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Tuesday 14 July 2015

1976 Philippine Government

1976: Ferdinand Marcos Administration

  1. 1976: Philippines

    1.      Politics and government.

                As the Philippines entered its fifth year under martial law, President Ferdinand E. Marcos reiterated his promise to return to ordinary rule once the threat of rebellion no longer exists and the economic crisis is past. Meanwhile, in a national referendum on October 16, the electorate approved the continuation of government under martial law.
                Another question on the October referendum concerned the fate of a proposed interim National Assembly, consisting of delegates to the constitutional convention and former members of the defunct national legislature. An interim legislature was to have been created under the terms of the post—martial law constitution approved by voters in January 1973, but no legislature, as so described, has been convened, and Philippine voters had to decide whether to endorse the formation of a new legislative advisory council in its place. The previous month, President Marcos formed such an advisory council, consisting of members of the president's cabinet and 91 members of people's assemblies, and the council was approved by a large majority of those voting in the October referendum.
                Imelda Marcos, the nation's first lady, was appointed governor of the newly created province of Metropolitan Manila in November 1975. The following June, Manila once again became the official capital of the Philippines, a distinction that it had lost to the suburban Quezon City in 1948.

    2.      Foreign relations.

                In seeking to adjust to the changed political realities in Southeast Asia, the Philippines government continued to seek out new diplomatic ties. Establishment of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China in the summer of 1975 was followed this June by normalization of relations with the Soviet Union. In July, diplomatic ties were established with the newly unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
                Negotiations continued between the Philippines and the United States regarding changes in their mutual defense treaty and a new economic pact to replace the expired Laurel-Langley trade agreement between the two countries. There was agreement in principle that sovereignty and jurisdiction over U.S. military bases in the islands would be returned to the Philippines and that trade between the two countries could not be continued on the same preferential basis as before. The negotiators have deadlocked, however, on some of the issues involved, particularly on the question of how the basic understanding should be implemented.

    3.      Economy.

                The Philippines recorded a 5.8 percent real growth in its gross national product for 1975. The increase was accounted for mainly by gains in agricultural production, with the country enjoying a surplus in rice supply for the first time in many years. Also contributing to the performance of the economy in 1975 were record gains in construction and a sharp upturn in the tourist trade.
                On the minus side was the more than $1 billion trade deficit brought about by falling export prices and a large increase in the import bill for petroleum, which skyrocketed from less than $200 million in 1973 to over $650 million in 1974 and close to $770 million in 1975. The 1976 oil bill was expected to approach $1 billion. The overall $500 million balance-of-payments deficit for 1975 was expected to be reduced to around $200 million in 1976. Although the excess of import payments over export receipts during the first half of the year passed $500 million, it was anticipated that the recovery in the prices of copper and other metals, excluding gold, and other major foreign exchange earners would bring in substantially larger export receipts during the second half. Also counted on to ease balance-of-payments problems was a heavy inflow of foreign exchange from loans and other financial accommodations to finance multimillion-dollar industrial projects in the last few months of the year.
                The country's external debt, in excess of $4 billion as of this year, is likely to soar further when foreign exchange credits, from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the U.S. and other foreign governments, are released in the next few years. Topping the list of major construction projects to be financed with external as well as domestic borrowings was a more than $1 billion nuclear power plant to be built in Bataan. In January, the U.S. Export-Import Bank announced that it had granted the Philippines government a $277 million loan—the largest single line of credit ever extended by the bank—to aid in construction of the power plant. The Bataan facility was scheduled for completion in 1982, at which time it is expected to provide 43 percent of Luzon's energy needs.

    4.      Disasters.

                Two natural disasters struck the islands in the course of the year. In late May, the east coast of Luzon was battered by a week-long barrage of high winds and torrential rains from Typhoon Olga. The resultant massive flooding killed over 200 people, left another 600,000 homeless, and caused severe damage to the rice and coconut crops. Three months later, on August 17, the southern island of Mindanao was rocked by a severe earthquake that left more than 8,000 persons dead or missing. Many of the missing were swept away by the 18-foot tidal wave that followed the tremor, which registered 7.8 on the Richter scale.

    5.      Insurgents.

                Self-proclaimed supporters of the Moro National Liberation Front, a group of Muslim insurgents, carried out two airplane hijackings in the spring. The first, on April 7, involved the takeover at Manila airport of a Philippines Airlines DC-8 with 75 people aboard. After the government rejected demands for $300,000 in ransom and the release of several so-called political prisoners, the three hijackers set free all but 11 of their hostages and forced the crew to fly them to Libya, where the remainder were released. Similar demands were made by the six hijackers of another Philippines Airlines plane on May 21. Again the government refused to accede, and after two days of negotiations failed to break the impasse, army troops stormed the aircraft at Zamboanga airport. In the ensuing melee, three hijackers and 13 hostages were killed and 19 other people were injured.
                In August the government apparently succeeded in neutralizing the New People's Army, a Communist insurgency group, by capturing 25 of its ranking leaders. Among those captured was Bernabe Buscayno, the top military leader of the dissident movement.

    6.      Area and population.

                Area, 115,830 sq. mi. Pop. (est. 1976), 42.8 million. Manila (cap.; met. area), 4.5 million.

    7.      Government.

                Republic under martial law. Pres. and prime min., Ferdinand E. Marcos.

    8.      Finance.

                Monetary unit, peso; 1 peso = US$0.1375. Budget (1976): US$2.53 billion.

    9.      Trade (1975).

                Imports, $3.46 billion; exports, $2.29 billion.

    10.  Education (1975).

                Enrollment: elementary schools, 8,364,406; secondary schools, 2,158,983; institutions of higher learning, 916,190.

    11.  Armed forces (est. 1975).

                Army, 39,000; navy, 14,000; air force, 14,000.

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