July 25, 2015 at 6:32pm

NDF-Panay Statement of the occasion of BS Aquino’s last SONA

In the last year of his term, the main concern of Pinoy is to find successors that would supposedly sustain his program‘matuwid na daan’ (straight path). For all its claims of national development, peace and unity and clean government,‘matuwid na daan’ was selectively unleashed only upon some leaders of opponents and instantly conferred the ‘honestunless proven guilty’ status on himself and his cohorts even as they looted pork barrel funds (PDAP, DAP) in thehundreds of billions of pesos. National economic development in terms of the Gross Domestic Product increase from abackward economy only went to enrich foreign and local capitalists and big landlord-haciendero while inflicting povertyand misery on the poor masses.

The search for worthy successors was more to ensure that the next administration remains beholden to his clique andabsolve him from his various crimes during his term in office. The people demanding to topple him, even before the endof his term, are ever nipping at his heels. He favors the ever loyal Mar Roxas to be his successor but is unsure if Roxascould claw his way in to the presidency, even with the regime’s guns, goons and gold, in the face of public anger at theregime.

The Aquino regime may claim major gains in politics, the economy, peace and order, foreign affairs, governance andpoverty alleviation in the past 5 years and seek to carry these forward by preparing successors to his rule. But the pastfive years “achievements” constituted of the ravaging of the country’s patrimony and wealth for the benefit of bigforeign and local capital while dragging the people to further sufferings and want. The last year of his term could not beeven better.

Foremost in the people’s mind is the economy. The regime gives high priority to economic growth and foreigninvestment. While engorging big foreign capitalist and their local counterpart (the Sy family of Shoemart has even risento be the 73rd richest dollar billionaire in the world) in profit, the ranks of the poor expands and became ever miserable.Inspite of the high-rise building spree and road highways expansion, no genuine national industrialization was ever evenimagined. The last remaining sector of the economy still owned by the people are being open up to foreign andmonopoly control (such as privatizing public markets in Iloilo City for the Sy’s and now being copied in Metro Manila;corporatization of public hospitals towards private ownership; selling out of public water utilities).

The rice self-sufficiency program was a failure and abandoned for a resumption of massive rice importation to cover forever larger deficits in rice production. Panay Island, in agricultural/rice production, could feed twice its inhabitants andyet imported 10,000s of tons of rice. And then, the implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) by theAquino regime would flood the country with cheap sugar and rice and would strike the final blow to struggling rice andsugar producers and workers. The rest of the middle and working class would be choosing between basic serviceoutsourcing (BPO like call centers), tourist service workers or working abroad—all vulnerable to the worsening globalcrisis. Of course, these alternative employed only fill a small portion of the working class employment.

Panay has hardly recovered from the devastation of Super typhoon Yolanda in 2013 when the Aquino regimes criminalinutility again became highlighted. PNoy’s disbursement of Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA–the people’s money)came a year and a half too late. Panay, among the millions of disaster victims in the Visayas, even received it earlier dueto the storming by the people of the islands city and capitols (tens of thousands), demanding for compensation fromtheir own money. And yet the ESA distribution become mired in partisan politics, especially by PNoy local henchmen,and many were stolen by public officials. So many others have not received compensation due to them. Thousands ofvictims living along sea and river banks were never given anything at all for the simple reason that they live in hazardouslocation. Thousands of public school buildings have not yet been repaired. The destroyed crops and other livelihood hasnot been compensated even as the general livelihood has not recovered yet in much of North and Central Panay.

The Jalaur River Dam was trumpeted as the regime’s foremost major project, symbolic of the regime’s drive for‘development’. And yet it will, at best, only serve as a glorified water reservoir costing some P11B (the Korean loanportion to be paid by future generations). Its irrigation capacity would only be needed during dry season especially longones. During rainy season the rains would render it useless as irrigation facility and even be dangerous if it spills its damor be smashed by strong up river flooding. During dry seasons, the water provided by the watershed would not beenough, because even farms below stream near Jalaur’s mouth in Barotac Nuevo and Dumangas, had been fighting forirrigation water ever since. Water for the high canal to irrigate additional 10,000s of hectares is only a pipe-dream—theintensifying El Nino would prove this point: no water even for just those below the Jalaur river basin unless they drain allthe waters of the Dam, how much more for other areas to irrigate. (They won’t drain—remember Angat Dam).

The regime has now hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to further subject the country to neoliberalpolicies. In Panay, some ministerial-level conferences had and are to be conducted including the ones on capitalinfrastructure (policies which facilitate capital penetration and remittances, privatizing small and medium industries andthe further exploit the blue economy (of the sea). We are allowed to participate, by hosting the APEC, the planning ofthe firm control of our livelihood by foreign capital, the sell-out of our patrimony, the bankruptcy of small and mediumindustries by subcontracting them to serve more profits of big local and foreign corporation. Our depleted sea would befurther exploited for more profits for big foreign fish factories.

The regime has doubled the regular army troops deployed in Panay to face increasing numbers of protesting peoplemassing up on the streets and to fight the invigorated NPA forces. Occasionally the regime reinforces some 2-3000 ofPNP to secure APEC and presidential sorties in Panay. Some US troops were detached to Panay to train AFP soldier to beinter-operative with US troops and to help secure APEC. So was the justification for the militarization of cities and capitaltowns in Panay. The regime then, continuing the fascist practices of the Arroyo government before it, selectivelyassassinated Romy Capalla, Fernando Baldomero, Garete and others to sow terror among the rising people. The regimefurther harasses and intimidates the people’s organization, their mass leaders and members.

We attribute to the regime’s intensification of military operation, fascist attacks, and strong-arm tactics and criminalinutility, the powerful upsurge of armed and unarmed movement to oust the Aquino regime from power. The NPA hasmore frequent attacks on enemy troops and widened areas to maneuver in Western and Eastern Panay to strike at theenemy where he least expects. Some 10,000 to 16,000 regularly mass up at 3 to 4 urban centers and capitol all over theisland to confront the regime for several times in a year.

Enrichment of monopoly foreign and local capitalists and fellow hacienderos, while continuing to impoverish the massesand making them beggars of a measly cash transfer. Further destruction of a backward agricultural economy, criminalinutility in the face of Yolanda’s calamity further allowing foreign parasitic control of our patrimony and livelihood.Doubling on militarization and fascist attacks on the people. All of the above only makes the people more determined tooverthrow the US-BS Aquino regime.

Concha Araneta

National Democratic Front Panay

July 26, 2015