IN DEFENSE OF BONGBONG MARCOS’ DEFENSE OF FATHER
The country’s leading newspaper, Inquirer, in the same old anti-Marcos mold, has just recently fired off a scathing editorial directed at potential presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos after he took to defending his father’s administration. Apparently, Inquirer, one of the old vanguards of the anti-Marcos campaign, wants from the son a condemnation of the father with all the fitting tearful apologies he could muster, not counterarguments.
In the comments thread, I took time out to join the exchange of views and reacted to most of the key points myself. I am reprinting it here (with edits and additional comments):
“He simply parceled out the economy to his cronies…”
The idea (was) to consolidate these industries (under special administrators) for economies of scale and more efficient management. His error it seems (was) in favoring his friends and not the old economic elite like the Lopezes, Ayalas, Prietos…
Surely, Marcos could have deflected cynicism and earned more goodwill had he employed a higher criteria in choosing the overseers. In favoring his friends, he made enemies of the old oligarchs whom he wanted supplanted for their abusive rent-seeking ways, and apparently they are hurting to this day.
“…millions of farmers had to fork over hard-earned money for a so-called coconut levy fund that never went to their welfare, but instead became a P150-billion asset fought over by the likes of Cojuangco and Juan Ponce Enrile.”
Who would take issue with the original intent of the law (that created the coco levy fund)? If something went wrong, it was with the management of the fund. But the fund is existent and intact, is it not, albeit entangled in legal dispute. Once this is cleared, the funds could then be utilized as intended.
It is a P150B asset, that is an undisputed fact. Were the legal problems premeditated by Ferdinand Marcos? To be fair, the legal complication could be partly blamed on the government itself. The courts should only speed up resolving all the issues.
“The land reform that was supposed to be the cornerstone of Marcos’ New Society? It was a sham.”
You call it a sham not a failure, wow! Like it was some decorative policy not meant to be implemented? If it failed, it is not for lack of intent but (because of) the strong opposition of the (landed) oligarchy, Hacienda Luisita being one of the biggest evidence (of that failure, if a failure it was). To whom (did) this (hacienda) (belong) by the way? To the family of Cory Aquino, the same one you have placed in the pedestal as Icon of Democracy.
… did any Administration perform better (on land reform)?
“Power generation? The monstrosity that is the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant—built of an outdated design with some 4,000 defects, on a known earthquake fault line…”
The technical verdict was not unanimous. There are many groups of reputable experts who stand by the safety of the plant. If anything the biggest argument for the plant is that to this day, since 1986, it stands proudly intact, unscarred by the Pinatubo and any earthquake. Not to mention… other countries nearby like Korea and Japan who are equally within geological faults, (which) have not just one but several nuclear facilities in operation powering their industries. Imagine all of thirty years of opportunities lost. It does not help that high electricity cost, now highest in Southeast Asia, is presently one of the biggest burdens of household and industries.
Was not unanimous, underscoring mine. It was more the triumph of the well-funded, vociferous anti-nuclear lobby, no more no less, whose own interests could have been jeopardized. By totally ignoring the other side of the debate, Inquirer has unwittingly revealed its own bias.
(There were numerous other power generation projects successfully launched under Marcos beside the BNPP.)
“…to the tune of $2.3 billion, about $80 million of which ended up as kickbacks to Marcos and his bagman Disini as documented in court records against its builder Westinghouse”
“… to the tune of $2.3B!” Indeed much more if you include interest payments. Now, this was paid for by taxpayers money for almost thirty years. But because it was mothballed, it was never in use. Doesn’t that amount to Filipinos being robbed by that much by those who prohibited its use?
Surprisingly, this part is totally lost on those who are opposed the operation of the plant. For if computed, the total payments made for the BNPP would run into hundreds of billions of pesos— all for nothing. flushed down the drain. Of course, not to mention countless opportunities lost. And the punishing consequences, chief of which were the monstrous blackouts that paralyzed the entire economy from the late 80s to the early half of the 90s, and other long-term effects which remain today.
About that $80M ending up as kickbacks, you should show the public the evidence and put Disini behind bars, else it is all (but) unfounded accusation in the eyes of the younger generation.
Inquirer seems to expect its allegations to be automatically taken as statement of truth?
“The highest literacy rate in Asia? Sure—against a landscape where press freedom was absent, dissenting journalists were hauled off to jail or allegedly thrown overboard from helicopters, then Minister of Information Gregorio Cendaña had an iron hand clamped on TV and radio, and newspapers were the plaything of Marcos cronies.”
And success in literacy should be judged against that backdrop?
In any case…
This is admittedly one of the bad sides of his administration. But then, when countries like Singapore, Malaysia and the like which have even worse record (on press freedom) are routinely praised for their economic achievement, and knowing how local media itself have been compromised, judgement could go either way.
Ideally, press freedom should serve as foundation for truth and other freedoms. But press freedom, as experience teaches us, could also be perverted to advance vested interests. Indeed, if there seems to be some growing accommodation for repression today, it is for the perception that freedom has been wantonly abused and manipulated.
Still, political repression should be taken in its own context. It had its justification no matter that it is disagreeable to some sectors. Same with those criminal acts– like the alleged throwing of journalists overboard from helicopters— which, if true, are on their own a legitimate indictment of the regime . But it is a sly trick to raise and superimpose an off-key issue to diminish a clear gain in the field of education, a completely separate field.
“We haven’t touched on the billions of dollars in Swiss accounts…”
The Internet is replete with stories and tales explaining the source of Marcos wealth. I surmise that you would dismiss these quickly as fairy tales being peddled by the Marcos propaganda machine. Yet you have to wonder, what is it in these fairy tales that make the younger generation entertain doubts about the accusation that his wealth was really plundered. Accusing them young people as simply gullible and stupid is not helping your cause. It just offends their sensibilities.
Unexplained therefore plundered?
“…the thousands of “desaparecidos” and human rights victims.”
I do not know if they are finding much sympathy with the younger generation knowing now that most of them were actually communists and communist sympathizers. While you consider them in better light for helping give trouble to Marcos, the younger ones I think see them communists differently what with how they have degenerated into brigands, extortionists or plain terrorists.
The Inquirer and other accusers suffer very serious credibility on this issue. For how far beyond command responsibility could they realistically condemn Marcos? In their seething anger, they literally make him out to be the rapist, the torturer, the killer, the criminal, the abuser, the victimizer himself! They completely ignore the harsh realities of an armed conflict where a determined force was seeking to wrest control of government through violent means and the state must defend itself. Unfortunately, as in any armed conflict, it was bloody and savage, collateral damage widespread.
Yet, surprisingly, if truth be told, Cory Aquino, Inquirer’s favorite President, had a worse record on human rights than Marcos, in only her six years, but this is always conveniently ignored. Also, if human rights violations is the real issue, why this special focus on only one President, when the problem persisted through all of five Presidents after him?
Inquirer, just let history be the judge. Are you afraid the younger generation might well revise your version? Truth is its own defense it is often said. Your insecurity that your version of truth could not stand on its own is showing.