Unite and jolt the US-Aquino regime with protests

Ang Bayan
January 07, 2015

Download PDF in Pilipino

We must shake the US-Aquino regime with protests throughout 2015. All sectors must unite to resist the regime’s antipeople policies and to advance their welfare and interests. The Filipino people must spark up major battles in a head-on collision with the ruling regime’s rottenness and corruption, and its puppetry and brutality, which are all bound to worsen.

The US-Aquino regime immediately opened the new year by striking a major blow against the people’s interests. The substantial MRT and LRT fare hikes it has imposed are a huge and added burden to the 1.3 million workers, students, rank-and-file employees and other ordinary folk who ride the trains daily. It must be resisted not just by residents of Metro Manila but by the entire nation.

The regime ordered the train fare hikes in the first days of the year in the belief that the people’s protests and resistance would be powerless to stop it. The Filipino people are determined to prove the Aquino regime wrong. To do this, they must unleash the broadest movement to oppose it and generate gigantic street rallies protesting not only the train fare hikes but the policy of privatizing the train system and mass transport infrastructure and other social services.

At the forefront of this protest movement are the democratic and patriotic forces. All sectors must unite to fight the fare increase and draw up plans of action for the next several weeks in order to bring forth gigantic protests against the MRT and LRT fare hikes. Workers, youth and students, rank and file employees and the semiproletariat in the communities must closely cooperate to form multisectoral coordinative committees focused on advancing the campaign on a day to day basis.

Activists must promptly and tirelessly reach out to the millions of people directly affected by the MRT and LRT fare hikes. They must develop expertise in arousing the unorganized masses and mobilizing them in various forms of protest to prepare them for even bigger mass protests within and outside campuses, offices, factories or communities.

The key to effectively reaching out to, and in arousing and mobilizing the masses is to develop expertise in propaganda and organizing. The real or basic issue behind the MRT and LRT fare hike must be sharply laid out, and this is no other than Aquino’s servility to the interests of big capitalists like the Ayalas and Pangilinans who have been able to wangle the contracts for operating the metrotrains as well as the construction of the rail extensions to Cavite and Bulacan. These contracts allow the Ayalas and Pangilinans to raise train fares annually to ensure their profits.

The public must be informed that these contracts are part and parcel of the continuing policy of privatization. They must see how massively detrimental privatization and deregulation have been on the people economically for the past three decades. They must know that the US-Aquino regime has a policy of slashing budgets for public services and transferring the funds to subsidize and guarantee the incomes of the government’s big capitalist cohorts under Aquino’s so-called Public-Private Partnership program. The issue of privatization and deregulation must be linked to other national and sectoral issues, among them the privatization of health and education services, of utilities like water and electricity as well as public infrastructure such as roads.

The masses’ attention, their anger and protests must be aimed at the privatization and deregulation policies and at the contracts entered into by Aquino with the Ayala-Pangilinan-big foreign capitalist and financier combine for the metrotrain operations and extension.

In making improvements on propaganda work, various appropriate forms of expression and mobilization must be utilized that would enable the progressive and democratic forces to reach the broad masses and encourage them to join and demonstrate their solidarity with people’s actions. Propaganda forms that are popular, easy to use and disseminate (such as primers) must be used. The internet and social media must be availed of for propaganda purposes and for organizing mass actions. Various forms of mass actions must be creatively utilized, gearing them to the people’s actual conditions and level of preparation. Attention must be given to forms that provide the people with opportunities to express their anger and grievances regarding the burning issue of the MRT and LRT fare hikes and against the ruling regime.

We must pay particular attention to, and make plans, on how to reach the broadest numbers of students in the biggest number of schools within Metro Manila and its environs. Protest actions must erupt in the various schools and pour out into the streets or nearby communities. We must also spark various kinds of protests, big and small, in communities, offices, hospitals, malls, public markets and other places. Those who oppose the MRT and LRT fare hikes must be promptly organized into patriotic and democratic associations.

All regions must express solidarity for, and take action against, the MRT and LRT fare hikes because this is not an issue of Metro Manila residents alone or of those living in its environs, but of the entire people: it is an issue concerning the continuing policies of privatization and deregulation.

Legal measures such as petitioning the Supreme Court and calling for Senate and Congressional investigations are likewise appropriate. The broadest possible unity must be forged among the various sectors, personalities and other entities in protesting the privatization and deregulation policies and the MRT and LRT fare hikes. Nonetheless, mass actions hold the key, and are what the patriotic and democratic forces must train the most attention on.

The US-Aquino regime must be rattled intensely by protests against the MRT and LRT fare hikes. These protests can gain even greater momentum from other people’s struggles in the coming months. Starting with this struggle, we must likewise bolster and advance protests against upcoming water and power rate hikes, demand lower prices for petroleum products and other basic commodities and reduced fares for provincial buses as well as sea and air travel. We must broaden unity on, and strengthen, the struggle for a P16,000-minimum monthly wage.

The MRT and LRT fare hikes are just one of the many other doubly oppressive policies that Aquino is expected to impose in his last year in power. On the last year of Aquino’s term as president, he will become even more corrupt, brutal and subservient to US imperialist dictates in an attempt to extend the power of his clique beyond 2016.

The intense protests against the MRT and LRT fare hikes will further boost the people’s movement to oust the US-Aquino regime. We must pull all stops to call to account and punish the US-Aquino regime, shake it to its very foundations and oust it for its onerous policies against the Filipino people.