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“Democracy, Philippine Style,” Philippines Free Press

Philippine Free Press News Team

1971

“Democracy, Philippine Style,” Philippines Free Press

Philippine Free Press News Team

This special issue of the Philippine Free Press, dated September 4, 1971, contains an in-depth treatment, including color photographs, of the bombing at Plaza Miranda, during a political rally in Manila, which occurred on August 21, 1971. The bombing caused nine deaths and injured 95 others, including many prominent Liberal Party politicians, considered as President Marcos’s strongest opposition party. This bombing became one of the main reasons for the declaration of Martial Law used by President Marcos himself to remain in power.

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“Democracy, Philippine Style,” Philippines Free Press, September 4, 1971.

31st reenactment of the Escalante Massacre (2016)

Cultural Center of the Philippines

2016

31st reenactment of the Escalante Massacre (2016)

Cultural Center of the Philippines

This is a short clip of the 2016 annual re-enactment of the Escalante Massacre that happened on September 20, 1985 in Escalante, Negros Occidental. This commemoration is done by Escalante’s theater and grassroots organizations.

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Cultural Center of the Philippines, “31st Anniversary Re-Enactment of Escalante Massacre,” YouTube video, 6:01, October 17, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jRRg3SPIw4

A Conviction at Last (1993)

Probe Archives

2022

A Conviction at Last (1993)

Probe Archives

This September 1993 episode of The Probe looks into the first conviction of Imelda Marcos for the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses. Imelda Marcos remained resolute in contesting the conviction.

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Probe Archives, “A Conviction at Last,” Vimeo, 13:22, May 6, 2022

A Time to Rise: Collective Memoirs of the Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP)

Rene Ciria Cruz, Cindy Domingo, and Bruce Occena

2017

A Time to Rise: Collective Memoirs of the Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP)

Rene Ciria Cruz, Cindy Domingo, and Bruce Occena

A collection of brief memoirs written by members of the Katipunan ng mga Demokratikong Pilipino (KDP or Union of Democratic Filipinos). Former activists share a range of stories about their experiences organizing against the Marcos government as well as important lessons that they learned from their political work.

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Cruz, Rene Ciria, Cindy Domingo, and Bruce Occena, eds. A Time to Rise: Collective Memoirs of the Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP). Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017.

Aftermath of Ninoy Aquino’s assassination (1983)

AP Archive

2021

Aftermath of Ninoy Aquino’s assassination (1983)

AP Archive

On August 21, 1983, former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino was returning home aboard China Airlines flight C1-811 after three years of self-imposed exile in the United States. Six years earlier, he was convicted by a military court for subversion, murder, and illegal possession of firearms. Aquino was sentenced to death by firing squad, and was jailed until he was allowed in 1980 to undergo heart surgery in the US.

The military was alerted of Aquino’s homecoming, to which, upon instructions by Gen. Fabian Ver, they drew up Oplan Balikbayan: a “total security system that envisions minimum exposure of subject” and “if properly implemented… shall be able to ensure complete security of subject.” Around 1,199 officers were assigned to provide security, crowd control, intelligence, and surveillance in the area; however, no medical group was assigned in case of emergency.

Aquino was aware of the danger he faced upon his return. He was wearing a bulletproof vest, and escorted by journalists. “You have to be ready with your hand camera because this action can become very fast,” Aquino told them. “In a matter of three or four minutes it could be all over, and I may not be able to talk to you again after this.”

Aquino’s words proved true. As he alighted the plane escorted by two officers of the Aviation Security Command (AVSECOM), he was shot point-blank at the back of his head. An AVSECOM van took him to the Philippine Army General Hospital in Fort Bonifacio, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. “Nasingitan ang mga tauhan natin (they slipped past our men),” said General Ver.

In this clip, we see the body of Rolando Galman, clad in blue, on the tarmac. Galman was accused of being the killer. Ninoy’s sister Tessie is also seen awash in disbelief. Outside the terminal, a throng of supporters eager to welcome Aquino, including filmmaker Lino Brocka, were chanting “We want Ninoy!” until they received the grim news.

A government spokesman recounts the events of the assassination. Aquino’s body was left in its bloodied state for viewing by thousands of Filipinos. “The united opposition strongly condemns the brutal and treacherous murder of Senator Benigno S. Aquino while he was at the Manila International Airport and in the custody of the military,” says new opposition leader Salvador Laurel in a press conference.

Three days after Aquino’s death, Marcos established a short-lived commission to investigate the incident. Another commission was created that came to the conclusion that the assassination was a military conspiracy. While a number of military officers were charged with murder, they were acquitted a few months later.

On 10 December 1987, by virtue of RA 6639, Congress renamed Manila International Airport to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in memory of the slain senator. His portrait was also placed on the 500-peso note, which was officially reintroduced a few months earlier on 21 August.

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AP Archive, “GS 24 8 83 Aftermath of Assassination of Opposition Leader, Benigno Aquino in Manila,” YouTube video, 3:38, April 10, 2021.

An Analysis of the Philippine Economic Crisis

Emmanuel De Dios (ed.)

1986

An Analysis of the Philippine Economic Crisis

Emmanuel De Dios (ed.)

Papers on the state of the Philippine economy under Marcos by some of the most important political economists in the country. Their report embodies the results of a series of workshops on the economic crisis under Martial Law, held between November 1983 and May 1984, in which interested faculty members of the University of the Philippines School of Economics participated. Topics ranged from fiscal policy to unemployment as well as recommendations for solving the crisis.

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De Dios, Emmanuel S. (ed.). An Analysis of the Philippine Economic Crisis. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1986.

Ascending the Fourth Mountain: A Personal Account of the Marcos Years

Maria Virginia Y. Morales

2021

Ascending the Fourth Mountain: A Personal Account of the Marcos Years

Maria Virginia Y. Morales

A deeply moving and personal book by Virginia Morales who dedicated her life to the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship and to political and social change in the Philippines. Morales’s memoir chronicles her childhood and genealogy through her early life in Mindanao, to her move to Manila for college and the ups and downs of her political marriage. This book deftly links the personal and the political as the author herself writes, “I have learned that unless we see our lives against the backdrop of history, our own remains puny, dull, and insignificant. It is only against the backdrop of history that we understand the context of our lives and the period in which we lived.”

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Morales, Maria Virginia Y., Ascending the Fourth Mountain: A Personal Account of the Marcos Years, Manila: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2021.

Awakening of Milbuk

Arthur Amaral

2015

Awakening of Milbuk

Arthur Amaral

Arthur Amaral was a Passionist Priest deployed to Baranggay Milbuk, a logging community near Barangay Malisbong along the coast of the Celebes Sea in Mindanao. The book shares an account of the violence that encroached into the area with the escalation of conflict between the Philippine Government and the Moro National Liberation Front. Amaral, using alternate names in his recounting of events, accounts for the ambush of logging employees in 1974, among them indigenous Manobo Peoples working for the American Weyerhaeuser Corporation. He then narrates the arrival of Philippine Military forces in their defense, and signs of retaliations made against the Muslim population that would manifest as the Malisbong Massacre. He also shares his attempts at documenting and raising awareness on the same matter – conducting an inquiry among Muslim civilians in nearby evacuation centers and contacting the Associated Press.

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Amaral, Arthur. 2015. “Awakening of Milbuk.” Bloomington: AuthorHouse.

Balita News, June 2, 1983.

Balita News Team

1983

Balita News, June 2, 1983.

Balita News Team

Retrieved from the online library of the Bantayog Foundation, this copy of the Balita News Tabloid, then owned by Marcos Crony Hanz Menzi, offers perspective on the selection and positioning of media news connected with the Administration. The issue features an article titled “Canadian priest is Harassed by gov’t” referring to the harassment of the clergy in Mindanao – including Canadian Father Pat Kelly and German Nationals arrested with Karl Gaspar. Another article later in the paper also speculates on whether Former Senator Benigno Aquino would be returning in time for the 1984 Parliamentary elections.

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Balita News Tabloid. Vol. 5. No. 18. 2 June 1983.

Bamboo in the Wind

Azucena Grajo Uranza

1990

Bamboo in the Wind

Azucena Grajo Uranza

Azucena Grajo Uranza was a Filipino novelist, short story writer, and playwright. Her novel, Bamboo in the Wind, is set during the Martial law period.

Larry Esteva, coming home from studies in Boston, witnesses at the airport a riotous demonstration that is forcibly dispersed by the military. The end of his journey turns out to be the beginning of an odyssey in his beloved city where he finds “an insidious lawlessness creeping upon the land.”

Set in Manila in the last beleaguered months before the politico-military takeover in 1972, Bamboo in the Wind tells of the last desperate efforts of a people fighting to stave off disaster. Amid the escalating madness of a regime gone berserk, an odd assortment of people—a senator, a young nationalist, a dispossessed farmer, a radical activist, a convent school girl, a Jesuit scholastic—make their way along the labyrinthine corridors of greed and power. Each is forced to examine his own commitment in the face of brutality and evil, as the book conjures up scene after scene of devastation: the massacre of the demonstrators, the demolition of Sapang Bato, the murder of the sugar plantation workers, the burning of the Laguardia rice fields. And, as a climax to the mounting violence, that final September day—the arrests, the torture, and finally, the darkness that overtakes the land.[Wikipedia]

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Uranza, Azucena Grajo. Bamboo in the Wind. Vera-Reyes, Inc., 1990.

Bato-bato sa Langit (2005)

Probe Archives

2022

Bato-bato sa Langit (2005)

Probe Archives

This Probe episode talks about the documents and jewelries contained in 35 suitcases left behind by the fleeing Marcoses at the Malacañang Palace in 1986. This episode narrates the journey of the suitcases from the custody of Angelita Reyes to the Philippine Central Bank and up to the investigations done in New York.

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Probe Archives, “Bato-bato sa Langit,” Vimeo, 10:37, May 6, 2022

Building spree for IMF-WB meeting in Manila (1976)

AP Archive

Article Date Posted

Building spree for IMF-WB meeting in Manila (1976)

AP Archive

This clip shows the frantic pace in which the Marcos administration built edifices in preparation for the 28th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Board of Governors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, now the World Bank Group) held in Manila from 4-8 October 1976.

Most of these structures are located within and surrounding the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex, a 77-hectare area reclaimed from the Manila Bay. The genesis of other key structures in the CCP Complex is also tied to international events, including the Folk Arts Theater (1974 Miss Universe pageant), Coconut Palace (1981 Papal Visit), and the Manila Film Center (1982 Manila International Film Festival).

The first shot in this clip shows the Metropolitan Museum of Manila along Roxas Boulevard. It was designed by Gabriel Formoso and built within the span of only one month in order to open on October 4 alongside the IMF-WB meetings. Another shot shows workers putting finishing touches on the Philippine International Convention Center, designed by Leandro Locsin. It cost around USD 65 million to build, and was inaugurated on September 5 with the IMF-WB meetings as its first main event.

The next shots focus on luxury hotels being built in order to accommodate the estimated 5,000 delegates and guests. A total of 14 new hotels were officially sponsored by the government, collectively costing around USD 500 million. The first is the 700-room Philippine Plaza (now Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila), then owned by the CCP Foundation chaired by Imelda Marcos. It was inaugurated on September 26 and built at the cost of USD 50 million–the largest of the lot and at the time, the most expensive hotel to be built in the world. Also seen is the 370-room Holiday Inn Manila (now Hotel JEN), designed by Carlos Arguelles and opened that same year.

The New York Times reports:

“At the Plaza, nearly 9,000 workers have been pressed into 24‐hour threeshift operations. And because it is the First Lady’s pet project, workers, particularly skilled carpenters, have been pirated from other construction sites, details rushed and precautions overlooked until three months ago, as workers hustled ironworks of upper floors onto concrete barely dry beneath it, the entire ceiling in the grand ballroom caved in and 12 workers were killed.

“Several construction companies, most of whose leaders have some ties with the Marcos family and the manifold business interests of their friends and relatives, are harvesting a bonanza from the frantic construction pace. More than 30,000 workers have been kept busy on these projects for more than a year and a half.”

“Still other friends and relatives of the Marcos family are in on the ownership of a number of these hotels. None of this even raises any eyebrows here because this is how business is done in the Philippines. But what does concern some of the more thoughtful economists and businessmen is the huge volume of government capital committed to these projects.”

“Most of the hotels have received some or all of their financing from such Government lending institutions as the Development Bank of the Philippines, the Government Service Insurance System and the Social Security System which have lent funds or guaranteed loans in the hotel projects.”

“Secretary of Finance Cesar E. Virata admitted yesterday that the Development Bank had committed more than one billion pesos of its resources of eight billion pesos ($135 million of $1.1 billion) to the hotel projects alone, but other economists believe that its loan guarantees push this figure substantially higher.”

A year later, the Times reported that the hotels did not do well. “Their occupancy rate is little better than 40 percent. As a consequence, none of them has been able even to meet the interest payments on their loans… To avoid having the Government foreclose on them, President Ferdinand E. Marcos recently announced that he would reschedule the loans.”

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AP Archive, “SYND 1 10 76 Preparation for IMF Meeting In Manila,” YouTube video, 1:01, July 24, 2015

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