By JORGE "Ka Oris" MADLOS
Noynoy Aquino's first State of the Nation Address (SONA) as president of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) devoted fifteen minutes, or 43% of his speech, castigating former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for graft and corruption and grave abuse of power. It is but proper for the Aquino government to run after Gloria Arroyo, Mike Arroyo and all their collaborators, including big tax evaders like Lucio Tan, and jail them.
We are skeptical whether Mr. Aquino can achieve this within his six-year term, given that graft and corruption is deeply ingrained in a system ruled by the landed and comprador classes whose lackeys in government enrich themselves at the expense of deprived peasants and exploited workers. In fact, Cory Aquino's regime miserably failed to stop corruption. It is not likely that Mr. Aquino's "Truth Commission" will end the wanton pilferage of public coffers, and once and for all solve extra-judicial killings and other heinous crimes.
Mr. Aquino's SONA failed to show the true state of the nation because he evaded addressing the very root causes of the basic problems besetting the country, and offered the Filipino people nothing but tokenistic, palliative and myopic solutions.
Mr. Aquino deliberately avoided dealing with genuine land reform, an agenda essential to resolving the country's fundamental economic problems, which is the root cause of poverty and deprivation. His overemphasis on post-harvest facilities would precisely serve the interest of the big landlords, big bourgeois comprador and imperialist agri-business, and would only partly benefit the peasant masses. Mr. Aquino is scared of agrarian reform issues because he does not want to be hounded by the ghosts of the Mendiola and Hacienda Luisita massacres.
Nationalist industrialization, a key to economic self-reliance and workers' emancipation, was sidestepped in Mr. Aquino's SONA. Without a strong nationalized industry, the country's economy would only crash and workers delivered towards more capitalist exploitation. He did not even mention a single line about increasing the wages and benefits of Filipino workers.
What he offered instead was the build-operate-transfer (BOT) and "private and public partnerships," which in truth are privatization schemes that do not generate genuine employment but would benefit his big bourgeois comprador and imperialist patrons.
He had put on sale the nation's patrimony at bargain prices, with the people getting nothing but loose change in return, getting “fried deep in their own fat”.
Mr. Aquino was misinformed, if not malicious, in quipping “mga rebeldeng nangongotong” (mulcting rebels) against the New People's Army (NPA). In fact, the NPA runs after the GRP's "kotong" (mulcting) cops.
He failed to address the rapid destruction of the environment and the depletion of natural resources. Large mining and logging companies, including agri-business plantations, especially in Mindanao, continue to ravage the country's forests, mountains, lakes, seashores, and other natural resources. Instead of putting up national industries as the alternative, Mr. Aquino preferred foreign monopoly industries that plunder the country's resources and destroy the environment further, even at the risk of irreversible destruction.
In its approach towards the Moro people's struggle in Mindanao, it must show sincerity in granting the Moro people's struggle for the right to self-determination, and forge just agreements.
With regard to the peace negotiations, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) had always been interested, willing and ready to negotiate peace with the GRP.
We have disseminated all the signed agreements to our constituents and implemented the Comprehensive Agreement for the Respect of Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law (CARHR-IHL). After 12 years since signing, the GRP has yet to disseminate and implement the CARHR-IHL.
Mr. Aquino must be ignorant when he asked “Handa na ba kayong magbigay ng mungkahi?” (Are you now ready to provide proposals?) The NDFP Peace Panel has been prodding the GRP to enter into the second substantive agenda, which is the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), drafted twelve years ago.
If Mr. Aquino's government is sincere, it should not treat the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People's Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP) as “terrorists”, and release all convicted and detained peace consultants. Mr. Aquino's call for an indefinite ceasefire is a veiled demand for the capitulation of the revolutionary forces. How can the New People's Army continue to be a real people's army when it is rendered inutile by an indefinite ceasefire?
The SONA, not so different from Mr. Aquino's inauguration speech, only revealed that the Aquino regime has neither new nor better to offer the Filipino people to deliver them from the muck of misery and exploitation, because it wittingly dodged addressing the fundamental problems in Philippine society. The SONA has only led us to discover where Noynoy Aquino will take the country in the next six years: where else, but straight into the grinding machine of US imperialists, big landlords, and the comprador bourgeoisie.
We cannot leave the nation's future in the hands of Noynoy Aquino and the rest of his ruling clique whom we know is basically no different from all other previous reactionary regimes. Our only way is to further advance the struggle for national liberation and new democracy, which aims to carry forward genuine agrarian reform and nationalist industrialization free from US imperialist machination and dictates.
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Mindanao (NDFP-Mindanao) calls on the Filipino people to unite under the banner call of the people's nationalist and democratic revolution and, together, strive hard to reach a higher stage of the protracted people's war. The people's democratic revolution is the only solution to the basic problems of the Filipino people!