As Marcos brings sufferings, so the people must fight
Ferdinand Marcos Jr acted blind and deaf to the suffering and grievances of the people when he declared the state of the nation as “sound.” In fact, in just one month that he has been in power, the people have been pulled deeper into poverty and crisis.
His promises of prosperity and development are pure fantasy. He laid his regime’s direction that is no different from the worn down neo-liberal path which, in the past four decades, has led nowhere but to recurrent crisis and suffering.
Marcos ignored the cries of the Filipino masses, especially over rising prices of food and basic needs. Even state agencies could not deny the 6.1% inflation rate last June, which climbed further to 6.4% this July. If ordinary people are asked, the weight of their burden is beyond measure.
Marcos simply dismissed the cry for wage increases despite the continuous slide of the peso, which in July was only ₱0.84 compared to its value in 2018. Marcos remained silent over the long-term grievance of workers against the oppressive contractualization system. He offered no solution to the widespread problem of unemployment except to further increase the number of workers being sent to other countries.
He disregarded the clamor for genuine land reform. Marcos merely promised to suspend by one year the collection of amortization of titles under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). He wants those with “land transfer certificates” to pin their hopes on a law that will nullify their loans and unpaid amortization, which is, in fact, futile in the face of the widespread land grabbing by large mining and plantation companies. Despite serving as secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Marcos is doing nothing amid rapid increases in the prices of sugar, eggs and other food commodities. Marcos’ only plan is to drown the peasant masses in loans purportedly to serve as capital to make them use “new technologies.”
Marcos acted as spokesperson of foreign banks and corporations when he laid out economic policies long dictated by the imperialists. He is deaf to the people’s cry, but clearly listens to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank when he declared that attracting foreign capital is the central policy of his regime. He conjured the illusion that the “strategic industries” will enter “ecozones.” Never have foreign investments brought industrialization to the Philippines, and will not bring progress to the local economy at this time of global capitalist crisis.
With a bankrupt government inherited from Duterte, Marcos now speaks about new taxes. He himself is pouring fuel on the people’s fury over his failure to pay taxes estimated to be worth ₱203 billion. He aims to fleece consumers and small businesses, including those who are unemployed and earn little money from small online businesses. While touting the CREATE law, which cuts taxes on foreign capitalist investors, he vetoed the bill that would have granted tax exemptions to the honoraria received by teachers who served in the last election.
Like almost all past presidents, the construction of lavish infrastructure is the main content of the “progress” that Marcos claims he will bring. Never in the past four decades did the Philippine economy develop because of the construction of bridges or roads. Like how Duterte more than doubled the Philippines’ debt to almost ₱13 trillion, so will Marcos sink the country further into debt if he continues building the dams, roads, bridges, railways, reclamation and other projects, which are operated by foreign companies, dependent on imported equipment and destructive to the environment. Furthermore, these projects give the bourgeois compradores control over vast public resources and utilities that government should, in fact, be running.
Not for one moment in his more than one hour speech did Marcos address the problem of widespread human rights violations and abuses by the reactionary state’s armed forces. That means, he approves how, in his first month in office, 41 were killed by the police in the “war on drugs;” and how his soldiers accosted 16 and killed 13, including three children, in its counterinsurgency war. He also approves of the AFP’s relentless red-tagging, “surrender” drive, bombing and harassment of civilian communities.
Clearly, the Filipino masses cannot expect any benefit from the puppet, fascist and oppressive Marcos regime. If they do not fight collectively, they will undoubtedly be further oppressed and exploited. Therefore, the people should continue to raise their voices and strengthen their militant action to demand measures to alleviate their suffering. They must unite, and consolidate or establish unions and organizations in factories and workplaces, offices, communities, schools, and churches.
The people’s consciousness and awareness about the problems and issues they face, and how they are deceived and oppressed, must be raised and sharpened. The lies and illusions conjured by Marcos and his imperialist masters must be rejected.
The people must carry forward various forms of struggle to fight for the reforms they need. Above all, they must advance the armed struggle to fight for their greater aspiration for national liberation and genuine democracy.