President’s Week in Review: May 28 – June 3, 1971

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May 28—

PRESIDENT MARCOS conferred the Golden Heart Presidential Award on Dr. Clark Bloom, resident representative in the Philippines of the Ford Foundation.

The President presented the award in recognition of Dr. Bloom’s, distinguished service to the Philippines and the Filipino people, particularly in strengthening Philippine institutions relating to development in essential areas like agriculture and education.

Present at the conferment ceremony were Mrs. Bloom, Dr. Arthur Hill, Dr. David Szanton and Silvestre Sarmiento.

In the afternoon, the President was honored with a parade and review by the Presidential Guard Battalion in a ceremony held at Malacañang Park, commemorating the 33rd anniversary of its founding.

Addressing the officers and men of the organization, the President pointed out that the “unsettled character of our times pose dangers to our democracy.”

This present crisis, the President stated, would require those in the military and those in the government, to exercise the “ability to keep events from getting ahead of us and to keep the ship of state from sinking in the eye of the typhoon.”

The President stressed the difficulty of the task, saying that government response, if it is to be truly reflective of democracy, must never “trample on the bedrock of freedom—civil liberties.”

He continued: “Our response must be tempered with caution even in dealing with those who are sworn to bring down the government.”

The President was introduced by Brig. Gen. Fabian C. Ver, PGB commander.

Present at the rites were Secretary of National Defense Juan Ponce ‘v Enrile, Undersecretary Jose F. Crisol, AFP Chief of Staff General Manuel Yan, heads of the major services of the armed forces, families and friends of the members of the PGB.

May 29—

PRESIDENT MARCOS told some 64 graduates of the seminar on provincial electric cooperatives that they are responsible for the success of one of the most important programs of government.

Composed of representatives from the Presidential Arm on Community Development, Cooperatives Administration Office, local government, teachers and civic groups, the trainees had just completed a 10-day intensive training, preparatory to being divided into five-man teams to be called Provincial Electric Cooperatives Teams and sent to the barrio^ and towns, some to gather data for feasibility studies and others to organize or set the proper atmosphere for the organization of cooperative as a new approach to the problem of electricity.

“Thus,” the President told them, “you will bring light where there is darkness, progress where there is stagnation, knowledge where there is ignorance, abundance where there is scarcity, and health where there is disease.”

The President also took occasion to express his gratitude to the United States Government through Director Thomas Niblock of the local U.S. Agency for International Development for the various assistance given by that and other U.S. agencies to the Philippines.

Later in the afternoon, the President sent the following letter to the delegates to the Constitutional Convention:

The Delegates
1971 Constitutional Convention
Through the Inaugural Committee Chairman
Dr. Cicero D. Calderon

Gentlemen of the Convention:

In answer to a letter of your inauguration committee, I have the pleasure to accept your invitation, which I understand has been supported by a Resolution inviting me to speak.

It is my hope that this will lay the foundation for unity among our people, who are praying for the success of the Constitutional Convention.

Very truly yours

President of the Philippines

May 30—

PRESIDENT MARCOS directed RCA Chairman-General Manager Jose D. Drilon, Jr. to effect a complete revamp of the agency with the view to making it a more effective and respected arm of the government.

The President gave the order after Drilon reported that syndicates which had been responsible for shortages in RCA stocks have virtually been busted with the filing of administrative charges and suspension of five RCA regional managers, three branch and agency managers, nine finance officers, nine provincial inspectors and 44 warehousemen.

The President commended Undersecretary Drilon for cleaning up the RCA, the agency charged with stabilizing the supply of the staple food of the people.

In the afternoon, the President proclaimed June 1, Tuesday, a special public holiday.

In proclaiming the opening, of the Constitutional Convention a special holiday, the President said that “the people should be given the opportunity to ponder upon the importance of the historic undertaking and to think out and propose to their respective delegates much-needed reforms in the social, economic and political structure.”

The day marks the opening of the 1971 Constitutional Convention.

The President also designated Leticia Perez de Guzman, a vice president for administration of the Philippine Women’s University, as member of the National Manpower and Youth Council, to represent Family Organizations.

May 31—

PRESIDENT MARCOS paid tribute to the war dead, urging the people to carry on with the ideals for which they had fought and died.

At the Memorial Day services held at the Manila American Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio in the afternoon, the President urged his hearers to “keep our promises to the men who had believed with us but are not here to share our burdens.”

The President decried that the peace the war heroes had looked forward to “remains fragile and fragmented, with the evils and malignancies they had sought to cleanse away with their blood still haunting the world, enslaving or wounding men, if not their flesh, their spirit; if not their minds, their hopes of a brighter day.”

Refusing to concede that all that these heroes had died for had been nothing, the President stated that “perhaps the world is what it is today, wracked by suspicion and prejudice, by hostile conspiracies and mindless violence; moved by greed and lust for power; because the idea of human brotherhood and common dignity has not yet reached its time.”

The President exhorted the people to “overcome the dissensions and the jealousies dividing the human family,” to “dominate the tigers that ceaselessly strive to break loose within us and thus make us one of the same pack of predators stalking the weak and the helpless.”

He continued: “Let us strive so that we too could live as emblems of conduct, in the way they fought and died.”

Present at the solemn rites were members ;of the diplomatic corps, representatives of 36 participating veterans organizations, ranking American and Filipino military officials and families of the war dead.

Military honors were accorded the President by a company of Philippine Army men upon his arrival at the cemetery gate at exactly 4:00 p.m.

The President was welcomed at the steps of the cemetery by U.S. Ambassador Henry Byroade; John F. McLaughlin, master of ceremonies; Dr. Charles Mosebrook, minister of United Methodist Church; (Lt. Cmdr.) James Clark, catholic chaplain; and (Lt. Cmdr.) Richard Smithy protestant chaplain.

Then the President laid a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, followed by Ambassador Byroade. Some 20 special guests and representatives of veterans, civic and military organizations also jointly made floral offerings.

As part of the observance, the United States and Philippine flags were lowered at half-mast the whole day.

Capping the ceremonies were memorial day prayers delivered by both the Catholic and Protestant chaplains.

Earlier in the morning the President directed the chief of the Philippine Navy to take “strong punitive action” against a PN officer allegedly involved in a gunrunning attempt in Saigon, Vietnam.

At the same time, the President ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs to explore with the local Vietnamese embassy by means of regulating the entry into Vietnam of Filipino job-seekers without appropriate working visas.

The President issued the twin directives through Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor, Jr. following receipt of reports of unsavory incidents involving Filipinos in South Vietnam.

The Chief Executive asked both the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the PN chief to submit their respective reports on the action taken by them on these cases.

June 1—

PRESIDENT MARCOS appealed to the delegates to the Constitutional Convention to cast aside narrow interests and work in unity and close cooperation in the framing of a new Constitution.

Addressing the opening session of the Constitutional Convention at the Manila Hotel, the President also asked everyone to help provide the moral climate of cooperation and support “without which this great opportunity for human growth in this part of the world must surely lapse unfulfilled.”

The President said he had come to the Convention “to offer that cooperation and support,” and “to express in person the fervent hope that the Constitutional Convention will succeed in its noble task to meet the great expectations of our people in a Philippine Constitution.”

The President said that “the price of a successful new Charter is unity itself, for neither the making of a new Constitution nor its blueprints of ideals and principles is an assurance by itself that we shall attain the peaceful, abundant and meaningful life which alone is the object of our best endeavors.”

The President reminded the delegates that they go into their historic mission with the confidence of the people who elected them in their “ability and willingness to discard narrow interests so that neither political ends, nor personal fortune, nor fanaticism shall stand in the way of a Charter expressive of the true aspirations of our people.”

The President continued, “The new tribalism engendered by organized anarchy must now be discarded in favor of national unity, which alone can ensure the calm and orderliness that can guarantee the success of you efforts.” (See pp. 4436-4437 for text of the President’s speech.)

The President, together with the First Lady, lmelda Romualdez-Marcos arrived at the convention hall at about 10 a.m. Their arrival was announced by a long standing ovation as the delegates and their guests stood up to greet them.

After acknowledging the greetings from the crowd, the President proceeded to the rostrum where he sat flanked by Senate President Gil J. Puyat and Speaker Cornelio T. Villareal, while the First Lady joined Mrs. Mariquit Lopez, wife of Vice President Fernando Lopez, and former First Ladies, namely, Mesdames Carlos P. Garcia, Diosdado Macapagal and Sergio Osmeña, Sr.

As soon as the President and the First Lady were seated, Senate President Puyat and Speaker Villareal called the convention to order.

The program started with the singing of the National Anthem, followed by an ecumenical prayer led by representatives of the Iglesia ni Cristo Muslim faith, National Council of Churches, Philippine Independent Church and Roman Catholic Church.

This was followed by a speech by Senate President Puyat, and the certification of the election of the delegates present by Chairman Jaime N Ferrer of the Commission on Elections, who informed the convention that there were 312 delegates elected, with eight others not yet decided and 309 of the 312 elected were present at the opening session.

After the certification of elections, Speaker Villareal addressed the Convention, followed by the oath-taking of the elected delegates.

The Speaker then introduced the President who spoke for 13 minutes, and then waited for the session to be recessed before leaving the convention hall.

Also present at the opening session of the Constitutional Convention were surviving members of the Constitutional Convention of 1934, members of the Cabinet, senators and representatives, members; of the diplomatic corps, and other government officials.

The President worked on urgent state papers the rest of the day.

June 2—

PRESIDENT MARCOS conferred with leaders of Congress headed by Senate President Gil J. Puyat and Speaker Cornelio T. Villareal, to insure the passage of four vital measures which he had certified to Congress for consideration in the coming special session.

In his proclamation calling Congress to a special session for a period of 30 days or less starting on June 14, the President certified for inclusion in the agenda, the following:

1) H. No. 3443, otherwise known as the General Appropriations Act;

2) H. No. 184, otherwise known as the Electoral Reform Bill;

3) H. No. 1919, calling for a New Election Code; and

4) H. No. 3453 (S. No. 478), otherwise known as the Land Reform Act;

The President, however, emphasized that the agenda may be expanded to include other pending bills which the leaders of Congress might consider of vital importance and urgency.

In today’s meeting, the President and the leaders of Congress took up the pending measures and agreed to limit the agenda to as few bills as possible.

Present at the conference were Speaker Protempore Jose Aldeguer, House Majority Floorleader Marcelino Veloso, Reps, Jose D. Aspiras and Joaquin Ortega of La Union, Emerito Calderon of Cebu, James L. Chiongbian of South Cotabato, Ali Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte, Rafael B. Legaspi of Aklan, Jose J. Leido, Jr. of Oriental Mindoro, Lamberto L. Macias of Negros Oriental, Pablo Malasarte of Bohol, Pedro C. Medalla of Occ. Mindoro, Constantino Navarro of Surigao del Norte, Pablo R. Roman of Bataan, Roberto Sabido of Albay, Lorenzo Sarmiento of Davao del Norte and Nicanor E. Yñiguez of Southern Leyte.

June 3—

PRESIDENT MARCOS early in the morning left for the North on his inspection tour.

He was accompanied by the First Lady, Imelda Romualdez Marcos.

Before leaving Malacañang, the President directed:

1. Chairman Vicente Paterno of the Board of Investments to discuss with ASEAN investment agencies regional investment and industrial programs, taking into consideration the Philippine car manufacturing program and its expected effect on the economy of the region.

2. The Philippine ambassador to Washington Ernesto Lagdameo to submit an official report on the reported cut made on Philippine sugar quota in the United States.

In a memorandum circular issued through Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor, Jr., the President asked all departments, bureaus, offices and government-owned or controlled corporations to sponsor or conduct on or before June 12 appropriate programs commemorating Philippine Independence Day.

The directive was a reiteration of a circular issued by the Rational

Independence Day Committee, chair manned by Secretary of Labor Blas F. Ople.

In keeping with the temper of the times and cognizant of the imperative need for immediate reforms in society, the committee adopted “Social Regeneration” as the theme for this year’s Independence Day celebrations.

The committee said that “the 73rd Independence Day anniversary is an auspicious occasion for all departments, agencies and corporations owned or controlled by the government to give practical content to the theme of “social regeneration” by sponsoring programs and activities designed to relate themselves in a real and immediate sense to the reforms that “the people are clamoring for programs that would generate clearly and strongly a pervasive mood or temper for critical self-reexamination that could pave the way for the departments, bureaus, offices and corporations to improve their performance and their services to the people.”

Source: National Library of the Philippines