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Aquino campaigns vs Marcos in EDSA speech

The Marcos regime was not the golden age of the Philippines but the dark and abusive period that should never be repeated through the return of his family to national power, President Aquino said yesterday.

Thirty years after the bloodless revolt that ousted the late President Ferdinand Marcos, the President reminded the public, especially the youth, about the atrocities during the Martial Law era and encouraged them to thwart the political resurgence of his unapologetic family.

Aquino was concerned that some people have forgotten EDSA and have thrown support for the late strongman’s son, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., whom he claimed was likely to repeat the mistakes of his father.

“Bilang bahagi ng henerasyong pinagdusa ng diktadurya: Hindi golden age ang panahon ni Ginoong Marcos. Isa itong napakasakit na yugto ng ating kasaysayan,” the President said, adding the only freedom then was the freedom to praise the dictator.

“Gusto ko nga pong idiin: Hindi kathang-isip ang lahat ng ito. Hindi ito teorya o pananaw ng iilan lang. Totoong naganap ang Martial Law. May isang diktador, kasama ng kanyang pamilya at mga crony, na nagpakasasa sa puwesto, at ang naging kapalit nito, mismong buhay at kalayaan ng Pilipino,” he added during the EDSA commemorative rise at the People Power Monument in Quezon City.

If anyone enjoyed the country’s golden age during Martial Law, Aquino said this would be Marcos and his cronies who abused power and enriched themselves while the economy was spiraling down and civil liberties were curtailed.

Aquino also pointed out that the Marcos era was the “golden age of the country’s debt” with the amount ballooning to R192.2 billion shortly before the dictator was ousted from office. The national debt was only P2.4 billion when Marcos assumed power in 1965. “At dahil hindi napunta sa dapat kalagyan ang pera, ang biyaya sa kani-kanila lang; ang pagbabayad naman, kargo natin hanggang sa kasalukuyan,” Aquino said.

Aquino also described the Marcos regime as the “golden age of brain drain” as Filipinos started to go abroad for work. “Ngayon sa atin ay golden age na ng pagbabalik ng mga OFW,” he added.

The New People’s Army also grew from 60 to 25,000 in protest of the Martial Law regime, according to the President.

He said the Marcos era was the “golden age of Moro abuse,” citing the prevalence of land-grabbing in Mindanao.

Aquino likewise raised the human rights abuses during the Marcos regime, including the suffering endured by his father the late Sen. Benigno S. Aquino Jr. He said the Marcos regime tolerated these rights abuses instead of helping the oppressed.

“Sa halos bawat sulok po ng Pilipinas, may mga kuwento ng mga dinampot nang biglaan, pinahirapan, pinatay, o di kaya’y biglang naglaho lang at hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa nakikita ang mga bangkay,” he said.

In February 1986, thousands of Filipinos staged a revolution that ended the 20-year dictatorial rule of Marcos, restoring democracy in the country.

Several years after EDSA revolt, the Marcos family has returned to political power with Imelda Marcos now a member of Congress and her daughter Imee sitting as governor of Ilocos Norte. With the apparent fading outrage against the Marcoses, Bongbong is eyeing the country’s second most powerful position in the upcoming polls.

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