History professors from the University of the Philippines on Wednesday belied claims of pro-Marcos loyalists that the Martial Law era was the "golden age" of Philippine history.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the professors dismissed as "deceptive nostalgia" the declarations that the reign of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos brought peace and prosperity to the country.
"This is patently Marcos myth and deception," the professors said.
They said the country was, in fact, in a climate of repression and social crisis during the time of Marcos, and urged the public not to "fall for the trap of seeking a better society from a mythical 'golden' past."
"In that past, Marcos myth-making served to hide the power grab and greed of a Malakas at Maganda," they said. "Today Marcos deception seeks to evade accountability."
Marcos' son, Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., is running for vice president in the May 9 elections and is ranking high in various pre-election surveys.
In their statement, the professors noted that poverty incidence grew during the Marcos years — from 41 percent in the 1960s to 59 percent in the 1980s.
Furthermore, the professors noted how foreign debt from 1970 to 1983 rose twelve times and reached $20 billion. They claimed that a chunk of the expenses of the Marcos administration went to unproductive projects like the Bataan Nuclear plant, which as they said was "unsound and wasteful."
Moreover, they said the country’s gross domestic product per capita registered the lowest among Southeast Asian countries with 3.4 percent from 1970 to 1980.
They also claimed that as inflation cut away the allocation for health and education, the Marcos government prioritized military budget. The former president also gave way for monopolies to prosper, with his cronies making a lot of money through loans which were repaid by taxpayers’ money.
"To say then that EDSA interrupted our becoming like Singapore is a big joke, a malicious lie. Marcos had mismanaged the economy; it was in shambles long before the EDSA revolt," the professors said.
The professors also argued the supposed peace and order of the Martial law regime is actually an “iron-fisted clampdown on civil liberties.”
“Through presidential decree and executive order backed by the full force of the military apparatus, Marcos padlocked Congress, jailed the opposition, gagged media, emasculated unions, and banned student councils,” the professors said.
They urged Filipinos to "continue seeking spaces for people empowerment and never let the tyranny of the past be written out of history," adding that Filipinos enjoy freedom nowadays precisely because the people who fought during Marcos regime.
"We need to critically evaluate the past so that we do not blindly look for solutions to problems of underdevelopment from those who prospered under the dictatorship or those who allow the same sources of social inequities and injustice," the professors urged. —Kiersnerr Gerwin Tacadena/KBK, GMA News