Forty six years ago on 21 September, former President Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law which based on which side of the political fence one is on, was either the golden age for peace or the most repressive period in Philippine history.
The growing consensus, however, is that there are several achievements of Marcos that had been overlooked and from which Filipinos are still benefiting such as the first elevated mass transit system called the Light Rail Transit (LRT).
The LRT was the precursor of the other modern rail systems, including two which are being built under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. They will be the country’s first subway system to be known as the Mass Rail Transit (MRT)-7.
In an interview last year, former Prime Minister Cesar Virata lamented media’s lack of balance in reporting about the martial law period and glossing over Marcos’ accomplishments.
“What I see now is that there is no balance in the reporting of the accomplishments of President Marcos. All those who were adversely affected by the discipline and enforcement of martial law are the ones that are usually in the newspapers. And they continue to take over what should be reported as the accomplishments,” Virata said.
Virata added in public works, Marcos held a “record” in constructing roads and bridges unequaled by succeeding administrations.
Virata said some of the trains of the LRT-1, built under Marcos, are “still in operation.”
He said Marcos’ programs encompassed health, education and agriculture and praised him for standing up to the United States by refusing to send troops to fight in the Vietnam war and cutting down the US lease on Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base to 25 years.
Marcos, in fact, sent 2,000 “combat engineers” during the Vietnam war.