End the pro-imperialist and antipeople economic system

Editorial
ANG BAYA
Jan 21, 2012

The Filipino people gravely abhor their continuously deteriorating economic conditions under the US-Aquino regime. After a year and a half in power, Benigno Aquino III has clearly demonstrated that his regime is no different from the Arroyo regime and all other past regimes in terms of economic policy and its inability to address the people's poverty and hunger.

The problems of unemployment, low wages and rising costs of petroleum products, food and other basic commodities and services go on unabated. Landlessness, lack of housing for the urban poor and epidemics run rampant even as education and health services continue to deteriorate. Massive environmental destruction has moreover aggravated the people's economic hardship.

Social inequality has become increasingly stark, with the masses of workers, peasants, farm workers, minority peoples, ordinary employees, small professionals, students and other sectors living lives of growing wretchedness and big foreign capitalists and their big comprador capitalist, landlord and bureaucrat capitalist cohorts living ever more profligately by intensifying their exploitation and oppression of the toiling masses, plundering the nation's natural resources and wielding reactionary state power to favor and protect their businesses and properties.

The Aquino regime would have the people believe that it is taking the “righteous road,” in contrast to the rampant corruption of the previous regime. In fact, not only are bureaucrat capitalism and corruption rampant under the Aquino regime. It has also perpetrated the trade and investment liberalization policies as well as deregulation, privatization and denationalization—the very same ones enforced by Arroyo during her time.

Laws on deregulation remain in effect and continue to be used by big foreign capitalists and their cohorts to raise the prices of oil, water, power, train fares, toll fees and medical and educational services with impunity. Deregulation also continues to serve as the framework for justifying state budgetary reductions in social services and giving free rein to the “private sector” of big capitalists and compradors to commercialize schools, hospitals and roads, among others.

Trade and investment liberalization policies that have provided the context for laws such as the Mining Act of 1995, the Foreign Investments Incentives Act, the Omnibus Investments Code and provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) continue to cause great destruction to the local forces of productiom, especially the masses of Filipino workers. To attract foreign investments, wages have been frozen to provide cheap labor. Casualization, contractualization and other flexible labor systems continue to run rampant.

The Aquino regime continues to favor foreign big capitalists by granting them tax holidays and easing restrictions on profit and capital remittances and repatriation. It protects the operations of foreign big mining companies and allows the latter to plunder the country's mineral wealth, ostensibly to generate employment. The mining companies' less than 1% contribution to employment generation comes at the cost of depleted natural resources and irreversible environmental damage.

The liberalization of the agricultural sector has for decades been invoked by big capitalist countries to dump their agricultural products in the Philippines to the detriment of local agricultural production. The liberalization of this sector has allowed the entry of foreign big agro-corporations that have been propagating seeds, pesticides and other products that have eroded self-reliant production and tied local production to expensive foreign capital goods. Foreign big multinational corporations seize lands without letup. Big landlords, merchants and foreign big capitalists have intensified their exploitation and oppression of peasants and farm workers.

Aquino has allocated a huge portion of the government budget to serve the interests of foreign big capitalists through the Public-Private Partnership Program (PPP). Through the PPP, major infrastructure projects are ceded to foreign big capitalists and their local business partners. The projects are funded by government money and state-guaranteed loans contracted from foreign banks. As in the case of the Light Rail Transit, the South Luzon Expressway and similar projects, the “private sector” of big capitalists is eventually given full control to amass profits.

The Aquino regime's economic policies are all geared towards the perpetuation of the current semicolonial and semifeudal system. These policies intensify the exploitation and oppression of the toiling masses and the Filipino people. They condemn the entire country to crisis. They stunt local industries and prevent the emergence of an independent and self-reliant economy. They perpetuate monopoly control over land. They destroy local production and generate problems of mass unemployment. Instead, the regime contents itself with exporting labor to other countries and concocting short-term showcase programs that generate temporary employment.

The poverty and oppression of the Filipino people are bound to worsen in the face of plans by the Aquino regime to further open the Ptohilippine economy in accordance with US imperialist dictates.

The crisis is pushing the Filipino people towards the path of mass struggle to fight for their democratic interests. The worsening crisis that has been bludgeoning the Filipino people is creating conditions that rouse them to awareness of the basic problems that lie at the roots of their poverty and suffering.

It is the duty of the revolutionary forces to reach out to the people in their millions and rouse them to the need for national and democratic change. The revolutionary and progressive forces must thoroughly expose the roots of crisis and dispel counterrevolutionary and reformist ideas being propagated by the imperialists through schools, the mass media, the internet and other information media.

The revolutionary forces must persevere in mobilizing millions upon millions of people to tread the path of people's war and advance it to the next higher stage. Growing numbers are becoming conscious of the fact that the Filipino people's welfare can best be ensured only under a government that truly serves their interests.