In commemoration of the 29th anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution, we look back at the man that caused a nation to stand up united against his dictatorship — Ferdinand Marcos. People have branded him as merciless and even a criminal, but let us not forget the achievements of the Marcos administration before everything turned sour.
Ferdinand Marcos was the 10th Philippine President and he held on to the position for more than 20 years (Dec. 30, 1965 – Feb. 25, 1986). Although controversies and unsolved cases marred his term, what will also be forever engraved in Philippine history are his contributions in the area of infrastructure development. In his inaugural speech of December 30, 1965 he made a promise to make the nation great again and in a way he did. Infrastructures were built that were unprecedented in the history of our country that provided a venue for the Filipinos to highlight cultural heritage, propagate arts and culture, generate tourism, improve health conditions and contribute to economic growth.
Here is a list of infrastructures built during Marcos’ time:
Established through Executive Order No. 30 s. 1966 by President Ferdinand Marcos, the CCP provides performance and exhibition venues for various local and international productions at its 62-hectare (150-acre) complex located in the Cities of Pasay and Manila. The Cultural Center of the Philippines was opened on September 8, 1969, three days before the President Marcos’ 52nd birthday (see in Google Maps).
Famous concerts are usually staged in this covered amphitheater which has a seating capacity of 8,458 with ten sections. More commonly known by its original name of Folk Arts Theater, the building was originally built to seat an audience of 10,000 and was commissioned by then First Lady Imelda Marcos in 1974 for the Miss Universe Pageant, which was to be held in Manila. Inaugurated on July 7, 1974, the theater was built in record time of seventy-seven days in time for the pageant and was designed by Leandro V. Locsin. For development purposes, it is subject to be torn down in the future (see in Google Maps).
This state-of-the-art convention center located in the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex in Pasay, Metro Manila, has been the host of numerous local and foreign conventions, meetings, and social affairs. The Central Bank of the Philippines (now Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) was authorized by Presidential Decree No. 520 to construct an international conference building, acquire a suitable area for that purpose, and organize a corporation to manage a conference center. Thus, the PICC was organized under the Corporation Code. In a short span of 23 months, from November 1974 to September 1976, construction of the PICC Complex was undertaken with Leandro Locsin as architect, who was later on named a National Artist. The complex was inaugurated on September 5, 1976 (see in Google Maps).
Located in Mount Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna, The National Arts Center was established in 1976 by First Lady Imelda Marcos as a sanctuary for young and aspiring Filipino artists. Its various buildings and facilities are scattered over 13.5 hectares of the Makiling Forest Reservation and also houses the Philippine High School for the Arts (see in Google Maps).
Nayong Pilipino was built from scratch in 1969 through the patronage of former First Lady Imelda Marcos. It is on its fourth product cycle in almost 50 years. A 32-acre theme park which is about 10-minute drive from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) that features scaled-down replicas of the country’s top tourist destinations such as Mayon Volcano, the Banaue Rice Terraces and the Chocolate Hills. It also highlights Filipino creativity in arts and crafts. But after 32 years of operation, Asia’s first theme park was forced to close its doors in 2001 and was removed from its original site near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport I. In 2006 President Gloria M Arroyo gave Nayong Pilipino a new home in Clark as a major attraction of the Centennial Expo. In March 2012, the Aquino administration breathed new life into Nayong Pilipino with a new Memorandum of Agreement between Clark Development Corporation and the Nayong Piilpino Foundation (see in Google Map).
People’s Park in the Sky
Built in 1981 during the Marcos regime, it was to serve as a guest house for then U.S. President Ronald Reagan who was set to visit the Philippines. The visit never transpired due to the EDSA People Power and the Marcoses being ousted. Located within the park is The Shrine of Our Lady, Mother of Fair Love and a doppler weather radar station maintained by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) (see in Google Maps).
Originally named as Philippine Heart Center for Asia , the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City was established through Presidential Decree No. 673 issued by President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1975. Inaugurated on February 14, 1975, cardiovascular specialists including Christian Barnard, Denton Cooley, Donald Effler, and Charles Bailey practiced at the center. The first Director of the PHC was Avenilo P. Aventura (1974-1986), a cardiovascular surgeon who performed many pioneering operations in the Philippines including the first successful renal transplantation in 1970, the first CABG in 1972, and developed and implanted the first ASEAN bioprosthesis, the PHCA porcine valve. The first patient to be admitted to the PHC was Imelda Francisco, on April 14, 1975 (see in Google Maps).
Under Presidential Decree No. 1823 by President Ferdinand Marcos, the Lung Center of the Philippines was established on January 16, 1981 to provide health care that specifically targets lung and pulmonary disease. It is located in Quezon Avenue, Quezon City. It was later placed under the administration of the Ministry of Health by President Corazon Aquino on July 29, 1986 under Executive Order No. 34. A fire on May 16, 1998 destroyed much of the center’s build and equipment. It was reopened on March 1, 1999 and a new building partly funded by its fire insurance is now under construction (see in Google Maps).
Formerly known as the National Kidney Foundation of the Philippines, the institute was established on January 16, 1981 as tertiary referral hospital that also offers voluntary blood services. Located in Quezon City, the 2-storey institute is constructed of three buildings (Main, Annex and Dialysis Center) connected to each other (see in Google Maps).
A Part of the Pan-Philippine Highway, the San Juanico Bridge stretches from Samar to Leyte across the San Juanico Strait in the Philippines. Its longest length is a steel girder viaduct built on reinforced concrete piers, and its main span is of an arch-shaped truss design. With a total length of 2.16 kilometers (1.34 mi), it is the longest bridge in the Philippines spanning a body of seawater. Construction commenced in 1969 over San Juanico Strait from Cabalawan, Tacloban City to the municipality of Santa Rita, Samar, with completion in 1973 (see in Google Maps).
A lot of Marcos’ infrastructures today still stand like the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Philippine Heart Center and the San Juanico bridge because the people behind these infrastructures still believe that the mission of either providing a venue for exhibition or performance, giving aid to the sick and connecting people is not over. Until now, these infrastructures continue to help our economy in their own aspect. Some of them are recognized landmarks that help sectors of the economy like the real estate market by increasing the value of homes or properties nearby or accessibility to establishments.
It’s not always easy to see the good in spite of the bad, particularly because there are events which happen that we may never fully understand. The infrastructures that the Marcos administration has left us is a reminder that we should all start building something good in spite of hard times. A good foundation with the right maintenance can lead to productivity.
Have you visited any of these landmarks? Share your thoughts and comments below.
Cover image courtesy of : https://www.flickr.com/photos/sagamiono