Fil-Ams sound off on Marcos’ return to power 

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr takes his oath as the 17th president of the Philippines at The National Museum of Fine Arts on June 30, 2022. | Philstar.com photo

WHILE newly sworn-in Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has full backing from his supporters here in the U.S., some Filipino Americans have expressed doubt in his ability to fulfill his promises of reshaping the country’s future in the next six years.

Upon his inauguration last June 30, Marcos, who is fondly called BBM by his supporters, became the first majority president since the establishment of the Fifth Republic in 1986. He also became the second president from Ilocos Norte, after his father, Ferdinand Marcos, and the third child of a former president to hold the post after Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III.

Tancredo Guray Jr., BBM 2.0 (USA) president for California, said the group is excited about what Marcos will do to the Philippines as a whole. BBM 2.0 was an electoral platform created by businessman Jonathan “Atan” Bocaling to help support and facilitate the election campaign of Marcos all over the world.

“We are very happy at this point in time. Now, I just want tell the entire Filipino people that they have made the right choice for electing BBM as the country’s top executive/president,” Guray, a loyal follower of Marcos’ political career, said.

Guray said he believes that the overwhelming support that BBM got from the Filipino voters only indicates how hopeful the Filipinos are for the new administration’s capability.

“As you can see it’s an overwhelming vote (from the people) for BBM. It’s Vox Populi, Vox Dei (the voice of the people is the voice of God), now the people have already spoken,” said Guray, who is a commissioner in Carson, California.

According to Guray, he is looking forward to the unfolding of all the BBM’s programs for the Philippines and all the millions of Filipinos all over the world.

“He promised to the Filipino people that he would be continuing the programs of (former President Rodrigo) Duterte. I am hopeful that he would do the best thing that he can. I know that remains to be seen. I do not want to speculate what will happen to his leadership but I know he would be great in everything he will do,” the avid supporter said.

“I would vouch for the honesty of BBM. I have been a supporter for a long time. For me, the Marcos family is very honest. My expectation for them is to make the Philippines a great nation,” he added.

Supporters for former Philippine Senator Bongbong Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte gather in LA’s Historic Filipinotown on Saturday, April 9. | Photo courtesy of Joe Cobilla

In an interview with the Asian Journal, BBM’s namesake Ferdinand “Ferdie” Marcos, 46, from New Jersey, said this is the time that he had been waiting for. “This is the moment. This is the time and we are hoping for the best,” he said.

Ferdie’s parents named him after former President Ferdinand Marcos as they reportedly witnessed the strongman’s actions in the Philippines that made the country competitive in the region.

He said during a recent independence parade in New Jersey, there are many Filipinos who have shown their optimism for the new leadership of BBM.

Born in Isabela in the Cagayan Valley region, Fedie said their family has been a testament to what the Marcoses have done to their province. “BBM has carried out a lot of projects that made our province prosperous like the Magat Dam that irrigates all our fields and the solar project in Ilocos which lowers power rates in the province,” he said. The construction of the Magat Dam started in 1975 and was completed in 1982. It is one of the largest dams in the Philippines.

Ferdie, who works at the USPS and has been living in the United States for 26 years, said he does not expect anything spectacular in the first two years of BBM as this is normally for the country’s recovery period. “Then in his 3rd, 4th, 5th to 6th year, we expect all of the good projects coming into life like the upgrade and modernization of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP),” he said.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) 64 recommending the revival of the mothballed BNPP. President “Bongbong” Marcos, during his campaign period, had said he was also keen on studying the possibility of pushing for the more than $3 billion rehabilitation and/or modernization of the nuclear plant. The BNPP was the only nuclear power plant in the region during the 1980s as the Philippines was one of the first Southeast Asian countries to embark on a nuclear energy program. The project, however, was mothballed due to corruption allegations and safety concerns.

“This BNPP will not only help lower power rates, it is also considered renewable. “It’s good to see that the Philippines is going green in terms of power generation,” Ferdie said.

According to the avid supporter from East Coast, BBM, with the support of Vice President Sara Duterte, will definitely bring forth more worthwhile program and projects in the future.

“All that BBM has done to Ilocos could be replicated to the entire country. He has a clear vision of what he wants to be done to bring the Philippines to the world’s list of great nations. There is a strong chance that all of these visions and missions would be achieved since BBM has strong back up from his vice president,” he said. “I am looking forward to the BBM-Duterte tandem. These two great leaders will definitely bring something really great for the Philippines. I am so excited to see all these good things unfolding each year of their leadership,” Ferdie added.

Uniteam overall coordinator for USA/Canada Chona Verona Lopez Galvez, in a separate interview, echoed Marcos’ accomplishments.

“He (BBM) will be great with everything. The world will be watching him bring the Philippines’ greatness back,” Galvez said.

Luzviminda Marcos, one of BBM campaign leaders in California and a close relative, said BBM is truly a “God-sent” leader.

“There is an overflowing love and support for Ferdinand Marcos Jr. because he is a true validation that the Marcos family has been “God-sent” for the Philippines to become great again and show it to the world,” she said.

“With his proven track record, I believe the Philippine economy will rise up again and people will have better lives. Aangat ang buong bansang Pilipinas,” she said.

According to Mrs. Marcos, they expect BBM to lay out plans for Filipinos who work overseas and those who live abroad who would want to retire in the Philippines.

‘False victory’

Malaya Movement USA, on the other hand, has remained firm in its stance in rejecting the legitimacy of Marcos Jr.’s presidency.

In a statement, Malaya Movement national vice chair Tabitha Ponciano said

“through decades-long manipulation, meddling, and corruption, Marcos Jr. has taken the highest office in the Philippines: this false victory must be exposed! The urgency to build the resistance against this incoming regime grows stronger each day.”

Ponciano said Marcos Jr.’s inauguration at the National Museum is indicative of what Filipinos can reportedly expect from this incoming regime: unwavering support for the military and police and empty gestures for frontline workers, overseas Filipino workers, labor leaders, farmers, and many more.

File photo shows members of Malaya Movement in Los Angeles protesting the Marcos-Duterte tandem following the May 2022 Philippine election. | Photo courtesy of Malaya Movement – SoCal

“His speeches intentionally offer shallow statements meant to convince people of change yet no concrete steps are outlined. Marcos Jr. is also hellbent on painting a fairytale picture of his father’s deadly and violent years in office. Malaya Movement USA denounces his address that was riddled with lies, deception, and unending claims of unity without substance,” she said.

She noted that Marcos Jr. said “we do not look back but ahead,” urging kababayans to forget the country’s past.

But the US-based militant group leader said this should not be the case and urged Filipino-Americans to remain vigilant.

She said there is also a need for the Fil-Am community to strongly bind together for a common good and keep an eagle eye on Marcos’ leadership.

“Instead, we call on the Filipino people to look to our history of resistance and learn from it. Join us as we build the anti-dictatorship movement, inspired by the one that blossomed under Marcos Sr. during the era of Martial Law among overseas Filipinos,” she said.

Malaya Movement USA members and other progressive forces across the country, she said, protested and carried the resounding call to continue the fight for democracy and freedom in our homeland.

“People power is not a thing of the past but a growing resistance from the Philippines to the United States and beyond! Reject Marcos! Reject Duterte!,” she said.

During the May 9 presidential election, Marcos had a landslide victory with over 31.6 million votes or 58.77% of all votes.

Following the election, several Filipino groups in the U.S. and Canada banded together to release a manifesto rejecting Marcos’ win and expressing “extreme disappointment” after U.S. President Joe Biden congratulated the incoming Filipino president.

“No matter the result of the independent investigation, as Filipinos and peace-loving global citizens, we still hold the Marcos family including Marcos Jr. accountable for the $10 billion plunder, the Php 203 billion cumulative unpaid estate taxes, unpaid income taxes, and massive torture, disappearances and political imprisonment during Martial Law,” the letter read.

Inaugural speech

In his 25-minute inaugural speech on June 30, Marcos presented his plans for the economy, environment, infrastructure development, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

He called on the Filipino people to reject the “politics of division” and urged the public to unite and cooperate to achieve his visions for the country.

Marcos vowed to implement a comprehensive, all-inclusive plan for the economy that would also address issues of food security.

He also committed to carry on and complete the ongoing infrastructure projects of the past administration and create a more comprehensive infrastructure plan that will be implemented within his six-year term.

Moreso, Marcos pledged to remedy some of the shortcomings in responding to COVID-19-related problems, as he recalled being among the first to be infected by the virus.

He also promised to look into climate change issues, and educational curriculum reforms, which pertain to sciences and vocational skills, not history. n

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