By Communist Party of the Philippines
The Aquino regime is set to become ever more corrupt and implement its worst policies ever in the coming year as it prepares to fill up its election war chest, ensure compliance with contracts with allied big compradors and partner foreign capitalists, serve more the needs of the US military in the country, and unleash desperate acts of suppression to stymie the growth of the revolutionary movement.
The ruling reactionary system seeks to draw the people early into the election carnival of 2016. However, the toiling masses of workers, peasants, semi-proletariat and low-income employees and professionals will have to be busy with waging struggles to defend and advance their welfare amid worsening socio-economic conditions.
In view of all this, the Filipino people must raise the level of their resistance and surpass the intensity and breadth of their struggles over the past three decades. They must be able to launch ever bigger and successive multisectoral and nationwide economic struggles, political battles and propaganda campaigns.
The Aquino regime has set the stage for a major battle over its plan to increase metro rail fares on January 4 by nearly 90% to comply with the contracts the Philippine government entered into with the Ayala and Pangilinan consortium. The planned increase in train fares is an additional burden on the workers, students and other ordinary people who ride the train every day. They must frustrate such plans and oppose the contract allowing the big comprador consortiums to increase metrorail fares annually to ensure high profits.
The struggle to oppose the metro rail fare hikes is inextricably linked to the struggle to oppose the planned increase in water rates, demand a substantial rollback in petroleum prices, electricity rates, as well as fares and fees in air, sea and longhaul land travel in the face of large reductions in the price of crude oil in the international market. In refusing to pull down prices, big comprador capitalists are raking in huge profits at the expense of the people.
Amid rising prices of goods and costs of services, it is likewise just for the Filipino people to demand a national minimum wage of P16,000 a month. To advance and intensify this struggle, it is absolutely necessary for all sectors to unite and wage mass struggles to demand a national minimum wage increase, an end to the policy of wage regionalization and Aquino’s “two-tiered” wage system and an end to contractualization as well as other flexible employment schemes.
The Filipino people must intensify their struggle to demand the abrogation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and oppose the setting up of US military bases and facilities deviously called Agreed Locations. While their ever-reliable puppet Aquino is in power, the US wants to firm up arrangements for the docking of US warships and stationing of US troops and war materiél in these facilities, particularly in AFP military camps in Palawan, Subic and Nueva Ecija.
The Filipino people must extend all-out support to the struggle of Jennifer Laude’s family to attain justice for her death in the hands of US serviceman Joseph Scott Pemberton. They must condemn the Aquino regime for bowing to the US over the matter of custody of the suspect and raise the demand for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which allows US authority to extend over the Philippines in violation of Philippine sovereignty.
The Filipino people must expose the Aquino regime as a traitor to the nation for having served as a puppet of the US military. They must fire up the patriotic fervor of the current generation of youth by recalling the historic struggles for national freedom, the genocide and brutalities committed in the course of US colonialism and the heroic armed resistance of the Filipino people. Students and intellectuals must lead in the propaganda war to expose and oppose the pro-US and pro-imperialist ideas being perpetrated by the Aquino regime as justification for its neoliberal policies. The APEC Summit scheduled for November 2015 in Manila must serve as an opportunity to wage anti-imperialist political battles with the Aquino regime and the rest of the neoliberal apologists of the US imperialism.
The Filipino people must raise their vigilance and resist Aquino and his henchmen’s plans for a last-minute dash to push for amendments in the 1987 constitution. Aquino’s primary aim is to remove provisions that protect national patrimony in order to allow foreign ownership of land, the full liberalization of foreign investments as well as the inflow and outflow of foreign capital and trade. The removal of such provisions has been demanded by the US government as a condition for Philippine entry into the US-led Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. The charter change scheme also aims to remove provisions barring foreign military facilities in order to completely do away with legal impediments to establishing US military presence in the country.
With or without charter change, Aquino is set to allow the operations of more mining and plantation companies in exchange for payouts. The Filipino people must unite to defend the country’s patrimony and environment. They must denounce the Aquino regime’s plans to allow foreign capital to bring in obsolete dirty coal-fired power plants under the guise of addressing supposed power shortages which favors the Cojuangcos and other allied big compradors.
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) negotiating panel is exerting all-out effort to revive the stalled peace negotiations with the Aquino regime in order to address the roots of the civil war and forge substantive agreements on socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms as well as disposition of forces. The Aquino regime, however, adamantly wants to undo the NDFP-GPH agreements painstakingly forged since 1992, use the peace negotiations as a pacification tool or to inveigle the revolutionary armed forces into surrendering their arms. The Filipino people must unite to push the Aquino regime to uphold and respect all past agreements, cause the release of incarcerated NDFP peace consultants and pursue negotiations on the substantive agenda of the talks.
They can draw the attention of Pope Francis to their outstanding issues on the occasion of his visit in January 2015. They must expose the brutalities of the Aquino regime’s Oplan Bayanihan, demand respect for human rights and struggle to make the Aquino regime and its officials culpable for the crimes committed by the armed forces over the past five years.
In the face of the broad range of problems and issues, the Filipino people have no other recourse but to raise their democratic mass struggles and resistance to new heights. They must strive to intensify their struggles in order to build up the strength to oust the Aquino regime.
In support of the Filipino people’s struggle against the Aquino regime, the CPP calls on the New People’s Army to continue intensifying the revolutionary armed struggle by launching bigger tactical offensives against the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and other armed organizations of the reactionary state. These tactical offensives must be carried out across the archipelago in order to further stretch the limited resources of the AFP and disable it from concentrating its forces in one region over a period of time. Through the leadership of the CPP, the revolutionary armed struggle is bound to achieve bigger victories in the next year or two.