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Table of Contents
Martial law in the Philippines or Batas Militar sa Pilipinas refers to the event wherein the president places an area or the entire country under the control of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its predecessor bodies.
See the fact file below for more information on the Martial law in the Philippines or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Martial Law in the Philippines worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
THE COUNTRY: PHILIPPINE GOVERNANCE
- The Philippines is a country in Southeast Asia made up of 7,641 islands, making it one of the largest archipelagos in the world.
- The country takes its name from Philip II, who was king of Spain during the 333-year Spanish colonization of the islands in the early 1500s.
- The Philippines is a democratic country, led by the president voted for by the people. It has universal suffrage for Filipino citizens who are at least 18 years old and have lived in the country for at least one year.
- It is constitutionally governed by the three branches of government: executive (president), legislative (senate and congress) and judiciary (supreme court and lower courts).
- Its constitutional framework was closely modeled on the U.S. Constitution.
- Currently, the Philippines has had 16 presidents. Among them was President Ferdinand Marcos who served 20 years and 57 days under martial law.
PRESIDENT MARCOS & PRELUDE TO THE MARTIAL LAW
- President Ferdinand Marcos served three terms: 1965 – 1969, 1969 – 1972 (both won through presidential elections) and 1972–1981 (the martial law era).
- During his long term, Marcos’ greatest achievements were in the areas of infrastructure development, food sufficiency programs, educational and agrarian reforms, energy self-reliance, military expansion, and export development.
- However, his administration was also clouded with the growing debts made by the administration as well as rumors of corruption and his desire to prolong incumbency.
- During his second term, social unrest sparked street protests from the opposition and the formation of the CPP-NPA (now declared a terrorist group).
- Other violent events erupted such as the Plaza Miranda Bombing and the 1972 Manila bombings. This prompted the president to suspend the writ of habeas corpus – a court order demanding that a public official deliver an imprisoned individual to the court and show a valid reason for that person’s detention.
- Although his most trusted officials knew of the president’s prior plans to declare martial law, the prior events eventually led to President Marcos signing the Proclamation No. 1081 on September 21, 1972.
THE MARTIAL LAW
- Proclamation No. 1081 was the official declaration of martial law by President Marcos at midnight on September 23, 1972 on live television.
- With it came the general orders:
- № 1 – The president shall direct the entire government and exercise all powers of his office including his role as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
- № 2 – The president and the Minister of national defense have the power to arrest, cause the arrest, and take into custody any individuals deemed a threat to the state.
- № 3 – The local and national government shall continue to function until otherwise ordered by the president. The judiciary also continued to function in accordance with existing laws all criminal and civil cases, except certain cases enumerated in the order.
- № 4 – A curfew be maintained and enforced throughout the Philippines from twelve o’clock midnight until four o’clock in the morning.
- № 5 – All rallies, demonstrations, and other forms of group actions including strikes and picketing in vital industries, in companies engaged in banking of any kind, as well as in hospitals, schools, and colleges are prohibited.
- № 6 – No person shall keep, possess, or carry outside of his residence any firearm unless such person is duly authorized to keep, possess, or carry any such firearm.
EFFECTS OF THE MARTIAL LAW
- According to World Bank Data, the Philippine’s Annual Gross Domestic Product from 1972-79 enjoyed its highest economic development since 1945.
- However, it was also marred with various accusations of disappearances of the opposing parties and human rights violations.
- Soon after its economic glory days, the Philippines fell into debt and saw more social unrest in the early 1980s.
- In the face of escalating public discontent and under pressure from foreign allies, a snap election was conducted and Marcos was declared the winner.
- This led to the People Power Revolution in 1986 and the forced exile of the Marcoses, thus ending the Marcos regime.
CURRENT RULES ABOUT MARTIAL LAW
- Following the Martial Law Regime, the Philippine lawmakers provided and strengthened the constitutional guidelines in proclaiming martial law:
- Article VII, Section 18 of the Philippine Constitution states that:
- The president can place the Philippines under martial law only under the cases of lawless violence, invasion or rebellion for a period not exceeding sixty days. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is also suspended.
- Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation the president shall submit a report congress to determined whether it shall be revoked, approved or extended.
- A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor military courts and agencies over civilians, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
- On 2009, through Proclamation No. 1959, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo placed Maguindanao province under a state of martial law following the Maguindanao Massacre.
- In 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte once again declared Martial Law (Proclamation No. 216) but only in Mindanao. This was due to Maute group-related escalation of conflicts in Mindanao as well as recent clashes in Marawi between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Islamist group.
Martial Law in the Philippines Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Martial Law in the Philippines across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Martial Law in the Philippines worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Martial law in the Philippines or Batas Militar sa Pilipinas which refers to the event wherein the president places an area or the entire country under the control of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its predecessor bodies.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Martial Law in the Philippines Facts
- Declaring Martial Law
- “Lawless Violence”
- The 1972 Declaration
- The Dark Side of Martial Law
- Martial Law Regimes
- Proclamation No. 216
- Martial Law in Other Countries
- A Reflection
- Editorial Cartoon
- Aim for Peace
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