By Communist Party of the Philippines
Hardly a week short of Benigno Aquino III's first 100 days as President, the Filipino people are fast growing disillusioned over the same old rottenness of the semicolonial and semifeudal state ruling system presided over and perpetrated by the new puppet reactionary regime. The mystique whipped up around Aquino is fast being blown away by the realities of the socio-economic and political crises of the ruling state and system.
Aquino's rhetoric of "change" has lost its edge in the eyes of the people. His regime has increasingly shown itself to be no different from past reactionary regimes in terms of kowtowing and mendicancy to US imperialism and preserving big landlord, comprador and bureaucrat capitalist puppet reactionary rule at the expense of the people.
By the people's reckoning, the following ten outstanding issues in Aquino's first 100 days in office underscore the already evident pro-imperialist, elitist, superficial, incompetent, militarist and rotten-to-the-core character of his regime:
Lack of drive in the criminal prosecution of Gloria Arroyo. Aquino has failed within his first 100 days in office to decisively pursue the criminal prosecution of Gloria Arroyo and her ilk for largescale plunder, gross violations of human rights, electoral fraud and other heinous crimes. The pre-election deal between Aquino and Arroyo is now becoming evident in the Aquino government's lack of drive to press on with the criminal cases against Arroyo. Aquino formed a Truth Commission hampered with a lot of legal and other defects. The deadline set for the completion of its work (the end of 2011) provides Arroyo enough time to undertake legal, political and other maneuvers to elude prosecution. Aquino, meanwhile, has been passive in the face of the Arroyo-loyalist Supreme Court's maneuvers to accommodate the dilatory tactics of Arroyo's protector, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, in the face of moves in Congress to impeach her.
No intent to implement agrarian reform. Aquino-Cojuangco scion Benigno Aquino III's rise as president has emboldened the haciendero-comprador clan to tighten its monopoly hold on Hacienda Luisita. They employed coercion, deception and bribery to push for a "compromise deal" gimmick with supposed peasant beneficiaries last August to project support for its Stock Distribution Option (SDO) in lieu of land distribution. Instead of immediately and outrightly deciding against the illegal SDO, the Supreme Court fiddled with the issue and even pushed for "mediation" between the Cojuangcos and the peasants demanding land distribution. Peasant representatives have walked out of the "mediation" which the Aquino-Cojuangcos tried to use to avoid a decisive resolution of the case against the SDO. As in the Hacienda Luisita case, the pro-landlord Aquino regime has no intention of implementing genuine agrarian reform in the country.
Unbridled US interventionism in exchange for US political, military, economic, financial and other support. The Aquino government is allowing unbridled US military intervention in the Philippines for counterinsurgency objectives as well as to serve as front for US military dominance in the Southeast Asia and Pacific regions. It favors permanent US military presence and involvement in combat and combat-related operations. The US Pacific Command's Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) has now been beefed up from 600 to 700 troops. Aquino reneged on an earlier statement that he would take up the issue of the Visiting Forces Agreement in talks with US President Obama and other top US officials. Strings attached to the $464 million fund grant from the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) include the opening up of the country to more US military intervention as well as more concessions for US investments and superprofits in the country. The MCC grant will be used to bankroll counterinsurgency projects masquerading as good-governance and poverty-reduction palliatives under cue from the US's Counterinsurgency Guide. The US has also extended financial assistance to the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP).
No serious interest in the peace process. Despite his "peace" pronouncements during his state of the nation address, Aquino has failed to carry out concrete steps and positive measures for the resumption of formal peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Instead, he has imposed a "ceasefire" precondition in violation of The Hague Declaration and other agreements signed in the past. Security and military officials have recently been busy with their "local peace talks" gimmick that is nothing more than the reactionary government talking to its own shadow.
Extension of the OBL terror campaign. The US-Aquino regime has bloodied its hands by ordering the extension of Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL). It will be coming up with a new internal security operational plan under the guidance of US military advisers and the 2009 US Counterinsurgency Guide. In complete disregard of nationally and internationally widespread criticisms of gross violations of human rights, massive terrorist military operations continue to be conducted nationwide by the fascist AFP under the new puppet regime with the desperate hope of stemming the growth of the revolutionary armed movement. The US-Aquino regime remains indifferent to the continuing gross injustice and violations of human rights.At least seven activists have been summarily executed by armed agents of the state since Aquino was inaugurated into office. Aquino has even blocked substantial resolutions of these new cases, as well as those committed in the past, when he claimed that most of these killings were "due to personal feuds." The Morong 43 continue to be detained in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, Metro Manila, despite nationwide and worldwide appeal for their speedy release. At least 344 other political prisoners also continue to languish in jails and military camps across the country.
Counterinsurgency, neoliberal, mendicancy, anti-people budget. In his draft 2011 budget proposal, Aquino increased the budget of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) by a whopping 81%. The US-Aquino regime has also increased allocations for external debt payments by 29%. In complete disregard of the people's welfare, appropriations for education, health and other essential social needs have been reduced. The budget of the Department of Social Works and Development was most significantly padded to conform to US designs to perpetuate the people and country's dependency to doleouts as well as to play a key role in the government's US-designed COIN. The US-Aquino regime is principally supporting the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to promote mendicancy and draw the people away from militant struggle. The US government also uses such doleouts as leverage in order to further its economic, political, military and other forms of intervention and clout.
Massive push for more denationalization and privatization. The US-Aquino regime is a Privatization Regime. More than ever, it is now giving a big push for the denationalization, privatization and liberalization of the Philippine economy. It is set to sell strategic industries, utilities and other businesses and resources to foreign big business, offering big imperialist and comprador firms P740 billion worth of privatization projects boosted with generous tax and other incentives for bigger superprofits. Aquino's drumbeaters made a big fuzz of the $2.4 billion in projected new US investments for the next three years, that he supposedly gained in his recent week-long visit to the US.
Increase in charges of public utilities and additional taxes. The privatization burden is being shifted onto the shoulders of the masses. Fare rates for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Railway Transit (LRT) systems in Metro Manila and private water utility companies servicing Metro Manila will be hiked by October. Aquino wants to make them more attractive as he puts them up for sale to profit-hungry private investors. Aquino's Bureau of Internal Revenue was geared to collect 12% VAT on expressway toll fees, but was only prevented from doing so after vigorous public opposition that resulted in a restraining order from the Supreme Court.
Collossal incompetence in handling the hostage crisis. All throughout the August 23 hostage crisis, the Aquino regime exhibited colossal incompetence and disorganization resulting in the death of eight foreign tourists and the hostage-taker. The rottenness and malaise of the prevailing system and the ineptness of the government were thoroughly exposed. The committee headed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, which investigated and made a report on the incident, censured at least 10 police and government officials and recommended the filing of appropriate charges. It failed to touch, however, on Aquino's own principal incompetence and irresponsibility.
Rotten appointees and political factions. Aquino's cabinet has been largely filled with appointments made as payback for political debts, especially for their huge campaign contributions. Focus at present is on Enrico Puno, fellow gun enthusiast and close friend of Aquino and an endorsee of the Kamag-anak Inc., who was appointed Undersecretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government to directly supervise the Philippine National Police. Despite his being one of those mainly responsible for the bungling of the hostage crisis and being named as a top recipient of jueteng payola, Puno continues to enjoy the "trust and confidence" of Aquino. Instead of acting in the interest of the people and the truth, Aquino washes his hands, defends the culprits and casts aspersion on the ones who have exposed them. In many controversies, the rift between the "Balai" and "Samar" factions of the Aquino government have spilled out in the open, underscoring disunity, dirty political manueverings, executive dysfunctions and Aquino's failure to govern.
There are scores of other issues which have contributed to the rapid decline of the Aquino government less than a hundred days since last June 30. It showed itself inutile as typhoon Basyang hit Metro Manila last July, and unjustly even made a scapegoat of the hapless weather bureau chief. It failed to act in the face of a severe water shortage that hit Metro Manila over several weeks last July. It failed to carry out any significant measure to address the severe shortage of beds in public hospitals in the face of a major dengue epidemic in the past several months. The violent demolition of urban poor shanties in Barangay Bagong Pag-Asa, Quezon City, last September 23 revealed Aquino's disregard for the welfare of the downtrodden and exposed the emptiness of his "Kayo ang boss ko" slogan.
These outstanding issues serve as a yardstick in projecting the further sufferings of the mass of the Filipino people in the next six years under the Aquino regime. With the emptiness of Aquino's promises and the shallowness of his political gimmicks exposed one after the other, the people are faced with no other option but to wage revolutionary and militant struggle in order to defend and advance their interests. In the next six years, the people are bound to rise up in resistance against the policies of the Aquino regime and the entire ruling system.