Mindanao Island, the southern and second-largest island in the Philippines, has been the site of fighting and violence from a separatist movement since the 1970s. It is the only area of the Philippines with a significant Muslim population, and religious differences and widespread poverty has led to the rise of a separatist Islamist group called the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). MILF is a rebel organization formed in the 1960s that uses terrorist attacks and assassinations to fight against the Philippine government.
In July 1973, then-Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos announced the decision to build the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in response to the Philippines’ economic crisis at the time. The Middle East oil embargo was putting incredible stress on the Philippine economy. For the Marcos regime, investing in nuclear power was the solution to their dependence on imported oil and energy demands. However, Bataan residents and Philippine citizens responded in fierce opposition to the new plant due to its threat to public health.
After President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972, concessions and rights were granted to numerous major forest companies in the Philippines. Certain islands saw more than 70% of their natural forests destroyed, including the Bukidnon province on Mindanao Island, which retained less than 20% of its natural forests by the 1980s. The environmental impact of major deforestation includes increased run-off and erosion, which can deplete local harvests and lead to greater flooding.
Ferdinand Marcos was elected president of the Philippines in 1965. Marcos was reelected in 1969 and when barred to run for a third term, he declared martial law and gave himself near absolute power. Marcos assumed full control of the military, dissolved congress, and had many of his political opponents and critics arrested. One of his more prominent critics had been Senator Benigno Aquino who was prepared to challenge Marcos in the 1973 election, had it occurred.