Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Marcos debate

I am glad, dear karikna, that my article which was printed last week (Loving Marcos as a right: In defense of historical revisionism) has sparked a fiery and intelligent debate at the Riknakem blog. The rich discourse generated in the space is a rarity in Marcos-related forums, where most comments usually go outside the bounds of good taste and civility.

Allow me to share with you select comments from both the Anti-Marcos and Pro-Marcos camps, and my final stance at the end of the day.

Anti -Marcos
jonathantobi: You spit on the memory of all martial law victims. The majority of those who suffered under the regime were not the communists and rebels.

Before Marcos took power, we were a center of innovation in Southeast Asia. Marcos and his cronies then plundered billions of dollars from our economy for their own benefit; US courts have awarded cases to thousands of Martial Law victims, and Marcos is recognized as the 2nd most corrupt dictator worldwide, in terms of plunders.

Alas, it then started the downfall of our economy, which his incompetent successors continued. Marcos was an affront to democracy, human rights, and freedom. To everything that the heroes of the revolution fought for, that we may live free today.

You, sir, and attempts to whitewash crimes like these, are part of the problem.

No to historical revisionism! #NeverAgain

iskramboldeggs: Herdy, look. Marcos was indeed a brilliant person, maybe one of the most intelligent and hard-working politicians the Philippines has ever seen. However, one thing you cannot overlook was his greed for wealth and for power. How can you explain the sudden opulence of their family during his regime? How can you explain the various Swiss bank accounts accredited to him not just by our NBI, but by the FBI and the Interpol? How else can you explain his rampant violation of our Constitution when he usurped the powers of Congress by giving himself legislative powers? How else can you explain his actions when he appointed his cronies to juicy positions both in the public and the private sectors? He was a brilliant man, but he turned his brilliance into amassing wealth and power for himself. 

Lean: What is foul is that you discredited the negative effects of the Marcos regime that outweighed all his positive contributions.

For how could you blame the people disillusioned by Marcos and his cronies’ looting of government institutions and Imelda’s extortive business behavior?

How could you blame the mothers weeping for their children who rallied for democracy but only ended up being tortured, raped, or killed?

How could you blame those who marched on the streets and believed that the state needed to change a government for the better?

And how dare you compare Marcos’s dictatorship to the likes of Lee Kuan Yew’s and Mahathir’s? Singapore and Malaysia are built upon the pillars of bureaucratic competence and elite autonomy. The Philippines is choked by patrimonialism and an underdeveloped government, all of which Marcos only aggravated. So, never compare as if authoritarianism should be appropriate for all states because they are all the same.

OK, let’s talk statistics. According to SWS, the highest poverty rate in the Philippines is 74% which was reported in April 1983. According NSCB, poverty rate spiked highest at 44% in June 1985. Guess the president during those periods.

Let me also make this clear: I am not pro-Aquino. Yet I believe that the grim consequences of bad dictatorship only prove that loving Marcos is a right, but not the right thing to do.

ichinose kotomi: “You spit on the memory of all martial law victims.” How about the memories of those innocent farmers and innocent people from time of Cory? Let us not become Double Standard hypocrites. History tells that before Marcos, we were already suffering from major corruptions and from rebels. Don’t forget that only Marcos had the balls to give the rebels the punishment they deserved. History is meant to be revised, especially if it’s tainted with lies.

GERRY: Before Marcos assumed the presidency, his family was already one of the prominent families in the region. He was Major in the armed forces and his heroism was recognized not only by the Allied Forces but by the Japanese Army as well. He was a UP Law who topped the bar even when he reviewed inside a prison cell. Being a top lawyer, congressman, and senator, it’s not surprising that he accumulated wealth legally. What detractors assume is that the Marcos wealth all came from alleged plunder and corruption. Again, look at what he did to the country: his accomplishments on physical and human infrastructure are unequalled by any other president. Marcos borrowed only 10 billion dollars in his 20 year term. Can anyone give a figure how much we owe now?

peejhay: Those yellow historians who distort history are the awful ones. I may not have been born during the Marcos time but my parents and my grandparents witnessed that era. They always tell me how good the economy back then and that made their lives comfortably good. My relatives may not be historians, but I believe they tell true stories of the past.

Herdy’s closing statement
By imposing on our people what they should believe in and how they should feel about Marcos, these self-styled democracy fighters have unwittingly become the very dictator they abhor. At the end of the day, Marcos will continue to be seen in a better light by a vast majority of Filipinos, no matter what bashers say.

At any rate, let’s continue to agree to disagree freely and responsibly, always taking in mind that all of us are Filipinos who love our country as much as we love the truth we are altogether, through this vibrant sharing of thoughts, hoping to find.


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