Intensify the Fight Against Aquino Leading the Nation Toward a Dark Future!

Another SONA Packed with True Lies and Blurry Visions!

Patnubay de Guia
NDF-Southern Tagalog Region
July 21, 2012

July 23 marks the third State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino III, a date that seems remarkable to the Filipino people supposedly because SONA reports the real state of the nation and carries with it a blueprint on how the nation can move forward or at the very least hopeful signs of better things to come. Hence, the meticulous preparations and media projections as well as the eager anticipation of the public enliven the nation – but regrettably not for long.

During Aquino’s first SONA in 2010, he introduced a “straight path” that the Filipino people ought to tread instead of the “crooked path” in which the nation had lost its way into. The straight path looks after the interests of the majority. The crooked path gives priority to one’s personal interests at the expense of the people. The first SONA was basically a litany of excesses and problems left behind by the former administration.

Bombastic and thematically similar, Aquino’s second SONA echoed with the words “wang-wang,” firstly used in June 2010 during his inaugural speech encouraging the people in power to shun the wang-wang because it has become a symbol of abuse of authority. During the second SONA, it was repackaged as “a symbol of change.” The people still hear Aquino’s words when he professed: “Do you want the corrupt held accountable? So do I. Do you want to see the end of wang-wang, both on the streets and in the sense of entitlement that has led to the abuse that we have lived with for so long? So do I.” He threatened those that would lead the people away from his made-up straight path: “I say to those who would lead us astray: if you will further disadvantage the poor, do not even think about it. If all you would do is to fill your own pockets, do not even think about it. If it is not for the benefit of the Filipino people, do not even think about it.”

Three years went past yet nothing fundamental has changed. If anything, the state of the nation has worsened. The people are still in a miserable plight perpetually shackled by unemployment, landlessness, homelessness, skyrocketing costs of basic commodities and services, anti-people programs and policies and human rights violations among others. The incidence of child labor in the country has risen up. According to the 2011 Survey on Children by the National Statistics Office (NSO), 18.9 percent of the 29.019 million children in the country aged 5-17 years old were already working, higher than the 4 million working children in a 2001 survey. Yet, the government fails to create programs that shall provide employment for parents to solve child labor while millions are forced to look for livelihood outside the country. According to independent think tank IBON, the total number of unemployed and underemployed increased from 10.9 million in April 2010 to 11.7 million in April 2012 consisting of 4.4 million unemployed and 7.3 million underemployed. The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) has given way to massive land conversion, land grabbing and cancellation of certificates of land ownership award (CLOA). Vast agricultural lands are transformed into residential subdivisions, commercial centers and eco tourism projects. Thousands of urban poor has been displaced to give way to Public-Private Partnership Program (PPP). The prices of petroleum products have gone up. Extra judicial killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violation continue to pass. Not a single perpetrator of human rights violation has been brought to justice. The provision of social services to the people has become a business opportunity for private corporations through Public-Private Partnerships, which in effect fewer people have been able to afford and access them. There is even a plan to phase out the charity wards for poor people in government hospitals as Philhealth plans to cover the costs of indigent patients. But bigger budget cuts and the lack of concrete plans on how to improve services within government hospitals, per se, such as hiring of sufficient medical personnel and upgrading centuries-old medical facilities and equipment shall not make the health situation of indigent patients and the country in general any different.

The road that Aquino treads is dangerous. More than anything else, Aquino’s puppet government looks after the needs and interests of the United States. It allows U.S. naval ships and military aircraft access to the country’s naval and airport facilities. It encourages U.S. military intervention in the West Philippine Sea dispute intensifying the tension between the Philippines and China. An Executive Order in Mining has been released giving way to destructive and anti-people mining ventures by foreign mining corporations. There is no plan of building domestic economy but foreign corporations enjoying long tax holidays and exploiting the country’s cheap labor and natural resources are omnipresent.

Aquino’s straight path is also designed to serve the interests of the local ruling class. Big local capitalists run their business without regard to the issues of the workers on proper wage, good working conditions and labor rights. Small businesses up to the smallest vegetable stand in the market are imposed with high taxes while big businesses simply get away with tax evasion cases. Corruption in the government is still prevalent. Ask a sari-sari store vendor renewing store license and tongpats (bribe) still occur. Where has the change in Aquino’s straight path gone? During his first SONA, Aquino strongly maintained to hold the corrupt accountable and promised to conduct various programs and services for the people so that “all can dream again.” During his second SONA, he said the government was steering in a clear direction and in ways that truly work for the people. Aquino lied through his teeth. The truth is that anyone leading the country astray from serving the U.S. and the local ruling class faces the threat of or the actual removal from office. The poor and powerless face hostility and bullets.

The burden of Aquino’s third SONA once again is expected to address the ruling few and its real boss, the U.S imperialist – consolidating ties, forging unities, and strengthening commitment within their class. The issues and concern of the people, like Aquino’s previous SONA, will be distorted, sanitized and dressed as the main topic but in fact are merely mentioned to serve as embellishments.

A government that is built in the foundation of serving the interests of the U.S. and the local ruling class is irreconcilable with that of the people. To fulfill their unquenchable greed for power and wealth, the former that constitutes the minority wants to create the truth for the majority. To appease hunger, to conceal social injustice Aquino wants the people to believe that change has transpired. Those still in dearth should wait for better things to come.

“MalacaƱang has brought genuine, meaningful change. No longer is the Filipino mired in paralysis and despair; he has seen the seemingly difficult tasks achieved.” Where did that rhetoric come from? For the people living in misery those words are utterly incomprehensible – absurd. Aquino intends to make his true lies and real illusions the opium of the people. But poverty, exploitation and oppression are what truly embody the state of the nation. The Filipino people’s future with Aquino is clearly dark. But the people are not powerless. While Aquino is delusional, the people are sober and able. They have an unfailing capacity to solve their own problems and build a government not for the imperialist and the local elite, but in ways that truly work for them.

The Filipino people have no choice but to face Aquino’s remaining years in power with rage and rebellion -- a monument to the unquenchable spirit of the people to build a democratic and free nation. The people have to stage and intensify mass protests and actions, consolidate their ranks, forge stronger unities and wield it like a gun directly pointed at the head of the enemy.


For Reference: 

Patnubay de Guia, 
NDF-Southern Tagalog