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On September 21, 1972, President Ferdinand E. Marcos placed the Philippines under Martial Law. The declaration issued under Proclamation 1081 suspended the civil rights and imposed military authority in the country. Marcos defended the declaration stressing the need for extra powers to quell the rising wave of violence allegedly caused by communists. The emergency rule was also intended to eradicate the roots of rebellion and promote a rapid trend for national development. The autocrat assured the country of the legality of Martial Law emphasizing the need for control over civil disobedience that displays lawlessness. Marcos explained citing the provisions from the Philippine Constitution that Martial Law is a strategic approach to legally defend the Constitution and protect the welfare of the Filipino people from the dangerous threats posed by Muslim rebel groups and Christian vigilantes that places national security at risk during the time. Marcos explained that martial law was not a military takeover but was then the only option to resolve the country’s dilemma on rebellion that stages national chaos threatening the peace and order of the country. The emergency rule, according to Marcos’s plan, was to lead the country into what he calls a “New Society”.

The deterioration of the political and economic condition in the Philippines triggered the decline of support on Marcos’ plans. More and more Filipinos took arms to dislodge the regime. Urban poor communities in the country’s capital were organized by the Philippine Ecumenical Council for Community and were soon conducting protest masses and prayer rallies. These efforts including the exposure of numerous human rights violations pushed Marcos to hold an election in 1978 and 1981 in an aim to stabilize the country’s chaotic condition. Marcos, in both events, won the election; however, his extended term as President of the Republic of the Philippines elicited an extensive opposition against his regime. Social unrest reached its height after former Senator Benigno Aquino was murdered. The incident sent thousands of Filipinos to the streets calling for Marcos’ removal from post. Turning again to his electoral strategy, Marcos held a snap election in 1986 but what he hoped will satisfy the masses only increased their determination to end his rule that seated Corazon Aquino, widow of Benigno Aquino, as President of the Philippines ousting Marcos from Malacañang Palace and ending the twenty-one years of tyrant rule.