Benigno Aquino III’s fourth SONA was bereft of any bright spark because it offered nothing but crumbs and palliatives for the Filipino masses, embellished with empty rhetoric that again skirted truly addressing the more fundamental issues of genuine land reform, national industrialization, sovereignty, and patrimony.
Aquino III, true to his class, is simply unable to comprehend the country’s basic problems, and it is not in his interest to provide real solutions for them. That is why he devoted much time in his overlong address to lavish certain members of his Cabinet with praise and take notice of the “heroism” of a few individuals, but ironically avoided to mention the plight and heroism of the overseas Filipino workers. He provided a bit of theatre when he attacked certain corrupt Cabinet officials, his alter egos in fact, only to deflect the blame from himself. His “no corrupt officials, no poor people” mantra has only been exposed as a sham.
Obviously feigning concern for the peasantry, he only said his government would take steps to find out which land could actually be distributed, which made a mockery out of genuine agrarian reform as he deliberately threw it again in the back burner. He bragged about “inter-cropping” and his irrigation projects, however, he failed to point out that imperialist plantations, particularly in Mindanao, have rapidly expanded and monopolized vast tracts of land grabbed from millions of farmers. Large-scale mining have also displaced peasants and the Lumads from their homes in the hinterlands.
Again, the SONA was absolutely mum on wage increase. He added insult to injury when he stressed that increases in SSS and GSIS contributions as well as in LRT fare rates are long overdue and must immediately be implemented. He extolled the head of DFA, but miserably failed to respond to the predicament of troubled OFWs, especially in giving justice to the aggrieved in the condemnable “sex-for-flight” scandal.
Despite overstressing on its purported benefits, it is undeniable that the US-Aquino regime’s PantawidPamilya Program does not provide a real source of livelihood for both workers and peasants, and even for the middle classes. Aquino III is only obsessed in giving alms to the poor rather than provide for decent work, conditioning people toheavily rely on palliatives for patronage. He spits on the faces of the millions of oppressed and exploited, giving them only morsels out of what they deserve to receive from their labor.
On basic social services, Aquino III was apparently ignorant with regard to widespread complaints against the inaccessibility of quality health care, medicines, and the continued privatization of public hospitals. He swaggered that his K12 program could carry outthe necessary reforms to the country’s deteriorating educational system. But, in truth, it will only burden poor families further, and, by design, will continue to provide for cheap, skilled and docile labor force for big business.
He misled the Filipino people by crowing about the GDP’s 7.8 per cent mark for the first two quarters of 2013, a figure pumped up only by the massive spending in the recent elections. The claim that 28 per cent of the 2013 GDP growth came from “manufacturing” was dubious, because under a semi-feudal system of society, there exists no real manufacturing industry, only assembly-lines and sweatshops. He did nothing more than boast of infrastructure projects fuelled by foreign loans, which is a source of corruption for government officials, and holds little or no meaning to the alleviation of the sorry state of the country’s poor. Despite the successive scourge of oil price increases in recent months, Aquino III made no mention of any decisive steps to stop its debilitating impact on the poor.
Instead of establishing real industries and developing agriculture through genuine land reform, Aquino III preferred tourism as one of the main sources of income generation, gushing over meaningless titles such as “the most romantic destination” that only makes the country a veritable playground for sex fiends and traffickers.
As expected, he bragged about the signing of the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, including some of its Annexes, and urged Congress to consequently support the so-called Bangsamoro Law, which comes, ironically, in the midst of on-going skirmishes in Central Mindanao. On the ground this early, in spite of the questionable Framework Agreement, the Moro masses are more and more drawn towards supporting the continuing armed uprising. The reactionary government has no reason to gloat because even if it does succeed to pacify the MILF, new militant Moro groups shall rise in its stead to fight for their genuine right to self-determination, just as when the MILF rose to continue the Bangsamoro cause when the MNLF capitulated.
He absolutely made no mention of the peace talks with the NDFP because the US-Aquino regime can neither justify its arbitrary withdrawal nor its current use of brutal and naked fascism through OplanBayanihan against millions of masses in the countryside. This complete silence onthe peace talks with the NDFP only means the further escalation of OPB’s ruthlessness against the revolutionary movement in the next three years.
He noted the number of houses that had been built for the victims of typhoons Sendongand Pablo, but failed to mention anything about putting a stop to the environmentally-destructive operations of large-scale mining and plantation, which caused thousands of families in Mindanao to lose their homes, livelihood and loved ones in the first place. Moreover, thousands of informal settlers, who never had decent homes at all, were only warned of more demolitions without any contingency work or relocation area.
As was pointed out by the NDFP-Mindanao, the Filipino people cannot expect the US-Aquino regime to offer the nation genuine development by way of genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization, nor can it be expected to defend our patrimony and sovereignty. As for the revolutionary movement in Mindanao, Aquino III’s SONA is clearly a declaration of war against the people, and, to counter it, the Revolution shall daringly take strides to strengthen the people’s war and carry the revolutionary aspirations of the masses to its fruition.