My channel, my rules? The dictator’s son’s attempts at whitewashing the horrors of martial law


Following the controversial online interview of the son and namesake of the late dictator, Bulatlat revisited the YouTube vlog of former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his apparent attempts at whitewashing the horrors of martial law.

Today, the 49th year since the imposition of the Marcos dictator, Bulatlat is providing facts and context to these claims.

1. On the economic development during the Marcos dictatorship


“One thing that clearly sets my father apart is that he had a very clear vision for our country. Malinaw na malinaw ang direksyon niya kung saan niya gusto dalhin ang bansa. Lagi niyang iniisip kung ano bang tutunguan ng ating bansa.”

He viewed his work as president as one of nation-building, of building up our country to make it better.

Nagsimula sa kanya ang mga pundasyon, yung mga basic na pangangailangan ng tao ay natugunan.

Kanyang binuo yung International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

Pinalawak niya ang irrigation systems hanggang sa production–nagbibigay ng production loan.

Meron tayo dati Food Terminal Incorporated, yong mga wholesaler doon pumupunta at ang presyo ng mga bilihin ay mas mababa kaysa sa commercial dahul ang gobyerno ay hindi dapat pinagkakakitaan yung ating mga produkto

Kadiwa Center–doon maaaring bumili ng mura na pangangailangan sa araw-araw”

Facts and context:

According to Amnesty International, the Marcos dictatorship was marked by 3,257 known extrajudicial killings, 35,000 documented tortures, 77 ‘disappeared’ and 70,000 incarcerations. More than 2,520 murder victims were tortured and mutilated before their bodies were dumped in various places for the public to discover – a tactic meant to sow fear among the public, which came to be known as ‘salvaging.’

By the end of the Marcos period, 6 in every 10 Filipino families were poor, with some regions reaching as high as 7 out of 10 families below the poverty line. Only two regions saw a marginal decrease in the number of poor families: Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley.

Farmers became poorer in the Marcos era, with their real wages dropping by 30 percent from P42 ($0.84) in 1962 to P30 ($0.60) by 1986.

By the last decade of Martial Law, prices of goods tripled. What cost P100 ($2) in 1978, cost at least P350 ($7), even nearing P400 ($8) by 1986.

IRRI is an independent, nonprofit, research and educational institute, founded in 1960 by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations with support from the Philippine government.

A perception study on poverty and programs to redress it among Manila’s poor revealed about the Kadiwa Center, “people were discouraged by the queues, the distance of the stores and some irritable service personnel.” By 1983, merely three years after its inception, the country experienced a sugar and rice shortage while the price of cooking oil spiked. Stores and warehouses were raided at the regular, while hoarding and overpricing became common.

In 1984, five years after the FTI was established, the scarcity of consumer goods and the rising prices of commodities pushed the government to transfer the operations of FTI as a joint venture between the government and the private sector. This was also due to the weakening political support for the program and its failure to address consumer issues beyond the imposition of price control on basic commodities.

2. On the legacy of the Marcos dictatorship


“If my father were still alive, it would give him great satisfaction to hear such a thing, that the work that he did for the whole of his life is still being felt and is still of value to our citizens even those who were born after he was gone.”

Facts and context:

According to Rep. Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna, the country’s foreign debt skyrocketed from $599 million in 1966 to $26.7 billion in 1986. The Filipino people are expected to pay for the Marcos debt, which was deliberately overpriced to pocket billions of dollars in kickbacks, until 2025 or 40 years after EDSA.

Outstanding external debt during the Marcos period skyrocketed. In nominal terms, external debt increased 77 times from $0.36 billion in 1961 to $28.26 billion in 1986.


This is really the aspiration of my father, that he is recognized and he is known that he did all his work for all his life for the national interest and yes pareho tayo we’re all very very proud of him.

Facts and context:

In 2011, Ferdinand Marcos was included in TIME Magazine’s Top 15 Topped Dictators, along with other notorious totalitarians like Muammar Gadhafi of Libya, Benito Mussolini of Italy, Sadam Hussein of Iraq, and Adolf Hitler of Germany.

He also holds the Guinness World Record for Greatest Robbery of a Government for amassing a total of $860.8 million of ill-gotten wealth.


“Mula noong 1907, yung pinakamalaking renovation o pagbababago na ginawa sa PGH ay yung 1981. Ito ang naging central project ng aking ina noong siya ay First Lady.”

Facts and context:

Public funds were used for the construction of these government health institutions.

3. On the First Lady


I’ll build a strong house for the Filipino people. You make it a home. (Ferdinand to Imelda)

Facts and context:

Imelda Marcos is infamous for flaunting their excessive and lavish lifestyle to the world. When the Marcoses were exiled and fled to Hawaii, she left behind 1,060 pairs of shoes in Malacanang, excluding the 1,800 more pairs she had in Tacloban City. She also was not able to bring 508 floor-length gowns, 427 dresses, 15 mink coats and a swan feather gown.

Mrs. Marcos also had three main jewelry collections, now forfeited by the Philippine government, the Malacanang, Roumeliotes, and Hawaii collections. These consist of extravagant jewelry, loose gemstones, trinkets and baubles which are part of assets allegedly plundered by the Marcos family after 20 years in power. The Malacanang collection, the smallest of the three sets, was composed of sets of gems valued between $110,055 and $153,089.


Marcos on his mother as video clips of government hospitals were being shown:

“Sa edad niya ngayon, alam naman natin na pagka yung ating mga lola, yung ating mga nanay, kaligayahan niya yung makita niya at ang mga institusyon at proyekto na pinangunahan niya nung panahon niya na First Lady ay nagbibigay sa kanya ng sila, na nakikita niya na hanggang ngayon ay andyan pa at nakakatulong pa sa taong bayan lalong lalo na sa panahon ng pandemya.”

Facts and context:

In November 2018, Imelda Marcos was convicted of seven counts of graft for creating private foundations in Switzerland when she was a government official, from 1978 to 1984. This “allowed her family to funnel illegally amassed government funds during the Martial Law period.” Aside from serving as Governor of Metro Manila, she was also Minister of Human Settlements and a member of the Interim Batasan Pambansa.

4. On the BNPP project


“Kaya noong panahon pa ng aking ama, talagang dini-develop nating mabutin ang ating ekonomiya, ang ating agrikultura, lahat. Yun ang hinanap talaga na magkaroon ng sapat na supply ng kuryente kaya lahat ng teknolohiya noon ay pinagaralan.

Una, dahil marami tayong ilog ay hydroelectric plants. Nanguna tayo sa buong mundo sa paggamit ng geothermal na yan noon ang pinaka state of the art, ang pinakabagong teknolohiya para magkaroon tayo ng power.

“Noong 1985, natapos itayo yung Bataan Nuclear Power Plant ngunit hindi nabuksan. After 1986, tuloy tuloy yung mga brownout, napilitan tayong… hindi ko na siguro kailangan sabihin yun.

Facts and context:

The BNPP construction began in 1976 and was completed in 1984 at a cost of $2.3 billion. The country was only able to pay it off in April 2007, 30 years after its construction. The nuclear plant is located at the foot of Mt. Natib in Morong, Bataan. Marcos was toppled in 1986. The succeeding administration of Corazon Aquino decided not to operate the plant after citing 4,000 defects in its design and construction that include being built in a major earthquake fault line and its close proximity to Mount Pinatubo.

The former dictator and his cronies reportedly walked away with $80 million in kickbacks from the construction of the BNPP.

To this day, maintaining the plant costs the government P40 million ($799,000) a year. (RVO)

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