Broad repudiation of Aquino's SONA reflects regime isolation from people

Communist Party of the Philippines
July 28, 2013

Over the past week, Aquino's state of the nation address delivered last July 22 has been repudiated by broad sections of the Filipino people. This reflects the increasing isolation of the Aquino regime which for three years has ruled on the force of armed coercion, intimidation and suppression, masked with lies, media spins and publicity gimmicks. As before, Aquino manipulates and misrepresents public opinion, conceals the worsening conditions of the people, hides the rottenness of his "righteous" regime and justifies his regime's subservience to foreign big capitalists and local big business.

The sharpest criticism and rejection of Aquino's speech has come from the toiling masses of peasants, workers, urban poor, migrant workers and their families, jeepney drivers, students and other sectors. Church and other middle forces organizations as well contest Aquino's claims of change and progress. Widespread cyncicism meets Aquino's claims of "righteous path" and "good governance".

Aquino's speech is being roundly criticized for having failed to address the pressing issues being confronted daily by the toiling masses. In his close to two-hour speech, Aquino devoted not a single word to the sharp rise in the prices of diesel and other petroleum products since May which has roused the people to demand the repeal of the oil deregulation law and an end to the dominance of the foreign monopoly companies over the local oil industry.

He is also being vigorously denounced for his failure to address the Filipino workers' demand for a substantial increase in the daily minimum wage, as well as an end to the preponderance of contractualization and other flexible labor schemes which subject workers to worse forms of oppression and exploitation.

Aquino did not show an iota of concern for the worsening problem of unemployment, something which could not be denied even by government statistics. He was content with boasting about so-called high job acceptance rates for the few hundred graduates of the government technical school (many of whom are actually working under oppressive schemes as "on-the-job" trainees for several months without assurance of hiring).

Aquino asserts that students and workers need only to undergo technical training to be assured of jobs while his government can continue to pursue the policies of anti-industrialization. He makes false claims of "job opportunities" when there is actually no massive hiring drive by local firms. That labor export has almost doubled since Aquino assumed power underscores Aquino's failure to address the people's demands for local jobs.

Aquino is being denounced for making false claims of progress in the distribution of the Cojuangco-Aquino's Hacienda Luisita land. The farm workers of Hacienda Luisita reject Aquino's claims that the distribution of the Luisita land is set to be completed by September. They point out how the Aquino regime is making use of the bureaucracy to put up one scheme after another to divide the farm workers, subject them to oppressive amortization plan and compel them to follow a cropping scheme determined by the Cojuangco-Aquinos. Aquino's Luisita land distribution is a big evil joke against the peasants and farm workers.

Claims of victories of the "righteous path" is being confronted by widespread cynicism. Aquino makes empty boasts of anti-corruption drive in the notorious public works department which has supposed to have saved billions of pesos for the government. The truth is not a single bureaucrat in the public works department has been charged and made to pay for widespread corruption. They continue to benefit from such old corrupt practices as "reblocking" or digging up and re-asphalting perfectly fine roads to justify the allocation of funds.

Aquino's public disparage of middle-level bureaucrats whom he claims are either corrupt or inefficient is being met with widespread cynicism. It has become apparent that in publicly censuring the officials of the Bureau of Customs, all that Aquino wanted was for them to submit their resignations in order to give him a free hand to select who to retain and remove, without benefit of due process and without anyone being made accountable for their crimes. In the end, all that Aquino wanted was to remove key customs officials who form part of rival cliques and thus ensure full control of the customs bureau by removing officials who do not form part of his "righteous" gang.

The people's cynicism regarding Aquino's "righteous path" and "good governance" heightens as it becomes increasingly clear to them that such propaganda serves only to camouflage the Aquino clique's own corruption. Aquino has replaced the old with the new in the "weather-weather lang `yan" mode of Philippine reactionary realpolitik.

Aquino's endless "righteous path" blabbering cannot conceal the fact that smuggling continues to rise. Statistics show that smuggling under the Aquino regime has worsened at least three times since its assumption to power three years ago. Rice smuggling, in particular, continues to worsen. Aquino boasts of reduced importation of rice since 2010. However, rice smuggling continues to rise, filling the increasing demand while local rice production remain stagnant.

Aquino is utterly callous in insisting on outright antipeople measures such as pushing for an increase in train fares (justified by making false claims that actual fares cost P60 and that government is subsidizing as much as P45 per passenger when, in fact, end-to-end fare is only actually less than P10) and an increase in premium payments by SSS members (when not a single one has been taken to account for past anomalies involving the use of SSS funds for questionable purchases and private investments).

Negative public reaction to Aquino's address is being counteracted by Aquino's Yellow Army of publicity specialists and media managers. Over the past few days, they have released manipulated survey results claiming Aquino's approval ratings are rising further, however contradictory this is to its own results showing that Aquino's performance was rated as "barely passing" or "pasang awa." The Yellow media is hard at work to paint the impossible scenario of a perennially popular president amidst a grave economic crisis and widespread armed suppression and increasing cases of human rights violations.

Aquino's speech was an ode to neoliberalism. It was a vain attempt to justify the perpetuation of the imperialist-dictated policies which have subjected the Filipino people to grave hardships and sufferings. Not only did Aquino's speech fail to reflect the real conditions of the Filipino people, it engaged in outright deception in order to conceal the rottenness of his regime and make people cling to false hopes of change. With his armed police swinging truncheons against bloodied protesters, Aquino sought to drown the people's grievances with his empty soundbytes.

The Filipino people should unite to further expose the anti-people, anti-democratic and puppet Aquino regime. They should unmask Aquino's "righteous path" as nothing but a propaganda concoction to conceal the corruption of the Aquino-Cojuangco clique. They should expose the continuing problem of landlessness which subject the peasant majority to feudal and semifeudal exploitation. They should expose the neoliberal policies that serve foreign and local big capitalists interests and cause the Filipino people widespread sufferings.

Aquino's speech portends greater hardships for the Filipino people in the remaining three years of his regime. As a result of Aquino's adamant refusal to heed the nationalist and democratic demands of the Filipino people, the crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system is bound to worsen. The crisis of the ruling political system is bound to intensify and challenge Aquino's political power. The grave crisis will surely rouse greater mass democratic struggles that will coincide with the further intensification of the people's armed resistance over the next three years.