An Interview with Ferdinand Marcos

"It Is Not True That I Dictate What Should Be Done"

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A. There is now more or less some kind of agreement that we define more accurately the obligations of each country. Is it obligatory on the part of the U.S. to give a compensation package that totals $900 million? Under Section V of the revised military facilities agreement, there is a committee headed by our Ambassador to the U.S. and your Ambassador to the Philippines who can look into all these matters and start negotiations on a quiet < diplomatic level.

Q. Can you explain the course of the Aquino assassination investigation?

A. This tragedy came about notwithstanding the efforts of our administration to stop the return of Mr. Aquino when there were confirmed warnings that there was going to be an attempt against his life. Unfortunately, Mr. Aquino did not listen to our pleas. We are at the point where we are waiting for the results. I am afraid that any comments on the trial might be considered improper on my part.

Q. Some economists say the standard of living has fallen to the 1972 level. Should your administration be held accountable?

A. While it is true that the value of the peso has been cut down, it certainly has not reached '72 levels. The farmer's income, for instance, has increased by three or four times, while the price of the goods that he is buying has doubled. The same is true with labor. We do not postpone the participation of the lower classes of our people in the profits of economic enterprise, and in other countries they do postpone it. In the long run, I think our policy is better, and we stand by it.

Q. The economic outlook seems gloomy. Why do you expect a recovery?

A. Well, the signs are there. The investments by Filipinos are slowly being returned to the home country. We have invited foreigners to come in and stay under certain conditions. And now we are getting offers from countries even in Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan. The investors want to talk to me. And they are not talking small money. The prognostication about the collapse of our economy was made two or three years ago; it has not come about. Perhaps it was just good luck. But we feel that it has been because of the resilience of the spirit of our people, their creativity and their newfound dignity and fulfillment in freedom.

Q. Are you developing a successor?

A. The answer is yes. The leaders of the party agreed that we should start identifying even those who belong to the opposition who can be depended upon to swear that they would not allow Communism to take over the republic. There is no limit to the number, of course, of the members of the ruling party who aspire to the presidency. Many of them are highly qualified. I think it is a wise decision for the leadership not to speak of this kind of succession unless and until we are through with the 1986 and 1987 elections.

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