TIME HAS COME, dear karikna, to make Ferdinand Marcos more relevant to our times. I feel that our people are ready to give the man a second look, to unravel his life with new eyes, to look past the thickly waxed cadaver displayed for nearly two decades now in a Mausoleum in his hometown Batac.
A survey conducted by Pulse Asia earlier this year reveals that Marcos is regarded by our people as one of the most loved Filipinos of all time. It came as a surprise because the former president and his family are constantly vilified, demonized, even ridiculed in media. This result is validated by the political comeback of his widow Imelda, and children Bongbong and Imee.
It was not difficult to undo my initial bias against Marcos after realizing that he was beyond doubt the greatest social architect this country has nurtured. I believe that his vision of “Ang Bagong Lipunan” was sincere, courageous, revolutionary. He knew just exactly what he wanted for our country and he had a blueprint on how things can get done. From infrastructure to participatory democracy to Cultural Revolution to educational reforms and values reorientation, Marcos did more than his fair share.
True, he was a dictator who suspended some of our freedoms, and it’s ok with me. I can trade in some of my freedoms for food security, for jobs, and for real and lasting progress. Marcos was brave and brilliant, sinister and cunning. People question his motives. One thing is sure: he loved us Ilocanos, and he was proud of our people. That is why most of his trusted men were from the North. I love Marcos, and love needs no explanations. Love, in fact, defies reason. As French philosopher Blaise Pascal puts it, “The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.” Uncle Gerry, my uncle, was an activist during the martial law era, but he ended up being a Marcos loyalist… and up to this day.
Madame Imelda posits that Marcos became a great Filipino because he was, first and foremost, an Ilocano. An Ilocano is naturally resilient, resourceful, industrious, brilliant, and God-fearing. She posits that Marcos became a good Filipino by being a G.I., genuine Ilocano.
I totally agree, and it is in this context that I broached the idea of an “I am Makoy” campaign, to Madame Imelda no less, during a seven-hour brainstorming session held at MMSU last month. Now that we have established the greatness of The Apo, time has come to develop more Marcoses, in ourselves, especially those in the younger generations. Marcos must be demystified, reinvented, popularized so we can draw him closer to our children.
Yes, this idea is not exactly original as it was done, too, for Ninoy Aquino in the “I am Ninoy” campaign, but the nobility of the Filipino soul, dear karikna, is no monopoly of anyone. The seed of greatness is in human nature, and no one can rightfully claim exclusive rights to it in the same manner that Noynoy Aquino could not claim patent to a shining, shimmering, widening forehead, which I also have.
This campaign will be successful with proper merchandising. Let’s design, produce, and distribute on a massive scale t-shirts, caps, pins, and other accessories meant less to deify Marcos, and more to remind us that we are rightful heirs of an enviable legacy, and that we are duty-bound to make this nation great again.
Let us repeat this mantra over and over, to the point of hypnotism, until it surpasses Justine Beiber’s influence on our children’s consciousness, until it becomes more addictive than DoTA and more engaging than Facebook, and until Apo Ferdinand’s prophecy of greatness is realized: Oh, baby, I am Filipino. Oh, baby, I am Ilokano. Oh, baby, baby, I am Makoy.