On his fourth SONA, Benigno Aquino III will face the Filipino people to once again delight over his regime’s supposed successes of the previous year, and to beguile with plans dictated by his real bosses. His US imperialist boss, beside big bourgeois compradors and landlords, will, on one hand, applaud him for the unhampered expansion and plunder of the environment by multinational businesses, particularly large-scale mining and plantations, and for totally countenancing US intervention in the country; while continuing, on the other, to ram anti-people policies that push millions of Filipinos, especially workers and peasants, to further desperation, poverty and misery.
He will once again bombard the people with a plethora of mind-boggling statistics to show that its so-called “corruption-free governance” is the key to its “success,” while blaming his detractors, the revolutionary movement in particular, for its “failings.” He will never be able to hide the fact however that, in the last three years, he has only been successful so far in leading the country to fall much deeper into the ravine of social inequity and chaos, which has only inflamed the people into ever intensifying the struggle against massive exploitation and oppression.
In the run-up to his mid-term SONA, Aquino III has only succeeded in the sabotage of genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization in the country, stalling, in particular, the immediate and real distribution of land at Hacienda Luisita, and galvanizing further, in general, landlord ownership by extending the bogus CARP.
By way of EO 79, Aquino III has defended his imperialist bosses by further opening up Mindanao to the plunder of large-scale mining, which has already laid waste mountain ranges such those in Surigao by TMC, in South and North Cotabato by Glencore-Xstrata, in Compostela Valley by Russel Mines Inc. and in Zamboanga Peninsula by Toronto Ventures Inc.. Moreover, once the pacification of the MILF succeeds, the influx of investors that will exploit and eventually ravage the natural gas-rich Liguasan marsh in the Cotabato province will be expected.
The US-Aquino regime has encouraged massive land conversions that give way to the expansion of Dole, Del Monte and Sumifru plantations, which have already taken monopoly of Mindanao’s rich arable lands. With this, Aquino III goes on to deprive millions of peasants of land on a much larger scale. The uninterrupted expansion of these plantations as well as mines, exacerbated by drastic changes in the climate, induces the worst of disasters, such as the catastrophe wreaked by super typhoons Sendong and Pablo that claimed the lives of thousands and further damaged the environment.
The US-Aquino regime has succeeded in further increasing the army of the unemployed in the country by having the establishment of national industrialization completely jettisoned. In the onslaught of the utter lack of meaningful employment, many job-seekers, especially in Mindanao, turn to demeaning, hazardous and even sub-human work for their daily subsistence. Even more contemptible, Aquino III’s government has never, not even once, given Filipino workers a significant increase in their wages, thereby decreasing their purchasing capacities in the face of continuing peso devaluation. The recent shocking “sex-for-flight” scandal shows how the Aquino government eggs on the rape of our overseas Filipino workers, even by Philippine consulate officials themselves. The US-Aquino regime has sorely failed to defend the rights of Filipino workers abroad, who in turn are protesting at present these dastardly human rights abuses.
Aquino III’s guarantee to bring “peace and order” to Mindanao has been by way of deploying battalions of fascist AFP forces to various provinces in the island, which has only embroiled the people in an unjust war and brought nothing but un-peace and dis-order. The US-Aquino regime has not only neglected most, if not all, of Mindanao provinces economically, it has also placed them under the mercy of the gun and has further sown discord in its continuing slaughter of the Moro, Lumad and Mindanao peoples.
The US-Aquino regime has politically maneuvered to trap the MILF under its obscure framework of “peace,” and has inextricably tied it to conditionalities that smack of capitulation, including among others the reckless “decommissioning of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Force,” which is meant to emasculate their most powerful weapon. While Aquino III continues to crank out every trick to hoodwink the MILF into capitulating, he has miserably failed to address the issue of genuine autonomy in Mindanao, inciting the Moro people to continue waging armed revolution despite the signing of the GPH-MILF’s Framework Agreement. Further enraging the Moro people is the fact that the Aquino government has opened Moro land to multinational corporations, bringing them further misery, poverty and hunger. The GPH is now more desperate to seal the deal the soonest time possible with the MILF because it intends to isolate and focus its attacks on the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front.
The US-Aquino regime has sown further discord by shamelessly bolting from the peace talks with the NDFP, falsely calling previous agreements, such as the release of NDFP consultants, as a “pre-condition.” The GPH panel has spread malice and intrigue against the NDFP to cover up for its resistance to accept the provisions under the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), specifically items related to national industrialization and genuine agrarian reform.
Instead of showing its sincerity by pushing for the resumption of the talks, the GPH has instead harped on “local peace talks” and “local peace zones.” But, these are inept assertions because, learning from history, “local peace talks” have only been divisive, chaotic and have led nowhere but to illegal arrests and more confusion. As for “peace zones,” they were advertised to be so-called “gunless communities,” but in reality ended up as AFP military garrisons, causing more insecurity than ever to civilians who were forcibly made to reside in them.
On the podium on Monday, Benigno Aquino III will try to exonerate himself from any human rights violations in his first three years. However, over 140 extra-judicial killings have been recorded from the start of his presidency, apart from several cases of abuses committed by the AFP, PNP and Cafgu during the three years he is in power, which does not include yet the escalating state-sponsored killings of suspected drug pushers and other criminals in many cities in Mindanao.
Since Aquino III’s Oplan Bayanihan took over the reins from Gloria Arroyo’s brutal Oplan Bantay Laya, the AFP has conducted, without let up, military operations in all five regions in Mindanao, causing unimaginable devastation to communities in the countryside and the massive displacement of peasants and Lumads. Even urban communities and school campuses are not spared from their so-called Special Operation Teams (SOTs).
In the face of the Philippines’ stand-off with China over the Spratlys, the Panatag Shoal and the entire West Philippine sea, the Aquino regime, in a most perfidious act, has explicitly given way to the unmitigated intervention of imperialist US in Philippine affairs. The US-Aquino regime has treasonously made possible the return of the US bases by giving US armed forces and their war aircraft or vessels full access to virtually all airports and sea ports in the country, fixing the country in place within the design of the US’s contention with China.
Benigno Aquino III, who has himself benefitted greatly from the pre-programmed PCOS machine, will again thank hi-tech cheating in the recent automated elections for putting his most trusted allies in both Houses of Congress by means of the hocus-PCOS “60-30-10 pattern.” This has very well consolidated his hold on power, and he will use this as leverage to fast track, albeit surreptitious, charter change, which is aimed at totally expunging all provisions that safeguard patrimony and sovereignty.
In the remaining three years, we cannot expect anything from the US-Aquino regime but for it to push the country further beyond the brink of desperation and destitution, squeezing out the last ounce of blood from every Filipino in order to satisfy the whim of its imperialist master and the ruling classes. However Benigno Aquino III blindsides the masses once more in his upcoming SONA, it is imperative for the Filipino people not to lose sight of the revolutionary road towards national liberation and democracy by way of the people’s war.#