The Marcos family is unwelcome in Negros
The Marcos family is not welcome in the land where it has caused great suffering. Their presence in Negros is an insult to the victims of injustices during the Martial Law years and the current regime. The festival of smiles is only apt for big comprador-landlords and bureaucrat capitalists like Marcos Jr. and his allies. Their grins are the people’s chagrin.
Negros Island is considered by the Marcoses as one of the pillars of its cronyism. Marcos Sr bolstered the political career of former congressman and warlord Armin Gustilo, and the establishment of the Roberto Benedicto business empire backboned by the monocrop sugar industry.
Under the auspices of the late dictator, cronies Gustilo and Benedicto utilized their positions to sow fear, leech profits, and wallow in corrupt schemes at the expense of Negrosanons. They greatly contributed to the collapse of the sugar industry in the 1970s and the eventual Negros Famine in the 1980s.
To suppress growing social unrest, the festival of smiles, or the MassKara festival, was organized by the local elite. Still true to this day, the festival is aimed at covering up the economic and humanitarian crisis engulfing the island. The plunderer family as guests in lavish events illustrates the worsening disparity between the ruling elite and the oppressed majority in Negros.
Just more than a hundred days of the newly-installed puppet regime, Marcos Jr has proven that he is insincere in addressing the socioeconomic problems plaguing the island. The sugar liberalization stint has adversely affected the local economy and the livelihoods of sugar workers. While wages remain depressed and benefits are inadequate, the peso devaluation and skyrocketing of prices has set conditions akin to that of the 1980 famine.
Aside from economic woes, Negros also currently faces a humanitarian crisis. Military overspending and the AFP’s recent order of ‘heightened operational tempo’ of its counterrevolutionary campaign has intensified militarization especially in the countryside resulting to human rights violations en masse. Like their commander-in-chief, the military covers up their crimes through media blockades and massive disinformation.
Brigade and division-led operations scourge farmer and indigenous people communities victimizing the innocent and defenseless, including children. Aerial and artillery support has emboldened AFP and PNP ground troops to enforce evacuations, economic blockades, notwithstanding its long list of threats, illegal arrests and detention, and murder. Even when the masses return to their communities, they still face the danger of being attacked by the state as military presence has aggravated further.
Marcos Jr has indubitably shown that the apple does not fall far from the tree. Like the social volcano about to erupt during the Martial Law years, the current conditions will only steel the resolve of the people to resist the US-Marcos II regime like that of the late dictator’s ouster. The National Democratic Front (NDF-Negros) calls on the various oppressed and exploited sectors in the island—farmers, fisherfolk, workers, youth and students, urban poor, indigenous people, human rights defenders, lawyers, teachers, professionals, healthcare workers, the media, the church, and the local opposition—to unleash the strength of the broadest united front against the Marcosian brand of fascism that luxuriates upon the people’s adversity.
As Negros has withstood the father, it shall withstand the son. ###