In hindsight, were we better off under Marcos rule?

Dave Velasco, Marinduque: Those who fought the dictatorship and defended democratic freedom in the yesteryears are today’s worst in governance.

Lorenzo Fernandez Jr., Cabanatuan City: We are better off today than under Marcos rule. To think otherwise is only sourgraping.

From bad to worse

Fortunato Aguirre, Bulacan: Well, I can say we have now gone from bad to worse, from the frying pan into the blazing fire.

Manuel Abejero, Pangasinan: Compared to PGMA, Marcos was a lesser evil. The magnitude of corruption during Marcos time pales in comparison. That’s present progressive, and she still has a year to the finish line. The truth is, GMA is only doing a ministerial job. It’s those males around her that are calling the shots.

C. Gaspar, Laoag City: My assessment indicates that under Marcos’ rule, the following did not reach today’s alarming levels: corruption, economic crisis, crime rate, drug problem, poverty level, employment and even the climate.

I. Calata, Parañaque City: For me, the best time was during the first few years of Martial Law. We ourselves were amazed at what we could do to discipline unruly, ill-mannered, happy-go-lucky and abusive Filipinos. At the time, the budding scourge, the drug menace, was cut at its root with the execution of Lim Seng at the Fort Bonifacio grounds. While corruption was already much talked and written about, these were done only in the shadows and written about in very few brave newspapers because the corrupt practices then were confined to the very few in the highest echelons of government. During his time, we were self-sufficient in rice. We were awed by the infrastructure that everyone was proud of. We were on our way to peace in Mindanao and talks with rebels were under way. After Marcos, graft and corrupt practices abruptly spread and seeped into the lower levels of government and our entire society. In this present regime, the chain of exposés and wrongdoings damn our hopes and frustrate us no end.

Marcos started it all

Leonard Villa, Batac City: That’s far from the truth, for the reason that the Marcos regime was the perpetrator of moral decay in government and seemingly, Marcos is the idol of succeeding governments.

Armando Tavera, Las Piñas City: Nag-umpisa ang corruption sa panahon ni Marcos. We would have been better off sana had we not allowed these things to happen.

Sahlee Reyes, Las Piñas City: Continued American presence in our country led to anti-American protests and riots in the early 1970s, prompting then Pres. Marcos (who leaned on US support) to declare Martial Law in 1972. The bastion of freedom of our country’s commonwealth virtually went to the dogs. Consequently, press freedom was suppressed. Human rights violations, like killings by the military and imprisonment of thousands of Filipinos, was rampant. Local big businesses were unscrupulously grabbed by the administration; huge loans were made from the World Bank in the guise of infrastructure projects, of which only a fraction went to the said projects; and plunder was the order of the day. This led to protests and the revival of the Communist movement. It was in this period of civil unrest that a steady stream of workers left for abroad. Marcos could have been a great President, but his administration reeked of deceit, fraud, theft and massive corruption. However, I feel we were better off then mainly because the economy was in far better shape then than it is now.

Men can run the country better

J.R. Mondonedo Jr., Parañaque City: Definitely. Men can run the country better than women because they don’t deal with their emotions.

Our dying heroism

Edwin Monares, Rizal: Filipinos were better off under Marcos in terms of evolving and pushing for a unified front in opposing the evils of Martial Law and corruption. Filipinos were relatively more bold, brave and courageous in fighting the suppressions of the Marcos regime, leading to his ouster at Edsa. Generally, nothing has changed. The situation remains the same in the economic, political, social and moral spheres except that the Arroyo administration has mastered the art of authoritarian rule, plunder, human rights violations, control and degradation of institutions like the Church, military, congress, local government units, etc. under the broad light of democracy. The heroism in the Filipino seems to be waning by the day.

We have freedom today

Jose Fabello Jr., Cagayan de Oro City: We are much, much better off now, if better off means having the freedom to say anything, anytime we want to say something.

Ruel Bautista, Laguna: Marcos is a dictator while PGMA isn’t. I may be poorer today, but at least I can exercise my basic human rights and freely express my opinion.

Ryan Pahimulin, Rizal: We may still be poor today but we have freedom. Under Marcos, we were both poor and not free and people were murdered and elections were stolen openly by government agents.

Erwin Espinosa, Pangasinan: Better off ba ‘yung walang press freedom at suppressed ang mga basic rights natin as free men at kung saan namayagpag lang ang mga oligarchs?

Felix Ramento, Manila: The Marcos era was our ugly past. Pero kung mas marami ang hirap ngayon, tanungin nila ang kanilang mga magulang para sa dahilan. At isa pa, wala pang Inbox noon.

Germi Sison, Cabanatuan City: The joy of life is based on the freedom of people to do all the right things without being imposed upon and instead being inspired to do so. The freedom and inspiration to do what should be done and the knowledge of events around them enhance the people to improve their well-being or to adjust to the situation. I dare say those were absent during the Marcos dictatorship.

Pedro Alagano Sr., Vigan City: For me, we’re better off under PGMA, but to those who say otherwise, damn her to your heart’s content, as that’s your right.

There was discipline under Marcos

Nick Ocampo, Angeles City: Martial Law was good for the discipline of the people. Unfortunately, Marcos became a dictator.

Rey Onate, Palayan City: Yes, particularly when it came to discipline and his vision to become great as a nation. I’d say Marcos’ brilliance as a leader only lasted for seven years. Sayang.

Leandro Tolentino, Batangas City: Discipline and order in the 20-year Marcos rule were erased by the chaos and plunder of the Cory and Erap era. Economic order flourished in FVR’s and GMA’s times.

Cruelty and greed ruined Marcos

Charity Banal, Alabang: I agree that we had a better country during Marcos’ administration, but he was ruined by his cruelty and desire for wealth and power. That was the end of his superiority. That’s according to the history that I’ve read, because I wasn’t in this world yet during his time.

Jose Parco, Kalibo, Aklan: In a sense we were. The first year or two of the Macros dictatorship saw a well-disciplined lot, so full of hope. Everybody towed the line, or else. Up until their cronies started their “mining” industry, we were doing alright. Who can forget Imelda’s regular lavish parties, where Dom Perignon flowed in fountains while everyone else was munching on galunggong! Then the military became our masters, too, and we became slaves, and everything else went to the dogs!

Yes, indeed

Ricardo Tolentino, Laoag City: We were better off during Marcos’ time. The conjugal dictatorship of Marcos and Imelda could control their minions.

Loi Castillo, Davao City: We were better off then with Marcos’ Oil Price Stabilization Fund (OPSF). There was a budget for oil that is subsidized by the government. It’s not like now. After they repealed the law, the budget went to the congressmen as pork barrel.

Dino Virgilio, Caloocan City: Definitely. We had a stronger economy then. We had Kadiwa Centers, Masagana 99, the Green Revolution, US bases, even better local and foreign TV shows under FM.

June Deoferio, Cavite: Yes, during the Marcos regime we had a low rate of poverty; basic commodities were cheap; and the crime rate, especially drug-related cases, was low, because of the curfew.

Col. Ben Paguirigan Jr., Ret., Zamboanga City: Yes, we were better off under Marcos rule. Drug lords, pushers and users, like Lim Seng, were dealt with; red tape and corruption were minimal; and prices of goods were affordable. Now, consumer goods are beyond the reach of lowly Pinoys that they resort to holdups, snatching, et al., to feed their brood. Justice is more like justi-is. Corruption emanates from the Palace.

E. dela Cruz, Metro Manila: Yes, we were. People who say otherwise are those that experienced cruelty in the time of Apo, like demonstrators, activists, or leftists. But I think Apo handled them well. Look at those people now; they do nothing but fill our streets and protest against anything under the sun. Life during that time was better; if you weren’t doing anything wrong, you were safe. Nowadays, you’re not even safe inside the walls of your own home.

Corruption was limited to a few

C.K. Yeo, Iloilo City: The economy was in better shape during the Marcos era. Very few people experienced hunger. We did not have to import a hundred thousand tons of rice every year. Marcos was dictatorial, but he had the cream of the crop in his Cabinet. Marcos constructed more infrastructure than all Philippine Presidents combined. He did not kowtow to the Church’s policy on family planning. Drug problems were reduced to a minimum when he had Lim Seng shot in Luneta, while ours mysteriously escape from maximum prisons. Crime rates were low. If we had a corruption problem then, it was localized; now it has metastasized to all branches of government. Cronies were limited to a handful; now they are in every industry.

Chris Navarro, Las Piñas City: Definitely not. It so happens that we have more democracy now that the media can openly report killings, corruption, and cheating. The only difference that I can see is that corruption before was confined to Marcos and his close allies, unlike now, when corruption is prevalent, from the barangay level, up to Malacañang.

Lydia Reyes, Bataan: I think we were better off under Marcos rule. Although they said there was corruption before, Marcos saw to it na siya lang ang makikinabang.

Joe Nacilla, Las Piñas City: I can say that we were better off during the first term of Marcos. However, after he declared Martial Law, our country became chaotic. It’s still chaotic; there hasn’t been any change. First, Marcos was not able to control his wife; now, it is the husband that cannot be controlled. During Marcos’ time, corruption was practiced by a few groups of relatives and friends. Corruption nowadays is practiced by anybody in power or anybody who has connections to those in power.

Aldo Apostol, Quezon City: Yes, we were better off during the Marcos regime. All projects, such as the LRT, expressways, power plants and green projects came about during his regime. Yes, there was corruption; however, it was limited to a few, unlike today. If all Marcos projects were continued by succeeding Presidents, our country would not be way behind other Asian countries. At the time, if I remember correctly, the dollar-peso exchange rate was $1=P7. What does that reflect?

Johann Lucas, Quezon City: Maybe the only difference is that during Marcos’ regime, there was only one supreme crocodile feasting on our land, unlike today when most officials are all trying to get money from our country.

Neither is better than the other

Cris Rivera, Rizal: Neither is better than the other. It’s an allusion of facts that bring about one result: immeasurable wickedness. What the past government had, the present has.

Tony Gomez, Parañaque City: We are not better off because both administrations are crooked. This one is just garapal, while the former had finesse.

Rico Fabello, Parañaque City: There is no difference between Marcos’ rule and Arroyo regime. Both administrations made destitute Filipinos more impoverished. Marlone Ramirez, Dubai

During Marcos’ time, we were Third World. Now, we’re still Third World. I say we’re still not moving.

Alexander Raquepo, Ilocos Norte: The buying power of the peso then was greater compared today. I’d say almost the same on the political side, more cronies, graft and corruption, human rights violations, traditional politicians, patronage politics and political dynasties, among others.

C.B. Manalastas, Manila: Maybe, but we can’t compare life under Marcos rule and now due to many factors, like the dollar-peso exchange rate, population, etc.

Corruption is still the name of the game

Francis Santos-Viola, Quezon City: Perhaps. The practice of corruption was the same then; only people are more used to it now that they see it as just another way to deal.

Corrupt. R. Santos, Isabela: Marcos, Erap and GMA, they’re all the same.

Rey Ibalan, Antipolo City: Though the situation then is different from now, they’re the same in terms of the rapaciousness of corruption in government.

Marcos’ monuments

Rose Leobrera, Manila: As I was not yet quite serious about life at that time, I only know of the demonstrations that sent everyone packing for the province to leave Manila. After the fear subsided and everything had gone back to normal, the construction of the Cultural Center, the PICC, the Film Center, the Coconut Palace, etc. followed. There was also the Lung Center, the Heart Center and many other landmarks still useful at present. At the time, too, the green revolution was launched, where every idle land in the barangay became useful vegetable plantations. Prices of commodities, even pork and chicken, were affordable. I was a fan of the beautiful Imelda. Marcos achieved much, yes, but these were to mask the billions he amassed from the kaban ng bayan. Still, I felt better off then. Life now is just too difficult to handle kahit anong sipag mo.

Eddie Yap, Kabankalan City: Marcos was a brilliant person who did a lot for the betterment of our country. His regime only turned dictatorial in the latter part of his term. After all, who can remain a righteous and “poor” president after being in power for more than 20 years with an “Imeldific” wife beside him? Despite these flaws, however, Marcos was an extraordinary President enthroned in the hearts of his loyal supporters. They built a number of world-class structures that the country enjoys to this day. Succeeding Presidents should thank Marcos because they always have him to blame as the root of the various problems they failed to solve.

No thanks to FM

Benjamin Nillo, Las Piñas City: Yes, we were better off during those times, but not because of Marcos’ economic reforms and strict peace and order campaign.

It’s a draw

Manny Cordeta, Marikina City: The query is quite puzzling. I simply can’t decipher whether we had the best or the worst of times under the late strongman Marcos. For sure, there are points of comparison with his successors Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, the short-serving Erap Estrada and the incumbent Gloria Arroyo, but to tag each of them better or worse than Marcos is highly debatable. Arguably, each has his or her innate strengths and weaknesses and his or her own proven style of leadership. Therefore, I think I am in no position to lay out any verdict, in fairness to the said Presidents. As in a game of chess or boxing, it’s a draw.

Life is harder now

Renato Taylan, Ilocos Norte: Making a living was less demanding under Marcos rule, where the competition to keep body and soul together wasn’t that tough and harsh.

Robert Young Jr., San Juan: Everything was a lot cheaper during Marcos’ time. Gasoline cost 35 centavos a liter; pan de sal was 5 centavos apiece, rice was P2 a kilo. An employee could feed a family of four with his minimum salary of P8 a day. Kidnapping, drug, gambling and other heinous crimes were seldom heard of; politicians were not as corrupt as today. Those were the good ’ol days.

Marcos’ cronies are our current plunderers

Elpidio Que, Vigan City: In Marcos’ time, peace and order was in place. Drug lords burrowed after he had Lim Seng shot in public for being a top drug lord. No illegal numbers game was in sight. The prices of basic commodities and services, were much, much lower. Basic government services to the people were programmed and done according to plan. The dark side, however, was President Marcos’ creation of a portfolio of cronies. He had in each major industry a crony as his minority partner and dummy. We wish he would resurrect and resume his role as our helmsman that he should rule like Julius Caesar, and make a Lim Seng out of his ingrate ex-crony-dummies who don’t get tired of plundering our Motherland.

If not for Imelda

Jim Veneracion, Naga City: Filipinos now tend to compare GMA’s rule with Marcos’ rule. We were better off with Marcos, until he got sick and Imelda and the brothers took over.

Ella Arenas, Pangasinan: Although ex-Pres. Marcos declared Martial Law, I think we were better off during his time. There were fewer crimes, less graft and corruption, less unemployment and less politicking. When he talked, everyone listened. Kung hindi lang kay Madam Imelda, ayos na sana.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of ThePinoy. does not knowingly publish false information and may not be held liable for the views of readers exercising their right to free expression.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    it is far better during marcos regime…our sovereignty is at stake now, since cory aquino surrendered sabah..then gloria arroyo seems like giving away the spratly islands to china and vietnam..if americans were still here why dont we let them rent and occupy spratly as their base.

  2. Jun Villar says:

    Marcos era had a better economy less freedom. GMA era better freedom less economy. Please note: both displayed excellent leadership and both were politically corrupt. It’s human nature (i.e. OS virus – original sin imputed by the serpent). All of us fall from God’s grace. It so happened we entrusted our Phillipine governance to them. Let us pray that God will raise a man after His own image. A man who greatly fears the Lord like King David and the wisdom of Solomon to rule our dying land. Maybe and only then that we will rise again.

  3. Anonymous says:

    better off during marcos time..on drugs and narcotis,chinese lim seng was firing squad for drug traficking..during those times users and sellers were, its seems youre like buying candies can find it in the streets on broad daylight..thats why we support PDEA to fight these evil…i also suggest to scan and random check all the baggages and those imports in container from taiwan,china,thailand,singapore,korea and japan to control the smugling of drugs and guns.

  4. Scope Hunter says:

    Same old leaders.. they may have lots of differences but they do have something in common. maybe they only have different styles. their common denominator – Corruption. marcos has his generals and so as gloria too has his generals that after retirement from the service she offered them some great positions in which is very absurd. well… lets just wait until one man be seated in malacanan that will serve the filipino people with his whole heart and is driven by patriotism in his heart.

  5. Anonymous says:

    if mrs. marcos is telling us that she can make our economy good and resolve these crises in 2 years time..let us let their wealth from u.s. switzerland etc. be back to she can help the countyr recover to our economy…anyway,who are these PCGG people enjoying these wealth which supposed to benefit the country.

  6. rollycb says:

    what else to say, this world is approaching its final destruction. Evidently worsening economic situation, calamities around, are the signs…we are almost there.

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