By JORGE "Ka Oris" MADLOS
Spokesperson, NDFP – Mindanao
Twenty four years after the EDSA "People Power Revolution" the greater majority of the Filipino people still wallow in poverty and deprivation, evermore oppressed and exploited. All the promises of EDSA totally unfulfilled.
After 24 years, no genuine land reform has been implemented. In a way, the bogus Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program or CARP succeeded in redistributing prime agricultural lands to tenants, but only to be foreclosed by the Land Bank and delivered to imperialist agri-business. The CARP freed some tenants from landlords only to become farm workers of the multi-national agribusiness and stock sharing schemes of big landlords like the Cojuangco's Hacienda Luisita. To complete the sacrifice of the land and tenants to the altar of multinational corporation gods, the Gloria Arroyo government extended the CARP.
And what of the promised national industrialization? What we have are assembly sweatshops and a deluge of extraction companies like logging, mining and fishing — controlled by imperialists which relentlessly deplete our natural resources and destroy our environment. These companies are given free rein by the series of corrupt governments led by the landlord class such as the Cojuangco-Aquinos to exploit our national resources and labor force.
It is said that "people power revolution of EDSA" restored our democracy. It did not. Look at how General Fidel V. Ramos became president with a minority vote, and how Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made a mockery of our right of suffrage by easily rigging the election to her and her minion's favor.
How can there be true democracy when the peasants and workers, who comprise about 90 percent of the population remain powerless, oppressed and exploited by the ruling elite?
Human rights violations such as extra-judicial killings, forced disappearances, forced evacuation, howitzer shelling and aerial bombing, military encampment in barangays and communities have become worse than those made under the Marcos dictatorship.
Just recently, 43 doctors, nurses and community health workers have been abducted, tortured and remain in the hands of the military, falsely accused of being members of the New People's Army. The bomb-making materials planted by the police and the military and the acceptance of the reactionary justice system of such are but additional proof that we live not under a democracy but in a military state, under the dictatorship of the fascist fake president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
How can there be real freedom and democracy if our constitution, sovereignty and patrimony are being trampled upon by the US imperialists in the guise of the Visiting Forces Agreement?
The EDSA promise of Cory Aquino of cheaper galunggong fish as a symbol of making the basic needs affordable to Filipinos was very temporary, while skyrocketing prices of commodities and oil, expensive education, inaccessible medical services, housing and other social services remain. What hope is there for our most oppressed class of peasants and workers under such a rotten system?
Come the 2010 election, after 24 years of failed promises, Noynoy, the son of Cory Aquino is rekindling the same false hopes and shamelessly attributing the people's movement of toppling the Marcos dictatorship to his parents Ninoy and Cory Cojuangco-Aquino. The so-called Mother of the EDSA "people power revolution" failed utterly its promise to fulfill the Filipino people's aspiration for genuine land reform. Who can forget the Mendiola Massacre where several peasants died when their peaceful rally to demand genuine land reform was met with brutal force by the Aquino administration?
Noynoy will be no better than his mother. More so, he will be worse, judging by his arrogance in blaming the dead and dying tenants and workers in a picket-rally in Hacienda Luisita as instigators of trouble when they were just demanding their due from the Cojuangco's Hacienda Luisita. His actions during the brutal attack of peasants by the hacienda security guards, police and the military shows his utter disregard of the rights of peasants and farm workers and his defense of his family's swindling the tenants and farm workers of their land and their labor with the use of government laws, institutions and its mercenary army.
In twenty-four years, the administrations of Cory Aquino, General Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo, not only failed to deliver genuine land reform and national industrialization but also deepened the semi-feudal and semi-colonial character of our country. Be it bourgeois election or "people power" led by the bourgeoisie, all these can never guarantee genuine land reform and national industrialization and delivery of the much needed social services.
The oppressed and exploited great majority should rise up with their voices and clenched fists and should join the national democratic revolution to uphold and defend their basic economic and political rights.
In the midst of a looming failure of election, another people's uprising is not a remote possibility. This time, the peasants, workers and the middle class should unite and assert their claim for a real people power that can help advance a more comprehensive social revolution. They should unite together with those enlightened from the upper class to form an interim government with a genuinely pro-people, nationalist and democratic program.