Life During Martial Law


Mr. Siasat was born in Cavite , Philippines . He is currently in his mid sixties. He has happily been married to his current wife for several years and they both have two children. While he was growing up in the Philippines , he experienced the Martial Law which was under the rule of President Marcos at that time. It brought serious outrages by the people of Philippines . Mr. Siasat lives to tell the story.

It was very a very awful time to live in the Philippines during Martial Law. This horrid law was ruled by President Marcos. I believe it was declared in September 1971, though I do not remember the actual date. It became listed in 1983 though. The people of the Philippines wanted to rebel this law ever since it was determined by President Marcos. No one agreed to this law and it caused much destruction amongst the whole country.

One of the things that I can remember from the Martial Law was the curfews that were set up. It was around 11 o’clock, that if you were still on the road, the metropolitan police would cite you for that. You would then have to clean the freeways or the streets. Don’t get me wrong either because the police did not treat people in such a… well, nice way.This is a picture of Mr. Siasat at an earlier age.

During Martial Law, President Marcos and his men had control all over us. This was why people began to rebel. There was so much hatred and grief going on because of his reign. To be honest with you, I personally liked it better when President Estrada was president. He was a president that got impeached too, by the way.

For as far as authorities go, there was only like one person so uh.. basically, they had control over many areas. Some of the things that were run by these men were the government, private sectors, and even business centers. It really started to get chaotic.

There weren’t ways that a justice system can help the people because there wasn’t one that time! Can you imagine how much more oppressive it was to live in a country without a justice system? This became a reason why Marcos and his men were able to do many villainous things.

There were many times when Marcos and his men would even kidnap people who were after the government. These men were feared by many, but there were many rebels that encouraged others to rebel against them. It was a dangerous thing to do, but after everything, it was worth not seeing Marcos as president ever again. This was why there were many anti-Marcos groups.

Sadly, there was child labor. It is really sad because we can not really consult with that since they need money. There are many areas of Philippines that are the ghettos, even today. The economy is not so great so I can assure you, there is still child labor in the Philippines till today.

The black markets played a huge role during that time. Illegal items were sold here and there. People needed money for various reasons. One of the main reasons was because there was so much poverty going on. Another reason was because we needed to pay those scums so much money for bribes. As for the money system that time, it was seven pesos that equaled one U.S dollar.

One positive side was that women had rights to protest just as men were. Basically, there wasn’t really any sexism going on if you were a woman. You had the rights of men too. In fact, after the dictatorship, a Filipina (Filipino woman) became a president. She was the first woman to ever become president in the Philippines as well.

A positive side was that we weren’t charged so much for tax. In fact, we don’t pay as much tax as we do here, in America . The only problem is, the tax does not always go to the right places. They often go to many non-governmental areas. Basically, it doesn’t go to the pockets that some might think they are going to; however, the Philippines continues to work into a better economy and country.


Interview by Terri Hong