An Open Letter to the Public Officials of Negros Occidental and Oriental on the Issue of One Island – One Region

Frank Fernandez
NDFP - Negros
February 1, 2015

Solidarity greetings!

The entire revolutionary movement in the Island of Negros – the Communist Party of the  Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front highly commends you  and your group for your firm stand against the ambitious and devious One Island Region project of the ruling Marañon clique of Negros Occidental.  With utmost consideration for the welfare of the people of the Island of Negros, you  staunchly stand by your conviction despite pressures!

No amount of flowery words and sweet talkings can ever conceal the evil motives of this Marañon – Coscolluela clique in espousing such a project. For obvious reason, this project is nothing but an extension of the insatiable greed for political and economic powers of the wily comprador bourgeoisie –landlords, led by the fascist, “wolf in sheep’s clothing” governor, Alfredo Marañon, Jr. and his herd  of  docile and hungered clique. Not contented with the wealth they had amassed  in the Occidental side, now, they aspire to encompass the whole of the Island.

Historically, Negros Island has only one seat of government found in Bacolod. However, the south eastern coast of Negros was constantly under attack, and watchtowers were built to protect the Christian villages. Thus, 13 Recollectionist priests petitioned for the division of the Island in July 1876. Aside from the practicality of the petition, the “divide and rule” tactics of the Spanish colonialists was also applied, prompting the Governor General Valeriano Weyler on January 1,1890 to divide the Island in 2 provinces thru a royal decree. Since then, the 2 provinces  ruled separately and adopted the culture of the  2 different regions (6 and 7).

The  One Island Region project of Marañon is in consonance with its Negros First Agenda designed after the Philippine Development Plan of the US-Aquino Regime 2, under the Public Private Partnership Program. This project is the microcosm of the US  Imperialist Neoliberal Policy, purposely to establish its Asia-Pacific hegemony. Resulting to further  exploitation and oppression of the peoples in the colonies and semi-colonies like the Philippines. Thus, the rise of revolutionary tide everywhere.

The neoliberal economic policy according to Jose Maria Sison,“was instigated by US imperialism and came to be known in 1989 as the Washington Consensus (coined by economist John Williamson) because it had long been designed and enforced by the IMF, World Bank and the US Treasury Department, to be joined subsequently by the WTO in the 1990s. It imposed on the underdeveloped countries the following prescriptions supposedly for development: fiscal policy discipline, redirection of public spending away from industrial development and self-reliance, tax reform for the benefit of foreign investors and at the expense of the people, market-determined interest rates, competitive exchange rates, import liberalization, investment liberalization, privatization of state enterprises, deregulation and legal security for property rights.

Neoliberalism, otherwise known as market fundamentalism, has accelerated the accumulation of capital and the taking of superprofits by the monopoly bourgeoisie. As a result, the crisis of overproduction and over-accumulation by a few has recurred at a rapid and worse rate. The monopoly bourgeoisie has resorted to tricks of finance capitalism and has spawned a financial oligarchy in a futile attempt to override the recurrent crisis of overproduction and the tendency of the profit rate to fall. It has repeatedly expanded the money supply and credit, generated derivatives in astronomical amounts and made one financial bubble after another in order to raise the profits and overvalue the assets of the monopoly bourgeoisie.”

Its implementation in Negros Occidental thru the Negros First Agenda of the Marañon administration is wrecking so much havoc among the peasant masses, the farmworkers and the workers. More and more are displaced, homeless and jobless, in favor of the multinational corporations like Dole Phils., Del Monte, Stanfilco, Rain Trust Corporation, mining companies and many more.  In the name of “development” aggression, as a result of the neo-liberal policies, deregulation, liberalization, privatization and worse, denationalization continue unabatedly.

Showcasing Marañon’s criminality and anti-people scheme is the case of the 44 family- beneficiaries of CARP of Had. Arlocs and Had. Ilimnan, Murcia, who were evicted from their homes and livelihood. The Provincial government, in cohorts with the DAR and the former landowner , after paying more than P24 million,  put up the Negros First Ranch in the area, a home for the imported cows and sheeps. Ironically, these animals have a place they can call their own, while the poor peasants and farmworkers wander around in search of their livelihood. 

Cases of this type are now rampant in Murcia. And the provincial government is of course supporting it.

While it is true that the sugar industry in the Island still remains as the main industry, the peasants, farmworkers and workers are buried in the quagmire of feudalism and semi-feudalism, not only because of landlessness, low wages and no benefits, the regime remains inutile in the face of the impending 5-0% tariffs in the liberalization of sugar and other agricultural products  by the year 2015 due to the implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA).   The Sugar Regulatory Administration’s futile attempt at solving this crisis thru the “Block Farming” and diversification, only aggravates the ailing situation of the toiling masses, benefitting further the landed barons.

Institutionalized landgrabbing is rampant, Cancellation of CLOAs and CARP / CARPER beneficiaries is widespread amounting to almost 80% in Negros. While, only 3% of the beneficiaries progressed. Because of the new scheme in agrarian reform, new landlords  rise while 7 out of 10 farmers remain landless.

What’s worse, this program pave the way for these multinational corporations to further plunder the patrimony of the country in general and in the Island in particular, ranging from our mineral resources, logs and timber, water  and lands.

The once public and forestal  lands, the habitat of our abundant flora and fauna, watershed resources, are also under privatization as more private and commercial reforestation thru the “Greening” Program of the government  are mushrooming the countrysides. Foremost of which are the Mosser Foundation Reforestation Project in Himamaylan, Binalbagan, Isabela and Tayasan and  Olivia Yanson in Hinobaan, Candoni and Basay and many others.

Liberalization is taking its toll not only in agricultural products but also in mining. More and more mining companies are into mining in Negros. Statistics show  that almost 50% of the Island (with almost 55 mining companies applied and explored) are covered by mining, both in the hinterlands and offshore, both in the Occidental and the Oriental.  Fisherfolks  are deprived of their livelihood because of  the offshore magnetite mining. The peasant masses are displaced and dislocated from their homes and livelihood because of this destructive mining. Shall we become a skeletal Island  after 20-30 years  because of the destructive large-scale mining?

As Marañon gained so much favor from the regime, making him the Chairman of the Regional Development Council in the Visayas, with a gargantuan sum of P20  billion budget, he and his cohorts aggressively push for this devious One Island Region project, with  the ulterior motive of pushing forward the neoliberal policies of its erstwhile masters, the US imperialism and the puppet administration of P-noy in the whole of the Island of Negros.

Expectedly, the mercenary  AFP  cry out in defense of the One Island Region, talking a lot of hullabaloos about the project  and in support of its masters, the landlords-comprador bourgeoisie.  Practically, it may also be beneficial for its military planning and strategizing, especially in its vain attempts of crashing the revolutionary movement. (Well, the movement is prepared for that.)

Shall we just leave the fate of the masses in the hands of the vicious elements of society?  Or remain deaf and blind amidst the clamor of the masses for change? What legacy shall we be leaving the younger generations if  we remain passive and subservient  to the ruling semi-colonial, semi-feudal system?

The masses  are enraged. The abysmal wall of poverty deepens. The people rise in arms.  And soon the social volcano shall erupt …..We must act now, or be sorry later!

We must expose and oppose this devious One Island Region Project.  Arouse, organize and mobilize the masses in thousands and in millions to oust the corrupt Aquino regime and eventually put an end to this vile system.

With this situation, we are left with no options but to join hands together to fight against this devious project and further push for the ouster of the despicable, lame duck and  puppet Aquino regime. And with that, we wish to further strengthen the relations that  would mutually benefit  us.  With open arms,  we welcome your unwavering support.

Thank you and more power!

Serve the people,

(Sgd.)Ka Frank Fernandez
NDF Negros
February 1, 2015