End the aggressive privatization of public utilities in Bacolod City!

Over the recent years since the fraudulent Marcos Jr regime came to power, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental has transformed into a neoliberal hotspot. Several projects are being implemented to privatize and commercialize utilities and services to the detriment of the masses living in the city. Mayor Albee Benitez, a staunch Marcos ally, has allowed and encouraged the railroading of these projects for private profit that benefit the big comprador bourgeoisie in cahoots with bureaucrat capitalists.

These projects include the anti-poor jeepney modernization program which disenfranchises traditional jeeps and small operators, and even modern jeepneys will supersede tricycle drivers routes, displacing even more jobs in the process; the demolition of urban poor houses particularly in Barangay 12 to give way to the construction of private businesses that results to the displacement of urban poor communities; and the take-over of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative( CENECO) by the Razon-owned MorePower which has already announced a Php3/kwh increase in electricity bills this month.

These forceful privatization schemes also include the takeover of formerly cooperative-owned Bacolod City Water District (BACIWA) by the Villar-owned Prime Water.

While presented as “progress,” history has repeatedly shown that parasitic big businesses take over public utilities to suck superprofit at the expense of the people. These neoliberal schemes inevitably cause the skyrocketing of prices of public utilities that will only exacerbate the current socioeconomic crisis.

Privatization is part of neoliberal globalization, a scheme implemented in the Philippines during the 1980s, which aims to “fix” the longstanding problem of monopoly capitalism’s dwindling profits due to the crisis of overproduction. Imperialist countries such as the US, ventured to export capital to even further squeeze surplus value from low cost raw materials and cheap labor of neocolonies like the Philippines.

However, it has only worsened the problem with the ruling class of big landlords and compradors even relinquishing the reactionary state’s public character for the sake of profit. On top of that is bureaucratic corruption for kickbacks and under-the-table deals to benefit themselves and their cohorts.

Due to the inherent problems of capitalism accentuated by neoliberalism, the people of Bacolod City and the entire Filipino people are being exposed to the failure of the status quo. As social services and public utilities are effectively denied to them, each neoliberal project will only further disillusion all democratic sectors.

Different sectors of society flock to the streets to demand an end to privatization and other anti-poor policies but instead of hearing them out, the reactionary government uses the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to suppress those who want to oppose them. Members of people’s organizations and activists experienced violations like red-tagging, surveillance and threats, while some suffered the worst fate—extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

The National Democratic Front (NDF)-Negros stands with the jeepney drivers, consumers, the urban poor, workers, semi-proletariats, and other exploited and oppressed masses in their fight against privatization in line with neoliberal policies. Efforts to arouse, organize and mobilize the broad masses must be intensified to free them from the bondage of exploitation and oppression of the ruling class of big comprador-landlords.

By and by, the policies implemented by imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism are the reasons for the people to tread the path of defeating these problems through armed revolution.

The privatization of Bacolod City’s services and utilities, and also other neoliberal projects all over the island, only serves to underscore the root cause of the problems of the people. Thus, it is imperative that the democratic sectors throughout the island unite to oppose and demand an end to the shifting of social services and public utilities to private profit. The genuine power lies in the united front of the people eager to establish a society based on genuine democracy and lasting peace. ###

End the aggressive privatization of public utilities in Bacolod City!