All of these things happened during the leadership of Ferdinand Marcos.: Becoming Minnesotan

Addi Batica at Macchu Picchu, Peru, 2004. Minnesota Historical Society, Oral His
  • Name - Adelbert Batica
  • Age at interview - 61
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 01.26.2011
  • Addi Batica at a Project for Pride and Living (PPL) backyard party, 1987.
    President and Mrs. Lyndon Johnson and President and Mrs. Ferdinand Marcos.

    Essential Question

    Life in the Old Country: What makes a country a person’s homeland?

    Politics & Government: How are other systems of government different than the U.S. government?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Ferdinand Marcos became president of the Philippines in 1965 but his second term saw growing violence and unrest in the country, due to increasingly poor economic conditions. The attempted assassination of the country’s defense minister in 1972 led Marcos to declare martial law. Marcos abolished congress and began to rule by decree, he clamped down on individual freedoms and freedom of the press, rewrote the constitution to allow himself additional terms and more power, and began to arrest his opponents.

    To learn more about Filipino history and culture, visit our Filipino Community page.

    • Chapter 1

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    Narrator: Adelbert Batica (AB)

    Interviewer: Lita Malicsi (LM)

    LM: You were a human rights activist in the Philippines. How did this start and why?

    AB: Well, it started actually during my seminary years. Even when I was in high school, I had the opportunity of seeing firsthand the plight of the poor. I went to a seminary that was under the direction of the congregation of the mission, the religious order founded by Saint Vincent de Paul. They were into charity work, so, as a seminarian, I spent a lot of time visiting prisons, slums, orphanages, leprosariums, and interacting with the very poor of society.

    LM: And what part did Ferdinand Marcos’s regime play in your life?

    AB: Oh, a large part!

    LM: Tell me about it.

    AB: I have to say if martial law had not intervened, I would have become a lawyer. Maybe I would have been able to run for office in the Philippines. I wouldn’t have made it to the United States. I wouldn’t have wanted to come to the U.S. if things had been left alone as they were. But of course, with the declaration of martial law, I lost a part of my life as a result, because of the trauma of being a political prisoner, of being on the government watch list. It’s not easy to bear.

    LM: Why were you on the government watch list?

    AB: In college, I was very active in the student movement. I was president of the student council and editor in chief of the college paper. And at the time, we could see signs on the horizon that Marcos had other plans for the Philippines, that he was planning to take over. We could see that gradual militarization of Philippine society. And, of course, I wrote articles. I was leading protests, organizing student groups, supporting workers who were on strike.

    LM: Tell me, Addi, over all, what was it like in the Philippines during the years of martial law?

    AB: Consider yourself lucky, because you didn’t live in the Philippines during the darkest days of martial law. There was a midnight to four o’clock curfew. You could get arrested for a good reason, for a bad reason, or for no reason. Some activists were disappeared. There were also extrajudicial killings. And of course, the presence of the military could be felt everywhere you looked.

    LM: When you say, “You could get arrested,” who would be arresting you?

    AB: It could either be the police or the Philippine Constabulary, which was the national police at the time, or army intelligence.

    LM: And all of these things happened during the leadership of Ferdinand Marcos?

    AB: Oh, yes.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun: A person who is very active in favor of a cause, especially a political cause.


    Noun: A rule requiring people to be off the streets and in their homes by a certain time.


    Adjective: Carried out without legal authority.

    human rights

    Noun:  The basic rights and freedoms that all humans should be guaranteed, such as the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law.


    Verb:  To engage or communicate with others.  (interacts, interacting, interacted)


    Verb: To come between; to get involved. (intervenes, intervening, intervened)


    Noun: A hospital for the treatment of leprosy, a disease caused by a bacterial infection.

    martial law

    Noun: Rule by the military in place of the regular government, usually during time of war or other crisis.


    Noun: The process whereby something or somewhere becomes controlled by the military.


    Noun:  A dire or unfortunate situation; condition, usually dangerous or risky.


    Adverb:  Concerning or related to politics, the art and process of governing.


    Noun:  A form of goverment.


    Noun: A religious school for the training of rabbis, priests, or ministers.


    Noun: A rundown neighborhood where many people live in a state of poverty.


    Noun:  The people of one’s country or community taken as a whole.


    Noun: An emotional wound leading to psychological injury.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
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