Negrosanons suffer gravely under current US-Marcos regime–CPP Negros
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-Negros said that neoliberal dictates implemented by the US-Marcos regime such as sugar importation, and land use and crop conversion seriously affected farmers and sugar workers on the island.
Its statement was released on Wednesday, through its newsletter Ang Paghimakas (The Struggle).
“Big comprador-landlords monopolizing thousands of hectares of sugarcane plantations and owning majority shares in sugar mills (or centrals) and sugar trading on the island easily adapted to the sugar crisis caused by Marcos Jr’s reign,” it stated.
“When profits from sugar production decline, they opt to transform parts of their sugarcane plantations into non-productive use such as solar fields, commercial and eco-tourism areas, and real estate, or they convert into other high-yielding cash crops according to the demands of the global market,”
“This is to the advantage of foreign and domestic speculators and land-based multinational companies who are eager to grab vast lands and plunder the natural resources of Negros,” it added.
It also highlighted cheap wages of farm workers in sugarcane plantations and industrial workers in sugar centrals in stark contrast to high cost of basic necessities.
“Much worse is that hacienderos have never implemented minimum wage in haciendas and even short-changed their farm workers of just benefits,” it said.
According to CPP Negros, apart from sugarcane production, farm workers and tillers who have no land or who do not have enough land producing rice, corn, banana, coconut and other crops also experience various forms of feudal and semifeudal exploitation.
Rapidly worsening conditions
From the situation in rural areas, CPP Negros also tackled the “rapidly worsening conditions” of sectors in urbanized cities, town centers and shorelines on the island.
“Workers, urban poor, semi-proletariat, fisherfolk, youth, professionals and other sectors face low wages, mass layoffs, rampant unemployment, skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, and privatization of public services,”
“There is also land use conversion and reclamation that escalates land grabbing, demolition and environmental destruction,” it stated.
Fragile Marcos-Duterte clique
CPP Negros further underscored the “fragile alliance” of the most reactionary section of the ruling class, the Marcos-Duterte clique, that is “united in counterrevolution and puppetry to US imperialism, but is already showing cracks.”
“Each camp is competing over loot and influence resulting to further deterioration of the political situation in the country,” it said.
It criticized the Marcos-Duterte clique for resorting to state terrorism to suppress mass resistance, “it unleashed its rabid armed forces on the people that resulted to monstrous and violent military attacks particularly on peasant communities in Negros.”
According to CPP Negros, from 44 monitored cases within the last six months of Duterte’s regime, incidents of human rights violations rose to 178 from July to December 2022, the onset of Marcos Jr’s reign, recording a 300% increase.
CPP Negros pointed out that of the 222 monitored incidents in 2022, involving more than 19,000 victims, 17 cases directly involved children.
Additionally, these abuses, perpetrated by state forces and their paramilitary, usually happened during focused military operations in 73 barangays across 19 towns and cities in Negros Island especially in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental and Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, it stated.
It also said that red-tagging was rampant on the island aiming to neutralize activists and any opposition to Marcos Jr’s reign.
“Sharpening contradictions in land struggles make peasant leaders the main target of red-tagging and vilification campaigns of state forces and its deception machineries,” it added.
According to CPP Negros, the worst attack on the legal democratic movement in Negros last year was the forced disappearance of urban poor leader Iver Larit in April.
Marcos Jr’s brand of state terrorism
CPP Negros noted that from the Duterte regime’s blood thirst, brutality and tyranny, the second half of 2022 gave a taste of Marcos Jr’s brand of state terrorism raising the intensity and ferocity of the AFP’s counterrevolutionary war in Negros to a different level.
However, it said that the revolutionary movement was able to surmount these brazen and rabid attacks against its ranks and the people of Negros with the guidance and leadership of the CPP.###