By JORGE “Ka Oris” MADLOS
NDFP – Mindanao
The promises that Philippine president Benigno Aquino III made when he assumed the presidency have been proven mere rhetoric. He is nowhere in clearing the government of corruption, defeating poverty, upholding human rights and achieving genuine peace and development. He is no different from all preceding puppet reactionary presidents.
The national economy continues to deteriorate. The first year saw the reactionary government in a mad scramble, fast-tracking the sell-out of the country’s human and natural resources, privatizing public assets faster than his predecessors. The much-vaunted private-public partnership scheme is selling vital state assets, offering these as lucrative superprofit-raking for local and foreign monopoly capitalist leeches.
Poverty and hunger levels are at an all-time high. Filipinos are repeatedly bludgeoned by surging prices of services and commodities. To cover this up, the Aquino government increased the palliative measures introduced by the previous US-Arroyo regime such as food and fuel subsidies, treating marginal social classes as beggars. This hypocritical insult fails to appease the oppressed and exploited masses from demanding for basic reforms, making them ever more determined to fight for their basic interests.
Worse compared to recent years, the people have lost count of the number of oil price increases. The price of rice has increased by over Php2 per kilo, and the price of other basic commodities, such as sugar and flour, have similarly jacked-up. The purchasing power of the toiling masses continues to diminish, as workers’ wages are pushed down below subsistence standard while peasants’ real income is at the mercy of big landlords and merchant-usurers.
The number of underemployed and unemployed are increasing, especially with the loss of jobs overseas and the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Without the institution of true agrarian reform and national industrialization, genuine development is impossible. As can be gleaned from the responses of Aquino to the Hacienda Luisita farmers and workers, the regime’s continued failure to solve the massacre of the peasants in Mendiola and Hacienda Luisita, and its contempt towards genuine land reform, clearly show the attitude of a “haciendero” president.
On Labor Day, Aquino had nothing to offer for the working class. Worse, national industrialization is nowhere in his one year agenda.
Free education is becoming ever more an elusive dream for most Filipino families. They are more than ever unable to afford to send their children to school because Aquino prefers to increase the military budget.
The newly enforced national security program “Oplan Bayanihan” (OPB) — patterned after the US Counter-insurgency Guide — is the Aquino regime’s version of the failed Oplan Bantay Laya military encirclement and suppression campaign designed by the previous US-Arroyo regime to quell both the armed revolution and the open mass movement. OPB tries but fails to hide behind the populist façade of respect for human rights “peace and development” to mask its brutal nature.
Since it was launched, the OPB’s Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD) — a rehash of OBL’s Re-engineered Special Operations Team (RSOT) — has been deployed in areas perceived to be strongholds of the New People’s Army or where there are mining, logging and agribusiness interests of the big landlord, big bourgeois comprador and imperialist companies to co-opt, deceive and suppress the masses. Behind its populist talk are intimidation and torture against those they suspect of supporting the revolutionary movement, spawning grave human rights violations against the Filipino people.
In almost all provinces in Mindanao, peasant and Lumad communities are dislocated due to the imposed presence of fascist troops in their homes, schools, chapels and baranggay halls. These COPD activities, accompanied by massive combat military operations, often result in murder, looting and other forms of human rights abuses, triggering militant protests and mass evacuations.
Militarization is not only confined in the countryside. In cities and town centers, fascist troops under the banner of COPD also encroach on campuses and urban communities.
Showing further its militarist colors, the US-Aquino government refuses to honor signed agreements with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), opting for massive military operations and concocting lies against the New People’s Army and the revolutionary movement. It has put forward impediments to the resumption of peace talks and continues to deny the fulfilment of agreed conditions, especially the release of NDFP consultants and political prisoners. Similarly, it also dilly-dallies on the full resumption of its peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
On his second State of the Nation Address (SoNA) come 25 July, Noynoy Aquino will bombard the people with his litany of lies, but the economic and political realities undeniably characterize his first year in office. Even as his government appears to move mountains in building corruption and criminal cases against Arroyo and her minions, no “big fish” has been jailed yet in one year of his stay in office. And even the most heinous of crimes such as summary killings, including the Hacienda Luisita, Mendiola and Ampatuan massacres, remain unresolved. Even as he passes the blame onto the previous regime’s crimes and failures, he cannot pretend to be different, as he is just another man of the rulling class and a US stooge.
Our country under Noynoy Aquino’s leadership is headed towards worse times, plunging the entire nation to more plunder, oppression and exploitation. In essence and in fact the US-Aquino regime is no different from all predecessor puppet reactionary regimes. The next five years will prove that he is even worse. The people’s democratic revolution remains the only viable solution to our country’s chronic crisis.