Martial law’s worst legacies | Inquirer Opinion

Martial law’s worst legacies

/ 12:14 AM March 03, 2016

This is in reaction to suggestions that martial law was a golden age of peace and prosperity and that the Edsa revolt derailed development projects (“Marcos dictatorship: Golden age or dark chapter in history?” (Outside Back Cover, 2/25/16; “Bongbong: Edsa revolt derailed dev’t projects,” The Philippine Star, 2/25/16).

Let me make this clear: One of the most evil legacies of martial law was the retrogression of our economy from Asia’s second best to basket case.

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Of course, Marcos and his cronies, who benefited from martial law, had to do some good for the people—to prevent mass discontent that could lead to the overthrow and demise of the regime. Unfortunately, there was rampant corruption—as concretely exemplified by the blatantly overpriced Bataan Nuclear Power Plant— so that government projects that appeared as beneficial to the people were actually more advantageous to the martial law administrators who derived huge bribes, commissions or kickbacks from each and every project.

What derailed development projects was not Edsa I but the corruption under martial law, which culminated in the fiscal bankruptcy of the government and the inability to pursue the projects—as betrayed by the central bank’s unilateral declaration of default or moratorium in the repayment of our foreign loans.

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The 30th anniversary of the People Power Revolution or Edsa I should remind us—and these we must never forget—what martial law did and resulted in: among other things, mind-boggling corruption in government, suppression of political freedom, innocent lives wasted, violation of human rights, confiscation of private property, loss of our premartial law ability to say that “This is a free country,” apart from consigning the poor to endless miseries, desperation and hopelessness.

All of the good things martial law did for the people cannot compensate for all the evil things it did to them. The good things were nothing compared to the evils that martial law made to bear upon our people.

—MARCELO L. TECSON, [email protected]

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TAGS: Edsa People Power Revolution, martial law
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