Ferdinand Marcos as a Leader: Impact of Martial Law on Philippines

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 693 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Words: 693|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Ferdinand Marcos: Golden Era Illusion
  3. Dark Legacy of Ferdinand Marcos as a Leader
  4. Conclusion
  5. References


The horrific tragedies throughout the reign of Ferdinand Marcos as a leader were every Filipino’s worst nightmare; those who witnessed its cruelty and malevolence still suffer today. On September 21, 1972, the former president Ferdinand Marcos signed the Proclamation No. 1081, placing the Philippines under Martial Law. He implemented this for one purpose alone: to save the Republic and to reform the society. However, others might disagree. Some may refer to this stage in the country’s history as the Golden Years of the Philippines; others are convinced it was the darkest phase in Philippine History.

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Ferdinand Marcos: Golden Era Illusion

Many perceive the declaration of Martial Law as the beginning of the golden era of the Philippines. Ferdinand Marcos was one of the great political leaders of the 20th century. At the beginning of his reign, he showed a positive impression towards the society. He built more roads, bridges and schools, more than all the other presidents combined. According to World Bank Data from 1980s, the GDP of the Philippines peaked after the declaration of Martial Law. However, the country went under the line in which the GDP drastically dropped to -7.3 percent. This was the worst recession that the Philippines has ever experienced and this continued for two successive years in 1984 to 1985. Throughout this period, the Philippine economy was oscillated and attributed by Marcos’ serious dependence on foreign loans and its policy of creating monopolies below the Marcos cronies. Moreover, in 1973 and 1976, it reached nearly 9 percent and it was partly driven by the major prices of Philippine commodity exports such as coconut and sugar. With the implementation of curfew and strict control over the nation, people became more disciplined and crime rates such as murder, stealing and other crimes during this time have decreased.

Dark Legacy of Ferdinand Marcos as a Leader

Although some positive effects came from the reform during the Martial Law period, there are many dark tragedies that left a trauma on the citizens of this nation. To many, Ferdinand Marcos fit the very definition of a dictator: cruel, corrupt and contemptible. From the beginning of his second term in office, Marcos’s grip on power was challenged. Tens of thousands of students begin to protest against poverty and corruption. Bonifacio Iligan, who was a young student during the Martial Law, remembers the fear and the excitement on the streets. He was among the multitudes that threw stones and rocks. “One time they took me to the garage, there were many of them. I saw someone applying soap to a stick. They ordered me to put down my trousers and my underwear and try to insert the stick through my genital,” he said. “I was twenty-three, I cried,” he added. According to Amnesty International, thirty-four thousand were tormented and seventy thousand detained, while about three thousand two hundred forty individuals were executed from 1972 to 1981. Thousands of Filipinos were casualty to various forms of torture: they were electrocuted, beaten up, choked and burned with a level press or cigars. Water was poured down their throats, at that point constrained out beating. Women were stripped naked and assaulted, different objects forced into their privates. Furthermore, numerous Filipinos who battled against President Marcos mysteriously vanished and many of them were never found.

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The declaration of Martial Law during the regime of the late President Ferdinand Marcos was a suffering and a burden to innocent and civilian Filipinos at that time. Marcos was viewed as one the most powerful leaders in Philippine history; however, others see him as a corrupt and deceitful dictator. The Philippines under his rule was not as harmonious as the Filipinos thought; it was a place for one man who ruled less in accordance with Philippine Constitution and more in accordance with his personal command. As an outcome of his Martial Law era, Marcos left an unforgettable memory to those who were victims of the time. Therefore, it remains the darkest chapter of Philippine History.


  1. Amnesty International. (1982). 'The Philippines: Torture in the Marcos Era.' Retrieved from
  2. World Bank Data. (1980s). Retrieved from World Bank database.
  3. National Historical Commission of the Philippines. (n.d.). 'The Martial Law Years.' Retrieved from
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Ferdinand Marcos as a Leader: Impact of Martial Law on Philippines. (2023, August 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from
“Ferdinand Marcos as a Leader: Impact of Martial Law on Philippines.” GradesFixer, 31 Aug. 2023,
Ferdinand Marcos as a Leader: Impact of Martial Law on Philippines. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 Apr. 2024].
Ferdinand Marcos as a Leader: Impact of Martial Law on Philippines [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 31 [cited 2024 Apr 15]. Available from:
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