Marcos then and now: puppet, fascist and oppressive
It is crystal clear to the Filipino people that Ferdinand Marcos Jr, current chief of the neocolonial state, is no different from his former dictator father: they are both puppets, fascists, corrupt and oppressive, and grossly indifferent to the people’s hunger and suffering.
These are the reasons that prompted people to unite and rise at EDSA more than three and a half decades ago. The same reasons bind them today in the struggle to advance and defend their rights and well-being, and their desire for genuine national independence and democracy. Like his father dictator, Marcos Jr uses the most vicious and evil ways of the ruling classes to run the crisis-ridden semicolonial and semifeudal system in the Philippines.
Marcos Jr is subservient to foreign powers and completely lacks national dignity in surrendering the country’s sovereignty and welfare to foreign powers, especially the US and China.
Marcos implements the neoliberal policies started by his father in the 1970s. In the name of “throwing the doors wide open,” he pushes all-out import and foreign investment liberalization. Foreign capitalists are afforded all favors and promises, especially low workers’ wages and tax holidays. Foreign capitalists are also given all freedom to take the land of farmers and minority peoples, and plunder the richness of our mountains, rivers and oceans.
For decades now, these policies have destroyed people’s livelihood, local production and the Philippine economy. Import liberalization allowed foreign commodities to flood and drown local production, especially agriculture. The peasant masses are gasping for air under the weight of imported rice, all types of vegetables, onions, garlic, and even salt. Deregulation gave bourgeois compradors who are large merchants, and importers and smugglers (who typically are the same people or families) all the freedom to overprice commodities.
Production has steadily declined over the past four decades, further hobbling the country’s economy. Foreign investments in “export processing zones” are misrepresented as “growth” though these do not help develop the local economy. The chronic lack of currency due to uneven foreign trade makes the country ever dependent on foreign borrowing and dollar remittances earned by sending Filipino workers overseas. Every year, up to a quarter of the country’s budget goes to servicing public debt which people did not benefit from.
Like the malpriorities of his father and succeeding reactionary governments, health, education and other social services lack funds under Marcos Jr’s budget. On the other hand, more and more unproductive funds are wasted on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to buy helicopters and warships, as well as bombs, ammunition and war equipment being used in the suppression, intimidation and repression of the people’s resistance.
Marcos Jr’s declaration of being “everyone’s friend” is, in fact, a slavish policy. Concretely, he recently acceded to the plan of the US government and military to build five more military bases within AFP military camps in Cagayan, Isabela and Palawan. The US plans to use these to station troops and missile that will be aimed against China. Marcos also agreed to have the so-called joint patrols of US warships and AFP forces. These measures are part of the US military strategy to use the Philippines, as well as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and other countries, to provoke war against China, in the same way that it used Ukraine to wage war against Russia.
Meanwhile, Marcos sits idly by in the face of China’s ongoing use of seven military facilities many of which were built within the Philippine maritime territory. In fact, Marcos invited the Chinese Construction and Communication Corporation, a China state-owned company notorious for bribery and corruption. It is among the companies involved in the plunder of Philippine seas. Marcos invited this company to expand operations in the Philippines, in exchange for additional loans from China.
As was during the Marcos dictatorship, the stench of corruption is pervasive. In addition to accepting bribes from foreign companies, it was revealed recently that Marcos Jr is also involved in large-scale smuggling, through some well-known relatives of his wife Liza Araneta. Marcos is also rushing the creation of the Maharlika Investment Fund to control hundreds of billions of government funds to benefit favored businesses.
The intensification of Marcos Jr’s puppetry, corruption and oppression of the people is accompanied by intensified viciousness and brutality of the war of the reactionary state against the people. Also under the direction of the US imperialist, the campaign of suppression of the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) is set to become more cruel. Political repression and counterinsurgency today is as vicious as martial law under the Marcos dictatorship. Violations of human rights and international humanitarian laws are rampant and relentless.
As was under Marcos Sr, the masses of workers, peasants, and entire people under Marcos Jr are mired in hardship and hunger, while landlords, the big bourgeois compradors and big foreign capitalists, bask in wealth and luxury. In the face of their oppression and exploitation, it is clear to the people that there is no other path but that of revolutionary resistance.