Project description

A despot, an authoritarian and a thief to some, but a god, a savior, and the best president the country has ever had to others. The most controversial president in the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Sr. ruled the country for more than 20 years, nine of which were placed under Martial Law. His regime was marked with corruption and atrocities with thousands of people killed and tortured. More than that, his family’s ill-gotten wealth is estimated to reach $10 billion, according to the Philippine Commission on Good Government. However, these are just some of the things Filipinos still refuse to believe in. In fact, supporters of Marcos continue to claim that his presidency coincided with the golden years of the Philippine economy. With this, the team sought to prove the validity of these claims, with data obtained and collated from various Philippine statistical agencies.

What makes this project innovative?

"Everyone," Daniel Moynihan used to say, "is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts." Many reports about the economy during the Marcos era have revolved around subjective and qualitative claims - based on focus group discussions, interviews, and even unverified assumptions. At a time when historical revisionism and “fake news” run rampant, this report is among the select few in the country, which assessed the economic landscape during that period from a data-driven and evidence-based perspective. Through data collection and analysis, the team was able to arrive at a conclusion that was objective, silencing supporters that have long defended the authoritarian. Furthermore, a four-minute animated video was created to specifically complement the written report, to further illustrate the rise and the downfall of the Philippine economy under the Marcos era.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

Being the first in-depth, data-driven and animated report written about the Philippine economy during the Marcos era, the project gained instant traction online with over 27,364 views on the day it was released - among the highest ever recorded. The team timed the release on the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. Days after, the report continued to spark debates online, monitored through tweet mentions, online tags, and hashtags, on the real impact of the Marcos regime to the Filipino people. Coverage by national TV and radio shows also added to the reach of the project.

Source and methodology

Economic data mostly came from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank) and World Development Indicators. These data sets were merged and processed to turn them into a coherent narrative, resulting in the presentation of nine economic indicators (some of them were even compared relative to indicators of other countries) to fully illustrate the economic landscape during that period. A senior professor and economist from the University of the Philippines School of Economics was also interviewed to put things into proper context.

Technologies Used

MS Excel, Open Refine and Stata were used in data processing, analysis, and visualization. Adobe Illustrator was used for the graphics while Adobe After Effects was used for the animation.

Project members

Chi Almario-Gonzalez, Gerry Lirio, Che delos Reyes, Pamela Ramos

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