Statement of Bayan Canada on June 12, 2014
The true commemoration of June 12 is the continuation by the Filipino people of the struggle for true independence from the corrupt political system and from foreign intervention.
Bureaucratic corruption, feudal exploitation and forced migration
The political system in the Philippines is absolutely rotten to the core. The Napoles P10 billion pork barrel scam is just one example of this. These past months have exposed President Aquino’s role in defending the pork barrel system and in covering up corruption scandals. Having prior knowledge of a list of those involved in the scam, such as his allies and key Liberal Party leaders, he has filed charges only against his political opponents in order to divert public outrage against his government and to cover up his own role as the pork barrel king.
Aquino’s posturing cannot fool the Filipino people. While the corrupt elites play politics and accumulate wealth and power, the people struggle to make ends meet, provide a livelihood for their families and a future for their children.
Landlessness as a result of the scourge of land monopoly still exists. President Aquino and his haciendero family avoid genuine land reform and prevent poor peasant farmers from owning, tilling and making productive the lands of the Cojuangco-Aquino’s Hacienda Luisita. But with the general rule of land monopoly and avoidance of any real agrarian reform in the Philippines, the Filipino people are left to face hunger and abject poverty. They are displaced by land conversion and development aggression and the degradation of the environment due to large scale mining and deforestation. Millions migrate to the cities and become part of the urban poor; desperate and debt-ridden, many take their chances for recruitment to work abroad.
Nowhere is this situation more apparent than in the lives of migrants who are forced to leave in search of meaningful jobs that do not exist in their country. While working abroad, migrants are left on their own, practically abandoned by the reactionary Philippine state. They are left without any protection or support while experiencing the difficulties and discrimination in defending their rights as foreign workers in affluent nations where policies become more and more xenophobic and anti-migrant as the world capitalist crisis hits home.
Here in Canada, migrant workers are pitted against working people who are accused of stealing local jobs. Policies are even made stricter preventing migrants from ever setting roots in the country they work in, despite the fact that they contribute to the economy and generate profit for the capitalists through their labour.
EDCA – a deterrent to peace and magnet for war
The Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the US and Philippines is hyped as the solution to the ongoing aggression of capitalist China in the South China Sea, including in the disputed areas of the Philippine territorial waters. EDCA turns the entire Philippines into one gigantic American military base; it easily becomes a target for the enemies of the US and escalates the tensions between the Philippines and China. US imperialism, not wanting to risk an all-out war with China makes grand postures but will not defend the Philippines in the long run. EDCA will bring back the US bases on Philippine soil but on a larger scale. Along with this are the usual effects of US military presence which include the displacement for locals, unhampered movement of US military personnel, subcontractors and equipment, rape of Filipino women and increased violations of human rights. Meanwhile it would mean restricted access for Filipinos within US military facilities while the Filipino tax payers pay for the bills. It would mean for Filipinos the displacement of their families, the constant threat of war and possible injuries or even deaths at the hands of foreign soldiers during “joint” military exercises and campaigns. As in the past, the people will be pushed to oppose the presence of foreign military on their homeland. Peace will be more elusive with the implementation of EDCA. The benefits of EDCA to the people are nil while the cost to Philippine sovereignty is great.
All signs do not point to a truly independent and sovereign nation but to one with “huwad na kalayaan” or fake independence. The only hope for an independent and sovereign nation is for the Filipino people to continue the struggle for National Democracy against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. ###