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‘Life was peaceful during Martial Law? Everyone who questioned was in jail or in a shallow grave’



Facebook user Adelaimar C. Arias-Jose painted a picture of what was “normal” during Martial Law on November 20. She narrated what it felt like what the first day of Martial Law was like on September 21, 1972, how it marked the start of “living afraid” being normal.


“Imagine waking up on September 21, 1972 and all was quiet. We lived on Shaw Boulevard and the street was deserted. No one was on the street.

In the house, all was sullen. Mama lay in bed and kept me there with her. I couldn’t go out to buy pandesal. The bakery was closed. The taho vendor did not pass by. All was quiet.

Trucks with soldiers passed the street. Policemen gathered at the corner. Everyone’s door was closed. I was five. That morning was the first time I saw my mother afraid.

My father used to be a policeman. He had just become a lawyer four months before. He, too, was afraid. Something happens to a child when she sees her parents afraid. She learns to be afraid, too.

No one in my family was taken, arrested, detained, beaten up, tortured or raped. But we were all afraid. Living afraid was normal.”

She also narrated how daily life was like back then, from lining up to buy rice and sugar because “everything was controlled” to planting vegetables due to Marcos’ Green Revolution.

“We lined up to buy rice. We lined up to buy sugar. In those early days of Martial Law, everything was controlled. After a few weeks, the fear became our normal. My dad needed to take a road trip to preach somewhere. They had a car but no gasoline. He buys the gasoline stub of a policeman friend. It was his gasoline allowance for the mobile police car. I asked, what if the policeman needed to chase a bad guy? Then the people who complained to the police will have to give the policeman “pang-gasolina,” “pang-sigarilyo,” or “pang-meryenda.”

When teachers told us to plant vegetables in the school garden, it wasn’t because it was fun, it wasn’t because it was a learning experience, it was because of the Green Revolution and there would be inspections. We could receive awards if we grew the best vegetables. Life was normal.”

Street-sweeping was required not to teach civic duty to the students but because “sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan.” No one complained.

“When teachers told us to sweep the street, no one asked why. Every student was out on the street sweeping. We didn’t do this out of civic duty, we did it because “sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan.” A few months of this, and we didn’t ask, we didn’t complain, we didn’t question.”

Students were required to make Philippine flags and stand under the heat of the sun while waiting for the dictator’s car to pass by their street and it was, again, normal.


“When we were told to make Philippine flags from colored paper and made to stand for hours in the heat along J.P Laurel Street so we can wave at the passing black car where the dictator and his wife rode, no one complained. No one asked why. No one complained. No one questioned. This became normal. This was life and it was normal.”

And for their source of news was limited to the government stations and the stations owned by Marcos cronies.

“The news? Well, the only source of news was the same government stations, those owned or operated by friends and cronies of Marcos. The only newspapers that survived were those that sang the praises of the dictator. All the news came in press release form and no one wrote the news, they just read the press releases.”

Arias-Jose said that all those who dared to question the government ended up dead after being labeled as communists, leading to the conclusion that “everyone who was evil was a communist.”

“All those who turned up dead and found in the talahiban, well, they were all communists, anyway. Good riddance. All those rounded up for questioning, well, they were all communists, too. Everyone who questioned or complained was a communist. Pretty soon, everyone who was evil was a communist.”

What’s a communist, Mama? Communists are people who want to overthrow the government, but Marcos saved us. Marcos saved the government. Now the communists want to overthrow Marcos. A communist is a person who wants to overthrow the Bagong Lipunan. This was normal.

May bagong anyo,
may bago nang diwa
Bagong bansa,
bagong galaw,
Sa Bagong Lipunan.
Nagbabago ang lahat
Tungo sa pag-unlad
At ating itanghal
Bagong Lipunan!

She, along with other Filipinos, believed that they were all safe after communists were jailed. It was what “peace and order” was like during Martial Law.

“We grew to believe that we were all safe because all the communists would be rounded up and they would be jailed. We needed not fear. Life was peace and order.”

Those who said they missed the buns and milk distributed to schools during Marcos’ time? Here’s what Arias-Jose has to say about those.

“School kids were given a bun and a glass of milk everyday. No one asked where they came from, if they were international food aid or if they were from utang. Marcos was so good to the poor. This was normal.”

What else was normal?

Marcos’ debts for the construction of various buildings; lessons about Marcos’ bravery during the Death March, which turned out to be fictional; threats from adults to kids using the police; Marcos issuing Presidential Decrees instead of the parliament or senate doing the legislation.”

“The government was deep in debt to finance the construction of the CCP, the PICC, the FAT, ECP. We had to memorize all those acronyms in school. We had to learn all the cabinet secretaries’ names. We knew all about Marcos’ bravery during the Death March — never mind that it turned out to be fiction, we memories it in school. This was normal.

I was watching cartoons or Sesame Street, and suddenly my favorite program would be interrupted and a man sitting in a chair behind a desk would give a speech for an hour. I would groan and sometimes get angry and complain. I would be shushed. The soldiers might hear you. If we misbehaved, older people would say, sige ka, dadalhin ka sa Camp Crame. Tatawag ba ako ng pulis? Ipadadala ba kita sa Crame? This was our normal.

I would often hear, that same man with the big voice and slow cadence of speech say, “I have ordered the Armed Forces.” He would say, “I have issued Presidential Decree number so and so.” It was so normal. I grew up thinking that laws were made by Presidential Decree. I didn’t know until I was 15 that laws elsewhere, in other countries, were made by a congress or a senate or a parliament. I thought Presidential Decrees were normal.”

If you’ve read about Martial Law, you might have heard about how some people commented on the “quiet life” during that time.

“So when older people say, “Naku, during Martial Law, life was quiet,” believe them. There was only one voice to be heard. When they say, life was peaceful during Martial Law, believe them. Everyone who questioned was in jail or in a shallow grave somewhere.”

Cheap prices during the martial rule?

“When they say, “naku, noong Martial Law, mura ang bilihin” believe them. Malacañang controlled everything even the price of rice, and sugar and cooking oil. Everything was controlled and owned by the government or some lucky friend, classmate or kababayan or kamag-anak of the man in Malacañang.”

People still enjoyed freedom during Martial Law? Here’s what Arias-Jose has to say about it.

“When people say that they were free during Martial Law, believe them: they were free to choose Seeing Stars with Joe Quirino or Superstar; they were free to root for Toyota or Crispa; they were free to watch the news on RPN 9 or IBC 13 or BBC 2 or PTV 4 or GMA 7 the news would contain the same footages and the same press releases anyway.”

And one other thing that was normal during Martial Law – palakasan system.

“You know what else became normal? When you needed some help getting something you need from a government agency, you would ask, “sino bang kakilala natin doon?” or “May kakilala ka ba sa Malacañang?”

But later, it became different. The teenager who ran over a child on the street would not be prosecuted, the family will not press charges, kasi, “pamangkin ni Colonel so and so.” Nakagitgitan sa traffic? “Anak ni General so and so iyan” This, too, was normal.

You wanted a government job? You don’t have qualifications? That’s not a problem. Kilala mo naman si….kumpare naman ng tatay mo si…ninong mo naman si…it doesn’t matter what you know, it matters whom you know. This, too, was normal.”

Arias-Jose concluded her post: “So, life during Martial Law was normal. Everything was normal.”




Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’



President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks


His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show



Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.


Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal



Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.


In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

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