“30 Years After Revolution, Some Filipinos Yearn for ‘Golden Age’ of Marcos.” With this headline and a well-researched story, the New York Times once again has rattled President Benigno BS Aquino 3rd and his soon-to-depart Administration. Just as it has done in previous years, when the paper occasionally took note of untoward developments in the country.
Marcos political renaissance
In its report, written by Fred Whaley and published on February 23, the NYT reported the following:
1. As Filipinos were preparing for the 30th anniversary of the “People Power” revolution that toppled Ferdinand E. Marcos, the Marcos family legacy is undergoing a political renaissance.
2. Some or many Filipinos claim that the time of Marcos rule was a “golden age” of peace and prosperity. One Manila resident said, “I think Marcos was our best president. That was when the Philippines was the leader of Asia. We were respected.”
One 70-year-old retired schoolteacher told the NYT, she remembers well the time of Marcos when there was no traffic, police officers did not extract bribes and criminals were on the run. “That was a time when our economy was booming. Even Imelda did a lot of good things. She shared our culture with the world. I can forgive her for having so many shoes.”
3. The family’s political resurgence is being led by Sen Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., “a popular senator” who is running for vice president in the May 9 national election.
4. Bongbong has built a coalition from his father’s remaining supporters and young people who were not alive when martial law was declared in the 1970s. He has drawn close to popular politicians like Manny Pacquiao and Miriam Defensor Santiago.
The report was so vivid, and the language so colorful, that President Aquino devoted his address at the EDSA commemoration yesterday to disputing the “golden age” perception and attacking Senator Marcos. He forgot to talk about the meaning and significance of EDSA day.
A comparison of records
Aquino lamented that Filipinos appear to have forgotten the meaning of the People Power Revolution as seen in the increasing support for Bongbong’s candidacy.
To counter the seeming Marcos tsunami, Malacañang has mounted a well-funded campaign to dent Bongbong’s popularity and blunt his candidacy. It has revived martial-law scare propaganda. It has produced a quickie junk book on martial law, authored by a propagandist-for-hire.
A Palace spokesman told the media that the country is more successful now than it was under Mr. Marcos. “We are now known as Asia’s rising star, an investment-grade economy and an example of good governance.”
The big problem is that if a serious comparison is made between the record of Ferdinand Marcos and the combined records of Cory Aquino and PNoy Aquino, it would prove to be a no contest.
Up to now, the Aquino administration still has not matched the achievement of 8 percent GDP growth (twice) during the martial law years.
If a debate between Bongbong Marcos and Noynoy Aquino about these records is staged, the New York Times will surely be on hand to report.
But then, it will dawn on President Aquino that all this skirmishing only makes Bongbong more popular, and possibly unstoppable.