Filipino researcher weighs in on Marcos Jr. for Time’s 100 List

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. (Photo from Presidential Communications Office Facebook)

A PIONEER of action research in Philippine civil society and veteran rights leader has weighed in on the inclusion of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. in the Time magazine’s "100 Most Influential People of 2024."

“I think we need to see what dimensions of people's lives he influences. It is in reducing poverty because he is implementing pro-poor laws? We still need to see that,” said Danilo Carranza, secretary general of the Kilusan Para sa Repormang Agraryo at Katarungan Panlipunan (Katarungan) or Movement for Agrarian Reform and Social Justice.

Carranza, who has published various papers while leading land rights and agrarian advocacies, added that “If he (Marcos) truly is influential, we hope to see him more meaningfully influence rural concerns by fully and comprehensively implementing agrarian reform.”

“We also need to see his influence in the justice system by ending the use of law to criminalized farmers who are trying to benefit from the agrarian reform program but are currently facing criminal charges and warrants because of trumped up charges,” Carranza told Sunstar Philippines.

In an April 17 report from Time, correspondent Charlie Campbell wrote: “For Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. to make history, he first needed to rewrite his nation’s.”

“His dictator father plundered billions of dollars from state coffers and stood accused of grievous human-rights violations until his ouster in 1986. Bongbong’s rise to the Philippine presidency in 2022 was owed to whitewashing this family legacy through clever manipulation of social media,” the TIME article about Marcos Jr. said.

“Yet Bongbong’s desire to rehabilitate the Marcos name has resulted in other shifts. He brought technocrats back into government, steadied the post-­pandemic economy, and elevated the Philippines on the world stage,” the report added.

The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said that the inclusion of Marcos Jr. in the Time 100 list “reflects his brand of leadership that puts the national interest and the welfare of every Filipino above all else.”

“Under his Administration, the Philippines has experienced robust economic growth and recovery, exceeding expectations and instilling confidence in the country's economic outlook. Despite geopolitical tensions and the hurdles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, President Marcos has elevated the Philippines on the world stage and contributed to regional stability, notably in the Indo-Pacific region,” it added.

While Carranza admitted that he didn't know the criteria on how Marcos Jr. was included in the list, he said that “from poor people's perspective, the criteria should be simple.”

“Is he impacting the lives of the people for the better? He needs to do a lot more to be in that category,” Carranza said.

"We also hope to see his influence in the implementation of Republic Act 11524, or The Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act, so that the coco levy programs and services will reach the poorest coconut farming communities. Otherwise, such a description will sound hollow in the face of the situation of poor people who continue to be excluded from the attention they need from the government,” Carranza said.

Signed into law by then-President Rodrigo Duterte in February 2021, the law aims to benefit 2.5 million coconut farmers and their families, and the country’s coconut industry, in general.

The coco levy fund, which reportedly originated from taxes imposed on millions of small coconut farmers during the late Marcos Sr. regime, has been estimated to have grown to over 100 billion pesos.

The Marcos family has yet to categorically issue an apology for the alleged atrocities committed by its patriarch during the Martial Law period starting 1972 up to the exile of their family to Hawaii, USA in 1986 through the popular “Edsa People Power” revolution.

Amnesty International reported that more than 3,200 people were killed, 34,000 were tortured, and some 70,000 people were imprisoned in the nine years after Marcos Sr. imposed martial law.

“I don’t think it’s a duty for a president to be involved. That is a personal matter for the Marcos family. My role as president is more important right now than my role as a member of the Marcos family,” Marcos Jr. said in an interview with the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of the Philippines during a presidential luncheon on April 15.

Meanwhile, Father James Abella, chancellor of the Diocese of Borongan in Eastern Samar, said: "For sure the decision is going to be a controversial one. Possibly, there are many reasons for his selection: his policies, initiatives, political achievements, etc."

"I just hope that this award may impact greatly our economy and help alleviate poverty in the Philippines," Abella told Sunstar Philippines.

As of September 2021, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the government agency created to locate his Marcos family’s alleged ill-gotten wealth, reported that P170 billion have been recovered from the alleged Marcos family loot.

The government body added that they are still after the additional P125 billion. (Ronald O. Reyes/SunStar Philippines)


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.