In commemoration of the 88th birthday of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, we celebrate the life of a great man; a colossal figure whose influence upon our province, our country, even unto ourselves and to every Filipino, extends far beyond our generation unto the ages to come.
With the benefit of hindsight, there is a substantial case to be made in deciding if the late president was indeed the best president this country has ever had. The re-emergence of various proposals dealing with the present crises afflicting our nation and society such as the move to implement a more effective population control program; the move towards a parliamentary system; local government empowerment; were all part of the grand vision of the late president. The soundness of these policies is evident in their renewed proposal if not implementation. That these solutions to the problems and issues afflicting our nation today, were foreseen two decades ago is both a tribute and an acknowledgement to the foresight and brilliance of the man.
The discipline instilled in the early days of the “New Society” may be precisely what is needed to end the chaos and divisiveness plaguing our nation. Singapore has become one of the strongest nations in Asia; in large part due to the discipline of their society. The New Society was further an attempt to unify all of us Filipinos; from the Ilocanos of the North; the Tagalogs of Central Luzon; the Ilonggos and Cebuanos of the Visayas: to the Muslims of the South, into one unified whole guided by a singular and unique ideology. Considering the fragmented nature of our national character, and the prominence of the parochial and selfish interest, we realize that this issue is at the very heart of our societal anarchy and that it was the late president who truly understood this and attempted a resolution.
We revel in the myriad achievements of his presidency. From the roads that we travel in our daily lives, to the electricity that lights our homes in the cities unto the remotest barrio, to the laws that govern our society; indeed, a majority of these things that we have taken for granted but are very much a part of our lives, are the enduring legacies either implemented by or envisioned by the late President Marcos.
In our travels throughout the width and breadth of our province, we have come across numerous developments, from water systems to irrigation systems to various infrastructures which have and continue to benefit our countrymen. There are no self-aggrandizing signs proclaiming the largesse of the sponsor. However it is the people themselves who recall and give credit where it is due. Wherever you may go, the people will tell you that the roads you walk on, that the pipes which supply the water you drink from, that the irrigation canals which ensure the yearly harvests that supply our tables with food; all of these are the work of one great man. In our province, a lot of the credit for the newer developments is ascribed to the accomplishments of the children and family of the late president from the provincial governor to the congresswoman of the 2nd district, to the nephews in the provincial board who have continued on the tradition of service instituted by the late president. Even unto our provincial officials as the venerable congressman of the 1st district who has credited a lifetime of public service to the influence of the great man to whom he has referred to as both a “mentor and a father.”
With an appreciation of our past, we look forward to the future. For the establishment of the windpower project alone, thereby ensuring the future energy requirements of our province; by and of itself should suffice to judge the administration of the second generation of Marcoses in a favorable light. Indeed their perpetuation of the tradition of service instituted by their late father is the greatest tribute to the memory of the man.
This is the truest legacy of the late president. The definition of greatness is in making our part of the world a better place; this province, this country, this part of the world is indeed the better because there was a man born in Sarrat, 88 years ago; a man who has made and who continues to make a difference in our collective lives.