Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte during his presidential campaign kick off rally in Tondo, Manila on Tuesday said the late Ferdinand E. Marcos is the best president the country ever had.
He said Marcos was a good president before he became a dictator, praising his Biyaya ng Dagat and Masagana 99 programs.
“On hindsight, kung balikan ko ang panahon, noon at ngayon, kung hindi lang siya tumagal ng pagka-presidente, kung hindi lang siya naging diktador na matagal, pinaka the best na presidente na dumaan, Marcos,” he said while the crowd cheered.
“Iyong Biyaya ng Dagat at Masagana 99. That was the time na hindi tayo nag-import ng pagkain talaga. Sundin nalang natin iyon,” he added.
Biyaya ng Dagat or the so-called Blue Revolution is a program under the Marcos administration where the country's fishery resources were improved. Fishermen were extended loans to improve their fishing capabilities under the program.
Masagana 99 meanwhile, is the agricultural counterpart of the Biyaya ng Dagat which was popularly known as the Green Revolution.
It was a program that promoted the planting of Green Revolution varieties of rice developed by the International Rice Research Institute. The rice varieties used in the program were capable of high yields when grown with heavy use of fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, and irrigation. The program enabled the Philippines to become self-sufficient in rice and even became a rice exporting country from 1977 to 1978.
Duterte was 20 years old when Marcos was first sworn in as president in December 30, 1965. His father, Vicente, was governor of the undivided Davao province from 1959 to 1965 at the time Marcos was senator.
Duterte graduated with a law degree from San Beda College in Mendiola, Manila in 1972. He was in the middle of his law studies when the First Quarter Storm — where the infamous Battle of Mendiola took place — erupted from January to May 1970.
Duterte worked with the prosecutor's office in Davao from 1977 until his appointment as OIC-Mayor of Davao City under the revolutionary government of President Corazon Aquino in 1986.
Duterte said her late mother, Soledad, was among those who marched down the streets calling on Marcos to step down.
Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. - the late president's son who is running for vice president in May - had sought to have Duterte as running mate.
According to media reports in November, Duterte turned down Marcos Jr.'s offer to have a political alliance with him because he already made a commitment with vice presidential candidate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.
“I have been frank with Senator Marcos that Alan Peter Cayetano is my Vice President because I thought he was already with Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago,” Duterte was quoted saying. — APG, GMA News