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History of the Philippines (1965–86)


History of the Philippines (1965–86)

Republic of the Philippines
Republika ng Pilipinas


Flag (1985–1986) Coat of arms
Lupang Hinirang
"Chosen Land"
Location of the Philippines in Southeast Asia.
Capital Manila
Languages Filipino
Government Dominant-party (1978-1986)
Multi-party Unitary
presidential constitutional republic under a Totalitarianism Military Dictatorship
 •  1965–1986 Ferdinand Marcos
Vice President
 •  1986 Arturo Tolentino
Legislature Batasang Pambansa
 •  1973 Constitution January 17, 1973
 •  EDSA Revolution February 25, 1986
Currency Philippine peso

The history of the Philippines, from 1965-1986, covers the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos. The Marcos era includes the final years of the Third Republic (1965–72), the Philippines under martial law (1972–81), and the majority of the Fourth Republic (1981–86).


  • The Marcos administration (1965–72) 1
    • First term 1.1
    • Second term 1.2
    • Plaza Miranda bombing 1.3
  • Martial law (1972–1981) 2
    • Economy 2.1
    • Parliamentary elections 2.2
  • The Fourth Republic (1981–1986) 3
  • End of the Marcos regime 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

The Marcos administration (1965–72)

Ferdinand Marcos, president from 1965-1986.

First term

On 1965, Ferdinand Marcos won the Presidential election and became the 10th President of the Philippines. His first term was marked with increased industrialization and the creation of solid infrastructure nationwide, such as the North Luzon Expressway and the Maharlika Highway. Marcos did this by appointing a cabinet composed mostly of technocrats and intellectuals, by increasing funding to the Armed Forces, and mobilizing them to help in construction. Marcos also established schools and learning institutions nationwide, more than of his predecessors combined.

In 1968, Sen. Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. warned that Marcos was on the road to establishing "a garrison state" by "ballooning the armed forces budget", saddling the defense establishment with "overstaying generals" and "militarizing our civilian government offices", thus foreshadowing events that would happen in the following decade.

Marcos also sent 10,450 Filipino soldiers to Vietnam during his term, under the PHILCAG (Philippine Civic Action Group). The 12th President of the Philippines, Fidel Ramos, was then a part of this expeditionary force.

Second term

In 1969, Marcos ran for a second term (allowable under the 1935 constitution then in effect[1]), and won versus 11 other candidates. Marcos began his second term by creating a personality cult of sorts around himself, mandating that all public institutions must carry a picture of the President, and even replacing some billboards with his propaganda messages.

Marcos' second term was marked by economic turmoil brought about by factors both external and internal, a restless student body who demanded educational reforms, a rising crime rate, and a growing Communist insurgency, among other things.

The crisis boiled over on October 30, 1970 during a massive protest in Mendiola now known as the First Quarter Storm, where student protesters and communist elements were forcefully quelled by military forces. This marked a period of intense student protesting and violence around Metro Manila, especially near the University Belt. At one point, student activists took over the Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines and declared it a free commune, which lasted for a while before the government dissolved it. Violent protesting continued over the next few years until the declaration of martial law in 1972.

Plaza Miranda bombing

On August 21, 1971, the Liberal Party held a campaign rally at the Plaza Miranda to proclaim their Senatorial bets and their candidate for the Mayoralty of Manila. Two grenades were reportedly tossed on stage, injuring almost everybody present. As a result, Marcos suspended the writ of habeas corpus in order to arrest those behind the attack. He rounded up a list of supposed suspects, Maoists, and other undesirables. In an effort to eliminate rivals in the Liberal Party, Marcos and his allies took an investigation and which it turnout - coming from the opposition.

Martial law (1972–1981)

In September 1972, then Defence Minister Juan Ponce Enrile was ambushed while en route home. The assassination attempt (which has been confirmed by some to have been staged[2][3] but has been claimed by Enrile to have been real[4] and also to have been staged[5]) citizen unrest, a restless student body who demanded educational reforms, a rising crime rate and a growing Communist insurgency. On September 21 President Marcos issued Presidential Proclamation No. 1081, proclaiming a State of martial law in the Philippines, he used the alleged ambush as a pretext to declare martial law. [6]

Marcos, who henceforth ruled by decree, curtailed press freedom and other civil liberties, abolished Congress, controlled media establishments, and ordered the arrest of opposition leaders and militant activists, including his staunchest critics Senators Benigno Aquino, Jr. and Jose W. Diokno. Initially, the declaration of martial law was well-received, given the social turmoil of the period. Crime rates decreased significantly after a curfew was implemented. Political opponents were given the opportunity to go into exile. As martial law went on for the next nine years, the excesses committed by the military emerged.

Though it was made clear that Martial law was no military take-over of the government, the immediate reaction of some sectors of the nation was of astonishment and dismay, for even if everyone knew that the gravity of the disorder, lawlessness, social injustice, youth and student activism and other disturbing movements had reached a point of peril, they felt that martial law over the whole country was not yet warranted. Worse, political motivations were ascribed to be behind the proclamation, what with the then constitutionally unextendible term of President Marcos about to expire, and this suspicion became more credible when opposition leaders and outspoken anti-administration media people were immediately placed under indefinite detention in military camps and other unusual restrictions were imposed on travel, communication, freedom of speech and of the press, etc. In a word, the martial law regime was anathema to no small portion of the populace.[7]

It was in the light of the above circumstances and as a means of solving the dilemma aforementioned that the concept embodied in Amendment No. 6 was born in the Constitution of 1973. In brief, the central Idea that emerged was that martial law may be earlier lifted, but to safeguard our country and people against any abrupt dangerous situation which would warrant the exercise of some authoritarian powers, the latter must be constitutionally allowed, thereby to obviate the need to proclaim martial law and its concomitants, principally the assertion by the military of prerogatives that made them appear superior to the civilian authorities below the President. In other words, the problem was what may be needed for national survival or the restoration of normalcy in the face of a crisis or an emergency should be reconciled with the popular mentality and attitude of the people against martial law.[8]

In a recent speech before his fellow alumni of the University of the Philippines College of Law, President Marcos declared his intention to lift martial law by the end of January 1981.[9]

The reassuring words for the skeptic came on the occasion of the University of the Philippines law alumni reunion on December 12, 1980 when the President declared: "We must erase once and for all from the public mind any doubts as to our resolve to bring martial law to an end and to minister to an orderly transition to parliamentary government." The apparent forthright irrevocable commitment was cast at the 45th anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on December 22, 1980 when the President proclaimed: "A few days ago, following extensive consultations with a broad representation of various sectors of the nation and in keeping with the pledge made a year ago during the seventh anniversary of the New Society, I came to the firm decision that martial law should be lifted before the end of January, 1981, and that only in a few areas where grave problems of public order and national security continue to exist will martial law continue to remain in force."[10]


During the early years of Martial Law, the Philippine economy grew a significant amount, spurred by heavy borrowing from transnational banking companies and government-to-government loans. By 1980, however, the heavy burden of foreign debt servicing took its toll in the economy, and mismanagement of important industries due to crony capitalism led the economy to a downturn. The assassination of popular opposition leader Benigno Aquino in 1983 led to the pull-out of foreign capital from the country, resulting in negative GDP growth in 1983 and 1984.

Parliamentary elections

The first formal elections since 1969 for an interim Batasang Pambansa (National Assembly) were held on April 7, 1978. Sen. Aquino, then in jail, decided to run as leader of his party, the Lakas ng Bayan party, but they did not win any seats in the Batasan, despite public support and their apparent victory. The night before the elections, supporters of the LABAN party showed their solidarity by setting up a "noise barrage" in Manila, creating noise the whole night until dawn.

The Fourth Republic (1981–1986)

— U.S. Vice-President [11]

The opposition boycotted the June 16, 1981 presidential elections, which pitted Marcos and his Kilusang Bagong Lipunan party against retired Gen. Alejo Santos of the Nacionalista Party. Marcos won by a margin of over 16 million votes, which constitutionally allowed him to have another six-year term. Finance Minister Cesar Virata was elected as Prime Minister by the Batasang Pambansa.

In 1983, opposition leader United Nationalists Democratic Organizations (UNIDO). The election was marred by widespread reports of violence and tampering with results by the Marcos side.

The official election canvasser, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), declared Marcos the winner, despite a walk-out staged by disenfranchised computer technicians on February 9. According to the COMELEC's final tally, Marcos won with 10,807,197 votes to Aquino's 9,291,761 votes. By contrast, the final tally of NAMFREL, an accredited poll watcher, said Aquino won with 7,835,070 votes to Marcos's 7,053,068.[12]

End of the Marcos regime

The fraudulent result was not accepted by Aquino and her supporters. International observers, including a U.S. delegation led by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), denounced the official results. Gen. Fidel Ramos and Defence Minister Juan Ponce Enrile then withdrew their support for the administration, defecting and barricading themselves within Camp Crame. This resulted in the peaceful 1986 EDSA Revolution that forced Marcos into exile in Hawaii while Corazon Aquino became the 11th President of the Philippines on February 25, 1986. Under Aquino, the Philippines would adopt a new constitution, ending the Fourth Republic and ushering the beginning of the Fifth Republic.


  1. ^ "1935 Constitution, as amended". Official Gazette. 
  2. ^ Celoza, Albert F. (1997). Ferdinand Marcos and the Philippines: The Political Economy of Authoritarianism. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 70.  
  3. ^ "True or false: Was 1972 Enrile ambush faked?". The Philippine Inquirer. 8 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "Enrile on fake ambush: ‘For real’". The Philippine Inquirer. 30 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "The Struggle Between Truth and Falsehood". Law and Behold!.  (reproducing news article reprints)
  6. ^ Presidential Proclamation No. 1081, September 21, 1972, Proclaiming a State of Martial Law in the Philippines, The LawPhil Project.
  7. ^ "G.R. No. L-58289 July 24, 1982". 
  8. ^ Legaspoi, Valentino. "G.R. No. L-58289 July 24, 1982".  (note 29)
  11. ^ Philippines: Together Again, TIME Magazine, July 13, 1981
  12. ^  ;
    ^ Isabelo T. Crisostomo (1987), Cory--profile of a president, Branden Books, p. 193, (showing a reproduction of NAMFREL's announcement of the results). 

External links

  • The Timeline of Philippine History: Second Independence
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