Proclamation No. 1081

Proclamation № 1081
Proclaiming a State of Martial Law in the Philippines
Territorial extent Philippines
Enacted by Ferdinand Marcos
Date enacted September 21, 1972
Date signed September 23, 1972
politics, law
Status: Repealed

Proclamation № 1081 was the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines by President Ferdinand E. Marcos. It was announced to the public on 23 September 1972, and was formally lifted on 17 January 1981.


At the height of armed communist insurgency in the Philippines, Philippine Military Academy instructor Lt Victor Corpuz led New People's Army rebels in a raid on the PMA armory, capturing rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, a bazooka and thousands of rounds of ammunition in 1970.[1] In 1972, China, which was then actively supporting and arming communist insurgencies in Asia as part of Mao Zedong's People's War Doctrine, transported 1,200 M-14 and AK-47 rifles [2] for the NPA to speed up NPA's campaign to defeat the government.[3][4] Prior to the 1975, the Philippine government maintained a close relationship with the Kuomintang-ruled Chinese government which fled to Taiwan (Republic of China), despite the Chinese Communist Victory in 1949, and saw Communist China (People's Republic of China) as a security threat due to China's financial and military support of Communist rebels in the country.[5]

Citing an intensifying Communist insurgency,[6] a series of bombings, and the controversial[7] assassination attempt on then-Defense Minister (now Senator) Juan Ponce Enrile, President Marcos enacted the Proclamation which enabled him to rule by military power.

He initially signed the Proclamation on 17 September 1972, but it was postdated to 21 September because of his superstitions and numerological beliefs that were related to the number seven. Marcos formally announced the Proclamation in a live television and radio broadcast from Malacañang Palace a further two days later on the evening of 23 September 1972.

Martial law was ratified by 90.77% of the voters during the Philippine Martial Law referendum, 1973 though the referendum was marred with controversy.[8][9]

After the constitution was approved by 95% of the voters in the Philippine constitutional plebiscite, the 1935 Constitution was replaced with a new one that changed the system of government from a presidential to a parliamentary one, with Marcos remaining in power as both head of state (with the title "President") and head of government (titled "Prime Minister"). Under the new government, President Marcos formed his political coalition–the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL; English: New Society Movement)–control the unicameral legislature he created, known as the Batasang Pambansa.

In an effort to isolate the local communist movement, President Marcos went to China in 1975 to normalize diplomatic relations. In return for recognizing that the People's Republic of China is the legitimate Chinese government, and that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai pledged to stop supporting the Philippine communist rebels.[10]

The government subsequently captured NPA leaders Bernabe Buscayno in 1976 and Jose Maria Sison in 1977.[11] The Washington Post in an interview with former Philippine Communist Party Officials, revealed that, "they (local communist party officials) wound up languishing in China for 10 years as unwilling "guests" of the (Chinese) government, feuding bitterly among themselves and with the party leadership in the Philippines".[12]

President Marcos formally lifted Martial Law on 17 January 1981, several weeks before the first pastoral visit of Pope John Paul II to the Philippines for the beatification of Lorenzo Ruiz. After the lifting of Martial Law, the CPP-NPA was able to return to urban areas and form relationships with legal opposition organizations, and became increasingly successful attacks against the government throughout the country.[13] The violence inflicted by the communists reached its peak in 1985 with 1,282 military and police deaths and 1,362 civilian deaths.[14]

Bombings cited on Proclamation No. 1081

Based on interviews of The Washington Post with former Communist Party of the Philippines Officials, it was revealed that "the (Communist) party leadership planned -- and three operatives carried out -- the (Plaza Miranda) attack in an attempt to provoke government repression and push the country to the brink of revolution... (Communist Party) Chairman Sison had become convinced by early 1971 -- less than three years after the party was founded -- that it would take only a well-timed incident to spark a great upheaval leading to an early Communist victory. Sison had calculated that Marcos could be provoked into cracking down on his opponents, thereby driving thousands of political activists into the underground, the former party officials said. Recruits were urgently needed, they said, to make use of a large influx of weapons and financial aid that China had already agreed to provide." [15]

Listed below are the bombings cited on Proclamation No. 1081.

1972 Bombings cited in Proclamation no. 1081[16]
Date Place
March 15 Arca building at Taft Avenue, Pasay City
April 23 Filipinas Orient Airways board room at Domestic Road, Pasay City
May 30 Vietnamese Embassy
June 23 Court of Industrial Relations
April 23 Filipinas Orient Airways board room at Domestic Road, Pasay City
June 24 Philippine Trust Company branch office in Cubao, Quezon City
July 3 Philamlife building at United Nations Avenue, Manila
July 27 Tabacalera Cigar & Cigarette Factory Compound at Marquez de Comilas, Manila
April 23 PLDT exchange office at East Avenue, Quezon City,
August 15 Philippine Sugar Institute building at North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
August 17 Department of Social Welfare building at San Rafael Street, Sampaloc, Manila
August 19 a water main on Aurora Boulevard and Madison Avenue, Quezon City
August 30 Philamlife building and nearby Far East Bank and Trust Company building
August 30 Building of the Philippine Banking Corporation as well as the buildings of the Investment Development Inc, and the Daily Star Publications when an-other explosion took place on Railroad Street, Port Area, Manila
September 5 Joe’s Department Store on Carriedo Street, Quiapo, Manila
September 8 City Hall of Manila
September 12 Watermains in San Juan
September 14 San Miguel building on Makati
September 18 Quezon City Hall

General orders

General Order № 1 - The President proclaimed that he shall direct the entire government, including all its agencies and instrumentalities, and exercise all powers of his office including his role as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
General Order № 2 – The President directed the Minister of National Defense to arrest or cause the arrest and take into his custody the individuals named in the attached list and to hold them until otherwise so ordered by the President or by his duly designated representative, as well as to arrest or cause the arrest and take into his custody and to hold them otherwise ordered released by him or by his duly authorized representative such persons who may have committed crimes described in the Order.
General Order № 3 – The President ordered that all executive departments, bureaus, offices, agencies and instrumentalities of the National Government, government owned or controlled corporations, as well all governments of all the provinces, cities, municipalities and barrios should continue to function under their present officers and employees, until otherwise ordered by the President or by his duly designated representatives. The President further ordered that the Judiciary should continue to function in accordance with its present organization and personnel, and should try to decide in accordance with existing laws all criminal and civil cases, except certain cases enumerated in the Order.
General Order № 4 – The President ordered that a curfew be maintained and enforced throughout the Philippines from twelve o’clock midnight until four o’clock in the morning.
General Order № 5 – All rallies, demonstrations and other forms of group actions including strikes and picketing in vital industries such as in companies engaged in manufacture or processing as well as in production or processing of essential commodities or products for exports, and in companies engaged in banking of any kind, as well as in hospitals and in schools and colleges are prohibited.
General Order № 6 – No person shall keep, possess or carry outside of his residence any firearm unless such person is duly authorized to keep, possess or carry any such firearm except to those who are being sent abroad in the service of the Philippines.

See also


  3. I-Witness, GMA 7 (November 18, 2013). "MV Karagatan, The Ship of the Chinese Communist". YouTube.
  5. Zhao, Hong (2012). "Sino-Philippines Relations: Moving beyond South China Sea Dispute?". Journal of East Asian Affairs: 57. ISSN 1010-1608. Retrieved 6 March 2015 via Questia. (subscription required (help)).
  6. I-Witness, GMA 7 (November 18, 2013). "MV Karagatan, The Ship of the Chinese Communist". YouTube.
  8. Schirmer, Daniel B.; Shalom, Stephen Roskamm (1987). The Philippines Reader: A history of Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Dictatorship and Resistance. South End Press.
  9. Celoza, Albert F. (1997). Ferdinand Marcos and the Philippines: The Political Economy of Authoritarianism. Praeger Publishers.
  12. "EX-COMMUNISTS PARTY BEHIND MANILA BOMBING". The Washington Post. August 4, 1989.
  15. "EX-COMMUNISTS PARTY BEHIND MANILA BOMBING". The Washington Post. August 4, 1989.

External links

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