First Quarter Storm

First Quarter Storm
Date 1970
Location Manila
Result Martial Law in 1972

Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas
Communist Party of the Philippines

New Peoples Army
Soviet Union(supporting the PKP)
People's Republic of China
Philippine Army
Philippine Constabulary
Presidential Security Group
 United States
Commanders and leaders
Jose Maria Sison
Bernabe Buscayno
Francisco Nemenzo
Nilo Tayag
Carol Pagaduan-Araullo
Edgar Jopson
Gerardo Barican
Abram Sarmiento
Ferdinand Marcos
Maj Gen Fabian C. Ver

The First Quarter Storm (Filipino: Sigwa ng Unang Kuwatro) was a period of leftist unrest in the Philippines, composed of a series of heavy demonstrations, protests, and marches against the government from January to March 1970, or the first quarter of 1970. It was one of the factors leading to the declaration of Martial Law in 1972.[1]


  • History 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The Storm began in January 1970, when students welcomed Marcos with demonstrations after his speech in the Congress. The movement was led by the student leaders of the University of the Philippines, echoing recent student demonstrations all around the world before 1970.[1] But then, the moderate demonstration turned into a radical one, led by the Kabataang Makabayan founder Jose Maria Sison as well as the leader of the New People's Army Bernabe "Kumander Dante" Buscayno. Laborers also took part, protesting against graft and corruption in the government, and the decline in the economy caused by high oil prices and the overkill electoral victory of Marcos for his second term.[2] Some sources stated that the unrest was a plan to overthrow the government through communist as well as socialist support from the masses, as well as students and workers who facilitated the storm. Most of the activists carried Molotov cocktails and pillbox bombs to counter the police attacks at the Malacañan Palace.[1]

The "storm" ended violently when the police used tear gas and arms to quell the demonstrators. Students tried to counter using their Molotov cocktails and pillbox bombs while retreating. Those who were slow were beaten with gun butts. The storm extended to the Divisoria district in Tondo, Manila. After the failed protest, some of the surviving radical students, mostly from the University of the Philippines, Lyceum of the Philippines, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and the University of the East, became avowed Marxists, and took up their arms engaging in guerilla warfare.

The First Quarter Storm was one of the factors that led President Ferdinand Marcos to declare Martial Law.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Joaquin, Nick (1990). Manila,My Manila. Vera-Reyes, Inc. 
  2. ^ Mijares, Primitivo (1975). The Conjugal Dictatorship. 

External links

  •, activists to reclaim Mendiola on Jan 26
  •, First Quarter Storm commemorated