President’s Week in Review: March 20-26, 1970

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March 20—

PRESIDENT MARCOS said that the floating exchange rate for the peso will remain for sometime although he predicted that by the end of May a fixed dollar-peso exchange rate will emerge.

Speaking as guest of honor at the luncheon marking the 21st anniversary of the Manila Lions Club, held at the Manila Hotel, the President devoted a large part of his speech to explaining the necessity for passing the export tax bill which will supersede CB Circular 289.

In this connection, he appealed to the exporters to accept the tax as their share of the burden of stabilizing the economy and the fiscal position of the country.

The President stressed that Circular 289 will have to go because of the storm of speculation it has stirred which has resulted in the inability of the business sector to fix prices of commodities.

Earlier in the morning, the President accepted the credentials of two new ambassadors in separate presentation rites held at the Malacañang ceremonial hall. The formal rites were attended by members of the Cabinet led by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Carlos P. Romulo.

The newly accredited envoys were Herr Jobst Freiherr von Buddenbrock of the Federal Republic of Germany and T. A. Meurs of the Netherlands.

After the presentation rites, the President received a group of Hilton general managers who informed him that contrary to “exaggerated” reports in foreign publications, demonstrations in Manila are relatively tame compared to the violent riots in other cities of the world.

Accompanied by Antonio Delgado, the Hilton executives who called at Malacañang asked the President how they could help promote tourism in this country.

The Hilton executives were Kenneth Moss, area vice president for the Far East. Albert Grieder of Tokyo, Ewe Hin Lim of Singapore, Hans Oppacher of Bangkok and Andre F. Charriere of Manila Hilton .

Shortly before 1 p.m., the President motored to the Manila Hotel where he was guest speaker of the Manila Lions Club at a luncheon meeting commemorating its 21st anniversary.

While working on state papers in the afternoon, the President signed the nominations of nine municipal judges, an auxiliary city judge and two clerks of court. The nominations were forwarded to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation. (See p. 3152 for list of nominees.)

He also accepted the resignation of Mrs. Pacita M. Gonzales as administrator of the National Cottage Industries Development Authority (NACIDA), as well as personally acted on complaints from the public against abusive increase of transportation fares.

The Chief Executive issued a memorandum addressed to the Public Service Commissioner, the Land Transportation Commissioner and the Chief of the Trafcon, asking them to work jointly to prevent such abuses.

March 21—

PRESIDENT MARCOS spent the day mostly at his desk working on state papers, among others firing off a directive to Secretary of Justice Felix V. Makasiar to wind up the probe of alleged irregularities in the San Pedro Tunasan Resettlement Site operations in three days, and through Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor, Jr. calling on the Manila mayor to prevent violence during transportation strikes.

The President broke off from his desk work only to swear in newly designated Secretary of Commerce and Industry Ernesto Maceda, vice Leonides S. Virata, now the chairman of the Development Bank of the Philippines.

The President also approved the promotion of 95 regular Philippine Army majors to lieutenant colonel and 321 reserve officers in the inactive status to their next higher grades.

The President likewise approved the commission of 6.5 graduates of the Philippine Military Academy, Class 1970, in the regular force for assignment in the major branches and 145 individuals in the reserve force of the Armed Forces.

Through the day the President concentrated on desk work, and did not receive callers. He worked through the evening to clear his desk of all urgent state business before trekking to Baguio City where he is slated to go into his annual spiritual retreat in connection with the Holy Week observance.

March 22—

PRESIDENT MARCOS appealed to the nation for quiet and solemnity in keeping with the spirit of the Holy Week.

The President made the appeal in an informal interview with newsmen shortly before going into retreat at Mirador Hill in Baguio City.

He said: “Today is Palm Sunday, and we are entering the most solemn period in the Christian calendar.

“I appeal to those who are thinking of strikes, demonstrations and violence to reflect on the meaning of this period and think of our country.

“Let us take care of-our country because nobody else will.”

The President continued: “We are working on the things that cause us impatience, the reforms that some people want today we have been working for and advocating since the beginning of our first term, and even before that.

“I hope that as I go into retreat this afternoon, everybody including those who had in the past used and espoused violence to attain then-ends, think deeply of the principles on which the Christian faith is founded.”

The President was scheduled to end his spiritual retreat Tuesday evening.

He arrived in Baguio City at 9 a.m., accompanied by the First Lady, Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos and their children Imee, Bongbong and Irene.

Upon arrival at the Loakan airport, the President’s party was met by a tog group of welcomers headed by Baguio City Mayor Luis Lardizabal and Governor Ben Palispis of Benguet.

Also on hand to meet him were officials of neighboring provinces, including Reps. Andres Cosalan, Jose D. Aspiras and Joaquin Ortega; Gov. Juvenal Guerrero of La Union and Mayor Lorenzo Dacanay of San Fernando.

The President flew to Baguio to address the graduation ceremonies of the Philippine Military Academy and to go into spiritual retreat.

The President had a conference with officials who met him, upon arrival at the Mansion House. In the afternoon, he went to Fort Del Pilar, where he was guest of honor at the commencement exercises of the PMA.

Among those who joined the President in the summer capital were Vice President Fernando Lopez, Secretary of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile and Secretary of Commerce and Industry Ernesto Maceda.

At the PMA commencement, the President was introduced to the graduating cadets by Brig. Gen. Cesar M. Garcia, PMA superintendent.

After addressing the cadets, the President proceeded to his retreat.

Meanwhile, Malacañang transmitted to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation 47 nominations to various posts,

Leading the new list of nominees were Alejandro Melchor, Jr. as executive secretary, Placido Mapa, Jr. as chairman of the National Economic Council, and Brig. Gen. Florencio Medina (ret.) as chairman of the National Science Development Board. (See pp. 3152 to 3154 for list of nominees.)

March 23—

PRESIDENT MARCOS took further steps to decentralize the executive office by delegating several of its important powers to heads of departments, offices and agencies.

In this connection, Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor, Jr. issued Executive Order No. 218, signed by the President on March 21, to amend Executive Order No. 70 of 1967, a 17-point order implementing the policy of decentralization.

The new decentralization move was the latest in a series of actions designed to relieve the Presidency of functions which could be delegated to department heads, thereby, minimizing official “red tape” and ensuring speedy action on purely administrative matters.

The President also moved to speed up the distribution of lots in Tondo Foreshorelands to deserving citizens in need of homesites.

In response to the clamor of residents in the Tondo Foreshorelands for the immediate distribution of lots, the President:

  1. Designated Sebastian Santiago, general manager of the PHHC, as action officer of the Presidential Coordinating Committee on Housing and Urban Development pending appointment of a permanent action officer.
  2. Directed the Land Authority to designate Associate Governor Ernesto Valdez as successor to Associate Governor Venecio Eusebio in the PCCHUD, and to speed up action on land distribution including immediate processing of applicants, determining allocation procedures of uncontroverted areas and publication of the names of applicants and corresponding allocations;
  3. Directed Public Works Director Alejandro Deleña to meet with the recognized leaders of the Tondo Foreshorelands residents on the proposed amendments of Proclamation No. 378 establishing a port zone in the Tondo Foreshorelands.

Later, the President submitted to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation the names of 41 other nominees to positions in the executive department, boards of government corporations, boards of regents and the judiciary. (See pp. 3154 to 3155 for list of nominees.)

March 24—

PRESIDENT MARCOS abolished 30 government bodies and transferred the functions of 16 others, in line with the administration policy to simplify government operations and avoid duplication of efforts, functions and activities.

The abolition was embodied in Executive Order No. 219, and the transfers in Executive Order No. 220, which were issued by the President shortly after checking out of the Mirador Hill retreat house in Baguio City.

The transfers of certain offices hitherto directly under the Office of the President was part of the decentralization process, through relinquishment of presidential powers to regular departments.

In scrapping the offices, the President pointed out there were other proper government agencies wherein the functions of the abolished bodies could be embraced and consolidated.

The President checked out of the retreat house at the conclusion of his two-day spiritual retreat in connection with the Holy Week observance.

The President was met upon his arrival at the Mansion House by Manila newsmen covering him with whom he had a brief interview.

Following the interview, the President buckled down to work on piles of urgent state papers he brought along with him as well as those brought up by Malacañang aides.

March 25—

PRESIDENT MARCOS, refreshed by a two-day spiritual retreat, took up public affairs with some zest as he interspersed private consultations and desk work with conferences with local officials who flocked to the Mansion House for an airing of; their problems.

Among other urgent concerns, the President discussed with PSC Commissioner Enrique Medina by telephone the public outrage against exhorbitant bus and jeepney fares. He then asked the PSC chief to crack down on the unscrupulous operators.

In consultations with national officials, the President talked with Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor, Jr., Director of Forestry Jose Viado, Director of Mines Fernando Busuego, Jr., Vicente Arancill, DBP branch manager in Baguio; and District Land Officer Angel Sangalang.

Among the local delegations he received were those from Benguet headed by Gov. Ben Palispis and Mayor Luis Lardizabal of Baguio. The Benguet group put before the President the problem of conflicting mining claims, reforestation projects and public works improvements for the province.

Mayor Lardizabal discussed the city’s perennial water shortage, the relocation of squatters and other concerns.

In the afternoon, the President conferred with Councilors Antonio Romero, Jose Florendo, Ruben Ayson, Dionisio Claridad, and Pedro Claraval, all of Baguio City.

In the course of the day, the President reconstituted four high advisory bodies with which he consults on various matters relating to national policies.

The agencies reorganized were the Council of Leaders, to supersede the abolished Council of State; the Financial Policy Committee, the Air Navigation Services Coordinating Committee, and the Exchange Visitors Program Committee.

The President also ordered the release of some P37 million from the highways special fund for the improvement and maintenance of national and provincial roads.

The amount released corresponds to the allotment for the fourth quarter of the fiscal year ending June 30.

Of this amount, P18, 754,688 will be used for the maintenance of national and provincial roads, with the provincial roads getting P6, 155,349.

The sum of P17, 739,966 will be utilized for the improvement of national and provincial roads, with the provincial roads getting P3, 859.685.

The Bureau of Public Highways will allot the sums released to the different engineering districts and offices.

In a speech read for him by Secretary of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile at the opening of the SEATO Exercise “Sea Rover,” the President called for the pooling of will and strength in a common thrust to lick poverty and uplift the status of the masses in Asia. The President said that the framework for this type of cooperation exists.

“It will be a kind of undertaking vested with a more enduring validity that along with the series of military exercises we hold periodically, there shall be in SEATO some worthy forms of ‘economic exercises’ that will similarly test and demonstrate the fruitful coordination and willingness to cooperate among our member countries in this particular regional association,” he said.

The President pointed out that the ancient challenges of mass poverty and economic inequities affect all of Asia which will inevitably affect the social stability and the quality of peace in the world should they remain unchecked. (See pp. 3156-3161 for full text of the President’s speech.)

March 26—

PRESIDENT MARCOS took off in the presidential plane early in the morning for Laoag City, where he was slated to confer with local officials on various urgent problems and projects.

Arriving at Laoag just before 9 a.m., the President was met by a large group of welcomers headed by Gov. Jose Evangelista, Mayor Eulalio Siazon and Rep. Simeon Valdez.

After the usual welcome ceremonies, the President set down with the Ilocos Norte officials to discuss among other things the need for extending the Ambuklao line to the province, and an additional waterworks system.

Following the talks, the President heard Mass at the parish church of Laoag. After the services, the President set off by car for his hometown, Batac, where he briefly visited with relatives and friends.

It was nearly noon when he flew off from the Laoag airport for San Fernando, La Union. At the airport, he was met by the First Lady, Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos and son Bongbong, as well as by another big crowd of welcomers headed by Reps. Jose D. Aspiras and Joaquin Ortega, Gov. Juvenal Guerrero and Mayor Lorenzo Dacanay.

From the airport, the President and the First Lady drove to Barrio Lingsat where they laid a wreath at the memorial to the local heroes and martyrs, notably his own father, Don Mariano.

Then the First Couple retired to Poro Point to relax a bit before trekking back to Baguio, where they will stay for the duration of the Lenten season.

SourceNational Library of the Philippines