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Martial Law by the Numbers
The numbers that marked the rise and fall of the New Society.
Published on: Sep 21, 2012 - 7:00am

( It's been 40 years since Martial Law was declared. But it still casts a long shadow over our collective consciousness. No long-winded history lessons from us, though: we chose some unsettling numbers to present Martial Law as it was.


For the record, when we say, "never mind the why," we're being ironic. There are many books written by scholars and survivors of Martial Law's horrors that can better explain why it was declared. Yet, despite these, there are still many people who remain convinced that it was "good for the country." (And, yes, we've met many people who think that way.)


As one of our commenters put it, "The numbers can flesh out the horror." But then again, an infographic can only do so much. A substantial answer to why Martial Law happened must be sought out by those of us who still can't wrap our minds around it.


Because 40 years is a landmark year, we decided to make this into a three-part series. First stop, this infographic. Kindly click below for a bigger view.




Research by Faye Valencia and art by Romeo Catap Jr.

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  • Istatistician
    Hindi porke namatay dahil sa Martial Law, hero na at inosente. Numbers will always have its outliers.
    Sep 26 2012 @ 04:32am     Reply  
  • notohypocrite
    lahat ng president ng pinas may hidden agenda at self interest.. puro kay Marcos ang sisi pero ung ginawa ni Cory Aquino nung nanunungkulan sya bakit hindi gawan ng documentary puro Marcos - Martial law - patayan at torture - un ung sabi nang Media sa atin pero kung susuriin nyo marami nagawa si Marcos kesa sa mga naging president ng bansa ito. Teka paano naging Hero si Benigno Aquino at Cory Aquino? Oligarchy, pagpapatay sa mga magsasaka? 1987 constitution na hindi puwede galawin at palitan para sa mga oligarchy?
    Sep 26 2012 @ 03:15am     Reply  
  • Genuine
    FM wrote a book about martial law, REVOLUTION FROM THE CENTER was its title if am not mistaken. Being a 7 year old in '77 i thought it made for great reading. Little did i know that his revolution was being hijacked by cronyism, an Imeldific wife, a ruthless military, and rapaciousness in the establishment. It was FM's call to declare martial law in '72 because Joma Sison and his Maoist gang were at full throttle back then. Add to that, militancy (students, workers) was at its most vitriolic during that period. Remember the Diliman Commune? If they had it their way, THE STATE WOULD HAVE BEEN SEPARATED FROM ITS SENSES. Heck, there were precedents after '72. Saigon fell to the Ho Chi Minh army and Maoist/Leninist forces in '74. Pol Pot and his murdering Khmer Rouge did the same to Cambodia a year later. (They methodically offed 1 million out of 2 million people, earning Pol Pot and his gang as the most efficient killers in human civilization. The Nazis had nothing on them in terms of efficiency.) It is cliche, but we were caught. Most of Southeast Asia was in a bind. Caught between the devil and the you know what. What, you think Ninoy Aquino would have saved the Republic?! At the first sign of big trouble for his clan and their business interests, Ninoy's father turned collaborator for the Japanese in WW2. Marcos went to the hills and fought off the invaders. (Even if some of his medals were manufactured.)
    Sep 25 2012 @ 03:50am     Reply  
  • positive thinker
    old people are like that. they always think the good old days are better. and they're lucky because they're still alive to feel nostalgic. their other contemporaries have been tortured or dead.
    Sep 24 2012 @ 10:00am     Reply  
  • just saying
    Minus the marital law, my grandparents still think that Marcos was the best thing that ever happened to the Philippines at that time.
    Sep 23 2012 @ 06:02am     Reply  
  • positive thinker
    sabi nga nong infographic, let the numbers speak: mula 24% na poverty rate, tumaas ito ng 40%.

    o sige, hanapin nyo pa ang positive effect ng martial law. madami ng pinatay, dumami pa mahirap.
    Sep 21 2012 @ 04:23pm     Reply  
  • cynical balikbayan
    "green revolution, kadiwa, blue revolution and sustainability"

    ugh. those "projects" were just for show. aanhin mo yon kung may namamatay?
    Sep 21 2012 @ 02:08pm     Reply  
  • Maria Clara Ibarra
    Nothing can justify any evil and any wrong doings. Just like what's happening in our government now. If you will follow that thinking, these evils now that's been lurking our government can't also be justified. We can't be sour-graping at what happened during the martial law. It's done and let's just learn by it. But we can't deny the fact that there was really something good in it. The programs like green revolution, kadiwa, blue revolution and sustainability. We had it then, but the worst is that maybe martial law exceeded its term and capitalists, and those rich people,the bourgeois were threatened and they did not like what was happening and so the rest is written in history.
    Sep 21 2012 @ 01:47pm     Reply  
    35,000 tortured? I won't even ask why. It's just plain evil! Tama ka, cynical balikbayan. Nothing can justify these numbers.
    Sep 21 2012 @ 01:19pm     Reply  
  • cynical balikbayan
    i don't even want to think about the "good" side of Martial Law. no amount of good can justify those numbers.
    Sep 21 2012 @ 12:59pm     Reply  
  • pulahan
    kahit ano pang reason n'yan, dun lang sa 3,200 namatay na salvage walang pwedeng justification dun. kahit pulahan pa ang mga yun. pero hayan, kahit sagutin pa yang why na yan, andyan sa senado ngayon ang binansagng arkitekto ng martial law. alam nyo kung sino yan. gusto daw nya happy tayo. leche.
    Sep 21 2012 @ 12:46pm     Reply  
  • yellie
    agree ako with you janna. sorry about your father.
    Sep 21 2012 @ 12:02pm     Reply  
  • Janna
    My dad disappeared during Martial Law. Kahit kasi walang explanation ng "why" sa infographic, the numbers flesh out the horror. I don't think you have to be so literal with that part. I think it's quite ironic. The infographic clearly shows how horrible it was.
    Sep 21 2012 @ 12:01pm     Reply  
  • abc
    Long time na di ako nakapag spot, medyo di maganda maraming topics.
    I learned so much from school about martial law and I learned a lot about this too from my mentor FILIPINA AKO.

    Ang naaral ko sa mga books at sa mga teachers ay di masyadong malinaw compared kay mentor. Siya kasi mapagmahal sa bansa at both sides of coins ay binibigay nya. The why of martial law can't be given wihtout being biased so I think it was left unsaid by the author to make people realize and think about the good and bad sides of martial law. For me, kung buhay na ako nung time na iyon, marami akong masasabi base sa experience ko. Pero di pa ako ipinapanganak nun, so I dare not influence anybody. I miss FILIPINA AKO, my tutor for she can do a lot and say a lot intelligently. I am thankful and proud that I was her student and I wish I can be her child too, hehe
    Sep 21 2012 @ 11:57am     Reply  
  • Ayrie
    I get that you probably mean that declaring Martial Law was the most irrational and evil thing for a president to do, hence "never mind the why" but we ACTUALLY do have to remember WHY it was declared -- that it was a tool to forward one man's selfish interests, that it was used to limit freedoms and justify violating the rights of others.

    So no. I don't agree with never minding the why. You might want to edit that part.
    Sep 21 2012 @ 11:29am     Reply  
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