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Martial Law

The reasons for the declaration of Martial Law on September 21, 1972 can be debated endlessly and are probably better left for historians. Without doubt, the two years preceding Martial Law were among the most tumultuous in the country's history. The government was besieged by an armed rebellion in Luzon and a Muslim secessionist movement in Mindanao. The frequency of violent attacks polarized political parties to a point that paralyzed the decision-making process.

Presidential Proclamation No. 1081, the instrument for the declaration of Martial Law, was explained as a means to "save the Republic and reform society."

Golden Jubilee Celebration

Scouting activities leading to the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of organized Scouting in 1973 went on unhampered by the declaration of Martial Law. On February 9-11, 1973, some 3,000 Boy Scouts launched a massive operation to clean the walls of Intramuros, a legacy from the 400 years of Spanish rule, a project that the Manila Bulletin (a local newspaper) described as "the introductory project of the Golden Jubilee celebration." The boys camped at the Sunken Gardens at night and worked during the day in a spectacular display of civic concern. The cleanup job, which removed the unsightly vegetation that had grown in the crevices of the historic wall, presaged the government's restoration project to preserve the Spanish-type houses inside. The Times Journal in its editorial on February 17, 1973 said, "The Boy Scouts are showing their elders what involvement can accomplish. We can take a lesson from them."

There were two principal activities that marked the Golden Jubilee celebration. One was the holding of the First Asia-Pacific Regional Jamboree, which was made to coincide with the 5th National Jamboree from December 28, 1973 to January 4, 1974. The other activity was the publication of a Golden Jubilee issue of the Philippine Scouting magazine, which was a veritable compilation of valuable information about the growth of Scouting in the country.


February 23, 1973, President Marcos issued a memorandum defining the new role of the BSP under Martial Law. The BSP, the President said, would now engage "in promoting the various government programs, notably the food production and the green revolution program, the conservation and restoration program, the beautification, health, and sanitation program, and the campaign against drug abuse." He directed all government agencies to assist the Boy Scouts in pursuing these tasks.

On May 22, 1974, President Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 460 which changed the leadership of the BSP completely and placed the organization virtually under the Office of the President. The decree amended Section 5 of Commonwealth Act No. 111, expanding the composition of the National Executive Board to include, among others, seven members of the cabinet, and gave the President the final say on the private sector representation in the body. The President also became the Chief Scout, a practice that continues today.

In justifying the amendments under PD 460, President Marcos said, "recent events have shown that it has become necessary to effect reforms in the organization in order to revitalize and strengthen its operational capabilities, enhance its effectivenes as an instrument to promote youth development program of the nation, and insure the full support of all sectors of the community, public and private."

PD 460 was the governing law for the next 18 years, including all the six year of the Aquino Administration.

Program Changes

The Trisectional Scouting program was introduced in 1975. Designed to provide more opportunities for membership among out-of-school youth, as well as those in-school, this started the Scout Citizen concept which embodied the very essence of the "New Directions of Philippine Scouting." The program gave more empahsis on self-reliance. The sections were reduced from four to three namely: KAB Scout, Service Scout, and Community Scout.

The KAB - Kabataan Alay sa Bayan (Youth Presented to the Nation) has its program changed from the Cub Scout program. The ranks were restructured to Membership, Lauan, Molave, and Narra Badges. The Pagasa (Hope) Award being the highest for the section.

Service Scouting and Community Scouting was open to boys aged 11 to 17.5. The main difference was that Service Scouting was commonly adopted in purely academically-oriented schools while Community Scouting centered on the out-of-school youth and students from vocational, technical, and agricultureal schools. The highest badge was named the Scout Citizen Award.

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