Confront Aquino's remaining years with mass struggles and armed resistance

ANG BAYAN, Editorial
7 July 2012

Hearing how Aquino has been describing his first two years in power, one would think that life in the Philippines has grown so grand. Poverty, he says, now belongs to a bygone era, with prosperity and a life of comfort both within reach. But that would be the case only if one were to turn a deaf ear to the cries and grievances of a people in the depths of hunger and poverty.

The "path of righteousness" slogan Aquino keeps on mouthing is nothing but a figment of his imagination. It can be likened to a lullaby that Aquino like to sing over and over to lull the people's minds and usher them into a world of make-believe. But even innocent babies bawl when their bellies ache with hunger and they are deprived of care. The fantasy world Aquino likes to conjure will eventually vanish in the face of the overwhelming reality of poverty, oppression and exploitation.

However the people's experiences under Aquino are summed-up in the past two years, one thing is undeniable--that there has been no improvement in the daily lives of the toiling masses. Whatever bits of hope they have left grow tinier in the face of their inability to find jobs, whether inside the country or overseas. They are mired in ever deeper poverty. Hunger and disease are widespread. Allocations in the national budget for health care, education and other social services continue to dwindle.

Despite the promised "change," there is nothing new with Aquino's basic economic policies. He has chosen to perpetuate liberalization, deregulation, privatization and denationalization--policies that have brought nothing good to the Philippine economy. Aquino persists in obstructing national industrialization and genuine land reform.

Since taking his seat in MalacaƱang, Aquino has been obsessed with imposing more taxes and fees on the people in order to increase his government's revenues. He immediately busied himself with hiking expressway toll fees and train fares and dismissed the widespread demand for a reduction in the taxes being levied on petroleum products despite the tremendous burden on the people. He has pulled all stops in raising fees in public schools and hospitals and legislating higher taxes on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.

Like all previous regimes, Aquino's priority is to attract investments from foreign big capitalists and credit from foreign banks. Workers' wages remain pegged at extremely low levels. Demolitions of urban poor communities are rampant to give way to foreign capitalist projects. In accordance with the wishes of foreign big capitalists, Aquino is currently focusing on liberalizing policies to facilitate the plunder of Philippine mineral resources.

Aquino claims that through his cash doleouts in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program, that he is solving the people's poverty, even without addressing the basic demands for land, jobs, higher wages and affordable prices of commodities and social services. The project, which is funded by a huge debt from the World Bank payable in 2015, is in reality being used by local politicians to enhance their influence and is part and parcel of counterrevolutionary programs aimed at veering the people away from the path of struggle.

The Aquino regime is increasingly resorting to fascist violence against the people under the Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression which mainly targets those who are actively engaged in mass struggles, especially those who assiduously support land reform, resist foreign mining and protect the environment. The AFP is using the dirty tactics of deception, terror and repression. Armed soldiers maintain their presence in communities to create a climate of fear and impose martial law-like policies. Shootings, beatings, the forcible use of the masses' houses and schools as camps, theft, the seduction of women, rape and other sexual abuses, assaulting and terrorizing children are commonplace.

The Aquino regime has the audacity to go allout in its war of suppression against the people because it enjoys the full support of US imperialism. The US has raised its military assistance to the Aquino regime in exchange for its puppet regime's more obsequious acquiescence to all its wishes and commands.

A growing number of American warships and submarines have been docking in Philippine ports, in accordance with the US strategy of strengthening its military presence in the Asia-Pacific. US military planes and drones will be given full freedom to use the country's air space to go on surveillance missions. The permanent presence of US troops based in Zamboanga is being strengthened. These troops are directly engaged in combat operations in various parts of the Philippines.

The more the Aquino regime becomes dependent on US imperialism, the more it loses support from the Filipino people. The more Aquino kowtows to the desires of the US and big foreign capitalists and banks, the more anti-democratic, antipeople and anti-national its policies become. After a mere two years in power, Aquino has gone to the hilt in trampling on human rights, surrendering the nation's freedom and heaping one burden after another on the people's shoulders.

Two years into its term and the Aquino regime's illusions of "change" and "hope" which it has used to deceive the people have been torn to shreds. Only two years have passed, but it has become painfully clear that Aquino's rule will be marked by nothing but intensified oppression and exploitation, more grinding poverty and greater suffering for the Filipino people.

The Filipino people must confront Aquino in the remaining years of his term with stepped-up mass struggles and revolutionary armed resistance. The Filipino people must shake the Aquino regime to its very foundations to prevent it from engaging further in acts of utter puppetry to US imperialism, resorting to fascist violence and ceding the nation's resources and patrimony to foreign intersts. The regime must be held accountable for its national treachery and its serious crimes against the people.

Protest actions in the streets, in factories, schools and communities in the cities and countryside must continuously be strengthened. The Filipino people face on a daily basis various issues that bring to the fore their wretched and oppressive conditions, stoke their widespread anger and drive them to rise up and fight. The people must be united and mobilized in growing numbers in demonstrations and other forms of collective action.

Along with advancing mass struggles, the revolutionary forces must give their all in advancing guerrilla warfare nationwide. The New People's Army must launch bigger and more frequent tactical offensives, annihilate fascist units of the AFP and punish those who have committed grave crimes against the people. The longer Aquino stays in power and the more his illusory solutions are exposed for what they are, the more the people tread the path of armed revolution. Aquino himself is creating the conditions for the New People's Army to gain more adherents and grow in strength.