For Better or for Worse?

The last time the country underwent the same type of Cha Cha purportedly to solve the political and economic crisis was in 1972. After declaring martial law, Ferdinand E. Marcos reopened and presided over the Constitutional Convention to finalize the 1971 Constitution and institute changes that will legitimize his rule. From a presidential form of government, the country supposedly shifted to a parliamentary form of government with Marcos exercising the powers of president and prime minister. The people did not enjoy their civil liberties and political rights.

Marcos pushed for a Foreign Investment Incentives Act to replace the Laurel-Langley Agreement. The law provided foreign corporations with incentives not even enjoyed by local corporations and rights to exploit the country’s natural resources. It also suppressed workers’ rights to weaken unions and provide a strike-free environment.

Marcos also developed very close relations with the U.S.; allowed it use U.S. military bases in the Philippines as launching pad for its war of aggression in Vietnam and Southeast Asia; and even sent Filipino troops in Vietnam.

The 1971 Constitution that replaced the 1935 Constitution, and the laws and measures enacted by Marcos, which is currently being emulated by the Arroyo administration, did not solve the political and economic crisis confronting the country, it worsened it. And this led to the downfall of Marcos and the dismantling of martial law by the Filipino people in a genuine manifestation of the people’s will. (

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