FALSE: Philippines was ‘richest country in Asia’ during Marcos years

Economic indicators show that the country was not even the richest in Southeast Asia from 1965 to 1986

Claim: The Philippines was the “richest country in Asia” during the administration of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, according to Facebook page Ka Rex Cayanong.

Cayanong posted this on Facebook in August 2018 and urged the readers to spread his post to “let all FIlipinos all over the world know the truth.”

The post accumulated over 35,000 shares, 34,000 reactions, and 6,600 comments as of writing. It is still being shared and circulated by several users across the platform as of September 2019.

The exact same post was reposted in the following Facebook groups and pages:

  • Duterte FB Global Warriors (group)
  • NUEVA ECIJA’S PRIDE [in ka dito ka novo] (group)
  • BONGBONG MARCOS PILIPINAS SOLID GROUP””FOR PRESIDENT MOVEMENT 2022 (group)
  • Pres. Duterte And Vp Marcos Global Supporters (page)
  • H-World UN-PI Region 4A (page)

Rating: FALSE

The facts: The Philippines never became the “richest country in Asia” during the time of Marcos. Looking at data on each country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and GDP per capita, two universal indicators of a nation’s prosperity, the country was never the richest even in Southeast Asia.

When Marcos came to power in 1965, the Philippines’ GDP per capita (average income per person) was only 3rd highest in Southeast Asia, next to Singapore and Malaysia. By 1986, the country’s ranking even fell further to 5th place – trailing behind Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.

The country’s GDP was also only 2nd highest next to Indonesia for the majority of Marcos’ term, but it slipped to 3rd rank and was overtaken by Thailand in 1984. (READ: Marcos years marked ‘golden age’ of PH economy? Look at the data)

Across the whole Asian continent, the United Arab Emirates had the highest average GDP per capita from 1965 to 1986, while Japan recorded the highest average GDP during the same period based on data from the World Bank. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

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