, with Bongbong having been elected president in the 2022 election. Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos held the Guinness World Record for the largest-ever theft from a government for decades, although Guinness took the record down from their website while it underwent periodic review a few weeks before the 2022 Philippine presidential election.

Personal life

Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos was born on September 11, 1917, in the town of Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, to Mariano Marcos (1897–1945) and Josefa Edralin (1893–1988). Mariano Marcos was a lawyer and congressman from Ilocos Norte, Philippines. He was executed by Filipino guerillas in 1945 for being a Japanese propagandist and collaborator during World War II. Drawn and quartered with the use of carabaos, his remains were left hanging on a tree. Josefa Marcos was a schoolteacher who would far outlive her husband—dying in 1988, two years after the Marcos family left her in Malacañang Palace when they fled into exile after the 1986 People Power Revolution.Ferdinand was first baptized into the Philippine Independent Church, but was later baptized into the Catholic Church at the age of three.

Marcos lived with his first common-law wife Carmen Ortega, an Ilocana mestiza who was 1949 Miss Press Photography. They had three children and resided for about two years at 204 Ortega Street in San Juan. In August 1953, their engagement was announced in Manila dailies.Not much is known about what happened to Ortega and their children after, but Marcos married Imelda Trinidad Romualdez on April 17, 1954, only 11 days after they first met. They had three biological children: Bongbong Marcos, Imee Marcos, and Irene Marcos.Marcos's fourth child with Ortega was born after his marriage to Imelda.Marcos had an affair with American actress Dovie Beams from 1968 to 1970. According to reports by the Sydney Morning Herald, Marcos also had an affair with former Playboy model Evelin Hegyesi around 1970 and sired a child with her, Analisa Josefa (named after his mother Josefa).Marcos and Imelda later adopted Aimee Marcos.Marcos claimed that he was a descendant of Antonio Luna, a Filipino general during the Philippine–American War. He also claimed that his ancestor was a 16th-century pirate, Lim-A-Hong (Chinese: 林阿鳳), who used to raid the coasts of the South China Sea. He is a Chinese mestizo descendant, just like many other presidents.


Marcos studied law at the University of the Philippines in Manila, attending the College of Law. He excelled in both curricular and extra-curricular activities, becoming a member of the university's swimming, boxing, and wrestling teams. He was also an accomplished orator, debater, and writer for the student newspaper. While attending the UP College of Law, he became a member of the Upsilon Sigma Phi, where he met his future colleagues in government and some of his staunchest critics.When he sat for the 1939 Bar Examinations, he was a bar topnotcher (top scorer) with a score of 92.35%. He graduated cum laude. He was elected to the Pi Gamma Mu and the Phi Kappa Phi international honor societies, the latter giving him its Most Distinguished Member Award 37 years later.

Ferdinand Marcos received an honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) (honoris causa) degree in 1967 from Central Philippine University.

The assassination of Julio Nalundasan

Marcos first shot into national notoriety over the murder of Julio Nalundasan. Nalundasan, Mariano Marcos's political rival, was killed with a single rifle shot after brushing teeth in his home in Batac on the night of September 21, 1935, the day after he had defeated Marcos a second time for a seat in the National Assembly.In December 1938, Ferdinand Marcos was prosecuted for the murder of Nalundasan. He was not the only accused from the Marcos clan. Also accused were his father, Mariano, and his uncles, Pio Marcos and Quirino Lizardo. According to two witnesses, the four had conspired to assassinate Nalundasan, with Ferdinand Marcos eventually pulling the trigger. In late January 1939, they were finally denied bail.The evidence was strong against the young Marcos who was a member of the University of the Philippines rifle team and a national rifle champion. Though Marcos's rifle was found in its gun rack in the U.P. ROTC armory, the rifle of team captain Teodoro M. Kalaw, Jr. was missing at the time and the National Bureau of Investigation had evidence that it was the one used in the murder of Nalundasan. Of all the accused, only Ferdinand Marcos had access to the U.P. armory.Later in the year, they were convicted. Ferdinand and Lizardo received the death penalty for premeditated murder, while Mariano and Pio were found guilty of contempt of court.

The Marcos family took their appeal to the Supreme Court of the Philippines. According to Primitivo Mijares, Justice Jose P. Laurel who penned the majority decision saw himself in the young Marcos in that he had figured in almost killing a rival during a brawl his youth, was convicted by a trial court of frustrated murder, and was acquitted after appealing to the Supreme Court, and saw in Marcos an opportunity to pay forward his debt to society. Associate Justice George A. Malcolm, dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law who was the young Laurel's teacher had been recently appointed to the Supreme Court and had urged his colleagues to acquit the young Laurel because he knew him to be a bright student. In the same way, Justice Laurel saw in Marcos a mirror of himself and pleaded for his colleagues to acquit. The Supreme Court overturned the lower court's decision on October 22, 1940, acquitting the Marcos family of all charges except contempt.

World War II (1939–1945)

Marcos's military service during World War II has been the subject of debate and controversy, both in the Philippines and in international military circles.Marcos, who had received ROTC training, was activated for service in the US Armed Forces in the Philippines (USAFIP) after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He served as a 3rd lieutenant during the mobilization in the summer and fall of 1941, continuing until April 1942, after which he was taken prisoner. According to Marcos's account, he was released from prison by the Japanese on August 4, 1942, and US Military records show that he rejoined USAFIP forces in December 1944. Marcos's Military service then formally ended with his discharge as a major in the 14th Infantry, US Armed Forces, in the Philippines Northern Luzon, in May 1945.Controversies regarding Marcos's military service revolve around: the reason for his release from the Japanese POW camp; his actions between release from prison in August 1942 and return to the USAFIP in December 1944; his supposed rank upon discharge from USAFIP; and his claims to being the recipient of numerous military decorations, most of which were proven to be fraudulent.Documents uncovered by the Washington Post in 1986 suggested that Marcos's release in August 1942 happened because his father, former congressman and provincial governor Mariano Marcos, "cooperated with the Japanese military authorities" as publicist.After his release, Marcos claims that he spent much of the period between his August 1942 release and his December 1944 return to USAFIP as the leader of a guerrilla organization called Ang Mga Mahárlika (Tagalog, "The Freemen") in Northern Luzon. According to Marcos's claim, this force had a strength of 9,000 men. His account of events was later cast into doubt after a United States military investigation exposed many of his claims as either false or inaccurate.Another controversy arose in 1947, when Marcos began signing communications with the rank of lieutenant colonel, instead of major. This prompted US officials to note that Marcos was only "recognized as a major in the roster of the 14th Infantry USAFIP, NL as of 12 December 1944 to his date of discharge".The biggest controversy arising from Marcos's service during World War II, however, would concern his claims during the 1962 Senatorial Campaign of being "most decorated war hero of the Philippines" He claimed to have been the recipient of 33 war medals and decorations, including the Distinguished Service Cross and the Medal of Honor, but researchers later found that stories about the wartime exploits of Marcos were mostly propaganda, being inaccurate or untrue. Only two of the supposed 33 awards – the Gold Cross and the Distinguished Service Star – were given during the war, and both had been contested by Marcos's superiors.

Post-WWII and congressional career (1949–1965)

After the surrender of the Japanese and the end of World War II, the American government became preoccupied with setting up the Marshall Plan to revive the economies of the western hemisphere, and quickly backtracked from its interests in the Philippines, granting the islands independence on July 4, 1946. After the war, Marcos was one of only eleven lawyers confirmed by the new government as a special prosecutor with the office of the Solicitor General tasked to try by "process of law and justice" all those accused of collaboration with the Japanese. Eventually, Marcos ran for his father's old post as representative of the 2nd district of Ilocos Norte and won three consecutive terms, serving in the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1959.Marcos joined the "Liberal Wing" that split from the Nacionalista Party, which eventually became the Liberal Party. He eventually became the Liberal Party's spokesman on economic matters, and was made chairman of the House Neophytes Bloc which included future President Diosdado Macapagal, future Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez and future Manila Mayor Arsenio Lacson.Marcos became chairman of the House Committee on Commerce and Industry and a member of the House Committees on Defense, Ways and Means; Industry; Banks Currency; War Veterans; Civil Service; and on Corporations and Economic Planning. He was also a member of the Special Committee on Import and Price Controls and the Special Committee on Reparations, and of the House Electoral Tribunal.After he served as member of the House of Representatives for three terms, Marcos won his senate seat in the elections in 1959 and became the Senate minority floor leader in 1960. He became the executive vice president of the Liberal Party in and served as the party president from 1961 to 1964.

From 1963 to 1965, he was the Senate President. Thus far, he is the last Senate President to become President of the Philippines. He introduced a number of significant bills, many of which found their way into the Republic statute books.During his election campaign in the 1965 presidential election, Marcos' life became the basis of the biographical film Iginuhit ng Tadhana (The Ferdinand E. Marcos Story), which starred Luis Gonzales as Marcos.

Administration and cabinet

First term (1965–1969)

Marcos' first term began with his inauguration on December 30, 1965, and ended when he was inaugurated for his second term on December 30, 1969.By pursuing an aggressive program of infrastructure development funded by foreign loans, he remained popular for most of his first term, with his popularity flagging only after his debt-driven spending during the campaign for his second term triggered an inflationary crisis in November and December 1969, before his second inauguration. Among the major projects of the first term was the construction of the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex, considered one of the earliest examples of what would come to be known as the Marcoses' edifice complex.Soon after being elected, Marcos developed close relations with the officers of the Philippine Military, and began expanding the armed forces by allowing loyal generals to stay in their positions past their retirement age, or giving them civilian government posts. He also gained the support of the Johnson administration in the US by allowing the limited Philippine involvement in the Vietnam war through the Philippine Civic Action Group.Marcos' first term also saw the Philippine senate's expose of the Jabidah massacre in March 1968, where a Muslim man named Jibin Arula testified that he had been the lone survivor of a group of Moro army recruits which had been executed en-masse on Corregidor island on March 18, 1968. The allegations in the expose became a major flashpoint which ignited the Moro insurgency in the Philippines.

Presidential campaign

Marcos ran a populist campaign emphasizing that he was a bemedalled war hero emerging from World War II. In 1962, Marcos would claim to be the most decorated war hero of the Philippines by garnering almost every medal and decoration that the Filipino and American governments could give to a soldier. Included in his claim of 27 war medals and decorations are that of the Distinguished Service Cross and the Medal of Honor. According to Primitivo Mijares, author of the book The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos, the opposition Liberal Party would later confirm that many of his war medals were only acquired in 1962 to aid in his reelection campaign for the Senate, not for his presidential campaign. Marcos won the presidency in 1965.


Ferdinand Marcos was inaugurated to his first term as the 10th president of the Philippines on December 30, 1965, after winning the Philippine presidential election of 1965 against the incumbent president, Diosdado Macapagal. His inauguration marked the beginning of his two-decade long stay in power, even though the 1935 Philippine Constitution had set a limit of only two four-year terms of office.

Expansion of the Philippine military

One of Marcos's earliest initiatives upon becoming president was to significantly expand the Philippine military. In an unprecedented move, Marcos chose to concurrently serve as his own defense secretary, allowing him to have a direct hand in running the military. He also significantly increased the budget of the armed forces, tapping them in civil projects such as the construction of schools. Generals loyal to Marcos were allowed to stay in their positions past their retirement age, or were rewarded with civilian government posts, leading Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. to accuse Marcos in 1968 of trying to establish "a garrison state".

Vietnam War

Under intense pressure from the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson, Marcos reversed his pre-presidency position of not sending Philippine forces to Vietnam War, and consented to a limited involvement, asking Congress to approve sending a combat engineer unit. Despite opposition to the new plan, the Marcos government gained Congressional approval and Philippine troops were sent from the middle of 1966 as the Philippines Civic Action Group (PHILCAG). PHILCAG reached a strength of some 1,600 troops in 1968 and between 1966 and 1970 over 10,000 Filipino soldiers served in South Vietnam, mainly being involved in civilian infrastructure projects.

Loans for construction projects

With an eye towards becoming the first president of the third republic to be reelected to a second term, Marcos began taking up massive foreign loans to fund the "rice, roads, and schoolbuildings" he promised in his reelection campaign. With tax revenues unable to fund his administration's 70% increase in infrastructure spending from 1966 to 1970, Marcos began tapping foreign loans, creating a budget deficit 72% higher than the Philippine government's annual deficit from 1961 to 1965.This began a pattern of loan-funded spending which the Marcos administration would continue until the Marcoses were deposed in 1986, resulting in economic instability still being felt today, and of debts that experts say the Philippines will have to keep paying well into 2025. The grandest infrastructure projects of Marcos's first term, especially the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex, also marked the beginning of what critics would call Marcos couple's Edifice complex, with grand public infrastructures projects prioritized for public funding because of their propaganda value.

Jabidah exposé and Muslim reactions

In March 1968 a Muslim man named Jibin Arula was fished out of the waters of Manila Bay, having been shot. He was brought to then-Cavite Governor Delfin N. Montano, to whom he recounted the story of the Jabidah Massacre, saying that numerous Moro army recruits had been executed en-masse by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on March 18, 1968. This became the subject of a senate exposé by opposition Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.Although the lack of living witnesses other than Arula severely hampered the probes on the incident, it became a major flashpoint that ignited the Moro insurgency in the Philippines. Despite undergoing numerous trials and hearings, none of the officers implicated in the massacre were ever convicted, leading many Filipino Muslims to believe that the "Christian" government in Manila had little regard for them.

This created a furor within the Muslim community in the Philippines, especially among the educated youth, and among Muslim intellectuals, who had no discernible interest in politics prior to the incident. Educated or not, the story of the Jabidah massacre led many Filipino Muslims to believe that all opportunities for integration and accommodation with the Christians were lost and further marginalised.This eventually led to the formation of the Mindanao Independence Movement in 1968, the Bangsamoro Liberation Organization (BMLO) in 1969, and the consolidation of these various forces into the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in October 1972.

1969 presidential campaign

Ferdinand Marcos's campaign for a second term formally began with his nomination as the presidential candidate of the Nacionalista Party at its July 1969 general meeting. A meeting of the party's ruling junta had met a week earlier to assure that the nomination would be unanimous. Under the 1935 Constitution of the Philippines which was in force at the time, Marcos was supposed to be allowed a maximum of two four-year terms as president.During the 1969 campaign, Marcos launched US$50 million worth in infrastructure projects in an effort to curry favor with the electorate. This rapid campaign spending was so massive that it would be responsible for the balance of payments crisis of 1970, whose inflationary effect would cause social unrest leading all the way up to the proclamation of martial law in 1972. Marcos was reported to have spent PHP100 for every PHP1 that Osmeña spent, using up PHP24 million in Cebu alone.With his popularity already beefed up by debt-funded spending, Marcos's popularity made it very likely that he would win the election, but he decided, as National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin reported in the Philippines Free Press, to "leave nothing to chance." Time and Newsweek would eventually call the 1969 election the "dirtiest, most violent and most corrupt" in Philippine modern history, with the term "Three Gs", meaning "guns, goons, and gold" coined to describe administration's election tactics of vote-buying, terrorism and ballot snatching.

1969 balance of payments crisis

During the campaign, Marcos spent $50 million worth in debt-funded infrastructure, triggering a balance of payments crisis. The Marcos administration ran to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for help, and the IMF offered a debt restructuring deal. New policies, including a greater emphasis on exports and the relaxation of controls of the peso, were put in place. The Peso was allowed to float to a lower market value, resulting in drastic inflation, and social unrest.

Second term (1969–1972)

Presidential elections were held on November 11, 1969, and Marcos was reelected for a second term. He was the first and last Filipino president to win a second full term. His running mate, incumbent Vice President Fernando Lopez was also elected to a third full term as Vice President of the Philippines.

Marcos' second term was characterized by social unrest, beginning with the 1969 Balance of Payments Crisis, which was already underway during the second inauguration. Opposition groups began to form, with "moderate" groups calling for political reform and "radical" groups who espoused a more radical-left ideology.Marcos responded to both groups with military force. The most notable of these was the series of protests during the first three months of 1970 – a period that has since come to be known as the first quarter storm.Another major event during Marcos' second term was the Philippine Constitutional Convention of 1971, which was marred in May 1972 when a delegate exposed a bribery scheme in which delegates were paid to vote in favor of the Marcoses – with First Lady Imelda Marcos herself implicated in the alleged payola scheme.: "133" On August 21, 1971, a political campaign rally of the opposition Liberal Party at Plaza Miranda in the district of Quiapo, Manila. Marcos blamed the then-still-nascent Communist Party of the Philippines, and issued Proclamation No. 889, through which he assumed emergency powers and suspended the writ of habeas corpus. Oppositionists were arrested after being accused of being "radicals". Marcos' response further obscured the distinction between the moderates and radical opposition, which had already been blurred since the First Quarter storm. This brought about a massive expansion of the underground socialist resistance, when many moderate oppositionists saw no other choice to join the radicals.

In 1972 a series of bombings in Metro Manila took place, ratcheting up the tension. Marcos again blamed the communists, although the only suspects caught in connection to the explosions were linked to the Philippine Constabulary.Marcos' second term effectively ended a little under two years and nine months later, when Marcos announced on September 23, 1972, that he had placed the Philippines under martial law.

Social unrest after the balance of payments crisis

While Marcos had won the November 1969 election by a landslide, and was inaugurated on December 30 of that year, Marcos's massive spending during the 1969 presidential campaign had taken its toll and triggered growing public unrest.Marcos's spending during the campaign led to opposition figures such as Senator Lorenzo Tañada, Senator Jovito Salonga, and Senator Jose W. Diokno to accuse Marcos of wanting to stay in power even beyond the two term maximum set for the presidency by the 1935 constitution.Opposition groups quickly grew in the campuses, where students had the time and opportunity to be aware of political and economic issues.

"Moderate" and "radical" opposition

The media reports of the time classified the various civil society groups opposing Marcos into two categories. The "Moderates", which included church groups, civil libertarians, and nationalist politicians, were those who wanted to create change through political reforms. The "radicals", including a number of labor and student groups, wanted broader, more systemic political reforms.

The "moderate" opposition

With the Constitutional Convention occupying their attention from 1971 to 1973, statesmen and politicians opposed to the increasingly more-authoritarian administration of Ferdinand Marcos mostly focused their efforts on political efforts from within the halls of power.Their concerns varied but usually included election reform, calls for a non-partisan constitutional convention, and a call for Marcos not to exceed the two presidential terms allowed him by the 1935 Constitution.This notably included the National Union of Students in the Philippines, the National Students League (NSL), and later the Movement of Concerned Citizens for Civil Liberties or MCCCL, led by Senator Jose W. Diokno.The MCCCL's rallies are particularly remembered for their diversity, attracting participants from both the moderate and radical camps; and for their scale, with the biggest one attended by as many as 50,000 people.

The "radical" opposition

The other broad category of opposition groups during this period were those who wanted broader, more systemic political reforms, usually as part of the National Democracy movement. These groups were branded "radicals" by the media, although the Marcos administration extended that term to "moderate" protest groups as well.Groups considered "radical" by the media of the time included:

the Kabataang Makabayan (KM),

the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK),

the Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines (SCAUP),

the Movement for Democratic Philippines (MDP),

the Student Power Assembly of the Philippines (SPAP), and

the Malayang Pagkakaisa ng Kabataang Pilipino (MPKP).


When Marcos became president in 1965, Philippine policy and politics functioned under a Post-World War II geopolitical framework. As a result, the Philippines was ideologically caught up in the anticommunist scare perpetuated by the US during the Cold War. Marcos and the AFP thus emphasized the "threat" represented by the formation of the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1969, even if it was still a small organization.: "43"  partly because doing so was good for building up the AFP budget.: "43"  As a result, notes security specialist Richard J. Kessler, this "mythologized the group, investing it with a revolutionary aura that only attracted more supporters."

The social unrest of 1969 to 1970, and the violent dispersal of the resulting "First Quarter Storm" protests were among the early watershed events in which large numbers of Filipino students of the 1970s were radicalized against the Marcos administration. Due to these dispersals, many students who had previously held "moderate" positions (i.e., calling for legislative reforms) became convinced that they had no choice but to call for more radical social change.Other watershed events that would later radicalize many otherwise "moderate" opposition members include the February 1971 Diliman Commune; the August 1971 suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in the wake of the Plaza Miranda bombing; the September 1972 declaration of martial law; the 1980 murder of Macli-ing Dulag; and the August 1983 assassination of Ninoy Aquino.By 1970, study sessions on Marxism–Leninism had become common in the campuses, and many student activists were joining various organizations associated with the National Democracy Movement (ND), such as the Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines (SCAUP) and the Kabataang Makabayan (KM, lit. Patriotic Youth) which were founded by Jose Maria Sison; the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK) which was founded as a separate organization from the SCAUP and KM by a group of young writer-leaders; and others.

The line between leftist activists and communists became increasingly blurred, as a significant number of radicalized activists also joined the Communist Party of the Philippines. Radicalized activists from the cities began to be more extensively deployed in rural areas were some became guerillas.

First Quarter Storm

By the time Marcos gave the first State of the Nation Address of his second term on January 26, 1970, the unrest born from the 1969–1970 balance of payments crisis exploded into a series of demonstrations, protests, and marches against the government. Student groups – some moderate and some radical – served as the driving force of the protests, which lasted until the end of the university semester in March 1970, and would come to be known as the "First Quarter Storm".During Marcos's January 26, 1970, State of the Nation Address, the moderate National Union of Students of the Philippines organized a protested in front of Congress, and invited student groups both moderate and radical to join them. Some of the students participating in the protest harangued Marcos as he and his wife Imelda as they left the Congress building, throwing a coffin, a stuffed alligator, and stones at them.The next major protest took place on January 30, in front of the presidential palace, where activists rammed the gate with a fire truck and once the gate broke and gave way, the activists charged into the Palace grounds tossing rocks, pillboxes, Molotov cocktails. At least two activists were confirmed dead and several were injured by the police.

Five more major protests took place in the Metro Manila area took place between then and March 17, 1970 – what some media accounts would later brand the "7 deadly protests of the First Quarter Storm". This included a February 12 rally at Plaza Miranda; a February 18 demonstration dubbed the "People's Congress", also supposed to be at the Plaza Miranda but dispersed early, resulting in protesters proceeding to the US Embassy where they set fire to the lobby; a "Second People's Congress" demonstration on February 26; a "People's March" from Welcome Rotonda to Plaza Lawton on March 3; and the Second "People's March" at Plaza Moriones on March 17.The protests ranged from 50,000 to 100,000 in number per weekly mass action. Students had declared a week-long boycott of classes and instead met to organize protest rallies.Violent dispersals of various FQS protests were among the first watershed events in which large numbers of Filipino students of the 1970s were radicalized against the Marcos administration. Due to these dispersals, many students who had previously held "moderate" positions (i.e., calling for legislative reforms) became convinced that they had no choice but to call for more radical social change.

Constitutional Convention of 1971

Expressing opposition to the Marcos's policies and citing rising discontent over wide inequalities in society, civil society groups and opposition leaders began campaigning in 1967 to initiate a constitutional convention which would revise change the 1935 Constitution of the Philippines. On March 16 of that year, the Philippine Congress constituted itself into a Constituent Assembly and passed Resolution No. 2, which called for a Constitutional Convention to change the 1935 Constitution.Marcos surprised his critics by endorsing the move, but historians later noted that the resulting Constitutional Convention would lay the foundation for the legal justifications Marcos would use to extend his term past the two four-year terms allowable under the 1935 Constitution.A special election was held on November 10, 1970, to elect the delegates of the convention.: "130"  Once the winners had been determined, the convention was convened on June 1, 1971, at the newly completed Quezon City Hall. A total of 320 delegates were elected to the convention, the most prominent being former senators Raul Manglapus and Roseller T. Lim. Other delegates would become influential political figures, including Hilario Davide, Jr., Marcelo Fernan, Sotero Laurel, Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., Teofisto Guingona, Jr., Raul Roco, Edgardo Angara, Richard Gordon, Margarito Teves, and Federico Dela Plana.By 1972 the convention had already been bogged down by politicking and delays, when its credibility took a severe blow in May 1972 when a delegate exposed a bribery scheme in which delegates were paid to vote in favor of the Marcoses – with First Lady Imelda Marcos herself implicated in the alleged payola scheme.: "133" The investigation on the scheme was effectively shelved when Marcos declared martial law in September 1972, and had 11 opposition delegates arrested. The remaining opposition delegates were forced to go either into exile or hiding. Within two months, an entirely new draft of the constitution was created from scratch by a special committee. The 1973 constitutional plebiscite was called to ratify the new constitution, but the validity of the ratification was brought to question because Marcos replaced the method of voting through secret ballot with a system of viva voce voting by "citizen's assemblies".: 213  The ratification of the constitution was challenged in what came to be known as the Ratification Cases.

Early growth of the CPP New People's Army

On December 29, 1970, Philippine Military Academy instructor Lt Victor Corpuz led New People's Army rebels in a raid on the PMA armory, capturing rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, a bazooka and thousands of rounds of ammunition in 1970. In 1972, China, which was then actively supporting and arming communist insurgencies in Asia as part of Mao Zedong's People's War Doctrine, transported 1,200 M-14 and AK-47 rifles for the NPA to speed up NPA's campaign to defeat the government.

Rumored coup d'état and assassination plot

Rumors of coup d'état were also brewing. A report of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that shortly after the 1969 Philippine presidential election, a group composed mostly of retired colonels and generals organized a revolutionary junta with the aim of first discrediting President Marcos and then killing him. The group was headed by Eleuterio Adevoso, an official of the opposition Liberal Party. A document given to the committee by a Philippine Government official alleged that key figures in the plot were Vice President Fernando Lopez and Sergio Osmena Jr., whom Marcos defeated in the 1969 election.While a report obtained by The New York Times speculated that rumors of a coup could be used by Marcos to justify martial law, as early as December 1969 in a message from the US Ambassador to the US Assistant Secretary of State, the ambassador said that most of the talk about revolution and even assassination has been coming from the defeated opposition, of which Adevoso is a leading activist. He also said that the information he has on the assassination plans are 'hard' or well-sourced and he has to make sure that it reaches President Marcos.

Plaza Miranda bombing

In interviews by The Washington Post, unnamed former Communist Party of the Philippines officials alleged that "the Communist party leadership planned – and three operatives carried out – the Plaza Miranda attack in an attempt to provoke government repression and push the country to the brink of revolution. Communist Party Leader Jose Maria Sison had calculated that Marcos could be provoked into cracking down on his opponents, thereby driving thousands of political activists into the underground, the anonymous former officials said. Recruits were urgently needed, they said, to make use of a large influx of weapons and financial aid that China had already agreed to provide." José María Sison continues to deny these claims, and the CPP has never released any official confirmation of their culpability in the incident. Marcos and his allies claimed that Benigno Aquino Jr. was part of the plot, which was denied by CPP-NPA founding chair Jose Maria Sison.

Some historians claim Marcos was responsible for the Plaza Miranda bombing as he is known to have used false flag operations as a pretext for martial law. There were a series of deadly bombings in 1971, and the CIA privately stated that Marcos was responsible for at least one of them.US intelligence documents declassified in the 1990s contained further evidence implicating Marcos, provided by a CIA mole within the Philippine army.Another false flag attack took place with the attempted assassination of Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile in 1972. President Nixon approved Marcos's martial law initiative immediately afterwards.

1971 suspension of the writ of habeas corpus

As a response to the Plaza Miranda bombing, Marcos issued Proclamation No. 889, through which he assumed emergency powers and suspended the writ of habeas corpus – an act which would later be seen as a prelude to the declaration of martial law more than a year later.Marcos's suspension of the writ became the event that forced many members of the moderate opposition, such as Edgar Jopson, to join the ranks of the radicals. In the aftermath of the bombing, Marcos lumped all of the opposition together and referred to them as communists, and many former moderates fled to the mountain encampments of the radical opposition to avoid being arrested by Marcos's forces. Those who became disenchanted with the excesses of the Marcos administration and wanted to join the opposition after 1971 often joined the ranks of the radicals, simply because they represented the only group vocally offering opposition to the Marcos government.

1972 Manila bombings

On the evening of September 23, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos announced that he had placed the entirety of the Philippines under martial law. This marked the beginning of a 14-year period of one-man rule that would effectively last until Marcos was exiled from the country on February 25, 1986. Even though the formal document proclaiming martial law – Proclamation No. 1081 – was formally lifted on January 17, 1981, Marcos retained virtually all of his powers as dictator until he was ousted by the EDSA Revolution. Plaza Miranda was soon followed by a series of about twenty explosions that took place in various locations in Metro Manila in the months immediately preceding Marcos' proclamation of martial law. The first of these bombings took place on March 15, 1972, and the last took place on September 11, 1972, – twelve days before martial law was announced on September 23 of that year.

The Marcos regime officially attributed the explosions to communist "urban guerillas", and Marcos included them in the list of "inciting events" that served as rationalizations for his declaration of martial law. Marcos's political opposition at the time questioned the attribution of the explosions to the communists, noting that the only suspects caught in connection to the explosions were linked to the Philippine Constabulary.The sites of the 1972 Manila bombings included the Palace Theater and Joe's Department Store on Carriedo Street, both in Manila; the offices of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), Filipinas Orient Airways, and Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (PhilamLife); the Cubao branch of the Philippine Trust Company (now known as PhilTrust Bank); the Senate Publication Division and the Philippine Sugar Institute in Quezon City, and the South Vietnamese embassy.However, only one of these incidents – the one in the Carriedo shopping mall – went beyond damage to property; one woman was killed and about 40 persons were injured.

Martial law era (1972–1981)

Marcos's declaration of martial law became known to the public on September 23, 1972, when his press secretary, Francisco Tatad, announced through the radio that Proclamation № 1081, which Marcos had supposedly signed two days earlier on September 21, had come into force and would extend Marcos's rule beyond the constitutional two-term limit. Ruling by decree, he almost dissolved press freedom and other civil liberties to add propaganda machine, closed down Congress and media establishments, and ordered the arrest of opposition leaders and militant activists, including senators Benigno Aquino Jr., Jovito Salonga and Jose W. Diokno. Marcos claimed that martial law was the prelude to creating his Bagong Lipunan, a "New Society" based on new social and political values.The early years of martial law gained public approval, as it was believed to have caused crime rates to drop.


However, unlike Ninoy Aquino's Senate colleagues who were detained without charges, Ninoy, together with communist NPA leaders Lt. Corpuz and Bernabe Buscayno, was charged with murder, illegal possession of firearms and subversion.

Bagong Lipunan (New Society)

As one of his rationalizations for the declaration of martial law, Marcos said that there was a need to "reform society": "66"  by placing it under the control of a "benevolent dictator" which could guide the undisciplined populace through a period of chaos.: "29"  He referred to this social engineering exercise as the bagong lipunan or "new society": 13  and the Marcos administration produced a range propaganda materials – including speeches, books, lectures, slogans, and numerous propaganda songs – to promote it.: 13 According to Marcos's book Notes on the New Society, it was a movement urging the poor and the privileged to work as one for the common goals of society and to achieve the liberation of the Filipino people through self-realization.The Marcos regime instituted a youth organization, known as the Kabataang Barangay, which was led by Marcos's eldest daughter Imee. Presidential Decree 684, enacted in April 1975, encouraging youths aged 15 to 18 to go to camps and do volunteer work.

Filipinization of Chinese schools

To instill patriotism among Filipino citizens and prevent the growing number of Chinese schools from propagating foreign ideologies, Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 176, preventing any educational institution to be established exclusively for foreigners or offer any curriculum exclusively for foreigners, and restricted the teaching of the Chinese language to not more than 100 minutes a day.

1973 martial law referendum

Martial law was put on vote in July 1973 in the 1973 Philippine martial law referendum and was marred with controversy resulting to 90.77% voting yes and 9.23% voting no.

Rolex 12 and the military

Along with Marcos, members of his Rolex 12 circle like Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, Chief of Staff of the Philippine Constabulary Fidel Ramos, and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Fabian Ver were the chief administrators of martial law from 1972 to 1981, and the three remained President Marcos's closest advisers until he was ousted in 1986. Other peripheral members of the Rolex 12 included Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr. and Lucio Tan.

Between 1972 and 1976, Marcos increased the size of the Philippine military from 65,000 to 270,000 personnel, in response to the fall of South Vietnam to the communists and the growing tide of communism in South East Asia. Military officers were placed on the boards of a variety of media corporations, public utilities, development projects, and other private corporations, most of whom were highly educated and well-trained graduates of the Philippine Military Academy. At the same time, Marcos made efforts to foster the growth of a domestic weapons-manufacturing industry and heavily increased military spending.Many human rights abuses were attributed to the Philippine Constabulary which was then headed by future president Fidel Ramos. The Civilian Home Defense Force, a precursor of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU), was organized by President Marcos to battle with the communist and Islamic insurgency problem, has particularly been accused of notoriously inflicting human right violations on leftists, the NPA, Muslim insurgents, and rebels against the Marcos government.

US foreign policy and martial law under Marcos

By 1977, the armed forces had quadrupled and over 60,000 Filipinos had been arrested for political reasons. In 1981, Vice President George H. W. Bush praised Marcos for his "adherence to democratic principles and to the democratic processes". No American military or politician in the 1970s ever publicly questioned the authority of Marcos to help fight communism in South East Asia.From the declaration of martial law in 1972 until 1983, the US government provided $2.5 billion in bilateral military and economic aid to the Marcos regime, and about $5.5 billion through multilateral institutions such as the World Bank.In a 1979 US Senate report, it was stated that US officials were aware, as early as 1973, that Philippine government agents were in the United States to harass Filipino dissidents. In June 1981, two anti-Marcos labor activists were assassinated outside of a union hall in Seattle. On at least one occasion, CIA agents blocked FBI investigations of Philippine agents.

Withdrawal of Taiwan relations in favor of the People's Republic of China

Prior to the Marcos administration, the Philippine government had maintained a close relationship with the Kuomintang-ruled Republic of China (ROC) government which had fled to the island of Taiwan, despite the victory of the Chinese Communist Party in the 1949 Chinese Communist Revolution. Prior administrations had seen the People's Republic of China (PRC) as a security threat, due to its financial and military support of Communist rebels in the country.

By 1969, however, Ferdinand Marcos started publicly asserting the need for the Philippines to establish a diplomatic relationship with the People's Republic of China. In his 1969 State of the Nation Address, he said: We, in Asia must strive toward a modus vivendi with Red China. I reiterate this need, which is becoming more urgent each day. Before long, Communist China will have increased its striking power a thousand fold with a sophisticated delivery system for its nuclear weapons. We must prepare for that day. We must prepare to coexist peaceably with Communist China.

In June 1975, President Marcos went to the PRC and signed a Joint Communiqué normalizing relations between the Philippines and China. Among other things, the Communiqué recognizes that "there is but one China and that Taiwan is an integral part of Chinese territory…" In turn, Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai also pledged that China would not intervene in the internal affairs of the Philippines nor seek to impose its policies in Asia, a move which isolated the local communist movement that China had financially and militarily supported.The Washington Post, in an interview with former Philippine Communist Party Officials, revealed that, "they (local communist party officials) wound up languishing in China for 10 years as unwilling "guests" of the (Chinese) government, feuding bitterly among themselves and with the party leadership in the Philippines".The government subsequently captured NPA leaders Bernabe Buscayno in 1976 and Jose Maria Sison in 1977.

1978 Philippine parliamentary election

By 1977, reports of "gross human rights violations" had led to pressure from the international community, including newly elected US President Jimmy Carter, put pressure on the Marcos Administration to release Ninoy Aquino and to hold parliamentary elections to demonstrate that some "normalization" had begun after the declaration of martial law.: 168  Marcos did not release Aquino, but announced that the 1978 Philippine parliamentary election would be held in 1978.: 168 The elections were held on April 7, 1978, for the election of the 166 (of the 208) regional representatives to the Interim Batasang Pambansa (the nation's first parliament). The elections were contested by several parties including Ninoy Aquino's newly formed party, the Lakas ng Bayan (LABAN) and the regime's party known as the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL).

The Ninoy Aquino's LABAN party fielded 21 candidates for the Metro Manila area including Ninoy himself, activist Jerry Barican, labor leader Alex Boncayao, Neptali Gonzales, Teofisto Guingona, Jr., Ramon Mitra, Jr., Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., journalist Napoleon Rama, publisher Alejandro Roces, and poet-playwright Francisco Rodrigo.

Irregularities noted during the election included "prestuffed ballot boxes, phony registration, 'flying voters', manipulated election returns, and vote buying", and LABAN's campaigning faced restrictions, including Marcos' refusal to let Aquino out of prison in order to campaign. All of the party's candidates, including Aquino, lost the election.

Marcos's KBL party won 137 seats, while Pusyon Bisaya led by Hilario Davide Jr., who later became the Minority Floor Leader, won 13 seats.

Prime Minister

In 1978, Ferdinand Marcos became Prime Minister of the Philippines, marking the return of the position for the first time since the terms of Pedro Paterno and Jorge Vargas during the American occupation. Based on Article 9 of the 1973 constitution, it had broad executive powers that would be typical of modern prime ministers in other countries. The position was the official head of government, and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. All of the previous powers of the President from the 1935 Constitution were transferred to the newly restored office of Prime Minister. The Prime Minister also acted as head of the National Economic Development Authority. Upon his re-election to the Presidency in 1981, Marcos was succeeded as Prime Minister by an American-educated leader and Wharton graduate, Cesar Virata, who was elected as an Assemblyman (Member of the Parliament) from Cavite in 1978. He is the eponym of the Cesar Virata School of Business, the business school of the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Proclamation No. 2045

After putting in force amendments to the constitution and legislative action, President Marcos issued Proclamation 2045, which lifted martial law, on January 17, 1981, while retaining the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for rebellion and subversion-related crimes. The lifting of martial law was timed with the election of US President Ronald Reagan and the visit of Pope John Paul II, to get support from Reagan and minimize criticism from the Pope.

Third term (1981–1986)

On June 16, 1981, six months after the lifting of martial law, the first presidential election in twelve years was held. President Marcos ran while the major opposition parties, the United Nationalists Democratic Organizations (UNIDO), a coalition of opposition parties and LABAN, boycotted the election. Marcos won a massive victory over the other candidates.

Armed conflict with the CPP–NPA

After the lifting of martial law, the pressure on the communist CPP–NPA alleviated. The group was able to return to urban areas and form relationships with legal opposition organizations, and became increasingly successful in attacks against the government throughout the country. The violence inflicted by the communists reached its peak in 1985 with 1,282 military and police deaths and 1,362 civilian deaths.

1980s economic collapse

Because the Marcos administration's spending had relied so heavily on debt since Marcos' first term in the 60s, the Philippines was left vulnerable when the US economy went into recession in the third quarter of 1981, forcing the Reagan administration to increase interest rates. The Philippine economy began going into decline in 1981, continuing to do so by the time of the Benigno Aquino Jr. assassination in 1983. The economic and political instability combined to produce the worst recession in Philippine history in 1984 and 1985, with the economy contracting by 7.3% for two successive years and poverty incidence at 49% or almost half the Philippine population.

Aquino's assassination

On August 21, 1983, opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr. was assassinated on the tarmac at Manila International Airport. He had returned to the Philippines after three years in exile in the United States, where he had a heart bypass operation to save his life after Marcos allowed him to leave the Philippines to seek medical care. Prior to his heart surgery, Ninoy, along with his two co-accused, NPA leaders Bernabe Buscayno (Commander Dante) and Lt. Victor Corpuz, were sentenced to death by a military commission on charges of murder, illegal possession of firearms and subversion.A few months before his assassination, Ninoy had decided to return to the Philippines after his research fellowship from Harvard University had finished. The opposition blamed Marcos directly for the assassination while others blamed the military and his wife, Imelda. Popular speculation pointed to three suspects; the first was Marcos himself through his trusted military chief Fabian Ver; the second theory pointed to his wife Imelda who had her own burning ambition now that her ailing husband seemed to be getting weaker, and the third theory was that Danding Cojuangco planned the assassination because of his own political ambitions. The 1985 acquittals of Chief of Staff General Fabian Ver as well as other high-ranking military officers charged with the crime were widely seen as a whitewash and a miscarriage of justice.

On November 22, 2007, Pablo Martinez, one of the soldiers convicted in the assassination of Ninoy Aquino, alleged that it was Marcos crony Danding Cojuangco who ordered the assassination of Ninoy Aquino Jr. while Marcos was recuperating from his kidney transplant. Cojuangco is the cousin of Aquino's wife Corazon Cojuangco Aquino. Martinez also alleged only he and Galman knew of the assassination, and that Galman was the actual shooter, which is not corroborated by other evidence of the case.After the February 1986 People Power revolution swept Aquino's widow to the presidency, the Supreme Court ordered a retrial of Aquino's assassination. The Sandiganbayan convicted 16 military personnel for the murder, ruling that Constable 1st Class Rogelio Moreno, one of the military escorts assigned to Aquino, "fired the fatal shot" that killed Aquino, not Galman.

Impeachment attempt

In August 1985, 56 Assemblymen signed a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Marcos for alleged diversion of US aid for personal use, citing a July 1985 San Jose Mercury News exposé of the Marcos's multimillion-dollar investment and property holdings in the United States.

The properties allegedly amassed by the First Family were the Crown Building, Lindenmere Estate, and a number of residential apartments (in New Jersey and New York), a shopping center in New York, mansions (in London, Rome and Honolulu), the Helen Knudsen Estate in Hawaii and three condominiums in San Francisco, California.

The Assembly also included in the complaint the misuse and misapplication of funds "for the construction of the Manila Film Center, where X-rated and pornographic films are exhibited, contrary to public morals and Filipino customs and traditions." The impeachment attempt gained little real traction, however, even in the light of this incendiary charge; the committee to which the impeachment resolution was referred did not recommend it, and any momentum for removing Marcos under constitutional processes soon died.

Physical decline

During his third term, Marcos's health deteriorated rapidly due to kidney ailments, as a complication of a chronic autoimmune disease lupus erythematosus. He had a kidney transplant in August 1983, and when his body rejected the first kidney transplant, he had a second transplant in November 1984. Marcos's regime was sensitive to publicity of his condition; a palace physician who alleged that during one of these periods Marcos had undergone a kidney transplant was shortly afterwards found murdered. Police said he was kidnapped and slain by communist rebels. Many people questioned whether he still had capacity to govern, due to his grave illness and the ballooning political unrest. With Marcos ailing, his powerful wife, Imelda, emerged as the government's main public figure. Marcos dismissed speculations of his ailing health as he used to be an avid golfer and fitness buff who liked showing off his physique.

By 1984, US President Ronald Reagan started distancing himself from the Marcos regime that he and previous American presidents had strongly supported even after Marcos declared martial law. The United States, which had provided hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, was crucial in buttressing Marcos's rule over the years, although during the Carter administration the relationship with the US had soured somewhat when President Jimmy Carter targeted the Philippines in his human rights campaign.

Economic performance

The 21-year period of Philippine economic history during Ferdinand Marcos's regime—from his election in 1965 until he was ousted by the People Power Revolution in 1986—was a period of significant economic highs and lows.Philippine Annual Gross Domestic Product grew from $5.27 billion in 1964 to $37.14 billion in 1982, a year prior to the assassination of Ninoy Aquino. The GDP went down to $30.7 billion in 1985, after two years of economic recession brought about by political instability following Ninoy's assassination. A considerable amount of this money went to the Marcos family and friends in the form of behest loans.

Poverty and inequality

Susan Quimpo recounts that times were hard financially during the Marcos regime, so much so that citizens had to line up for rice rations due to rice shortage, and that the government told citizens to consume corn instead.In The Making of the Philippines, Frank Senauth (p. 103) says:

Marcos himself diverted large sums of government money to his party's campaign funds. Between 1972 and 1980, the average monthly income of wage workers had fallen by 20%. By 1981, the wealthiest 10% of the population was receiving twice as much income as the bottom 60%.


To help finance a number of economic development projects, the Marcos government borrowed large amounts of money from international lenders. The external debt of the Philippines rose more than 70-fold from $360 million in 1962 to $26.2 billion in 1985, making the Philippines one of the most indebted countries in Asia.The country's total external debt rose from US$2.3 billion in 1970 to US$26.2 billion in 1985 during Marcos's term. Marcos's critics charged that policies have become debt-driven with rampant corruption and plunder of public funds by Marcos and his cronies. This held the country under a debt-servicing crisis which is expected to be fixed by only 2025. Critics have pointed out an elusive state of the country's development as the period is marred by a sharp devaluing of the Philippine Peso from 3.9 to 20.53. The overall economy experienced a slower growth GDP per capita, lower wage conditions and higher unemployment especially towards the end of Marcos's term after the 1983–1984 recession. Some of Marcos's critics claimed that poverty incidence grew from 41% in the 1960s at the time Marcos took the Presidency to 59% when he was removed from power,

Reliance on US trade

As a former colony of the United States, the Philippines was heavily reliant on the American economy to purchase agricultural goods such as sugar, tobacco, coconut, bananas, and pineapple

Economy during martial law (1973–1980)

According to World Bank Data, the Philippine's Annual Gross Domestic Product quadrupled from $8 billion in 1972 to $32.45 billion in 1980, for an inflation-adjusted average growth rate of 6% per year, while debt stood at US$17.2 billion by the end of 1980. Indeed, according to the US-based Heritage Foundation, the Philippines enjoyed its best economic development since 1945 between 1972 and 1979. The economy grew amidsts two severe global oil shocks following the 1973 oil crisis and 1979 energy crisis – oil price was $3 / barrel in 1973 and $39.5 in 1979, or a growth of 1200%. By the end of 1979, debt was still manageable, with debt to Debt-GNP ratio about the same as South Korea, according to the US National Bureau of Economic Research.Foreign capital was invited to invest in certain industrial projects. They were offered incentives, including tax exemption privileges and the privilege of bringing out their profits in foreign currencies. One of the most important economic programs in the 1980s was the Kilusang Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran (Movement for Livelihood and Progress). This program was started in September 1981. It aimed to promote the economic development of the barangays by encouraging its residents to engage in their own livelihood projects. The government's efforts resulted in the increase of the nation's economic growth rate to an average of six percent or seven percent from 1970 to 1980.

Economy after martial law (1981–1985)

The Philippine economy, heavily reliant on exports to the United States, suffered a great decline after the Aquino assassination in August 1983.

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