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FM Centenary: Recalling the Visionary

  • Written by Dennis F. Fetalino
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 239

Success is the sum of all efforts repeated day in and day out.

The guy’s historical imprint is manifest, undeniable.

Ilocos Norte commemorates the 100th birth anniversary today of its most famous son, former president Ferdinand Edralin Marcos with a series of events ranging from a literature and art festival to debates and lecture fora on nationalism and foreign policy.
    
Gov. Imee Marcos said the activities border more on the cerebral rather than ceremonial in keeping with her late father’s personality.
    
Except for a quiet and private wreath laying at his tomb in Libingan ng mga Bayani, no parties, parades, programs or shows have been put on schedule. “Salamat, Apo” is the central theme of the commemoration.
    
The birth centenary calls to mind the former president’s vision for the country. During his first SONA, he bared his plans for the country’s economic development and good governance.
    
Anticipating a population boom, he laid out a vast infrastructure program encompassing a nationwide network of roads, bridges and public works, dams and power plants, hospitals and institutions, etc. – all of which still stand today, benefitting millions of Filipinos through the years, comprising a strong legacy that no other past president has matched.
    
Maharlika Highway connecting Luzon to the Visayas and Mindanao, NLEX, SLEX, Circumferential Roads 1-10 are products of his vision.
    
So are the pioneering hospitals Philippine Heart Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and Lung Center of the Philippines; state colleges and universities such as Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, Bicol University, and Cagayan State University; San Juanico Bridge, Mactan-Mandaue Bridge, Patapat Viaduct, Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, Tiwi Geothermal Power Plant, Pantabangan Hydro Electric Power Plant, the BLISS housing projects, to name a few.
    
Few credit President Marcos for promoting Filipino culture and nationalism. Sites showcasing the rich Filipino heritage such as Philippine International Convention Center, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Folk Arts Theater, Film Center of the Philippines, National Arts Center in Makiling, Nayong Pilipino, and People’s Park in the Sky in Tagaytay were constructed.
    
The 70s saw the birth of Original Pilipino Music and experimental movies thrived during the era. The National Manpower and Youth Council, renamed TESDA, was founded in 1976. Free concerts were held at parks for the public to enjoy orchestra music, such as “Concert at the Park,” “Paco Park Presents” and “Puerto Real Evenings”.
    
Also, most of the laws, decrees, proclamations, and executive orders that he wrote and issued are still in effect today. Notable of these is Presidential Decree No. 27 “decreeing the emancipation of tenants from the bondage of the soil” which he wrote by hand.
    
In the field of diplomacy, Marcos initiated the formation of ASEAN in 1966 – together with the heads of state of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore – to combat the threat of communism in the region. The country also hosted a summit of seven countries (US, South Korea, South Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines) to discuss the worsening problem in Vietnam and the containment of communism in Southeast Asia.
    
His vision of a New Society (Bagong Lipunan) was founded on his objectives to improve the economy, increase agricultural productivity and dismantle the oligarchy. In his book, "Notes on the New Society," he referred to it as a movement urging the poor and the privileged to work as one for the common goals of society, and to achieve the liberation of the Filipino people through self-realization.
    
It is also noteworthy to recall that the country attained self-sufficiency in rice in 1968 for the first time since the American period by promoting the cultivation of IR-8 hybrid rice.
    
Then, too, one of the most important economic programs in the 1980s was the Kilusang Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran which encouraged barangay residents to engage in their own livelihood projects and resulted in the increase of the nation's economic growth rate to an average of six percent to seven percent from 1970 to 1980.
    
The list of his achievements are too long to ingest in one sitting, and Ferdinand Edralin Marcos might mean different things to different people, but one thing that even his critics would admit is the fact that he was a true visionary.
    
Behold God’s glory and seek His mercy.
    
Pause and pray, people.