Posted on Monday, 21st September 2009 by All Philippines

Today is the 37th anniversary of the “infamous” declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines.

Brief history – On September 21, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1081 placing the entire Philippine archipelago under martial law. In the state of martial law, the Philippines fell under the powers of the Philippine military jurisdiction and with Marcos, being the elected President of the Republic and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces became the sole authoritarian leader and military dictator of the whole nation.

This was not the first time that martial law was imposed in the country by a Philippine president. The first incident happened during President Jose P. Laurel’s administration. Then President Laurel issued coincidentally, on September 21, 1944, Proclamation No. 29 implementing a state of martial law in the Philippines during the Second World War. It took effect the following day, September 22, at 9 A.M.

President Marcos’ proclamation of martial law also came into full effect the next day and announced it to the public on nationwide TV on September 23, 1972 at 12 midnight. Based on some reports, the document of Proclamation No. 1081 was actually signed on September 17, four days before it was formally issued, but with the Marcos’ beliefs in numerology and superstitions, the legality of the document was postdated on a later date (September 21).

Many rules and revisions have been implemented by the Marcos regime during the martial law era. A few have made some positive effects on the state of the Philippine nation at that time, like low crime rate, a brief boost in the economy due to the micro-business projects by the Marcos administration and overhauling the policies in the agricultural sector, and lastly, preventing a communist take-over of the government in light of the rising popularity of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its rebel forces, The New People’s Army (NPA).  But with these positive effects, the Filipino people felt during that time, that martial law was the harbinger of doom for the future of the Philippine republic. Martial law, as voiced by the people, was Marcos’ vehicle to stay in power as long as he so pleased and abuse his authority at the price of the Filipino people’s freedom. The law, which on paper appeared as the hope of the Philippine nation, becomes the downfall of the Philippine society.

With countless human rights abuses and controversial legislative amendments during the martial law, Proclamation No. 1081 became one of President Marcos’ unpopular decrees during his 20 year presidency. Martial Law was finally lifted on January 17, 1981 but the notoriety of the Marcos dictatorial regime before, during, and after the martial law era remained permanently etched in the hearts and minds of the Filipino people. And with the death of popular opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. in 1983 and the subsequent nationwide cheating of the Marcos administration during the 1986 Presidential SNAP elections, the Filipino people finally said “enough is enough” to the Marcos dictatorship and ousted President Marcos and his cronies during the popular “1986 EDSA People’s Power Revolution” and regained back the lost Philippine democracy.

Declaration of Martial Law by President Ferdinand Marcos, September 23, 1972


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One Response to “Proclamation No. 1081 – Philippines Under Martial Law”

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