Facts are sacred.
You can’t fight them and expect to win.
In light of the centennial of the birth of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos this week, it is gainful, instructive to take a second look at his body of works as a political leader and public servant.
And the bottomline is: You cannot ignore, much less, sweep away his great achievements and lasting legacies to the nation.
Let the following unblemished, unembellished facts speak for themselves:
The birth centenary calls to mind the former president’s vision for the country. During his first SONA, he bared his plans for the country’s economic development and good governance.
Quite decidedly Marcos’ most injuring socio-economic legacy is in the field of legislation—whether by Executive edict or congressional initiative.
Most of the laws, decrees, proclamations, and executive orders that he wrote and issued are still in effect today. Notable of these is Presidential Decree 27 “decreeing the emancipation of tenants from the bondage of the soil” which he wrote by hand.
In diplomacy and international relations, Marcos was a natural and impeccable leader in the community of nations.
He initiated the formation of ASEAN in 1966 – together with the heads of state of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore – to combat the threat of communism in the region. The country also hosted a summit of seven countries (US, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines) to discuss the worsening problem in Vietnam and the containment of communism in Southeast Asia.
Anticipating a population boom, he laid out a vast infrastructure program encompassing a nationwide network of roads, bridges and public works, dams and power plants, hospitals and institutions, etc. – all of which still stand today, benefitting millions of Filipinos through the years, comprising a strong legacy that no other past president has matched.
Maharlika Highway connecting Luzon to the Visayas and Mindanao, NLEX, SLEX, Circumferential Roads 1-10 are products of his vision.
So are the pioneering hospitals Philippine Heart Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and Lung Center of the Philippines; state colleges and universities such as Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, Bicol University, and Cagayan State University; San Juanico Bridge, Mactan-Mandaue Bridge, Patapat Viaduct, Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, Tiwi Geothermal Power Plant, Pantabangan Hydro Electric Power Plant, the BLISS housing projects, to name a few.
Few credit President Marcos for promoting Filipino culture and nationalism. Sites showcasing the rich Filipino heritage such as Philippine International Convention Center, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Folk Arts Theater, Film Center of the Philippines, National Arts Center in Makiling, Nayong Pilipino, and People’s Park in the Sky in Tagaytay were constructed.
His vision of a New Society (Bagong Lipunan) was founded on his objectives to improve the economy, increase agricultural productivity and dismantle the oligarchy. In his book, "Notes on the New Society," he referred to it as a movement urging the poor and the privileged to work as one for the common goals of society, and to achieve the liberation of the Filipino people through self-realization.
The National Manpower and Youth Council, renamed TESDA, was founded in 1976.
The country also attained self-sufficiency in rice in 1968 for the first time since the American period by promoting the cultivation of IR-8 hybrid rice.