HE was described as the country’s late strongman and dictator. But for some of his loyalists, Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos Sr. was not a villain after all.
For veteran newspaperman Danilo Ambrocio, Marcos, who will be celebrating his 96th birthday on Wednesday, had contributed a lot for the development of the country.
While in power Marcos implemented wide-ranging programs of infrastructure development and economic reforms.
In fact, Ambrocio noted that infrastructure development is one of the achievements of the Marcos administration.
In infrastructure, Ambrocio said, Marcos successfully expanded the country’s land territory through his hectares of reclamation area.
“He constructed various feeder roads, school buildings even in far-flung areas in the country. No barrio in the Philippines was not reached by the development during Marcos time,” he added.
Among the noted infrastructures that were built during the Marcos era include the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), Folk Arts Theatre, Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Makiling Center for the Arts (National Arts Center), Malacañang ti Amianan in Laoag, Nayong Pilipino, Museum for Native Art in Tacloban, and Palace in the Sky.
These infrastructure projects became the venue for the Filipinos to highlight cultural heritage, propagate arts and culture, and at the same time generate tourism.
It was also during Marcos time when more road networks and bridges were constructed such as, the Manila North Diversion Road, precursor of the North Luzon Expressway (Nlex), the Marcos Highway to Baguio and the San Juanico Bridge that links the islands of Samar and Leyte.
The Marcos regime also expressed great concern on public health as exhibited by the establishment of hospitals like the Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center, Kidney Institute, and Philippine Children’s Hospital.
Ambrocio said it during Marcos’ time when basic services reached the grassroots level through the government’s extension workers.
In terms of diplomatic relations with other countries, the Philippines had active ties with all the countries including the fair treatment to the United States (US) and China, he added.
Ambrocio said Marcos’ greatest policy was his declaration of the martial law, which greatly reformed the government.
“Proclamation 1081 stipulates that its implementation was purposely to save the Republic and to reform the society,” he added.
During the implementation of martial law, he added, oligarchs became powerless and the government had a total control of mass media.
He, however, dismissed observations that mass media were curtailed during the Marcos regime saying that the former President even befriend some of the journalists.
Ambrocio also expressed belief that the negative perception against Marcos was only part of the black propaganda sowed against him by his critics.
Ambrocio’s personal encounter with the late president happened during the graduation of the Kabataang Barangay leadership training in Mount Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna in 1975 where Marcos became the guest of honor.