On July 27,
Benigno Simeon Aquino will deliver his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) to sum-up and boast of his administration’s achievements in the past 5 years, which is expected to shamelessly gloss over his crimes against the Filipino nation. While the ruling classes and their imperialist master will surely applaud this, the vast majority of the Filipino people, who have long suffered under a semi-feudal, semi-colonial system and know better about the real state of the nation, will only meet him with militant protests across the country.
In the past five years, the main thrust of the US-Aquino regime was the completion of neo-liberalization in the country in line with the dictates of his US imperialist boss. This meant scrapping all legal impediments, including policies that safeguard patrimony and sovereignty in the constitution, to give way for the unbridled plunder of natural resources, and the intensification of the exploitation of the workers, peasants, Lumad, Moro, and the middle class in the name of raking in super-profit for imperialist businesses running in collusion with that of the big landlord class, to which Aquino III belongs, and the big bourgeois compradors. This also meant the intensification of its brutal suppression campaign through Oplan Bayanihan (OPB), designed to crush armed and non-armed resistance opposed to its political and economic interests.
Aquino III is expected to brag of the 6.3% GDP average increase in the last five years, which is based mainly on a marked increase from the service sector. There is, however, the marked decrease of production in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors from the 60% share of the GDP in the 1980s, before the start of globalization policy, to less than 40% in the last 5 years. As a result, more imported goods were dumped on our local market that led to the steep decline in the production sector. Consequentially, under the current regime we have the worst labor crisis in history, where the unemployed and underemployed reach 11.8 million or 27% of the total labor force nationwide. Poverty incidence remain unalleviated within the range of 25% to 26%, where 56 million or more than half of Filipinos live below Php100 per day family income. This, in spite of statistical data manipulation and the billions of pesos spent for the inflationary, dole-out and corruption-laden 4Ps poverty alleviation program.
Neoliberal policies, which the US-Aquino III regime so doggedly implement, promise to achieve inclusive growth, but in reality, this only brought about a one-sided growth exclusively for the privileged classes and their imperialist masters, on one hand, and the marginalization of the producing classes, the peasants and workers, on the other. This growth in our economy is not felt at all by the people because only the big landlords, the big bourgeoisie and their imperialists masters are getting super-richer while the poor getting even poorer. These policies also lead to the wanton destruction of the environment by allowing imperialist mining companies, large-scale plantations and logging to operate with impunity.
In his inaugural address, Aquino III made a rebuke against public officials’ traffic privileges and called for “walang wang-wang” supposedly to curb the traffic problem in Metro Manila, yet now metro Manila traffic is no less bad. The corruption laden privatization policy of the administration failed to upgrade the mass transport system in the metropolis. “Daang matuwid” as a catchword for anti-corruption was popularized. To this effect, he uses the PDAF pork barrel issue to showcase the imprisonment of opposition politicians supposedly for corruption, and invented DAP to fatten even more the source of corruption of the entire bureaucracy, in spite of an en banc decision of the Supreme Court declaring it unconstitutional. In fact one of the presidential sisters was implicated in a shadowy deal with a Czech company. Corruption is not only deeply ingrained among politicians but also within the AFP-PNP and other bureaucratic lines such as the Bureau of Customs, DENR, DPWH, DSWD, PhilHealth, Government
Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC), down the line , and is even getting worse. With the intensification of the dispute on the West Philippine Sea, Aquino III will pass himself off as the ultimate champion of Philippine sovereign right over its territories. However, in the tussle between two giants, China and the US, slobbering over the $5 trillion-worth South China Sea trade route, Aquino III is wont to obey and defend the interests of his US imperialist master rather than fight for sovereignty, especially with the EDCA already firmly in place. But we must be aware that the US will not sacrifice its trade relations with China and fight for the Philippines. The Filipino people, for its part, must be united and stand firm to defend its sovereignty against the continuing incursion of China and, at the same time, must resist to be used by the US containment in the Southeast Asian region.
Aquino III’s “Kayo Ang Boss Ko” slogan does not speak of Filipino people empowerment. In fact the US-Aquino regime further entrenched the power monopoly of the big landlords, big bourgeois compradors and the political grip of US imperialism in the country. Not only do the ruling classes reign, in fact, the political dynasties of a few political families from the municipal up to the national level is worst under the current regime. And the most ballyhooed electoral party system is nothing but a constant realignment of political parties of “balimbings” in favor of the political group in power.
True democracy emanating from the popular demand of the people for genuine social emancipation is being suppressed through the US-Aquino’s counter-revolutionary campaign, Oplan Bayanihan (OPB). Dwelling on the hype of the yellow ribbon, it wishes to hide from the public eye the ugly face of its brutal OPB suppression campaign nationwide, which particularly focuses on Mindanao. Aquino III’s fascist regime deployed over 60% of the total AFP forces to Mindanao, apart from the battalions of PNP SAF and RPSB forces, and the corresponding increase in air assets and artillery units. Under the EDCA pact that Aquino III concluded with his US imperialist master, more and more US troops are stationed especially in Mindanao where it enjoys special access to military facilities in any area, freely gathering intelligence information and overtly and covertly participating in combat operations as it did in the infamous Mamasapano incident.
In Mindanao, the current regime fast evolved into a warmonger machine, committing various human rights violations through its OPB in the name of protecting imperialist mining and plantations and other economic interests, and of its daydream to dismantle the revolutionary movement. But with his term of office ending in less than a year, it is nowhere near achieving its goal of defeating the revolutionary forces nationwide, even less in Mindanao; nor has it achieved anything historic for the people, except for its legacy of militarizing Mindanao and perpetrating numerous human rights abuses.
Many areas in Mindanao are militarized under sustained combat military operations, occupation of barangays through COPD and CAFGU detachments, harassments and forcible closure of some community schools, summary execution of several mass leaders and suspected revolutionaries, aerial bombings and Howitzer shelling, and other forms of terror and suppression against the people. Even the cities are not spared as the AFP deploys COPD teams in major school campuses and urban communities. To suppress the growing resistance, it resorts to the filing of trumped-up cases and jailing of several mass leaders to decapitate the leadership of open progressive mass organizations.
The Aquino regime speaks of peace for the country but its peace effort in Mindanao, particularly in the Bangsamoro, ends up with more division among the Moro masses. The reactionary government prefers whatever Moro group they are facing to capitulate rather than truly addressing the Bangsamoro aspiration for their genuine right to self-determination. On the other hand, the Aquino reactionary government failed to honour the government signed commitment with the NDFP, among others The Hague Joint Declaration and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG); in fact, it continues to detain leading NDFP peace consultants, and blames the NDFP for being demanding and insincere.
Despite the superiority of state armed forces in launching vicious military suppression campaigns, the people fight back with even more intensity and determination. The US-Aquino regime failed to quell but instead rekindled Moro armed resistance in Mindanao; it did not stop as well the advance of the revolutionary movement led by the CPP-NPA-NDF. In fact since the start of the US-Aquino regime, the NPA fronts in Mindanao have increased from 42 to 47 guerrilla fronts and its Red fighters and mass base have significantly increased, while its Party organization is getting bigger and stronger.
In the last 5 years of the US-Aquino III regime, the armed struggle in Mindanao continued to intensify with bolder and more frequent NPA tactical offensives island-wide, confiscating around a thousand high powered rifles and inflicting an average of one battalion enemy casualty every year. The revolutionary movement’s agrarian reform in the countryside have benefited hundreds of thousands of peasant population nationwide in contrast to the lip service, anti-people and bogus land reform of the US-Aquino III regime. Open resistance have also intensified in the cities of Mindanao, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets against militarization, plunder and destruction of natural resources and US intervention.
Barely three months before the filing of candidacy for the next presidential elections, Aquino III is still in a dilemma declaring his anointed successor who has a better chance of winning and who will defend him from imprisonment for his crimes once he is no longer in power. However, whatever is the result of next year’s national elections, the people must hold Benigno Simeon Aquino III accountable for his crimes against the Filipino people.#
(sgd.) Ka Oris