Remarks of President Marcos at the inauguration of the Philippine Columbian Association’s New Clubhouse Complex

Tags: ,

His Excellency Ferdinand E. Marcos
President of the Philippines
At the inauguration of the Philippine Columbian Association’s New Clubhouse Complex

[Delivered on December 14, 1979]

Nationalism and the Making of a
Filipino Ideology

THANK YOU VERY much, Senior Justice Teehankee — he certainly has introduced me often enough to entitle him to some measure of gratitude and generosity. I also thank the master of ceremonies who called attention to the peculiar circumstances which now explain, among other things, why I was invited. But knowing the levity with which Columbianos always handle affairs — whatever those affairs are — I hasten to add that I am not necessarily of a suspicious nature. I am very trusting about many things.

You know, there is a rule of protocol as to the appointments of Presidents, especially with regard to the present administration, and that is, never to accept invitations to inaugurations of sports or athletic clubs. Well this is true also for private commercial establishments and openings as well as cocktails given by foreign embassies where the President is not the guest of honor. These are hard and fast rules, you know. It is similar to the rule, for instance, when I exercise in the evenings. Somehow my wife has made it a rule that at six or seven o’clock in the evening, I am to be driven out of the Palace to be able to exercise. And when I am exercising, playing golf, tennis or pelota, I cannot be disturbed unless there is a war and the war is with the United States and we are winning the war.

But when your invitation came, especially since it was brought by the distinguished members of the invitational party headed by my newly discovered cousin Pons Marcos here and the Senior Justice of the Supreme Court, they reminded me that the Columbian Association was not just a sports club or an athletic organization, but that it was the spawning ground of nationalism and of the ideals of political independence which gave birth, first, to the Commonwealth and then to the Republic of the Philippines.

I remember one of the most ardent nationalists in the 1920s, a contemporary or now my equally young contemporary, Speaker Antonio de las Alas. He reminded me that he used to see me pass by from school for my father when he and the Speaker used to play tennis in the afternoons. He generously forgot that I used to be one of his pulot boys. I actually chased and picked up balls for my father and the Speaker whenever I came to visit with them here in the Columbian Club. I was a young boy to whom talk or conversations about nationalism were still something not fascinating or as fascinating as, let us say, the Knights of the Round Table or the Last of the Mohicans. For I was that young. Not that I am very much younger than Don Antonio now. The way I look at it, he is much younger because he weighs less than I do. I understand toe weighs 118 pounds and I weigh 128. That is by way of bragging to you that I also maintain my weight even if I do not belong to the Columbian Association. And now that I have discovered my relationship with the president of the Club, I can expect some fringe benefits.

The forum that is offered by the Philippine Columbian is certainly a most serious one, for I remember a cartoon, that is deeply embedded in my memory as a young man, of my father riding the Ilocos Express supposedly, with the Columbian Club in the background, and declaring, “I would rather sink to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean than see the Philippines subdivided among the American entrepreneurs, like Hawaii has been divided among the Big Four.” And you know, this often struck me as perhaps a discordant note in the easygoing days of that period of the 1920s. But there were nationalists then, and you found them in the Columbian Club.

We are aware now of the nationalist origins of the Columbian Club which was founded exclusively for Filipinos who had hoped to be able to reach the age when their country would be politically emancipated. And our great President Quezon, of course, was instrumental in building up the Philippine Columbian Club. One thing, though, that my newly discovered cousin did not say, and I might just as well reveal this — we knew each other before this particular occasion. He used to be with Don Vicente Madrigal. He did not reveal the fact that when he was secretary to Don Vicente, he never gave me any favors. Madrigal was the treasurer of the Liberal Party incidentally, when I was a member of that party. You know how it is with politics. The treasurer is an all-important person, and usually the treasurer does not deal with you directly, he deals through the secretary. And the envelopes are handed out by the secretary. That is what I remember about him. And I keep remembering this and I will remember this of him. I don’t know how they raised funds during those days because I was not in the ruling clique of the party at that time. I was merely a young congressman trying to earn his purse. But whatever it is, even then my cousin had the wherewithal for operations.

And so I congratulate him, I congratulate the members of the Columbian Club for these outstanding facilities here. Looking at the facade from Plaza Dilao, you wouldn’t expect that there were such spacious athletic facilities.

What has come out of the Club is certainly history the history of the growth of the nation from the propaganda period before the inception of the club; the revolutionary period of 1896; the period that began the new century when in 1902 the civil government was established; 1907, when the Columbian Club was organized, was a very important historical year. It was the beginning of the Philippine Assembly. It was the election of such people as Quezon and Osmeña to the Philippine Assembly which was the lower house of the Philippine Commission — its members were appointed, if you will remember, by the American President — and from the American commissioners of which would be drawn, ultimately the leaders like Taft who had his disagreements with the first military governor or, shall we say, the first martial law administrator. The first martial law administrator, if you will remember, was General MacArthur who actually ruled the Philippines before the arrival or appointment of Taft, first as commissioner and later as civil governor.

I remember all this because I have been going through the memoirs of General Funston. You remember him, he who was supposed to have captured General Aguinaldo in Palanan some time in 1902. He said that General Aguinaldo was kept in Malacañang Palace, not in the main Palace, but in the residence of General Arthur MacArthur, which is the guest house now, the Maharlika, which, as you know, was bought by the Marcos Foundation and converted into a guest house and then donated to the government. It is a historical place — the old Goldenberg mansion. This is where the first Philippine Assembly was held and also where the first Philippine Senate held its first session in 1916. And this, as I said, is where General MacArthur resided and where General Aguinaldo was kept as a prisoner after his capture in Palanan. And there he met Quezon, then a major in the revolution, who could not believe that Aguinaldo had surrendered or had been captured. And so Quezon was brought to this residence of General MacArthur to see for himself that Aguinaldo was indeed in captivity.

All of these memories are fresh in my mind now because I am in the process of writing the fourth volume of Tadhana, and this is part of it. And so when I was invited by your distinguished officers, I saw this as a forum where I could talk about nationalism, nationalism and the formulation of a Filipino ideology. I am in the process also of writing a book, or rather, I started to write a book entitled Towards the Filipino Ideology. I stopped the printing when realized that this would require not just 200 or 300 pages but perhaps several volumes. And so I withdrew the first printing. I have not distributed the original. But in this book, I spoke of nationalism in relation to authoritarian rule. I refer to it because of the fact that today, sometimes when you speak of nationalism, it is made to look as if it is opposed to authoritarian rule when the truth of the matter is that the Philippine experience, whether under the Spaniards or under the English in 1762 or under the Americans from 1898, from the Battle of Manila Bay, to 1946, or under the Japanese from 1941 to 1945 —the Filipino has become accustomed to what possibly can be called “authoritarian rule.” Meaning, the concentration of certain powers in the hands of a few, especially in times of crisis.

I need not go into the legal evolution of the concept of martial law; I merely want to speak of nationalism and what it actually is. There are many concepts of nationalism, as either an absolute virtue, which is one extreme and in whose name the most execrable crimes are committed, or the nationalism that is seen as nothing but revivalism of a fantasy, of a past, which is the claim of many colonialists about poor people like us, who they say, have no history, no past, no claim to nationalism because they never were a nation.

You remember, whenever we speak of the Philippines as a nation, the answer of the colonialists, the answer of those who do not understand our history is that the Philippines was never a nation before the Spaniards arrived. And there are many historians, even Filipino historians, who seem to think that this is true and that we were divided into tribes and that we had no concept of nationalism whatsoever, notwithstanding the fact that all the efforts against the Spanish conquistador and all those who sought to dominate us were instinctive actions taken by tribes working together for one single purpose. Call it spontaneous conspiracy, which is the legal term for the absence of any previous agreements. But the fact remains that there was this instinct to unite against a common enemy, which is one of the motivations towards nationalism.

Schumpeter, a prominent neoclassical economist, thinks of nationalism basically as an atavism, a historical baggage carried over from free capitalist spas to an otherwise rational capitalist society. This atavism, Schumpeter further asserts, has been responsible for the rise of imperialism in the last quarter of the 19th century and the subsequent colonization of the tricontinental Third World. And here Schumpeter commits a very serious error, for he does not distinguish between the Western world’s and the Third World’s type of nationalism. The Western world’s type of nationalism arose out of the industrial revolution, the need for raw materials, the need for new goals, the need for new markets and the upsurge towards exploration and exploitation. This was the kind of nationalism which imposed colonialism on what is now the Third World adopted nationalism as a rallying cry to revive the old idea of a united front against subjugation.

The writers of the same persuasion as Schumpeter’s, in particular those who seem to defend the white man’s mission to civilize humankind, have similarly heaped abuse on the anti-colonial struggle of the dominated peoples waged under the banner of nationalism. You read it in all kind of prejudiced and biased witting Whenever any colonialist, whether white man or colored or whatever, looks down on a Third World country or leader, he is denigrating nationalism. He looks down at the plans of people like the Filipinos and criticizes them and says, “Ours is the best.” He speaks as a colonialist. He speaks like all those who believe that it is the white man’s mission to civilize humankind. The leitmotif is the ascription of irrationality to nationalism. In many instances, nationalism is equated with revivalism, the main variant of which being the resurrection of an ostensibly glorious past as a source of national pride.

I speak of revivalism because right now, the Philippines is talking of its past. We’re talking of our heroes, we’re talking of those who first fought the conquistadores, and so we talk of Lapu-lapu. Western writers believe that all this is imaginary, mere fantasy: that we never had heroes at all; that we never had any nobility or dignity at all; that we were savages; and that we had no idea of the higher aspirations and qualities of life. This is what they refer to as irrational revivalism. They say we are trying to revive a past which, they claim, never existed. The apologists for colonialism have so eagerly belabored the revivalist argument as largely based on sparse and even spurious evidence. They claim that our history is fabricated.

These then are the obstacles to the nationalism that we speak of. And this is why you see under the New Society a very serious effort for that history to be rewritten properly and documented. Because we have such a noble history, which was denied by those who call us nothing but revivalists imagining a glorious past.

Of course, proponents of nationalism certainly have not been wanting, and they have not been less articulate either. All over the world today, you see all the leaders of the small nations rising in protest against the colonialist inclinations of even the most modern writers, the supposed high thinkers, quality scholars from universities and centers. No matter what others say, there is racism in their attitude towards the Third World. It is against this racism that we raise the banner of nationalism. And here you see the difference between the old nationalism which propelled colonialism and imperialism, which propelled the Western explorers to conquer because that, too, was in the name of nationalism and another kind of nationalism, the kind which sought freedom, the kind for which the Columbian Club stands.

I speak of this because the Columbian Club precisely symbolizes this conceptual difference that I refer to. The justness of the anti-colonial struggle is of course, no longer questioned on both moral and pragmatic grounds. Nationalism as a deterrent to aggression or as a response to it has been advanced in various ways. For instance, after the Second World War, wasn’t it surprising that the observers should be asked by the big nations about the conduct of foreign affairs? The big nations, including the United States, were more disturbed, more in dread of the nationalistic Charles de Gaulle than of the internationalist-merited French Communist Party. As most pro-nationalist writers claim, it is the uses of nationalism, the direction it is permitted to take, that makes it desirable or condemnable.

But let me stress two points about nationalism. First, we are all agreed that nationalism, from whatever ethical or intellectual standpoint we assume, is a particularly powerful and sometimes awesome force in the conduct not only of international relations but of the domestic affairs of individual countries. Look around us now, look at the nationalism, let us say — whether you’re pro-American- or anti-American — of Iran. The sentiments though expressed in such a dramatic, violent manner are somewhat exceptional of course. The conflict is symbolic of the epochal struggle of Third World peoples for independence from colonial rule; that struggle yet to be fully appreciated. This does not mean that I agree with what the Iranian government has done. No, I disagree with violation of international law. I condemn it, and I hope that it will be settled as peacefully as possible.

But I speak as an aspiring writer, an aspiring historian, as someone who goes further back for the motivation, the reasons for many of these occurrences. Did it occur just now, this year? Was it merely some spark which inflamed a people into acting in this manner? No, it is a part of the nationalistic concept that has grown through the years.

The epochal struggle of the Third World peoples for independence from colonial rule has yet to be fully appreciated. Up to now, even the American strategists and scholars do not seem to appreciate and understand the awesome power of nationalism. They still denigrate it. And this is one of their gravest errors.

Notwithstanding, the predictions of the prophets of a new age we are not likely to see the early demise of nationalism. Indeed, given the economic, and increasingly political, rift between the developed and the developing countries, nationalism might be expected to strike even more strident notes. The fact, moreover, that every state in the world today posits “national interest” as its raison d’etre is tacit recognition of nationalism as necessary — whether we consider it a vice or a virtue.

Now, as to my second point about nationalism, to which I wish to give greater emphasis: it is my conviction, a conviction which has been formed in the course of thinking and writing history and participating in politics, that a fundamental distinction must be made between nationalism that is historically experienced by the Western countries and that experienced by the Third World countries. I have already referred to this in the early part of my speech. I need not talk about how, it arose. The Western world was motivated into asserting nationalism. Those wars, the One Hundred Years war, the Seven Years war which brought the British to the Philippines all of these were nationalistic wars. They were fought between the big countries; and the Battle of La Naval here in our country was a battle where the Dutch sought to overcome the Spaniards in the Philippines. Incidentally, I might ask a researcher to correct a few errors committed by some historians. It is said that the battle was won by Spanish warriors. The truth of the matter is, the battle was won by Filipinos fighting under the Spanish officers. And that if the Filipinos had not been as courageous and daring as the other heroes of our country had been and, I believe, have been in contemporary history — then the Dutch would have taken over the Philippines. But let me reiterate — most of the fighting was done by Filipinos, not by Spaniards. The Dutch were beaten by Filipino soldiers.

Whatever it is, there are some historians who also distinguish between “folk nationalism” and “state nationalism.” What do we mean by “folk nationalism”? It merely means the instinct that arose out of the hearts of people who love their land, who love their country. You remember Shakespeare’s words, “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England. . .” Nothing could be more expressive of “folk nationalism” than those words. “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England . . . “is an emotional thing. It is “folk nationalism.”

But “state nationalism” is nationalism that is dictated as 3 basic policy by the political leadership in a country that has imperialism in mind. Imperialism was openly espoused as the cornerstone of foreign policy by such leaders as Disraeli, Leopold, the Kaiser, and even the timorous President McKinley of the United States, and it drew popular support even from the leftist circles in Europe. The United States, in particular, as the self-proclaimed bastion of democracy, had little problem winning domestic support for the seizure of erstwhile Spanish colonies in the name of nationalism.

You remember the story of Randolph Hearst and the Cuban affair in the brewing conflict between the U.S. and Spain. Hearst, publisher of a chain of sensationalist newspapers — but what newspaper is not a sensationalist whether then or now? — sent one of his photographers to Cuba to take pictures of the alleged acts of violence being committed by the Spanish government on the Cuban people. The photographer, after a few fruitless weeks, cabled Hearst: “There is no war here, request permission to return.” Hearst cabled back: “You supply the pictures, I will supply the war.” When the American flagship Maine blew up under mysterious circumstances, Hearst whipped up public demonstrations to support the war effort. And war was declared against Spain. You are at liberty to draw a parallel between this and the recent “international” reports about the Philippines. These are indicative of how nationalism can be distorted and misused for selfish, narrow, and shallow ends.

In any event, the nationalism of Western provenance, or the Western concept of it, was mainly expressed in terms of power, and in the last 100 years, in terms of might, conquest, subjugation, domination. This is the kind of nationalism that the Western world knew. By contrast, Third World nationalism has almost exclusively expressed itself as a defense against that might, against that power. While Third World nationalism cannot be treated in any serious fashion as a homogenous entity, and indeed while many elements of reaction and emotionalism come into play in its unfolding, it has been, on the whole, progressive in character.

The necessity for Third World nationalism can only be fully appreciated in the, context of the virulence of the plundering of the tri-continental south — that means the Third World. Post-war Third World writing has drawn particular attention to the ravages wrought on the societies and economies of the Third World countries by imperialism through economic, political and ideological means.

But let us go back to the Philippines and find out exactly how nationalism has affected our development as a nation. Undoubtedly, the international economic order which we have today stands to benefit only some of the developed countries. This has been shown at UNCTAD, at the United Nations, in all the studies. And it is to the interest, therefore, of the Third World countries to now find in nationalism a rallying point; this time, a rallying point not for one nation alone but for all nations similarly situated. Here is the new development in our contemporary world. Nationalism now is the flag of intransigence not of a single country; it is the flag that rallies the members of the Third World against an unjust economic world order.

Perhaps it may not be used to bring about violence, and it should not be so used, but certainly it is a vital, dynamic motivation for Third World people to get together. No longer do we talk, let us say, of the Filipinos alone. No longer do we talk of Malaysia alone or of Indonesia alone. In our part of this region, we have ASEAN. But that is not enough. We have the Group of 77.

What is the Group of 77? The Group of 77 is composed of members of the United Nations who, looking around, discovered that they had all the votes necessary to out-vote anybody in the United Nations. And yet they were the ones suffering from all the decisions of the United Nations. They decided to get together. And what brought them together? Nationalism. What bound them together? How did they organize themselves? They organized themselves as the Group of 77 under the flag of nationalism as a deterrent against any kind of aggression. For economic aggression is the most insidious and the worst type of aggression that we have today.

Economic bondage or dependency is only too real and it defines the condition of existence of the Third World countries have little more than their longstanding tradition of nationalism to fall back on to counter the encroachments on the sovereignty of their state. And so today, what started in the Columbian Club as an effort of a few men to attain political emancipation has now become a worldwide idea that can bind together the small nations that constitute the great majority of the population of the entire world. And, therefore, nationalism should not be denigrated by anyone, whatever power that nation may hold.

This is what I wanted to call your attention to. This is why I considered coming to the Columbian Club so important, because I see the symbolism here from the small seed, which was the Columbian Club, which has grown into the Commonwealth of the Philippines and the Republic. The Commonwealth fought a war, again in the name of nationalism. The same nationalism now motivates your leadership, motivates everyone. For who is not proud amongst our people to participate in ASEAN and to say, “We belong to this group of Southeast Asian nations — the five nations of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.” We belong to this group. Although we don’t openly say we are nationalistic, actually, we are bound by ideals of nationalism.

It is a grievous analytical error on the part of anyone, of whatever country, whichever leaders they may be, to underestimate the impact of the renewed and ever more radical nationalism of the Third World countries today. From all indications it is an error that the superpowers, including the United States, have made in several countries.

The example of Iran — the conjunction between Muslim revivalism which has come to the fore in the Arab world in recent years and the resentment against foreign dominance, of American, European, and English dominance over their oil supplies and other natural resources, and basic economic policy which has subjugated peoples — has proven to be particularly explosive. It is explosive in the Middle East and it is explosive here in the Far East. And while we have time to restudy and reassess the concept and the nature of nationalism it is my hope that the great powers will understand and appreciate the motivations, the concepts, the purposes and perhaps the volatility of nationalism.

The Philippine tradition of nationalism is, of course, a struggle against foreign colonial rule. But once we had done away with colonial rule, that nationalism was and should have been utilized for other purposes. For it has always been the error committed by succeeding generations to aim the same nationalism that was felt by their forebears at the same objective without realizing that the government had changed; that the government is no longer alien; that the government is no longer colonial; that the government. Therefore, it is the intention or it is a part of the effort of the New Society to utilize nationalism in order to bring about the same motivation which brought about the successful campaign for political emancipation.

There is much to be done. And because of this, I have attempted, as I said, to refer to these efforts with the statement that there is a mistaken belief that there is perversity or just plain opportunism in the proclamation of martial law or authoritarian rule. I will not argue with this now because there have been other forums wherein this has been well explained. Suffice it to say that the profound difference can be found in explaining the present circumstances.

The opposition sometimes says, “This government is authoritarian.” Now let us analyze that statement. So what if it is authoritarian? The question should be, “Is authoritarianism necessary under the circumstances? Because one cannot just say it is authoritarian and, therefore, condemnable. We are not fazed by any statement of this nature, of course. We neither deny it. For actually and in truth, ours is an authoritarian government, by whatever political prism you may view it. It is authoritarian by choice and, quite paradoxically, by virtue of our historical experience and cultural heritage. What does historical experience and cultural heritage say? It dictates, it simply teaches that we can fall back on authoritarianism in time of crisis.

Now, I have on many occasions spoken about this. I only wish to add that oftentimes, choices are forced upon us. I am accountable to history for what has happened. Whether I accept it or not, I will be condemned if out of this experiment that we are conducting now there will be tragedy. If, however, it succeeds, I will probably be congratulated, even if in the process the achievement was not actually mine alone but of the entire Filipino people. Because no government can succeed without the help of the people. Choices are forced upon us, and there are those who claim that perhaps now we should end authoritarianism. Certainly, I will do that. As early as possible, I wish to dismantle martial law, for I do not wish to be identified as the person who perpetuated martial law and authoritarianism.

When authoritarianism is no longer necessary to protect the welfare of the people, I will be the first to move for its dismantling. But the easy, casual wave of the hand dismissing the dangers that confront us and the worsening world situation is not for me. It is for those who insist that I dismantle martial law against my best judgement but, legally and morally, cannot be held liable for any Kampuchean-like tragedy that would befall our people if I followed their advice. But I would be liable. I would be called all kinds of names. I would be called stupid, naive and obstinate. History and our people would hold me accountable not only perhaps for lack of wisdom but for lack of courage if I followed such advice. And I am sure the very same people, the very same critics who are now insisting that I dismantle authoritarianism, would, if I do so and it results in tragedy, be the first to damn me for following their advice.

But that is part of the risk of the political leadership, and I know it. I am sure President Quezon knew it and all the Presidents after him. We all know it. Anybody who has exercised leadership knows he has the power to send men to their death or suffering. No, there is only one thing to which you must hold yourself accountable — your conscience.

Today, as we sit here comfortably, warmed by the presence of friends and colleagues, the world outside sits in fear, trembling. Later this month, we expect yet another oil price increase from the OPEC countries. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have increased their oil prices by $6-$ 18 to $24 per barrel. Do you know what that means? It means an increase by 33 and 1/3 percent of our oil bill. But it seems that this is the least of our problems. There is greater danger in the deteriorating situation in Iran, Kampuchea and the entire Middle East. Just recently I was constrained to announce the possibility of reducing national fuel consumption by 50 percent next year if things do not improve in that part of the world. Why did I make such an announcement? Because we import 50 percent of our oil from the Middle East. And if for any reason the Middle East goes up in conflagration — which is expected by many of the experts — then we will not be able to bring in at least 50 percent of our oil today. How much do we bring in? Two hundred twenty thousand barrels a day. This means we will be able to bring in only about 100,000 barrels a day. We will have to cut consumption of oil by 50 percent. Now, if before that I dismantle authoritarianism and deprive the government of power to meet such a grave situation and such a crisis, then I will look the fool not only to the people but to myself. This, we must avoid by all means.

To effectively control prices and to minimize the effects of a possible world-wide recession are but two of the many compelling reasons that force us to continue with what we have. We must clean up government of the corrupt and the dead wood; without authoritarianism I cannot clean up the government. We must protect our nationals from the foreign economic adventurers; without authoritarianism we cannot fight the multinationals. We must prevent the renewal of the vices of the old society. We must block the insidious but certain plans of old and new conspiracies, whose members are fascinated by political power but seem to be completely ignorant in its exercise. We must stop those who are obsessed with publicity but are insensitive to the grave prejudice that adverse publicity and irresponsible statements may have on the general welfare.

You have noticed that I have not answered any of these statements publicly. I have kept quiet because it is the better part of discretion not to fan these conflicts; because the Western press will just pick up any statement coming from me and pit me against anyone who may find disfavor in whatever I am doing. It would not add to the welfare of our country nor to its dignity. We must not allow the tyrannies of our history to revive, else we condemn our people to enslavement. A developing country such as ours has limited resources. International relations are conducted on a very selfish plane. Let no one think that favors are given by this country or that for some noble reason or other. International relations are a matter of bargaining. Right now we are bargaining for peace in the South. And if I did not have the power to say, “If you do not enter into this peace agreement, I will unleash the Armed Forces against you,” then that negotiation will end in a stalemate.

It is for all this that I not only tolerate but accept the possibility of being damned and called names because the final test will be: Did he succeed in overcoming the dangers to his country and to his people? Right now this question is being asked of leaders like Sihanouk, the leader of Kampuchea. What are the questions being asked about him: Was he a dictator? Was he an opportunist? No. The questions that are being asked are: Did he utilize his powers, his influence? And did he exercise his authority in order to protect his people? He did not, and if it were I, then you’ll have a tragedy similar to Kampuchea where almost half of the people are killed off either by hunger or by war. That we should never, never allow. And rather than allow the decimation of our people, I would rather be shamed, humiliated and castigated by all the critics of the world. I will stand, if necessary, alone until I have finished my job. But after I have finished my job, if I succeed then I can stand before the people and meet whatever judgment they will give me.

These then are my thoughts. You know this dinner has been delayed for more than an hour. I realize that I have imposed on you, but we are in the middle of preparing for an election. I did not know when I accepted the invitation that I would be engaged in daily and nightly conferences with political leaders. There are about 3,000 political leaders of the KBL here in Manila right now. I am supposed to be presiding over a central committee meeting at eight o’clock. And so I requested that I speak at 7:00, but, of course, the First Lady asked for a delay. She came on time, but then I was too busy listening to all those stories about the Columbian Club from Don Antonio with some embroidery by the Senior Justice. I have imposed on you but I hope you will forgive me. Because I have a feeling that our interests run parallel, interests not only in athletics, a healthy body, but also in nationalism, as well as in the efforts to protect the entire body politic. For that has always been the purpose of the Columbian Club leadership.

I remember one time when I asked some of the leaders — Aguinaldo, Quezon, Recto, Laurel with whom I was in the Senate. I asked them, “What is it that you feel if the people or some of your people do not understand and cannot appreciate what you are doing?” And the answer always was: Don’t believe that they don’t appreciate it. They may criticize you, but secretly, they admire you.

I, therefore, strengthen myself, always whenever I am met with adverse or dire circumstances, with these thoughts of those great leaders. Don’t let them fool you, they said. They will criticize you, they will damn you, they will call you all kinds of names, but deep within them they wish they were in your place.

Source: Presidential Museum and Library

Marcos, F. E. (1980). Presidential speeches (Vol. 9). [Manila : Office of the President of the Philippines].