Official Month in Review: November 1977

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November 1

THE PRESIDENT directed that arrests, searches and seizures should be made only under established rules and procedures, including the serving of a proper warrant issued by competent military or civil courts. However, the so-called citizen’s arrest may be effected even in the absence of a warrant under the circumstances provided for in Section 6, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court. The President has issued Letter of Instructions No. 612 to this effect.

November 2—

INTERNATIONAL Labor Organization (ILO) “has the will and the strength to survive” despite the United States’ decision to withdraw. Labor Secretary Blas F. Ople, who was president of the International Labor conference in 1975, made this assessment following President Carter’s formal announcement of US’ decision to pull out of the ILO.

November 3

THE PRESIDENT called on the private sector to extend beyond the sphere of consultation the relationship it had developed and is developing with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations machinery and govern­ments. He underscored this fact in his speech at the third conference of the ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Industries at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). He added saying the private sectors in the ASEAN should continue their dialogues with their respective governments for their full participation in the implementation and fulfillment of the ASEAN projects and programs.

PHILIPPINE National Bank and the Central Bank were ordered by the President to release immediately the crop loan requirements of the sugar industry to enable the country to fill its sugar quota under its international commitments. He issued the order upon being presented with the text of the agreement adopted by the Sugar Conference of the United Nations in Geneva last month. The presentation was made by Chairman Roberto S. Benedicto of the Philippine Sugar Commission who headed the delegation which represented the country in the conference.

COMMISSION on Elections announced that 15-year-olds will also vote in the December 17 referendum, but their votes will be counted separately from the votes of the 18-year-olds and above, as done in past refenda. Comelec Chairman Leonardo B. Perez cited Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1229 issued last October 30 calling a referendum asking the people to vote on whether or not the President, should continue in office even after the organization of the interim Batasang Pambansa, possibly in April or May next year.

November 4

THE PRESIDENT has ordered a price support for soybeans, mongo and sorghum to increase production of these agricultural crops and help farmers meet the high cost of producing them. In Presidential Decree No. 1212, the President also placed under the sole authority of the National Grains Authority (NGA) the importation of soybeans, mongo, sorghum and other feedgrains or their substitutes.

November 5—

THE PRESIDENT has approved a proposal of lumbermen and wood manufacturers to set up their own shipping lines for the exclusive shipping of plywood and lumber to ASEAN countries. He has authorized government support of this project through financing and tax exemptions for the procurement of ships both from abroad and from domestic shipbuilders.

THE PRESIDENT declared November 7 a special public holiday in Metropolitan Manila to give its people the opportunity to celebrate with fitting ceremonies the second anniversary of the creation of the Metropolitan Manila Commission which falls on that date.

THE FIRST Lady and Metro Manila Gov. Imelda Romualdez Marcos reported upon her return that improved relations between the Philippines and the United States can be expected. She gave a brief summary of her mission to US which she described as “one of the most challenging assignments outside the country.” She left the country on September 26 on a mission for the President.

THE GOVERNMENT will set up pesticide-safe zones around lakes and rivers all over the country to protect marine and fish life from contamination by harmful chemicals. Administrator Miguel Zosa of the. Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) who is also officer-in-charge of the Department of Agriculture said the program will be implemented nationwide by the start of the main crop season next year.

November 6

NATIONAL Grains Authority (NGA) Administrator Jess Tanchanco warned middlemen against “interferring in the sale of farmers’ produce to the agency to take advantage of the government’s grain price support. The warning came in the wake of reports that several grain traders, other than farmers or grain producers, “are selling or offering to sell palay, corn, and other grains to the NGA.”

ABOUT 511,000 high school graduates and graduating students will troop to 1,300 examination centers to take the fifth national college entrance examination (NCEE). Even troubled areas in Mindanao, which have 132 test sites and about 62,000 examinees, are expected to be able to hold the test today.

November 7

THE PRESIDENT declared the country as “not yet ready to shift to the parliamentary system of government.” He said the present set-up should continue. He cited this position to back his appeal for a “yes” vote in the December 17 referendum. The President, inspired by the enthusiastic crowd that packed the Folk Arts Theater, also explained the issues involved in next month’s referendum.

MEMBERS of the barangay community brigades in Metro Manila were granted by the President certain privileges, and vested them with the power of being agents of persons in authority. This was in recognition of their role in various community activities. The community brigades include the barangay ladies, auxiliary, the disaster, traffic auxiliary and the “tanod barangay” brigades. At the same time, the President ordered: 1) Exemption of the government officials and employes who are serving as barangay officials from the 15-day rural service requirement. 2) Deputized barangay captains in Metro Manila to help implement the uniform building code and as agents of the National Pollution Control Commission (NPCC).

METRO Manila Governor Imelda Romualdez Marcos paid tribute to the metropolitan citizenry for what she said was their total commitment to help solve the city’s problems. She said the conditions were the results of centuries of neglect and indifference. She thanked the barangays, the youth, the businessmen, and all sectors of the community for the “spirit of participation which has not only stopped the process of decay and death in the city but has, more importantly, transfigured metropolitan life.”

November 8

THE PRESIDENT received Gen. Vladimir Alexander Shatalov, chief cosmonaut in charge of Soviet space agency and member of the Supreme Soviet, who paid a courtesy call at Malacañang. With Gen. Shatalov were Igor Poberezsky, Soviet interpreter and Tagalog scholar and Charge d’affaires Valery Butrin. They were escorted to Malacañang by Labor Secretary Blas F. Ople, chairman of the RP-USSR Friendship Society.

November 9—

THE PRESIDENT received 40 provincial and municipal officials from all over the country who called at Malacañang to pay their respects from the College of Public Administration of the University of the Philippines where they underwent a 14-week training in Local Administration. Headed by Gov. Faustino Dy of Isabela, class president, the local officials representing all 12 regions of the country, including three Muslims from Mindanao and Sulu, presented the President with a re­solution pledging their active participation in the forthcoming December 17 referendum.

THE PRESIDENT expressed the hope that the people in the South would be able to participate actively in the coming December 17 re­ferendum. He said their participation could help bring about national unity. He spoke before 40 municipal and provincial officials who lunched with him at Malacañang.

THE PRESIDENT ordered Commissioner Gregorio Bilog Jr. of the Land Registration Commission (LRC) to go on leave of absence effective at once and accepted the resignation of LRC Assistant Commissioner Ramon V. Puruganan. He did this “pending the investigation I have ordered concerning reports and charges of certain anomalies in the issu­ance of titles or transfers of certificate,” involving the LRC.

November 10

THE PRESIDENT pledged, the complete support and assistance of the national government to further scientific and technological research. He gave this assurance of support and assistance during the fifth an­niversary celebration of the Philippine Council for Agricultural and Resources Research at the Maharlika Hall of Malacañang.

THE PRESIDENT said the question of whether Or not curfew should be reimposed will not be put before the electorate in the December 17 referendum. The statement was made in response to a query from Chair­man Leonardo Perez of the Commission on Elections.

November 11

QUESTION of whether or not to reimpose curfew shall be decided on the basis of public welfare and not on popular demand, the President paid. In a conference with provincial governors and city mayors at Malacañang, the President said that the question will be decided after the December 17 referendum in order to give interested parties all the opportunity to campaign on the issues involved in the referendum.

THE PRESIDENT received a letter from US President Jimmy Carter in which the latter agreed that the talks on the use of the military bases by the Americans be resumed by those who had a hand on the negotiations. The American President’s letter was delivered to the President by the new American ambassador David Newsom during a one-hour conference with the President at Malacañang. Earlier in the morning, Ambassador Newsom presented his credentials to the President as the new US ambassador replacing Ambassador William H. Sullivan who was reassigned to Iran.

November 12—

THE PRESIDENT ordered the freezing of action on all contracts pending at the Department of Public Highways until after he has created a Special Bidding Committee which will, henceforth, pass upon these contracts. The President’s order came in the wake of reports of irregularities in the awarding of some contracts to private contractors.

November 13—

LABOR Secretary Blas F. Ople has announced that the Department of Labor’s regional office No. 4-A is now operational. The new office which cover 11 provinces and eight cities in Southern Tagalog, is headed by lawyer Dioscora C. Arellano as regional director with Danilo P. Cruz as assistant director.

November 14

DEPARTMENT of Education and Culture will set up 182 new decentralized learning resource centers in seven regions identified as the more educationally disadvantaged areas. DEC Secretary Juan L. Manuel said the DLRC’s to be set up through the educational development projects implementing task force (Edpitaf) and the United Nations Children’s Fund, will bring to 238 such centers.

November 15

THE PHILIPPINE policy to promote closer understanding and friendship with all peace-loving countries of the world on the bases of sovereignty equality, non-interference and mutual benefit was reaffirmed by the President. His remarks was made after receiving the letter of credence of Ambassador Vu Tien, the first envoy to Manila of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The President said that although the Philippines is not a rich country, it has managed to extend economic aid for Vietnam’s reconstruction and rehabilitation. The aid included basic testing equipment, laboratory supplies, and seeds for experimental farms.

November 16

THE PHILIPPINES and the United States governments agreed in principle on the installation of Filipino commanders for Subic, Clark and other military bases as well as the definition of the extent of US military facilities. Meeting formally for the first time this year at the Malacañang state dining hall, the RP-US panels reached an accord in the presence of the President and Ambassador David Newsom, who represents he US government.

THE PRESIDENT ordered the immediate release of P2 million for the relief of typhoon Unding victims. He also received damage reports from his Cabinet members who informed him that destruction to crops, communications and transportation was neglible.

GSIS General Manager Roman A. Cruz Jr. was designated by the President as the new chairman and president of Philippine Airlines (PAL). He will succeed Benigno Toda Jr., who has served in that capacity since the Macapagal administration. The GSIS which he also heads is now the parent company of PAL. At present it owns 92 per cent of the outstanding capital stock of PAL, which was recently increased from P25 million to P250 million.

THE PRESIDENT discussed with the Cabinet the impact upon the sugar industry of the order of US President Jimmy Carter to increase the import duties on sugar. Ordering a reexamination of domestic and international prices of sugar and other related matters, the President said a quota system may have to be established among sugar producers.

November 17

THE PRESIDENT has paved the way for the acquisition of private lands within the limits of the proposed 20,312-heetare Lungsod Silangan town-site in the northern part of Rizal. He issued Letter of Instructions No. 625, directing, among others: 1) The Solicitor General to immediately start condemning proceedings for the acquisition of said lands, in accordance with Public Land Act and the new constitution; 2) The secretary of natural resources and the director of lands to take over the management, administration and disposition of the acquired lands, and to immediately do a boundary and parcellary survey of all lands within the newly established townsite and institute the necessary court proceedings for the compulsory settlement and adjudication of private claims therein; 3) The chairman of the Human Settlement Commission to prepare a total framework plan for the new townsite, as well as detailed development plans by phases according to priorities that it may deem fit, and 4) The budget commissioner to release such funds as may be necessary for the condemnation, of the privately owned lands, for the cadastral survey and land use inventory, as well as for the development planning of the new townsite.

November 18

THE PRESIDENT approved the sale of 15,000 metric tons of Philippine rice to Indonesia, marking the first time ever in the New Society that the country will export the commodity. The rice export, worth P31.5 million in domestic price equivalent, was approved by the President in the spirit of ASEAN cooperation and in view of the current surplus of rice in the country.

THE PRESIDENT emphasized the need to train the young for future leadership in order to insure the continuity of government programs, particularly of the radical reforms under the New Society. Speaking before the first 67 graduates of the Future Leaders Program at the Hall of Unity and Brotherhood of Malacañang, the President singled out the graduates as “the vanguard, the cutting edge and spearhead of the new group of leaders who will show the way for others to follow.” In order to better prepare them for the task of future leadership, he instructed the Civil Service Commission and the heads of departments and agencies concerned to “expose them to the different government programs, and to make provision for the further career development of young people.”

UPON recommendation of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the President set November 27 as an additional day for the general registration of the qualified voters to enable those who have not register to register in the voting centers. The nationwide listing of voters was held last October 29-30 and November 4-5, as specified under Presidential Decree No. 1187, which seeks to establish a new voting registry.

November 19

THE PRESIDENT called upon the critics of his administration to express their views freely and to help clarify the issues involved in the December 17 referendum. In a speech at the annual reunion of the kauyagan nen Polaris, Inc. (Pangasinan Civic Confederation) held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), the President directed the media to give equal time and space to those in opposition to any of the policies of the administration.

THE PRESIDENT said that the measure of a great newspaper or magazine is the decree of service it provides its readers and the larger society, the causes it promotes and the tendencies it corrects or rectifies. In brief remarks at ceremonies commemorating the 5th anniversary of Focus magazine held at its new offices and plant in Port Area, the President said in its chosen task of educating public opinion, the press can pursue that mission in innumerable ways. And the test of its worth is always the degree of public good and welfare that its work may advance or deter, he said.

November 20—

TRADE Secretary Troadio T. Quiazon Jr. said garments and television components would be given more promotional emphasis since these are notably lower in price and are of better quality than those exported to Switzerland by other countries. He told a visiting Swiss delegation, headed by Klaus Jacobi, delegate of the Federal Council for Trade Agreements and governor of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that the Philippines would also seek an increase in its exports of raw coffee, semi-conductor devices and nickel to Switzerland.

November 21—

THE PRESIDENT and the First Lady and Metro Manila Governor, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, received Dr. and Mrs. Billy Graham who made a courtesy call. The President later also received Markus G. Kaiser, executive of the Swiss Banking firm of Rhan Bodmer and Co., who also came to pay his respects.

SPECIAL committee to take charge of all arrangements for the nationwide commemoration of the 81st death anniversary of Dr. Jose P. Rizal on December 30 has been created by the President. Created through Administrative Order No. 423, the committee is composed of Education Undersecretary Narciso Albarracin and Presidential Assistant Ronaldo B. Zamora, as chairman and vice chairman, respectively.

November 22—

THE PRESIDENT batted for increased trade between Japan and the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). “The Philippines and almost all, if not all, of the ASEAN countries believe in trade much more than in aid from Japan,” the President told a 59 man delegation of the young members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan conducting a study tour of ASEAN countries, who called at Malacañang. Later, the President also received the Bank of Tokyo officials, who also made a courtesy call before leaving after inaugurating their off-shore banking unit in Makati, Metro Manila.

THE PRESIDENT welcomed the interest shown by Switzerland in expanding trade relations not only with the Philippines but with all of Southeast Asia, in sending the Swiss-ASEAN Goodwill Mission to the region. He also expressed elation m receiving a delegation in which the private sector is strongly represented. The Swiss goodwill mission is touring Southeast Asia in an effort to find ways and means of strengthening and deeping relations with ASEAN countries.

November 23–

THE FIRST Lady and Metro Manila Governor, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, stressed that the government’s task of giving man a better quality of life, total renewal and a New Society that is compassionate is “but a redemption of both his body and spirit.” She was guest speaker at the opening ceremonies of the Billy Graham Crusade ’77 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). She said that the Filipino people are trying to liberate themselves from the “disabling ingredients”, traumas, violence and obscenities of the past in order to “emerge renewed and become truly human.” Citing the small successes that the government had achieved, she said that as cities here have become more orderly and intellectual needs are being attended to “we can never have enough of divine leadership and its spiritual fullness.” Expressing gratitude at the Crusade’s presence in the Philippines, she said that this consciousness of Christ will move us to a eucharist of total renewal.

November 24

THE PRESIDENT moved to insure Filipino control of the construction industry by issuing Letter of Instructions No. 630. The LOI provides that bidding awards or negotiation of primarily civil work contracts shall be limited to Filipino individuals, corporations, partnership, or association, 75 per cent of the capital of which is owned by Filipinos. To guarantee compliance, every contracting government entity, is required to see to it that no contractor should enter into an agreement, tie-up, or joint venture arrangement with a foreigner to thwart the provisions of the Anti-Dummy Law. However, the President said LOI should not go against present and future commitments on bidding of contracts financed partly or wholly by funds from international lending institutions.

THE PRESIDENT accused former President Diosdado Macapagal of personally aggravating the communist rebellion in Central Luzon and of spawning the bitter secessionist fighting in the South. He issued the strongly worded statement in reply to an indictment of the Martial Law government by his predecessor whom he defeated in a bid for reelection in 1965. Opposition leaders headed by Macapagal, have finally broken their imposed silence and have, resumed criticizing the President and his Martial Law regime.

EIGHT measures to help ease the financial problems of the nation’s hospitals were implemented by the President. He announced the move in a keynote address at the opening of the 28th annual national convention of the Philippine Hospital Association (PHA).

THE FIRST Lady and Metro Manila Gov. Imelda Romualdez Marcos pledged to clean up the “non-physical debris” in the metropolis generated by “spiritual and mental pollution” and indicated the media for its “continuing role” in debasing human values. Addressing the Rotary Club of Manila at the Philippine Plaza’s Grand Ballroom, the First Lady said, “we must proceed against spiritual and mental pollution, or the pollution of values.”

November 25—

THE PRESIDENT stressed the role of religion as a “tremendous force for reform and change in society and in the world.” He was speaking at the national prayer breakfast held at the Philippine Plaza Hotel. The visiting American Evangelist, Billy Graham, also addressed the meeting. The President said he shares the view of religious leaders like Graham “of the need for men and nations to share with one another, and of the need of the poorer nations to share in the boons of progress in our time.”

November 26—

THE PRESIDENT put the question of Martial Law as one of the three main issues the people will decide in the coming December 17 referendum and in ease of a “no” vote he pledged: “I will lift Martial Law immediately.” Speaking before the 20th general assembly of the Veterans Federation of the Philippines at Camp Aguinaldo, the President listed the other two issues as follows: 1) The question of his continuance as President which is the subject of the question in the coming referendum; and 2) The national development program drawn up by the present political leadership.

THE PRESIDENT attended a special mass on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the National Children’s Medical Center at Banawe, Quezon City. In his short remarks after the mass, he said the medical center will also enjoy the incentives he had ordered for all hospitals during his opening remarks at the 28th annual national convention of the Philippine Hospital Association (PHA).

November 27—

THE PRESIDENT expressed deep concern over the growing protectionism in world trade, saying that any trade restrictions “tend to result in more tensions in the world.” He made this observation m his talk with Francis Blanchard, director general of the International Labor Organization (ILO) who called on the President immediately after his arrival here for a ten-day official visit. Blanchard briefed the President on the activities of the ILO, especially the steps it has taken since the withdrawal from the organization of the United States last November 1.

November 28—

THE PRESIDENT imposed a “Mine Wastes and Tailings Fee” on all mining firms operating in the country. Under Presidential Decree No. 1251, the fee will accrue to a reserve fund to pay for damages caused by the mining firms pollution on lands, agricultural crops and forest products, marine and aquatic resources, and infrastructure, due to their operations. The fee, which amount is to be, determined by the secretary of natural resources upon the recommendation of the director of mines, will in turn be used to revegetate and rehabilitate silted farm lands and other areas devoted to agriculture, aquaculture and fishing, and to reconstruct infrastructure.

OFFICE of the President banned any government official and employee from accepting private employment in any capacity without prior authority from it. The ban, contained in Memorandum Circular No. 1025, was issued by Presidential Assistant Juan C. Tuvera by order of the President. It takes effect immediately. In this connection, Secretary Tuvera directed all government officials and employees now employed in any private agency, on a part-time basis or otherwise, to submit to the Office of the President their names, private employment, and the hours devoted to it.

ANCIENT Order of Sikatuna, with rank of datu, was conferred by the President on Ambassador Jamiluddin Hasan of Pakistan, who has been called home for reassignment. The award was conferred in recognition of the outgoing Pakistani envoy’s services in the field of international relations as the worthy spokesman of his government and people.

THE PRESIDENT received the members of Chaplain Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, who pledged continued and unstinted support to the President’s leadership, particularly in cleaning up the moral and spiritual pollution and in holding the referendum on December 17. The President told the group that he had deliberately gone out of his way to bring into focus the spiritual and moral problems of the New Society because the ways of justice do not seem sufficient to clean up the ranks, not only in the civil government but of ordinary citizen groups, as well as in the military.

November 29–

THE PRESIDENT increased the Philippine contribution to the International Labor Organization (ILO) by 25 per cent of its present contribution. He announced the increase at the opening of the 17th session of the Asian Advisory Committee of the ILO at the Philippine International Convention Center, in response to an appeal made by Francis Blanehard, ILO director general.

THE PRESIDENT approved a proposal that a bilateral trade agreement be entered into between the Philippines and Chile with the view to stepping up trade relations between the two countries. He gave his approval during the call at Malacañang of an official trade mission from Chile headed by Minister of Economy Pablo Baraona.

November 30

THE PRESIDENT said that the reason for the coming December 17 referendum is that “circumstances prevailing in the country today require the counsel and guidance of the people.” In an address read for him by Information Secretary Francisco S. Tatad at the fifth anniversary celebration of the Kilusang Mabuhay ang Pilipino (KMP) at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), the President thus urged the people “to study the issues well, to think along and hard upon the subtler questions posed and implied by the referendum”, before rendering their decisions.

Source: National Library of the Philippines

Office of the President of the Philippines. (1977). Official Month in Review. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, 73(50), cxcv-cciii.