Looking back at history, during the Marcos administration, social justice finds concrete translation in development plans and programs. These interventions were focused on eliminating illiteracy, expanding employment opportunities, sharing the fruits of development equitably and introducing requisite of institutional change. The measures of development—the Gross National Product (GNP), literacy rate, and life expectancy had been secured during his lead.
The following is a list of deserted accomplishments. Deserted, in the sense that the Administrations after him, until the present, have been trying to create the image of a leader who had done nothing but ignored the well-being of his people. Recent global studies have shown just the opposite. Read on and judge for yourself.
I. Food sufficiency
A. Green Revolution
Production of rice was increased through promoting the cultivation of IR-8 hybrid rice. In 1968 the Philippines became self-sufficient in rice, the first time in history since the American period. It also exported rice worth US$7 million.
B. Blue Revolution
Marine species like prawn, mullet, milk-fish, and golden tilapia were being produced and distributed to farmers at a minimum cost. Today, milk-fish and prawns contribute substantially to foreign exchange income.
C. Liberalized Credit
More than one thousand rural banks spread all over the country resulting to the accessibility of credit to finance purchase of agricultural inputs, hired labor, and harvesting expenses at very low interest rate. During 1981-1985, credit was available without interest and collateral arrangements. Some of the credit programs were the as follows:
1. Biyayang Dagat – (credit support for fishermen)
2. Bakahang Barangay – supported fattening of 40,000 head of cattle in farmer backyards
3. Masaganang Maisan, Maisagana, and Expanded Yellow Corn Program – supported 1.4 Million farmers through P4.7 Billion in loans from 1975-1985
4. Gulayan sa Kalusugan and Pagkain ng Bayan Programs – provided grants and loans of P12.4 Million to encourage backyard and communal production of vegetables and improve nutrition of Filipino households.
5. Kilusang Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran (KKK) – supported 25,000 entrepreneurial projects through P1.8 Billion and helping 500,000 beneficiaries.
D. Decontrol Program
Price control polices were implemented on rice and corn to provide greater incentive to farmers to produce more. Deregulation of trading in commodities like sugar and coconut and agricultural inputs like fertilizer were done for more efficient marketing and trading arrangements.
II. Education Reform
Access to free education widened during the Marcos Administration. The biggest portion of the budget was allotted for Educational Programs (P58.7 Billion in 20 years). The literacy rate climbed from 72% in 1965 to 93% in 1985 and almost 100% in Metro Manila on the same year.
III. Agrarian Reform
Tenant’s Emancipation Act of 1972 or PD 27 was implemented without bloodshed. This was the first Land Reform Code in our country. Since it was implemented until December 1985, 1.2 million farmers benefited, either they became the owner or leaseholder in more than 1.3 million hectares of rice and corn lands.
IV. Primary Health Care
The Primary Health Care (PHC) Program made medical care accessible to millions of Filipinos in the remotest barrios of the country. This program was even awarded by United Nations as the most effective and most responsive health program among the third world countries. With PHC life expectancy increased from 53.7 years in 1965 to 65 years in 1985. Infant mortality rate also declined from 73 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1965 to 58 in 1984.
V. Housing For The Masses
Bagong Lipunan Improvement of Sites and Services (BLISS) Housing project had expanded the government’s housing program for the low-income group. Massive slum upgrading projects have improved to 14,000 lots in 1985 from 2,500 in 1976. The Tondo fore-shore, for instance, as one of the biggest and most miserable slum colonies in Asia was transformed into a decent community. A total of 230,000 housing units were constructed from 1975-1985.
The laws on socialized housing were conceptualized by President Marcos through a series of legal issuances from the funding, the lending, mortgaging and to the collection of the loans. These are governed by the Home Mutual Development Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund), the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) and the National Home Mortgage Finance which remain intact up to the present
VI. Energy Self-Reliance
Indigenous energy sources were developed like hydrothermal, geothermal, dendrothermal, coal, biogas and biomass. The country became the first in Asia to use dendrothermal and in five years we became number two, next to US, in geothermal utilization. The extensive energy resource research and exploration and development resulted to reduction of oil imports from 100% in 1965 to 40% in 1985 and in the same year, more than 1,400 towns and cities were fully energized.
VII. Export Development
During 1985 textile and textile products like garments and embroideries, furniture and rattan products, marine products like prawns and milk-fish, raw silk, shoes, dehydrated and fresh fruits were exported aside from the traditional export products like coconut, sugar, logs, lumber and veneer. The maritime industry was also dominated by Filipinos wherein 50,000 seamen were employed by various world shipping companies.
VIII. Labor Reform
The Labor code was promulgated which expanded the concerns of the Magna Carta of Labor to extend greater protection to labor, promote employment, and human resource development. The minimum wages of the workers were boosted through the guaranteed 13th month pay and cost of living allowances. Employment potentials of Filipinos were enhanced through skills training. During that time, there were 896,000 out-of-school youths and unemployed graduated from various training centers all over the country.
IX. Unprecedented Infrastructure Growth
The country’s road network had improved from 55,778 kilometers in 1965 to 77,950 in five years (1970), and eventually reached 161,000 kilometers in 1985. Construction of irrigation facilities was also done that made 1.5 million hectares of land irrigated and increased the farmer’s harvest and income. In addition, nationwide telecommunication systems—telephone systems, telex exchange too centers, and inter-provincial toll stations were also built.
X. Political Reform
The structure of government established by President Marcos remains substantially the same except the change of name, inclusive of superficial features in laws, to give a semblance of change from that of the President Marcos regime.
The only significant department that was abolished after the departure of President Marcos was the Department of Ministry of Human Settlements under Imelda Romualdez Marcos. It was dismantled but the functions were distributed to different offices.
XI. Fiscal Reform
Government finances were stabilized by higher revenue collections and loans from treasury bonds, foreign lending institutions and foreign governments.
XII. Peace and Order
In 1966, more than 100 important smugglers were arrested; in three years 1966-68 they arrested a total of 5,000. Military men involved in smuggling were forced to retire. Peace and order significantly improved in most provinces, however situations in Manila and some provinces continued to deteriorate until the imposition of martial law in 1972.