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Marcos’s unmatched legacy


INFRASTRUCTURE development is the fuel that keeps a country cruising at a rapid pace in the race
toward growth and economic stability in today’s emerging global environment.

Dr. Jeffrey Delmon, senior infrastructure specialist of The World Bank, affirms this by stating that:
“Poor infrastructure impedes a nation’s economic growth and international competitiveness.”

Infrastructure, thus, becomes imperative as it plays a direct and crucial role in people’s everyday lives.
The development of high quality roads and transport systems, bridges, hospitals and schools is vital
both for economic growth and improving the quality of life of citizens. If built and maintained
properly, these infrastructures will benefit both present and future generations.

In this area of public service, President Ferdinand Marcos made a legacy so remarkable and enduring
that it has been the life work of his foes to obliterate it in the chronicles of our history.

Yet, no matter how hard they attempted to stigmatize him, the significant things he had accomplished
cannot change the fact that because of what he did in his time remains today in the global map, a feat
that has never been equaled by the five presidents who succeeded him.

Marcos’s accomplishments in infrastructure and development, missing in history books deliberately

prescribed for our students and unheard of by many Filipinos, are discussed below.


The energy sector plays a key role in the country’s economic activities. When energy prices go up, the
costs of food, transportation and other basic necessities follow suit. To prevent skyrocketing oil and
power rates that would eventually result in high prices of commodities brought about by the 1973
global oil crisis, the government sought to decrease dependence on imported oil by harnessing
indigenous sources of energy. As a result, the Marcos regime completed 20 power plants:

 Agus 2 Hydro Electric Power Plant, completed in 1979;

 Agus 4 Hydro Electric Power Plant, completed in 1985;
 Agus 5 Hydro Electric Power Plant, completed in 1985;

 Agus 6 Hydro Electric Power plant, recommissioned in 1977;

 Agus 7 Hydro Electric Power Plant, completed in 1982;
 Angat Hydro Electric Power Plant, completed in 1967;
 Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, completed in 1983;
 Calaca Coal Power Plant, completed in 1984;
 Cebu Thermal Power Plant, completed in 1981;
 Kalayaan Hydro Electric Power Plant, completed 1982;
 Leyte Geothermal Power Plant, completed 1977;
 Magat A Hydro Electric Power Plant, completed in 1984;
 Magat B Hydro Electric Power Plant, completed in 1984;
 Main Magat Hydro Electric Power Plant, completed in 1983;
 Makiling-Banahaw Geothermal Power Plant, completed in 1979;
 Masiway Hydro Electric Power Plant, completed in 1980;
 Palinpinon 1 Southern Negros Geothermal production Field completed in 1983;
 Pantabangan Hydro Electric Power Plant, completed in 1977;
 Tiwi Geothermal Power Plant, completed in 1980; and
 Pulangi Hydro Electric Power Plant, completed in 1985.

A study by Gilberto Llanto (2002), Infrastructure Development: Experience and Policy Options for
the Future, reveals that during the Marcos Administration, electrification reached 1,270
municipalities/cities, 19,680 barangays and around 2.7 million households in 1986, which represented
45.6 percent of total households.

Almost three decades after Marcos was ousted from power, not only did his successors fail to build a
single power plant; but more devastatingly, the nation also saw the aggressive privatization of the
energy industry. Foreign players and the local private sectors started to participate in energy projects
through privatization and the build-operate-transfer scheme.

As a result, a few oligarchic families amassed billions of profit, while the consumers bore the brunt of
shouldering costly power rates. The Philippines has even earned its place as one of the countries with
the most expensive power rates in Asia.

It can be recalled that for 13 years, a specific period covered by Marcos’s total energy plan for the
country made successful by the right combination of regulated and deregulated policies saw the steady,
low-cost supply of oil and cheap electricity to consumers.

In that period, the Marcos government, based on indisputable government records, had succeeded in
reducing the country’s dependence on Middle East oil from 92 percent in 1973 to 71 percent in 1980
and further to 57 percent in 1984. By 1985, the Philippines stood as the world’s second-largest user of
geothermal power, next to California, resulting further to 44-percent reduction of the country’s
dependence on imported oil worth billions of pesos.

On June 19, 1986, four months after the Edsa Revolution, President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino’s
administration deliberately abolished the Ministry of Energy and placed the multibillion-peso
Philippine National Oil Corp., a successful Philippine firm featured successively in Fortune’s 500 Best
Corp., under the administrative supervision of the Office of the President.

As a consequence, the long-term total energy plan for the country went down the drain after the
Aquino regime corrupted, dissipated and privatized its money-making corporations and subsidiaries,
including the National Power Corp. and the highly profitable Petron that served as a buffer against
foreign oil production and distribution monopoly. Petron controlled 40 percent of the fuel distribution
network in the country.

Marcos’s unmatched legacy: Education


RICE, Roads and ’Rithmetic was President Marcos’s battle cry during his first term in office. By
’Rithmetic, he meant school building where arithmetic is learned. In this area, he again outperformed
the five Presidents after him. Here are some of the state colleges and universities founded under his
administration, in alphabetical sequence:

1. Abra State Institute of Science and Technology in Abra, founded in 1983;

2. Adiong Memorial Polytechnic State College, founded in 1970s;

3. Basilan State College, 1984;

4. Bicol University, established in 1969;

5. Cagayan State University, established 1978;

6. Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges, established in 1983;

7. Capiz State University, 1980;


8. Central Mindanao University, established in 1965;

9. Cotabato City State Polytechnic College, established 1983;

10. Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology, established in 1967;

11. Davao del Norte School of Fisheries, established in 1969 (now known as Davao del Norte State

12. Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in La Union, founded in 1981;

13. Guimaras State College, 1968;

14. Isabela State University, established in 1978;

15. Kalinga-Apayao State College in Tabuk Kalinga, founded in 1970;

16. Leyte Normal University, 1976;

17. Malita Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology, founded in 1966;

18. Mariano Marcos State University in Ilocos Norte, founded in 1978;

19. Mati Community College (MCC), founded in 1972 (now known as Davao Oriental State College of
Science and Technology);

20. Mindanao State University- General Santos City, founded in 1971;

21. Mindanao State University-Iligan City, founded in 1968;

22. Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology-Calapan City, established in 1966;

23. Misamis Oriental State College of Agriculture and Technology, established in 1983;

24. Northern Negros State College of Science and Technology, established in 1971;

25. Northwestern Mindanao State College of Science and Technology, established in 1971;

26. Occidental Mindoro State College, established in 1966;


27. Palawan State University, established in 1965;

28. Pampanga Agricultural College, established in 1974;

29. Pangasinan State University, founded in 1979;

30. Philippine State College of Aeronautics, founded in 1969;

31. Quirino State University, established in 1976;

32. Rizal Technological University, established in 1969;

33. Southern Leyte State University (SLSU)-Sogod, 1969;

34. SLSU-Bontoc, 1983;

35. SLSU-Hinunangan, 1975;

36. SLSU-San Juan, 1983;

37. SLSU-Tomas Oppus, February 1, 1986;

38. Southern Philippines Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology;

39. Sulu State College, founded in 1982;

40. Surigao Del Norte School of Arts and Trades, founded in 1969, (now known as Surigao State
College of Technology);

41. Surigao del Sur State University, founded in 1982;

42. Tawi-Tawi Regional Agricultural College, founded in 1975;

43. Technological University of the Philippines, established in 1971;

44. University of Northern Philippines, founded in 1965;

45. University of Southeastern Philippines, established in 1978;


46. West Visayas State University,

became established as university in January in 1986;

47. Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) became a university in 1978 followed with building
the satellite campuses in:

a. WMSU Curuan, Zamboanga City

b. WMSU-Alicia campus, Zamboanga del Sur

c. WMSU-Aurora campus, Zamboanga del Sur

d. WMSU-Diplahan, Zamboanga Sibugay

e. WMSU-Imelda, Zamboanga Sibugay

f. WMSU-Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay

g. WMSU-Mabuhay, Zamboanga Sibugay

h. WMSU-Malangas, Zamboanga

i. WMSU-Molave, Zamboanga del Sur

j. WMSU-Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay

k. WMSU-Olutanga, Zamboanga Sibugay

l. WMSU-Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur

m. WMSU-Pitogo, Zamboanga del Sur

n. WMSU-San Ramon, Zamboanga City

o. WMSU-Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay

p. WMSU-Tungawan, Zamboanga

Some of the high schools built under his leadership:

1. Amlan Municipal High School was established in 1972;

2. Amparo High School was established 1979;

3. Aplaya National High School was established in 1969;

4. Balayan National High School (BNHS), established in 1985;

5. Balibago National High School, established in 1970;

6. Bayugan National Comprehensive High School, established in 1980;

7. Buenavista National High School, established in 1972;

8. Dalupaon National High School

established in 1972;

9. Dasmariñas National High School, 1971;

10. Don Emilio Macias Memorial National High School, established in 1982;

11. Doña Francisca Lacsamana de Ortega Memorial National High School, established in 1972;

12. Dr. Juan G. Nolasco High School, established in 1966;

13. Eastern Samar National Comprehensive High School, established in 1969;

14. Francisco P. Felix Memorial National High School, (FPFMNHS), established in 1973;

15. Gen. T. de Leon National High School, established in 1969;

16. Ismael Mathay Sr. High School, formerly called the GSIS Village High School, established in 1971;

17. Jose Borromeo Legaspi Memorial National High School, established in 1981;

18. Kaong National High School, 1974;

19. Lawang Bato National High School, established in 1967;


20. Liloy National High School, established in 1974;

21. Mag-aba National High School, established in 1977;

22. Makati Polytechnic Community College-Technical High School, founded in 1972;

23. Mandaluyong High School, established in 1977;

24. Navotas National High School, established in 1983;

25. Parañaque National High School, Main Campus (formerly known as Parañaque Municipal High
School), established in 1969;

26. Pasay City North High School, established in 1969;

27. Pedro E. Diaz High School, established in 1977;

28. Philippine High School for the Arts, established in 1977;

29. Pinagtongulan National High School, established in 1967;

30. Punta National High School, established in 1971;

31. San Juan National High School, established in 1968;

32. San Mateo National High School, established in 1985;

33. San Pablo City National High School, established in 1969;

34. San Pedro Relocation Center National High School, established in 1970;

35. San Ramon National High School, established in 1967;

36. Tabon M. Estrella National High School, established in 1981; and

37. Tomas Cabili National High School Iligan City, 1971.

Another stellar achievement of the Marcos administration in education is the creation of the National
Manpower and Youth Council to meet the growing needs of the labor sector for skilled workers.

Years later, it was renamed and rebranded as the Technical Education and Skills Development
Authority to deliberately erase the Marcos name.

Marcos’s unmatched legacy: Hospitals,

schools and other infrastructures

IT is a common Filipino trait to “remember the bad” and “forget the good.” This is the reason people
choose to remember President Marcos through the fictitious and cruel acts attributed to him and his

Under the Marcos regime, Filipinos also saw the establishment of unprecedented edifices and
infrastructures, the majority of which still stand proudly today, servicing the needs of the Filipino

It was in Marcos’s time when pioneering hospitals were built: the Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center
of the Philippines, and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute.

Cultural, tourism and heritage sites were, likewise, constructed: the Cultural Center of the Philippines,
Folk Arts Theater, Philippine International Convention Center, the National Arts Center (now
Makiling Center for the Arts) housing the Philippine High School for the Arts, Nayong Pilipino and
the People’s Park in the Sky in Tagaytay City.

To address the influx of people migrating to urban centers from the countryside—which gave birth to
a myriad of other problems, such as violence, social unrest, environmental degradation and limited
housing provision—President Marcos came up with the Bagong Lipunan Improvement of Sites and
Services (BLISS) projects in Manila and in the rural areas to house the country’s poorest of the poor.

A total of 230,000 housing units were constructed from 1975 to 1985. While it provided dignified
shelter, the ultimate goal of BLISS is to develop a strong and solid economic base for the community,
thereby inculcating self-reliance among the beneficiaries.

Former National Economic and Development Authority and Professor Emeritus of the University of
the Philippines School of Economics Gerardo P. Sicat, one of the country’s most distinguished
economists, said: “Of all the presidents of the country [to this time], Marcos built the most extensive
infrastructure. The projects were interrelated and complemented sector-development objectives. He

put in the major trunk-line road networks within the country, linking them from Luzon to the Visayas,
and then to Mindanao.

“These networks were essential in bringing down the cost of transportation, thereby raising the
prospects of commerce throughout the affected regions of the country. In his two terms in office, he
concentrated on a network of roads, simply designed and inexpensive school buildings, and irrigation
systems that also built farm-to-market roads.

“In Luzon major irrigation systems and hydroelectric power plants were built. These were the Upper
Pampanga River Project, Angat multipurpose power and irrigation project and the Magat River Project.
These projects firmed up the role of Central Luzon and the Cagayan Valley in the Green Revolution of
the 1970s. In addition, community irrigation systems were built in many other provinces where
agricultural activities thrived, especially across the nation and in the big islands. This increased
agricultural activities in the big Visayan Islands and in Mindanao, and helped cover a wide area of the
rice and food-producing region. The result of these investments could be seen in the rise of agricultural
output, especially the increase toward greater sufficiency in palay production. Irrigation helped to raise
farmer productivity.

“He improved the older networks of national roads that connected provinces, and rehabilitated them
with durable construction. A lot of these projects eased the transport bottlenecks within provinces and
across provinces, and improved intra-island travels within the big islands.

“He linked these with airport constructions. If Marcos were to be judged only on his infrastructure-
construction program during his first two terms alone, he would have been considered an outstanding
president. But, actually, he undertook a lot more, especially during the martial-law period. The building
program for the improvement of public-school buildings, especially at the elementary level, was one of
the earliest programs of Marcos.

“A study of infrastructure construction by various presidents shows that Marcos was the president who
made the largest infrastructure investment. This is not because he was the longest-serving leader of the
country alone.

“On a per-year basis, he led all the presidents. Only Fidel Ramos had bested him in road building for a
period of one year. But overall in terms of quantity of infrastructure investments, their impact on the
rest of the economy and on the breadth and depth of the investments, Marcos was by far the most
prolific, undertaken on a per-year basis and cumulatively over the years that he held office.

“The government’s share of public investment to GDP rose to 6 percent from the meager amount of 2
percent of GDP before he took office. This was no mean feat. The level of economic activity rose
overall and—in the case of the transport investments—they increased the efficiency of the economy. A
great part of these investments in roads was in the countryside so that agricultural output and domestic
commerce increased.

“The variety of public investments undertaken was made possible by various methods of mobilizing
financing for them. Although some of the major road projects and other public works were placed
under the direct programs of some major departments of the government, a large part were undertaken
under the auspices of many restructured government entities that took on a corporate form. So, in
great measure, the reorganization of the public agencies helped in strengthening the capacity to
undertake the projects.

“Major projects dealing with expansion of the irrigation, water services, and power projects were
pursued by entities under the corporate structure. They had more fiscal autonomy, and the programs
were subject to a system of accountability. The corporate framework for these agencies enabled them
to incur debt financing from major multilateral and bilateral development agencies that led to the
construction of major development projects.

“Nevertheless, his unparalleled achievements and contributions to the country, especially in

infrastructure development, albeit persistently shunned from the spotlight, will remain as his lasting
legacy. For as long as they stand, Marcos lives.”

Marcos’s unmatched legacy


IN his first term, President Marcos immediately sat out to solve the country’s most urgent problems of
inadequate food supply, lack of basic social services, infrastructure support and a lethargic economy
controlled by aliens and a well-entrenched oligarchy. He relentlessly pursued his political and social
platform of “rice and roads.” The priority was to achieve food security for his people.

It was during Marcos’s presidency that the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) was established
to serve as the focal point of research efforts in rice technology, not only for the country, but also for
the rest of the world. The different high-yielding varieties developed at IRRI soon changed the
agricultural landscape in most rice-producing nations in the Third World, including
our country.

As a result, the Philippines began exporting rice in 1977. After being a rice importer for many decades,
the country was able to ship 15,000 metric tons of rice to Indonesia. Since then, the country has been
consistently exporting rice in varying amounts to such countries as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore,
Vietnam, Brazil, Australia and Germany.

Aware that the agriculture-based economy could not compete with the emerging markets in Asia,
President Marcos ordered on September 28, 1979 the implementation of the country’s 11 heavy
industrialization projects and announced this before the University of the Philippines Law Alumni
Association. At that time. we were already on the way to NIC-hood status (newly industrialized

The projects were integrated steel, petrochemical complex, heavy engineering industries, the expansion
of the cement industry, the industrialization of the coconut industry, an integrated pulp and paper mill,
copper smelter, aluminum smelter, phosphate fertilizer, the manufacture of diesel engines and Alcogas.

In reaction, the International

Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank and their allies, including the President’s technocrats, led by then-
Prime Minister Cesar Virata; the Makati Business Club, led by the late Jaime Ongpin and the Zobel-
Ayala group; and the Center for Research and Communication, an institution associated with Opus
Dei, whose spokesman was Dr. Bernardo Villegas, went to work, relentlessly blocking and delaying the
projects at every turn.

To oppose Marcos, they even came up with a sardonic slogan to dramatize their effort: “You can’t eat

Visibly irritated over the negative reactions of the IMF-World Bank and the Makati business group,
Marcos issued a strong public statement accusing them of sabotaging the country’s industrialization

A year later, Ninoy Aquino, who ignored the government’s request to suspend his return to the
country, was assassinated on his arrival at the airport. The incident triggered a political and economic
crisis in the country, exacerbated by a spate of oil-price increases, inflation, capital flight and the
deliberate tightening control of credits by the IMF-World Bank and other foreign creditors.

As a consequence, Marcos’s massive industrialization plan evaporated into thin air.

Look what happened:


The economy in the post-Marcos years turned from bad to worse notwithstanding his successors’
accumulated budgets in 29 years of more than P30 trillion. This huge budget, which is now a subject of
a comprehensive research work by the Philippine Council of Management Research Institute, was
supposed to spur economic growth.

By comparison, Marcos’s official accumulated budget in 20 years was only P486.42 billion. Yet, on
records, none of them or all of his successors combined could not even match his economic
infrastructures of roads, bridges, hospitals and schools; a tri-modal transportation system of air, land
and sea; communication facilities; energy infrastructure; and the laws required to safeguard the
economy and make it progressive.

Marcos’s laws and other edicts

Marcos crafted and formulated with the help of experts 7,883 presidential decrees (PDs) and other
legal issuances from September 21, 1972 up to February 26, 1986, a span of 14 years.

Justice Manuel Lazaro said these laws set the rules, regulations and penalties for almost every facet of
lawful and ethical human conduct—from birth to grave.

They are categorized as follows: PD (1 to 2036); Letters of Instruction (1 to 1525); Letters of

Implementation (1 to 157); General Orders (1 to 61); Executive Orders (EO) (366 to 1093);
Administrative Orders (349 to 504); Proclamations (1081 to 2486); and Memo Circulars (599 to 1297).

Out of the 7,883 presidential issuances, only 67 PDs or less than .01 percent have either been repealed
or modified. The minimal percentage of 67 PDs either repealed or modified by EO 187 issued by
Corazon Aquino were the decrees increasing the penalties for certain offenses against public order and
security, e.g., PDs 38, 1735, 1834, 1974 and 1996.

Interestingly, the rationale and purpose of the PDs repealed or modified were resurrected in enacting
Article 134-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by RA 6968. Notably, 7,816 issuances are still
effective and enforced up to the present. These laws are eloquent proof of the wisdom, vision,
dedication and foresight Marcos possessed as instruments of good and effective governance.

Lazaro said: “No President in the country’s legal history had codified more laws. Worth mentioning are
the 15 codified laws, with social and economic relevance. These are the Local Tax Code [PD 231];
Labor Code of the Philippines [PD 442]; Real Property Tax Code [PD 464]; Child and Youth Welfare
Code [PD 603]; Insurance Code [PD 612];

“Revised Forestry Code [PD 705]; Code of Sanitation [PD 856]; Coconut Industry Code [PD 961];
Water Code [PD 1067]; Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines [PD 1083]; National
Building Code [PD 1096]; Philippines Environment Code [PD 1152]; Fire Code [PD 1185];
Government Auditing Code [PD 1445]; Tariff and Customs Code [PD 1464]; and Code of Agrarian
Reform [PD 444].”

More important, there is the Judicial Development Fund, the wellspring of the financial benefits of the
members of the judiciary. There is also the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., a consistent
source of revenues for the country.

In essence, as long as the laws he issued are embedded in the country’s legal system, Marcos lives and
they will continue to guide and safeguard the nation and its people.