Fight and take back the people’s economic and social rights

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This article is available in PilipinoBisaya

Standards of living of the majority of the Filipino people are rapidly falling under the Marcos regime. Millions of families suffer poverty and could no longer tighten their belts any further. Quality of life is steadily deteriorating. They have not enough to spend on food and other necessaries.

People have suffered more than enough from incessant increases in the prices of fuel, food, fare, water and electricity bills and other daily expenses. These are worsened by losses to their homes and livelihoods due to widespread floods over the past weeks. The toiling masses could no longer keep up with abject wages, landlessness and joblessness, amid relentless seizure of their land and sources of livelihood and income.

The Filipino people must hold the Marcos regime directly responsible for the rapid deterioration of their standards of living. Soaring prices are the direct result of the Marcos regime’s neoliberal policies. These further destroy productive forces and deepen the agrarian, non-industrial and backward economy. The capacity to produce food and other commodities is weakened, making the economy increasingly dependent on importation, foreign debt and foreign investments.

In exchange for loans, the Marcos regime implements anti-people and anti-poor measures in accordance with policies set by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and other imperialist agencies. These measures serve the interests of foreign large banks and monopoly capitalists, and trample on the basic social and economic rights of the people.

Foremost among these is the policy of wage suppression to perpetuate an army of cheap labor as offering to foreign capitalist investors. Public spending for education, health and other social services are being cut. To service the country’s debt, taxes are being imposed on the masses of consumers, even as foreign investors enjoy tax exemptions and other perks.

Marcos also aggressively pushes import liberalization, particularly of agricultural products, which in recent decades have bankrupted millions of people and destroyed local production. He is also railroading measures allowing foreign monopoly capitalists and domestic big bourgeois compradors to take away the sources of income of millions of people.

Unemployment is acute where at least 20 million are unemployed or have only temporary jobs. Millions of farmers, fishermen, even jeepney drivers and operators, small businessmen and small income earners, are losing their livelihood because as these are taken away by foreign and domestic big capitalists.

The situation is worst in the countryside where the Marcos regime allows big landlords, bourgeois compradors and foreign capitalist to encroach on hundreds of thousands of hectares of land for plantations and mines, “green” energy, ecotourism and other infrastructure projects. The World Bank is further pushing to make the agricultural lands more “marketable” and “saleable”. Hundreds of thousands of farmers are driven out from the land and are deprived of other means of production and livelihood causing widespread bankruptcy and poverty.

Under the Marcos regime, corruption at the highest levels of the bureaucracy has become more brazen. Through the Maharlika Investment Fund, Marcos will funnel ₱500 billion in public funds to favored large bourgeois compradors, cronies and minions. These handful of millionaires and billionaires live lives of luxury while majority of the Filipino people wallow in poverty and intolerable conditions. Marcos himself holds billion of pesos in unaudited “confidential” and “intelligence” funds. Using the people’s money, he goes on foreign junkets and uses Malacañang to host one party after another.

The Filipino people must fight to defend and take back their social and economic rights and resist the fall in their standard of living. They must fight for lower prices of oil, food and other basic needs and services; wage and salary increases for workers and ordinary employees; scrapping of burdensome taxes and fees; lowering of land rent and prices of seed and other agricultural inputs; abolition of usury; fair farm-gate prices; and overall protection and defense of the people’s livelihood. The struggle for these and other urgent democratic demands must be waged by the broad masses of workers, peasants and other toiling people to prevent the further decline in their social and economic status.

The Marcos regime is feeding the Filipino people to the profit-hungry foreign monopoly capitalists, local big comprador bourgeoisie, big landlords, and bureaucrat capitalists. The worsening conditions of the Filipino people underscore the urgent need to advance the struggle to end the semicolonial and semifeudal social system and its backward, agrarian and non-industrial economy, that condemn the people to a state of permanent crisis.

The struggle for social and economic rights is tightly linked to the struggle for national democracy. This aims to carry out genuine land reform to end several centuries of landlessness that fetter the majority of the Filipino people to the backward and oppressive feudal and semifeudal system. It also aims to undertake national industrialization to develop the country’s productive forces, make good use of the country’s natural and human resources, and realize the full potential to produce for people’s needs.

Only by achieving genuine freedom from foreign control, can we establish a nation that is developed, addresses the needs of the people, self-reliant, and promotes a modern and progressive future socialist system.

Fight and take back the people's economic and social rights