The socio-economic and political state of Mindanao is far worse than is being pictured by the reactionary US-Aquino Regime

Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos
28 July 2014

Today, on his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA), Benigno Aquino III will again surely paint a rosy picture of the country, including particularly of Mindanao, but reality, however, will show that the socio-economic and political situation in Mindanao have plunged to levels far worse than previous regimes.

The economic development Aquino III promised in his first SONA has not materialized to favor the vast majority of the people in Mindanao. The Mindanao peasantry continues to wallow in abject poverty, majority whom are still dispossessed of land to till, exploited and oppressed by big landlords and plantation-owning foreign and local big bourgeois monopoly capitalists. The urban poor in all cities in the island continue to be displaced as houses are demolished in favor of big bourgeois comprador interests.

Mindanao workers are still among the top low wage earners in the country, while getting no reprieve from highly exploitative and repressive labor conditions. Now, even members of the so-called middle class are affected by the rising prices of basic commodities and social services that include water, energy, health, education.

Big landlords, big bourgeois comprador, and foreign monopoly capitalists who own and run imperialist agri-business plantations, such as DolePhil, Del Monte and Sumifru, and destructive mining companies, such as the Toronto Ventures Inc. in the Zamboanga Peninsula and Taganito-THPAL, SRMI in Caraga, have rapidly expanded to reap super profits in the name of so-called “development and economic growth.” Imperialist export crop plantations have monopolized arable lands across the island through aggressive expansion while giant mining companies have heavily exploited mineral-rich lands, to the detriment of the fundamental rights and welfare of peasants, farm and industrial workers and the environment as well.

While these insatiably profit-hungry monsters raze the fields and mountains of Mindanao, the reactionary government under the US-Aquino regime in the last four years, has brazenly plundered the people’s coffers non-stop. Despite Aquino III ‘s “daang matuwid” pitch, it is undeniable that corruption is deeply ingrained from the lower levels of the barangay up to the higher echelons of the Philippine Congress to the powerful Office of the President.

Recently, the issue of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) fell flat on the face of Aquino III as it was declared unconstitutional by the reactionary government’s own Supreme Court, thus exposing Malacanang as the mastermind of grand malfeasance in the reactionary bureaucracy, to the tune of billions of pesos of people’s money used to control both his allies and enemies in Congress and for other anomalous deals.

The “SOP” cut of 10% to as much as 50 % in government projects as a standard modus in government transaction has not been eliminated. This and other corrupt acts thrive in such notoriously corrupt agencies as the Bureau of Customs, BIR, NIA, DENR, NFA, DPWH, the Department of Education and other government agencies, including the AFP and the PNP.

The political structure in Mindanao is the same as that throughout the country, wherein those who are on top of the power structure are either big landlord and big comprador bourgeois clans or simply bureaucrat capitalists who in enrich themselves in office to serve and protect the interest of the ruling classes and that of the imperialist. The masses have been continually disenfranchised effectively through bogus elections where money, goons and “hocus PCOS” machines to ensure the victory of the ruling classes.

The sheer puppetry of the Aquino III regime to US intervention reared its ugly head with the enforcement of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), a pact which virtually opens any land, air and water port facilities in the country to the entry of US military troops, aircraft and sea vessels. This is no less than a treasonous act not only against its own Constitution but, more so, against national sovereignty and patrimony, which out rightly repudiates the very integrity of the Aquino III regime to safeguard and uphold the interests of the Filipino people.

The increasing deployment of 45 – 50% of the AFP forces in Mindanao has militarized the countryside including urban centers of Mindanao, which clearly undermines the so-called civilian supremacy in most of the local governments throughout the island. This has resulted in ever-increasing human rights violations such as extra-judicial killings of activists and media, bombings, Howitzer shelling of communities and the strafing of innocent civilians, resulting in the enforced evacuations of Lumad, Moro and non-Moro communities.

The US-Aquino regime’s peace efforts have resulted in the exacerbation of disorder in the whole island. It has succeeded in pacifying the MILF, only to rekindle the fire of armed struggle by the BIFF and other armed Moro groups, which has spread among the Moro people in their pursuit for a genuine right to self-determination.

The Aquino government has yet to prove its sincerity in the effort to revive talks with the NDFP. It has even failed to tame the enemies of peace both in the military and civilian officials in Mindanao in the case of the NDFP-Mindanao offer for the safe release of the four (4) Prisoners of War (POW) under the custody of the NPA in the North East Mindanao Region as a gesture for peace, with a week-long ceasefire as the only pre-condition resulting in the failure to release the 4 POWs before the SONA.

On the other hand, the revolutionary movement has advanced in spite of the deployment of an overwhelming number of troops in Mindanao. Of the 10 AFP divisions nationwide, around 5 divisions or about 50% are deployed in Mindanao. It has focused its blood thirsty Oplan Bayanihan in the regions of Southern Mindanao, North East Mindanao and North Central Mindanao, even as it deployed sizable troops to contain the growth of Far South Mindanao and Western Mindanao.

We have sustained the initiative in the revolutionary armed struggle in the whole island against the AFP-PNP-CAFGU. All the five regions have shown their increased capacity in armed struggle such as the successful raid in Kibawi, Bukidnon, the ambush against AFP forces in Quezon, also of Bukidnon, the daring raids in Alegria, Surigao del Norte and against private armies in Agusan del Sur, and the NPA military actions in Matan-ao, Davao del Sur and Don Victoriano, Zamboanga del Norte..

We have continued to expand and deepen our mass base in the whole island and established barrio and municipal level Revolutionary people’s government. We have also broadened and heightened the participation of the masses in agrarian reform, and in the campaigns for education, cultural and other social services.

Currently, while the US-Aquino regime is being pounded by and is reeling from the intensifying chronic economic and political crisis, and with the looming bubble burst of the imperialist financial crisis, the revolutionary movement is gaining momentum in its effort to complete the requisites for its advance to the strategic stalemate stage. More and more people from the different sectors are now demanding for Aquino to step down. With this development, the US-Aquino regime will hardly be able to finish the next less than two remaining years of its term. #