Communist Party of the Philippines
The rapid fall in Aquino’s popularity shows that the stark realities of poverty, mass unemployment and hunger have exposed Aquino’s chicanery and illusions of reform to the Filipino people.
As the Aquino regime marks its first year in power, the Filipino people notch another year of continuing hardship, worsening poverty and intensifying oppression under an increasingly repressive regime. They are confronted by a deepening crisis brought about by the Aquino regime’s pursuit of the same antipeople and pro-imperialist policies of the past puppet regimes.
The Aquino regime has thoroughly dashed the hopes of those who expected a break from the past Arroyo regime’s corruption, puppetry and repression. They are dismayed at Aquino’s failure to take decisive measures to prosecute and punish Arroyo and her retinue of plunderous officials. With the rise of the “Kamag-anak, Kaklase, Kaibigan at Kalaro Inc.” (Relatives, Classmates, Friends and Playmates, Inc.) — his herd of favored friends and relatives who are increasingly involved in questionable appointments and anomalous transactions — Aquino is now proving himself to be not much different in terms of his Marcos-type cronyism.
The Filipino people broadly perceive the Aquino regime to be incompetent. They are disillusioned by Aquino’s uninspiring leadership style and his complete lack of propriety over the purchase of his multi-million peso sportscar and preoccupation with personal and familial concerns.
On more fundamental issues, the broad masses are outraged over the Aquino government’s failure to undertake measures to lift them from the quagmire of poverty, hunger, disease and homelessness. He has allowed foreign oil monopolies to incessantly raise local retail prices of petroleum products. He has allowed hikes in the toll rates of the North and South Luzon expressways which have burdened commuters and public transport operators. Increases in train fares are impending. In stark contrast, he has refused to raise wages despite the spiralling costs of basic commodities and increasing inaccesibility of health care and other services.
Closer to home, not only has Aquino failed to address the decades-long clamor to subject Hacienda Luisita to genuine land reform, he has allowed his family corporation to carry out one scheme after another to deceive the peasants as well as plantation and mill workers into dropping their claim over the hacienda lands with false “compensation packages”. He has refused to put up the faintest opposition to the Supreme Court decision granting his uncle Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco full control over the “coco levy funds” exacted from the coconut farmers under the Marcos martial law regime.
The Aquino regime insists on the completely discredited policies of imperialist “globalization” by pushing for the further liberalization of trade and investment, the privatization of the remaining public assets and increasing role of private and foreign capitalist interests in public infrastructure building. His regime has carried out the forcible and often violent demolition of urban poor shanties in favor of big comprador companies. It has significantly cut budgetary allocations to health and educational services resulting in the further deterioration of public schools and medical facilities. Road-building and other infrastructure projects are granted to favored private interests.
Aquino continues to faithfully abide by the IMF policy of automatic debt allocation. More than half of the government’s tax collection is wasted on servicing the Philippine foreign debt, the majority of which has been pocketed by corrupt bureaucrats and crony businessmen. As with the previous regimes, the Aquino regime continues to toe the export-oriented and debt-dependent economic line. It relies on foreign investments to oil the local economy. The gargantuan problem of unemployment is addressed only by sending Filipino labor abroad or through short-term foreign investments in such areas as call centers. It is determined to allow foreign mining companies to plunder the country’s natural resources and despoil the environment. It refuses to forge a strategic economic blueprint that would build local industries and achieve self-sufficiency in food and other basic necessities.
Aquino feeds the people with nothing but lies. Among the biggest illusions being peddled by Aquino is that the people will be uplifted from poverty through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P), a World Bank-designed multi-billion peso corruption-ridden doleout scheme initiated by the Arroyo regime. Aquino wants the “poorest of the poor” to believe that their poverty could be addressed by dealing them with a few thousand pesos a year without addressing their basic socio-economic problems such as landlessness, unemployment and subhuman wages.
The Aquino regime’s “poverty alleviation” program is nothing but a cog in the counter-insurgency scheme designed by his US military advisers along the lines of the US State Department’s Counter-insurgency Guide of 2009. The simple and ultimate aim is to draw the people away from the path of revolutionary resistance by feeding them illusions and infusing them with hopes of reform. These schemes are being carried out in combination with the military psywar machinery’s “peace and development” hype which camouflages the brutal military operations being carried out by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the countryside. The militarist aim becomes clear when AFP soldiers take over the so-called “delivery” of government services.
Aquino has abused human rights rhetoric but has failed to undertake any significant measures to uphold the people’s human rights. Not a single fascist criminal responsible for the more than one thousand cases of extrajudicial killing under the Arroyo regime has been brought to justice. Gen. Jovito Palparan remains scot-free despite being responsible for some of the most heinous fascist crimes of the past decade, including the abduction, rape, torture and disappearance of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan and peasant activist Manuel Merino; the abduction, torture and enslavement of the Manalo brothers and the campaign of suppression that terrorized hundreds of thousands of people in Mindoro, Samar, Central Luzon and Southern Mindanao.
In failing to even castigate the AFP for the countless crimes committed under the 2001-2010 Oplan Bantay Laya, Aquino has virtually licensed the military to continue its terror campaign. Under Oplan Bayanihan, the AFP continues with its brutal triad of simultaneous psywar, intelligence and combat operations. These operations have victimized civilians, including women, children and senior citizens. So-called “community organizing and peace and development” or COPD operations are conducted in remote barrios (villages) where the military imposes curfews, population control and food blockades. The AFP uses hard and soft approaches in its military operations which invariably violate the people’s rights and freedoms. Human rights continue to be trampled upon by the AFP on a daily basis.
The AFP refuses to abide by the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL). Furthermore, over the past few months, it has arrested key representatives and consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). This has put into question the sincerity and determination of the Aquino government to pursue the path of peace negotiations with the NDFP. The Aquino regime has refused to release 17 illegally arrested and detained NDFP peace consultants despite its January 2011 commitment to do so. More than 300 political prisoners continue to languish in prison.
In contrast to its failure to undertake positive measures to pursue peace negotiations with the NDFP, the Aquino regime has been cultivating ever friendlier relations with the Marcoses and rehabilitating the dictatorship from its well-deserved place in the dustbins of history. Its plan to grant a “heroe’s burial” to the dictator Marcos is a grave insult to the Filipino people, a reversal of their historic judgment and a defilement of the 1986 EDSA People’s Uprising.
Just like the Marcos dictatorship and the succeeding regimes, the Aquino government is exhibiting shameless puppetry to US economic, political and military interests. It defends the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Mutual Defense Treaty and all other unequal treaties with the US. It continues to allow the permanent stationing of the 700-strong Joint US Special Operations Task Force-Philippines in Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City which serves as its base for its interventionist military operations in the country. It has allowed one nuclear-powered US carrier ship after another to enter Philippine waters and unload thousands of American servicemen.
In hyping up anti-China sentiments over the Spratlys issue, the Aquino regime is playing its role in the US-designed script to whip up diplomatic and military tensions in the South China Sea. Aquino’s role in the current brouhaha over the Spratlys was assigned to him when he boarded the USS Carl Vinson in May. The US imperialists’ aim is to deploy its reconnaissance and naval hardware in the South China Sea in the guise of “supporting the defense the Philippines” and “modernizing” the AFP as a foil against what it perceives as the growing strategic threat posed by China to US global hegemony.
There is no bright future for the Filipino people under the Aquino regime. Under the current reactionary caretaker of the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal system, the broad masses of workers and peasants, as well as the middle- and petty bourgeoisie will continue to suffer from one grave crisis to another.
The rapid fall in Aquino’s popularity shows that the stark realities of poverty, mass unemployment and hunger have exposed Aquino’s chicanery and illusions of reform to the Filipino people. Aquino and his regime are being increasingly isolated from the people. Aquino sits on top of the Philippine social volcano that is threatening to explode with intense revolutionary fury. It is only a matter of time before the Filipino people rise up in their millions against the puppet and reactionary Aquino regime.
There is no other recourse for the Filipino people to advance their national and democratic aspirations other than waging mass struggles and armed revolution. The people’s mass struggles are steadily gaining ground in both urban and rural areas. The Filipino youth’s revolutionary fervor is bound to be reawakened as they seek fundamental solutions to the pervasive social problems.
The CPP central leadership has directed the New People’s Army (NPA) to continue intensifying guerrilla warfare nationwide in order to overcome the setbacks, surpass past victories and fulfill the requirements of advancing the people’s war to the next strategic stage. The revolutionary armed struggle is bound to absorb thousands of Red fighters as the people’s mass struggles intensify in the coming years. On the other hand, the victories of the armed revolution in scores of guerrilla fronts will continue to inspire the people to further intensify their mass resistance.
Because of his antipeople, pro-imperialist and repressive policies, Aquino’s hold on power has become increasingly tenuous, even after only a year in power. He is bound to be consumed by the raging fires of the Filipino people’s resistance.