CPP to demand end to Aquino’s privatization, deregulation policies in peace negotiations

By CPP Information Bureau

Amid sharp increases in toll rates and train fares and skyrocketing prices of petroleum products and basic commodities, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today said it will demand an end to the Aquino government's policies of privatization, deregulation and neoliberalization when formal peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) formally resume in February in Oslo, Norway.

"The denationalization, privatization, deregulation and neoliberalization policies of the Aquino government are among the most onerous and antipeople economic policies imposed by the US imperialists through the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and other international funding and finance agencies," said the CPP.

"This has been the cornerstone of the economic policies of the puppet Philippine government since the first Aquino regime in the late 1980s and has been the source of superprofits for foreign big corporations and their local comprador partners."

"These policies have resulted in grave hardships for the Filipino people in the past two decades. The privatization and deregulation of the water, energy, oil, transportation, communications, health, education and other sectors have subjected the people to the profit whims of foreign and comprador commercial interests," the CPP pointed out.

"Judging by its further public avowals to ensure the profitability and freedom from regulatory risks of participants in its banner Public-Private Partnership Program, the Aquino government is set to surpass all past regimes in terms of subservience to the interests of big foreign and comprador business interests," said the CPP. "It has exhibited extra vigor in pushing for and defending increases in the toll rates of the South and North Luzon expressways and increases in the fare rates for the MRT and LRT trains. These increases have now triggered hikes in other public transport fares."

The CPP added that even water services rates in Metro Manila have been drastically raised by joint foreign and local service contractors, while the continuing hikes in electricity rates have been a perennial problem.

"On the other hand, it has shown complete indifference to the clamor of the Filipino people for urgent and fundamental economic reforms," added the CPP said further. "Aquino has shown no interest to carry out genuine and widespread land reform, especially as it is beholden to his big landlord clan's feudal and comprador interests. His regime has no blueprint to develop the economy's industrial and technological base in order to break its dependence on imports and foreign debt. He has remained deaf to the clamor for wage increases and policies to regulate oil prices amid the sharp rise in the people's cost of living."

"Aquino is bringing the deregulation policy to new heights by being the first government since the 1980s to make wholesale budgetary cuts for social spending," said the CPP, noting how the budgets for education, health, OFW legal assistance and other social services were reduced in the 2011 budget.

"More than 20 years of privatization, deregulation, liberalization and denationalization have resulted in foreign big corporations seizing greater control of the commanding heights of the Philippine economy," said the CPP. "The Filipino people have been exploitated and bled dry by
foreign monopoly companies and banks. They are now suffering from the worst effects of these IMF-imposed policies."

The CPP called on the Filipino people "to intensify their struggle against the privatization policies of the Aquino government and oppose its Public-Private Partnership Program. They should oppose the increases in toll rates, train fares and the like, and demand the cancellation of contracts that favor the interests of foreign banks and companies and trample on the national and social interests of the Filipino people."

The CPP said the upcoming resumption of formal peace negotiations between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), which have socio-economic reforms as the next immediate agenda, "should serve as an opportunity for the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces to put to question and demand an end to the denationalization, privatization, deregulation, liberalization policies of the Aquino regime."

Preliminary talks are set for next week in order to settle outstanding matters regarding problems with the GRP's compliance of earlier agreements, including the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).