Aquino government pushes anti-people budget
By Ed Ladera
Liberation, July-September issue
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) sternly criticized the PhP 1.64 trillion budget proposal for 2011 of the newly-installed Benigno Aquino III government, calling it “a counter-insurgency budget”. The CPP pointed out its “counter-insurgency” framework and priority, especially as it gives priority to beefing up the military and other security agencies, alongside debt servicing.
This budget is very much in line with the US Government Counter-Insurgency Guide of 2009, the CPP declared. The Aquino government proposes to increase the budget of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) by 81%. This unprecedented increase is scandalous. In contrast, the budget to assist Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) is going to be slashed by almost 50%.
There are some nine million overseas Filipino workers in over 160 countries worldwide. Seven thousand of them are in jails in different countries, at least ten thousand are stranded in the Middle East seeking repatriation, and 108 are in death row. All of them are in dire need of legal and diplomatic protection, and yet the Aquino government chooses to reduce funds for their assistance.
Garry Martinez of Migrante International and John Leonard Monterona of Migrante Middle East Chapter condemned the anti-OFW move of President Aquino. Budgets for vital social services are also going to be cut. The budget for education has been reduced and is going to be at least PhP 100 billion short of the required amount to address shortages in teachers, classrooms and other facilities. The budget for health is likewise going to be slashed.
Allocations for agriculture and agrarian reform is proposed to be cut by 26%, water resources development and flood control by 21.4%, power and energy by 65.5%. The proposed 123% increase in the budget of the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) is meant to make the Aquino government appear generous to the “poorest of the poor”. 85.5% of its P34 billion budget will go to cash and other dole outs. Moreover, the DSWD performs a function in counter-insurgency by assisting in the uprooting of hundreds of thousands caused by intensified militarization by the AFP.These military operations are meant to destroy suspected mass base areas of the revolutionary movement.
In a statement released to the mass media, the CPP also condemned the priority given by the Aquino government to debt servicing in adherence to the imperialist International Monetary Fund (IMF), ruling that at least a third of the national budget be allocated to foreign debt payments. Debt servicing, which has been condemned as “legal stealing”, takes up a whopping PhP 823.27 billion of the Aquino government’s budget, an increase of 29.2% over the 2010 figure.