[Right-Up] Occidental Mindoro and Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law – by Norman Novio
The people of Occidental Mindoro contributed not so many stories as possible references on Marcos’ despotic military rule. But in faraway town of Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat where some 1,500 Bangsamoros were slaughtered when soldiers attacked the coastal town in early 70s, merely mentioning the words “Mindoro Occidental”, make them shivers, especially the women,- in horror and lamentation.
Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law which he later called New Society has this essential characteristic in the context of Occidental Mindoro: it was submissive to foreign interests, specifically the United States, and that of his relatives and cronies. It facilitated the rape of our sovereignty and economy. In page 272 of the report of the National Committee for the Restoration of Civil Liberties in the Philippine titled Marcos and Martial Law in the Philippines published in 1979, the former strongman was quoted saying, “This American government is the leading power in the world. Of necessity, it has very strong influence in resources of help and is itself a source of aid. Again I say it is our hope…” In 1975, the whole island of Mindoro was considered laboratory of a project called Mindoro Integrated Rural Development Program or MIRDP. Despite of the socio-political horrors brought about by the dreaded Martial Law then, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (WB-IMF) granted Marcos’ authoritarian government a 50 million dollar worth of financial aid mainly for agricultural and infrastructure projects under MIRDP in two Mindoro provinces. On its part, the Marcos government initiated the Mindoro Agro-Industrial Rural Community Development (MAIRCOD) to implement animal dispersal projects as component of the Kilusang Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran or KKK which is under First Lady Imelda Marcos’ Ministry of Human Settlement. This was called “Mindoro Strategy”, a supposedly model program for the whole Philippines but not fully implemented due to corruption and bad management, among others, according to Volker Schult, author of “Mindoro: A Social History of a Philippine Island in the 20th Century: A Case Study of A Delayed Developmental Process” in 1991. The contractors and politicians close to Malacañang are the ones fully gained from it.
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