Aquino’s SONA gave credit where it was not due

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IN his last SONA, Noynoy singled out members of his cabinet – particularly presidential aspirant Mar Roxas, along with other high-ranking officials of his administration, for the so-called “economic progress” that has begun, allegedly, to trickle down to the poor.

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Talk about giving out credit where it is undue! Noynoy’s SONA 2015 is a mere wholesale endorsement of careerist officials who are either running for elective positions in May 2016 or are seeking continued appointments in the next administration.

First, the gross domestic product – a measure of the wealth created by the local economy – was created not by elitist bureaucrats who paraded before the SONA like proud peacocks and peahens. It came from the blood, sweat, and tears (literally) of the most productive sectors of Philippine society, from the humble workers and farmers of the agriculture, industry, and service sectors.

Second, any increase in wealth distribution does not necessarily translate to the betterment of the lives of ordinary Filipinos. Without social justice, any increase in social wealth would only be beneficial to those who own it, not to those who created it by processing resources that are given freely by Mother Nature.

We can only arrive at genuine social progress through social justice, i.e., through reforms that benefit the working population by means of, among others, agrarian reform and labor laws to protect the Constitutional right to a living wage and to security of tenure through regular employment.

Agrarian reform is now shelved to the dustbins of legal history by Noynoy Aquino himself, not only by denying land to the tenants of Hacienda Luisita, but also by failing to certify as urgent a new agrarian program that truly and decisively dismantles the monopoly of land ownership by the landed classes, especially since extension of the previous program (CARPER) has legally drawn to a close.

From 2010 to 2015, the minimum wage proceeded at a snail’s pace. In the NCR, it grew only by 19% (from P404 to P481), almost negligible in comparison to the steady rise in the prices of basic needs. In contrast, the combined wealth of the ten richest Filipinos tripled (319%, from $15.56 billion to $49.7 billion) as they benefited from several joint venture projects in the semi-privatization of government services. Under the Noynoy regime, economic growth defied the laws of nature (but not the nature of capitalism) by “trickling up” to the oligarchs!

Third, and more importantly, the growth in the GDP is consumer-driven through the remittances of overseas Filipino workers (a tenth of the GDP), not by steady jobs in agricultural and industrial production.

Yet, in another brazen display of callousness, Noynoy failed to commend migrant Filipinos not only for their heroism and sacrifice but also for their contribution to the economy. Because a mere mention of the term “OFW remittances” in the SONA would expose the real state of the nation: The Philippines remains an underdeveloped capitalist economy that cannot provide stable jobs and just wages for its people – despite its integration as a periphery in a global economy dominated by transnational corporations. It is a country being run like hell by elitist bureaucrats and the local oligarchy, primarily composed by two nations: the privileged elite and the toiling and propertyless masses.

Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP)
Leody de Guzman 09205200672
BMP National President
bmpncrr.media@gmail.com

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I AM a member of the Indigenous People in Sarangani Province and I was alarmed by the issues regarding the IPs of Talaingod, Davao circulating in news and other social media platforms. I was able to watched different video and photo footages from different sources and of which others were from known personalities and groups involved in the said issue. The video itself does not seem to show the real situation presented in news portal both online and print.

What is the truth behind this issue? Who are the users and who are the supermen or wonderwomen among them?

Whoever they maybe, my main concern here is the luck of my fellow IPs as victims. I am in puzzled why mainly its these progressive groups that dominate the situation. Are they the right agency to address such situation? It appears to me that the IPs are mislead by these groups to speak and stand for what they really wanted to do with their life. Months ago, I remember how these involved groups (like Karapatan, Bayan Muna, etc) shouted in street protests for respect of human rights. But it seems that their actions are the opposite of the initiative that they are trying to make people believe. The situation of IPs in Haran is a clear manifestation of blatant violations of their rights. Those in authority should realize that these IPs were exploited, deceived and used by militant groups. As they want, they must be sent back home in order to resume their way of life as peace loving citizens.

Ingrid Salam
Sarangani Province
salamingrid@gmail.com

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