Even if most Filipinos are alive today they don’t remember what those days were like – half of the country’s population was under 8 when Marcos’ parents were evicted – I certainly do. Those were the days of wine and roses, and an all-encompassing kleptocracy – the much-maligned collection of 3,000 Imelda shoes, reportedly now housed in a museum in Manila.
The stories of the Marcos family’s extravagance and corruption are legendary, and I have my share as a former reporter in the region. In October 1976, the IMF / World Bank held its annual meeting in Manila. In just a few months, Marcos sped up building an entire but unique building – 14 new international standard hotels. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 700-room Plaza Hotel, 2,000 guests sighed at the tables.
The family’s friends and relatives owned the hotels, most of which were built with government funding and were not among the priorities of the poorest people in the Philippines.
The Philippines, meanwhile, has been awarded a World Bank grant to rebuild parts of the Tondo slums near Manila, one of the worst settlements in Asia. The funds had disappeared – and Robert McNamara, the former US Secretary of Defense and then head of the World Bank, was coming to town.
Metro Manila Governor Amelda simply ordered the slum to be demolished and leveled, 60 families relocated to some vacant land 20 miles from the capital, where they were dumped in a large field.
Through all of this, Bong Bong received a pampering and golden upbringing. Amelda – now 92 – still unwaveringly supports her son’s ambitions, albeit in a more recent silence. Dundo Manhatt, CEO of the Stratbase ADR Institute, a leading political think tank in the Philippines, told me that Amelda has “disappeared from the public eye.”
How is it possible to have another Marcos in this democracy that the Filipinos have struggled to maintain, even 40 years ago when I first started reporting on his politics as the New York Times’ Southeast Asia bureau chief? Was The nation was formed after independence from the United States in 1946, which liberated it from oppressive Japanese rule during World War II.
This time, at least, Bong Bong and his staff are taking a few pages straight from Donald Trump’s MAGA playbook. “This is the height of social media,” Manhatt told me during a telephone conversation with Manila. “The second source of information in the Philippines – after television, more than any broadsheet newspaper, more than radio – is Facebook and YouTube,” he said.
“This is one-sided propaganda,” Manhatt added, and whenever a media outlet tries to portray Bong Bong’s comments as strangers, its supporters simply call it “fake news.” Sounds familiar?
That the violent and violent years of Bong Bong’s parents’ rule were nothing more than a time of prosperity and peace is a lie.
Bong Bong has sought to ensure that his family – whose parents ruled under Ferdinand and Amelda for 21 oppressive and corrupt years from 1965 to 1986 – now find themselves much more admirable. In conjunction with Deuterte, he will return to power by tapping the president. Daughter Sarah as his running mate.
Some critical questions remain. How far is this inclination from China for the show? But most of all, will the Biden administration tolerate the same level of abuse or abuse as Marcos did after two decades of succession of US presidents and his parents were in power and it lasted until the Vietnam War? Was?
This allowed the United States to maintain a large airport at Clarkfield in the Philippines, where I covered the arrival of thousands of evacuees in the last days of the Vietnam War in 1975 and a naval facility at Subak Bay. After the fall of Marcos’s rule, US oversight of both facilities ended.