In Cebu, Marcos' actions reverberated. Home to his last presidential foe and opposition leader Serging Osmeña, Marcos went after the Osmeña family. He threw into prison Serging's son and namesake, Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III and filed trumped up charges against him. His father Serging, symbol of opposition and defiance to Marcos who was injured in the bombing of an opposition meting de avance in Manila had left for the United States to seek medical treatment. Like his father, Sergio Osmeña in World War 2, Serging as a national figure was witness to violence and human frailty at the twilight of his political career.
Although Osmeña allies, governor Osmundo Rama and Cebu City mayor Eulogio Borres retained their positions after expressing allegiance to Marcos. He was replaced by Marcos-appointed mayors: Florentino Solon in 1978 and Ronald Duterte in 1983.
Marcos seized Osmeña's braichild, the North Reclamation Project and left it undeveloped for years during his reign.
Loans to fund development
With the country under his total control and to justify his totalitarian rule, Marcos promised to improve the country's economy. In order to fund his development projects, Marcos borrowed heavily from foreign banks and lending institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Marcos' policies seemed to have worked at first. The Philippine Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew from P55 Billion ($7.7 billion) in 1972 to P193 Billion ($27 Billion) in 1980. The growth however was financed largely by economic aid from the United States and foreign loans made by the Marcos government. The country's foreign debt increased by $27 Billion during Marcos' stay in office. In 1983, the Philippines would default in the payment of these loans sending the peso into a free fall.
Just as in the past, Cebu businessmen didn't depend on the national government, on the fate or direction of their enterprises. With an economy tied with the world market for centuries, Cebuanos looked beyond the political turmoil of the country and looked for opportunities abroad. But unlike in colonial times, Cebu City's industries have diversified. Both local and foreign markets have been tapped in the creation of wealth by many Cebu City residents.
By the 1970s, the center of Cebu City's commercial activity had shifted from Magallanes St. to Colon St. After fire burned the iconic Dona Modesta Singson Gaisano's White Gold House, her children opened several Gaisano stores along Cebu's oldest street, Colon in the old Parian district. Other department stores followed Like Fairmart, Plaza Fair and Gaw.
There were also department stores in other parts of the city especially in the area close to the Fuente Osmeña Circle, considered as the city's uptown district. In 1985, John Gokongwei opened Robinson's Department Store right in front of the Fuente Osmeña Circle. Along the same street in Gen. Maxilom Ave. were Rustan's Department Store and Gaw Fashion Square. In the North Reclamation Project was where the Gaisanos rebuilt White Gold Department Store. Named after the original White Gold in Juan Luna Street, it catered to the upscale market .
But it wasn't in retail that Cebu made its mark as a post-frontier economy. Cebu-made furnitures found their way to the world market. Pioneered by a scion of the Aboitiz clan, Maria Aboitiz of Mehitabel and an American, John McGuire in the 1950s, the furniture industry boomed in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It served as a silver lining in an era characterized by political turmoil and bleak financial future for many. As in the 19th century when trade with foreign markets uplifted the lives of Mestizos, furniture export from the port of Cebu in the 1980s made Cebuanos engaged in the business wealthy. At a time when foreign aid and loans sustained Philippine economy, Cebuano furniture-makers were bringing into the country precious dollars that helped boost the country's foreign reserves.
While in the media, both foreign and national, a gloomy picture of the Philippines was often depicted, in Cebu, Cebuano furniture manufacturers raked in thousands of dollars from export of furniture, proving once again the dynamism and resilience of Cebu's economy and the innovativeness and initiative of Cebuaos. While the rest of the country was in dire economic and political strain, Cebu rattan furniture manufacturers helped Cebuanos cope with the crisis.
Serging's transfer of the airport, the expansion of the Cebu port facility with the Cebu International Port (CIP) and the construction of the Mandaue- Mactan Bridge led to the development of metropolitan Cebu especially the cities of Mandaue and Lapulapu. As a matter of fact, Mandaue City today is home to 68% of funiture manufacturers. Cebu City is second with 28%.
End for Marcos
Questions of legitimacy hounded Marcos. Ruling without a mandate from the people, Marcos was forced to call for a snap election in 1986, almost three years after the death of Ninoy Aquino. In an unprecedented development, Ninoy's widow, Corazon Aquino challenged Marcos and ran as president. The contrast was stunning but it was lost on Marcos, already isolated and out of touch with the course the nation had taken. Marcos, an aging and sickly dictator with a face bloated from complications of a failed kidney transplant, was a shadow of his former self. Cory, a woman, grieving widow, loving wife and mother and a well-educated member of old elite class posed serious threat to Marcos' autocratic rule. Cory's presence alone was a refreshing breeze in the dreary, blood-tainted national politics.
The United States, however, supported Marcos until it was no longer tenable to do so. The mistake almost sidelined America in one of the defining events of the 20th century: the 1986 Edsa Revolution. In a scene reminiscent of the American defeat in Vietnam, America was forced to airlift Marcos as thousands of people stormed Malacanang. Palace.
Marcos' Revolution from the Center