Eliminate corruption which weighs down on the peasant masses

October 22, 2013 

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The vast countryside is a picture of extreme oppression and abuse. It is where millions of peasants and farm workers suffer from intensifying feudal and semifeudal exploitation and where hunger and penury are the fruits of their efforts to enrich the land and produce food. It is where they are victimized by widespread landgrabbing, back-breaking debts, and incomes that are woefully inadequate to buy even food and other basic needs.

Thus, it is doubly enraging to know that the peasants' poverty and oppression have been invoked by corrupt bureaucrat capitalists in connivance with other exploiters as pretexts to amass ever larger sums of money for themselves.

The syndicate of Janet Lim-Napoles and high-ranking officials of the reactionary government has stolen mind-boggling amounts of public funds through the use of bogus non-governmental organizations purporting to serve the interests of the peasant masses. These racketeers have used the peasants' needs and demands to cause the release of billions of pesos for the purchase of seeds, fertilizer, pesticides and other agricultural inputs.

In truth, however, these so-called farmers' programs and fake NGOs have been mere conduits for the laundering of billions of pesos of public funds and served as smokescreens for corruption.

Instead of benefiting the peasant masses, these humongous amounts of public funds have merely ended up in the pockets of bureaucrat capitalists. This anomalous system of using NGOs became widespread under the Arroyo regime. Under the Aquino regime, the practice persists, especially in the agricultural sector, but with the "righteous road" slogan as a cover. Aside from the funds flowing from Congress and the Senate, huge amounts have also been sourced directly from Malacañang through the DAP program.

Avaricious bureaucrats and their cohorts have also made bundles of money by feeding on the suffering of the rural poor who have been victimized by strong typhoons and massive floods and landslides.

But however startling these cases are of stealing from the public coffers, they are minuscule compared to the hundreds of billions of pesos plundered by various reactionary governments in implementing one of the grandest and most deceptive projects in the country's history--bogus land reform.

From the Marcos dictatorship's PD 27 to the CARP of the Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada regimes to the CARPER under Gloria Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III, the reactionary state has spent P259.5 billion for land reform. But the face of feudal and semifeudal exploitation has hardly changed even on the eve of CARPER's conclusion in 2014.

There is no other instance of land reform's failure more striking than the agonizingly slow process of land distribution in Hacienda Luisita, which is owned by the Aquino-Cojuangco clan. Aquino likes to boast of how "historic" CARP's implementation at the vast estate is. In fact, the only things that have been distributed at the hacienda are certificates requiring decades of amortization on the part of the farm workers.

Meanwhile, landgrabbing is rampant nationwide as haciendas and plantations expand anew and land is cleared to give way to mining companies. Amortization papers held by CARP "beneficiaries" are being cancelled o‭n a massive scale, with landlords and compradors never running out of means sanctioned by reactionary laws to continually expand their landholdings.

All reactionary land reform programs have resulted in the further entrenchment of land monopoly because like other farmer-oriented programs of the bourgeois state, they are nothing but money-making schemes. They are no different from the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program which purportedly aims to alleviate poverty, especially in the countryside. Greedy bureaucrats lost no time in seizing on the CCT as a means of raiding the public coffers.

The peasantry can never expect any change in their wretched conditions, especially under the Aquino regime. Aquino and his fellow corrupt bureaucrats will continue using their poverty to plunder state funds unless the system that engenders corruption, exploitation and oppression is put to an end.