MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday praised anew the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, as he lauded the former president's agricultural policies.
In a speech in Malacañang, Duterte said Marcos was the “most enterprising” Filipino president, as seen in his Biyayang Dagat and Masagana 99 programs.
“Marami siyang mali, pero huwag na naman nating isahin na wala siyang ginawa. But dito sa utak, I said he was the most enterprising president that we ever had,” Duterte said.
Masagana 99 aimed to to increase the productivity of rice lands by promoting the use high-yielding rice varieties developed by the International Rice Research Institute. The tag "99" refers to the number of rice sacks yielded by a hectare of land per harvest.
The Biyayang Dagat program, on the other hand, allowed poor fishermen to borrow from financing institutions and sought to help them pay debts by improving the fisheries sector and widening its market.
“You know, Marcos, for whatever his faults, was really an enterprising Ilocano. Iyung Biyayang Dagat niya was just corrupted along the way. Siguro during the time of his weak moments na, he could not govern effectively,” Duterte said.
“Iyung Biyayang Dagat at Masagana 99, kapag dinala na iyo ng Pilipino ng husto at hindi ninakaw ang pera, we would have been better off.”
Duterte has been criticized for openly admiring the late dictator Marcos, who was blamed for the numerous killings and torture incidents during Martial Law. Marcos is also accused of stealing billions of pesos from the government coffers.
The tough-talking Filipino leader has also drawn flak for allowing the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.