Sunday, October 10, 2010

Aquino gives token changes to the Filipinos in his first 100 day-NDF

Aquino gives token changes to the Filipinos in his first 100 days*

Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos
National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Mindanao
October 8, 2010

As expected, Mr. Benigno Aquino III failed to confront pressing issues of the people nor provide substantive measures in solving them as he delivered his first 100-day speech to the Filipino public. Instead, token changes and solutions were what he offered to the people. Noynoy Aquino feigned hurling brickbats against malfeasance perpetrated by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her cohorts in the previous regime so as to appease a deeply disgusted public while, in truth, absolves her of her crimes with inept inaction.

He continued to brag that he is leading the nation towards the right path, stressing that the ones who have usurped power during the previous administration will not be allowed to make a comeback. He wanted people to believe that he is a notch better than his predecessor and presented himself the hero, but try, as he might, his first 100 days tell exact opposite.

The funds which he boasted would oil his projects come from foreign monopoly capitalist firms and banks which desperately need to covet the country's natural resources and wants no less in exchange. The increase would not cause on the current national budget to trickle down to majority of already-deprived Filipino but would instead fatten the pockets of Mr. Aquino's Kaibigan, Kamag-anak, Inc., and his yellow army, which include individuals who come from so-called civil society groups, and the Social Democrats who all hold key government posts.

While he bragged about agricultural input subsidies, Aquino only covers up and ultimately buries the true demand of the Filipino peasant which is genuine land reform. Aquino, over and again evaded issues hounding his clan- owned Haciena Luisita during the campaign period, and even up to now that he is in power, despite growing clamor for the distribution of the said land. Being a big landlord himself, it is clear that any policy or program that would promote genuine land reform would be inimical to his interest.

The jobs Mr. Aquino said that big local and foreign investors would pour in the country, would only spell more labor-only contracting schemes, low wages, meant only to extract cheap labor from the Filipino workers. The Public-Private partnership Aquino talks about, in essence, is further privatization, tailor-made to attract investors and is tantamount to having our country's national patrimony and sovereignty for wholesale and up for grabs. These profit-motivated investors receive no less than special treatment, enjoying tax exemption and holidays at the expense of country's workers who are subjected to more exploitation.

While Aquino bragged about the policy changes in the GRP's Government Owned and Controlled Corporations for (GOCCs) his anti-corruption drive, the biggest plunderer under the persona of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remain scot-free. And, worse, her politician cohorts have been re-elected by means of a pre-programmed elections and have now aligned with Mr. Aquino in order to usurp government coffers further. While Aquino was quick enough to point changes in PAG-ASA, after axing its former chief, yet Aquino has remained mum over the issues of his officials including that of his close friend Interior undersecretary Rico Puno, who was linked to jueteng.

While he mentioned about increase in education budget, this budget still falls short of the 100 billion-peso needed to answer the basic problems of the education sector. In the 2011 budget, the Aquino regime proposes that budget of State Colleges and Universities be slashed; his government pushes for a tie up with private sectors which will eventually lead to higher matriculation fees, more drop-outs and less and less access to tertiary education. Aquino, in fact, aggravates the plight of the Filipino youth and their parents by adding two more years to basic education with its K-12 program, the training of which, in truth, is servile to the interests of both foreign and local capitalists, much to the detriment of millions of Filipino students and their parents.

And while Aquino babbles with increasing the budget of the Department of Health and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, they only, in fact, ranked sixth and seventh respectively in the next year's proposed budget. Debt-servicing, which remains a top priority and budget for the Department of Defense, which ranks at third, get the biggest chunk of the budget. His so-called National Health Insurance, alongside with cash distribution programs to the country's poorest of the poor to so-called alleviate poverty are only palliative measures that do not answer the perennial problem of the people. The KALAHI-CIDDS program, which Aquino takes pride on, is actually a counter-insurgency program meant to infiltrate communities; hence the pouring of millions of funds by World Bank is not surprising.

NDF-Mindanao calls on the people not to be easily swayed by Mr. Aquino's populist rhetoric, and to press him not to take the Filipino public for a ride. He never made mention of the fundamental changes the Filipino is longing for which included genuine land reform, national industrialization, addressing basic social services, peace talks and justice for human rights victims. Plain gimmickry and rhetoric are all that the US-Aquino has accomplished in the one hundred days it has been in power.

The ground for taking the revolutionary road is never more fertile than today and in the coming years. Unless, he heeds to the basic demands of the people, address their grievances and work for genuine change, the growing tide of the revolution, will not cease from rocking the US-backed regime of Aquino.

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