On July 23, Benigno Aquino III will, for the third time, present his State of the Nation Address (Sona). It will be punctuated with a distorted presentation of the nation’s real situation, achievements bloated by dubious statistics, economic programs that compromise the nation’s patrimony and the environment in favor of foreign big business, big landlords and big bourgeois comprador — a discourse oblivious of the people’s demand for genuine land reform and national industrialization. PNoy will highlight his anti-Corona victory, and include the gains of its brutal Oplan Bayanihan against the revolutionary movement, even as its US imperialist master continues to trample upon our country’s sovereignty.
PNoy will impress upon the vast majority of starving and impoverished Filipinos that his government is making “headway” in promoting an economy that is heavily beholden and dependent on the infusion of foreign capital, complimented by inflationary social spending. Their new deodorized term “inclusive growth” will only mean that the economy, dominated by imperialist, big comprador bourgeois and big landlord classes, will remain dependent upon foreign investments that involve raw material extraction and export, tourism, and ever reliant on the remittances of the abused “bagong bayani,” the OFWs .
Instead of genuine land reform, bogus anti-peasant land reform policies such as CARPER will yet again be given primacy, further consolidating the domination of the big landlord class, big bourgeois comprador and the multi-national plantations, and worsening the oppression and exploitation of millions of peasants and agri-workers. This will assure large-scale mining companies, such as Xstrata-SMI, TVI and Taganito Mines, and giant agri-business plantations, such as Del Monte, Dolefil and SumiFru, to further expand and grab more land from what remains in the “possession” of small peasants, including the vast agricultural plains and ancestral lands of the Lumad and Moro peoples in Mindanao.
PNoy will draw much attention to his Executive Order No. 79, which only offer token concern on environmental protection while giving primacy to the extremely destructive large-scale multinational mining over that of the small scale mining in order to increase the government revenues. The EO No.79 gives Malacanang the overriding authority to approve mining applications and policies, and monopolize the “loot” from big mining, while, ironically, depriving the small-scale mining industry, which employs millions, of its rightful share by limiting them to certain areas called “Minahan ng Bayan.”
PNoy has made possible the complete monopolization of the power industry in Mindanao through privatization, which has only led to burden the people with intermittent power outages and rate hikes. This will also increase the prices of oil and other basic commodities and social services; making life for the people in Mindanao and elsewhere more unbearable. Worse, the PNoy administration is hell-bent on building more environmentally destructive coal-fired power plants instead of seriously tapping and developing safer power source options like solar, wind and hydro power sources.
We also expect PNoy to smokescreen the country’s socio-economic crises with the illusion of “increased social spending” through the much-vaunted “conditional cash transfer program,” popularly dubbed as “4Ps.” Poverty due to landlessness and joblessness cannot be solved by the highly palliative doling-out of cash; genuine land reform and national industrialization are the ultimate answers. Free cash distribution to the people without the corresponding production of social goods is inflationary. This undermines the productive capacity and potential of the people by making them dependent on dole-outs instead of promoting an economy that is founded on strong agrarian and industrial production. Millions of people waste time and money to collect a few hundreds from far away claim centers. Moreover, the much bragged-about “4Ps” is virtually a source of corruption, and gives politicians the leverage to promote and foist political patronage. This highly counter-productive program is an admission on the part of the Aquino regime that it is unable to solve unemployment and poverty because it cannot provide land to the landless nor establish national industries to offer quality jobs to workers.
Worse, the projected over-spending on infrastructure is designed mainly for tourism and for multinational companies and are not intended to support land reform and national industrialization, thereby creating only very limited employment.
PNoy will boast of his latest Corona impeachment “victory,” which was designed to clip the remaining powers of Arroyo. But, this grand effort fell short of fully punishing Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her henchmen by filing charges lower than plunder and recruiting a few of her minions into the Aquino government. This highly calculated modus operandi is all part of a scheme to gain full control of the executive, the legislative and the judicial branches of the bourgeois government.
PNoy will talk of continued efforts for peace, but having launched intensive military campaigns and operations on a nationwide scale only prove that his “peace and development” concept is but to camouflage his brutal Oplan Bayanihan. These massive military campaigns and combat operations in Mindanao have escalated in the past 6 months in defense of giant multinational mining and plantations, raging without let-up in the whole of Caraga and some parts of North Central, Southern, Far Southern and Western Mindanao. These have led to massive evacuations in the provinces of Surigao, Agusan, Bukidnon, Zamboanga del Sur, North Cotabato, Davao del Sur, and Compostela Valley, where children have been the foremost victims. In this context, the US-Aquino regime has ignored complaints against the horrendous attack, occupation and vilification committed by AFP, PNP and Cafgu forces against schools in the hinterlands.
The Aquino government’s sincerity in the GPH-NDFP peace talks will remain in doubt because of its continuing refusal to abide by previously signed agreements. The GPH also continues to deny freeing 370 political prisoners, 17 of whom are NDFP consultants on the peace talks listed for immediate release. With regard to the GPH-MILF peace talks, the GPH under Aquino still has to prove its utmost sincerity and willingness to fully respect the Moro people’s right to self-determination as well as facilitate the granting of genuine autonomy to the Bangsamoro.
Human rights violations, especially extra-judicial killings, continue to be on the rise. Human rights groups, both in the international and home fronts, continue to demand the Aquino regime to put an end to political killings in the country. Since PNoy’s first Sona , the victims of extra-judicial killings have reached 60, its impunity and notoriety escalating as to recently include human rights, environment and anti-mining advocates Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio, Margarito Cabal, Jimmy Liguyon, Jerry Ortega, Wilhelm Geertman, and other activists. While activists drop like flies at the gunpoint of riding-in-tandem death squads, the regime is equally guilty in its utter failure to punish the Ampatuan warlords, “The Butcher” Palparan, cult leader and wife murderer Ecleo, and the Reyes brothers of Palawan.
With the current territorial crisis in the Scarborough Shoal and the Spratlys worsening ,warmongering is getting louder and more aggressive within the GPH’s quarters with calls for more aggressive response against China and beefed-up military support from the US. US intervention, on the other hand, is escalating as evidenced by the thousands of US troops that came for the recent US-PH Balikatan military exercises, and, more appallingly, by the frequent docking of warships and submarines that may be carrying nuclear weapons , the use of US spy planes in the West Philippine Sea and the accelerated procurement of air force and naval war machines. The strategic significance of the naval exercises in the coast of the Sarangani province is also to protect foreign multinational interests in the region, specifically that of Xstrata-SMI and DoleFil. As an integral part of its geo-political interest in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, the US also pursues its counter-insurgency plan in the country .
While the worldwide imperialist crisis and our country’s semi-feudal and semicolonial crises continue to weaken the US-Aquino regime, the revolutionary movement continues to advance. Whatever PNoy will spew out in his Sona, his regime cannot gloss over the fact that it has not addressed the most basic of problems confronting the Filipino people. In Mindanao, this necessitates the intensification of the revolutionary movement, which has already made headway in the expansion and consolidation of more revolutionary bases, the establishment of organs of political power, the heightening of agrarian revolution, and the advance of the armed struggle as shown by the more intense and widespread tactical offensives of the New People’s Army (NPA) against operating troops of the AFP, PNP, CAFGU, and security forces, such as those in Southern, Northeastern, Northcentral, Western, and Far Southern Mindanao in the past six months.
Alongside these, people’s militant protests are getting stronger and more widespread. These only prove that despite its brutal counter-revolutionary offensives coupled with its populist rhetoric, the US-Aquino regime, on one hand, is unable to pull the country out of the muck of destitution, oppression and exploitation, while, on the other, the people’s revolutionary political power rapidly grows in the countryside to eventually replace bourgeois dictatorship and rule.
(Sgd) Ka Oris