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Manila street scenes under martial law (1972)

AP Archive

2015

Manila street scenes under martial law (1972)

AP Archive

This clip is marked “General street scenes in Manila during martial law.” At first glance, life in Quiapo and its environs seems deceptively normal five days after the declaration of PD 1081. If one observes more closely, however, burgeoning discontent is manifest. Walls are slathered with words like “Digmaang bayan – sagot sa martial law (People’s war – antidote to martial law)” and “Itaguyod ang kalayaang Pilipino (Stand for Filipino freedom),” painted in fiery red. A week before this clip was filmed, various organizations had gathered at nearby Plaza Miranda to protest the looming imposition of martial law.

The streets’ seeming peace reveals an undercurrent of repression when a police officer, armed with a rifle and a pair of scissors, starts snipping at the locks of a long-haired youth. “We were taught to fear the police and the military,” recalls historian Ambeth Ocampo. “They punished curfew violators and jaywalkers with exposure to the sun or doing an unreasonable number of pushups. In the early days of martial law they rounded up young men with long hair and shaved their heads.”

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AP Archive, “SYND 28-9-72 Martial Law,” YouTube Video, 0:55, July 22, 2015

Kabataang Barangay rally on 5th anniversary of Martial Law (1977)

AP Archive

2015

Kabataang Barangay rally on 5th anniversary of Martial Law (1977)

AP Archive

The Marcos children were vital to mobilizing a new generation to support their family’s administration. On September 21, 1977, the fifth anniversary of Martial Law, a massive rally was staged at Quirino Grandstand in Luneta by the Kabataang Barangay (KB), the youth arm of the dictatorship created two years earlier. Here President Ferdinand Marcos addressed an estimated 400,000 youth from 50 schools, colleges, and universities around Manila. In a long speech he claimed Martial Law’s success in social and economic development, and announced a new referendum that will not only affirm his leadership, but also set the stage for the possibility of the first national election since 1972 and a shift to the parliamentary form of government. He exhorted the youth to step up in support of the government, emphasizing the slogan: “Makialam, Ikaw ang Bagong Pilipino (Get Involved, You are the New Filipino)”.

The Daily Express reported that prior to their father’s arrival at the venue, the Marcos children Imee, Irene, and Bongbong led around 300,000 youth in calisthenics. Imee, KB national chair at 21, then led the rehearsals for chanting the new KB slogan, as seen in this clip. “Pagdating ng erpat ko (when my dad arrives), we’ll raise our hands in clenched fist and cry ‘Makialam (Get involved),’” said Imee. Bongbong, 20, acted as his father’s understudy, waving to the crowd in the manner of his dad. Later that day, President Marcos and his children recognized 15 outstanding KB members and formations at the Parangal sa Bagong Pilipino Awards held at Malacañang Palace. The next month, Marcos issued PD 1229, which called for a national referendum on December 17, 1977, with the question: “Do you vote that President Ferdinand E. Marcos continue in office as incumbent president and be prime minister after the organization of the Interim Batasang Pambansa as provided for in Amendment no. 3 of the 1976 Amendments to the Constitution?” The New York Times reports on December 17 that year: “In what has become almost an annual ritual under the martial-law regime here, Filipinos voted today on whether to continue President Ferdinand E. Marcos in office. There have been four previous referendums since Mr Marcos declared martial law in 1972, and he has won each by at least 87 percent…. If the vote is yes, he will remain as President and will also become Prime Minister indefinitely under what is officially described as a new parliamentary form of government. If the vote is no, he will nevertheless remain as President and will also retain the post of Prime Minister until a new interim National Assembly is elected. But because only he can determine when that legislative body will be formed, he in effect cannot lose in the referendum. He abolished the old Congress when he declared martial law.”

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AP Archive, “SYND 23 9 77 Marcos Announcing Elections at a Youth Rally in Manila,” YouTube video, 1:20, July 24, 2015

Letter of Instruction No. 1

Ferdinand E. Marcos

1972

Letter of Instruction No. 1

Ferdinand E. Marcos

Along with Proclamation 1081, President Marcos, signed “Letter of Instruction No. 1″ addressed to the Press Secretary and the Secretary of National Defense, pertaining to media operations. Effectively, the President instructed these bodies, stating…”you are hereby ordered forthwith to take over and control or cause the taking over and control of all such newspapers, magazines, radio and television facilities and all other media of communications, wherever they are, for the duration of the present national emergency, or until otherwise ordered by me or my duly designated representative.”

After declaring Martial Law, the very first letter of instruction President Marcos signed institutionalized censorship of all forms of media, curtailing the freedom of the press.

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Marcos, Ferdinand E., “Letter of Instruction No. 1,” Official Gazette, Government of the Philippines, September 22, 1972.

General Order No. 6

Ferdinand E. Marcos

1972

General Order No. 6

Ferdinand E. Marcos

Upon the declaration of Martial Law, and with the rationale to stop “terroristic activities, assassination of innocent citizens and leaders” by “radical and lawless elements,” President Marcos signed General Order No. 6 that prohibits any person to “keep, possess or carry outside of his residence any firearm unless authorized.” Any person violating this order shall forthwith be arrested and taken into custody.

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Marcos, Ferdinand E., “General Order No. 6,” Government of the Philippines, September 22, 1972.