PHILIPPINE SOCIETY AND BAYAN’S COMMITMENT
Philippine society remains semicolonial and semifeudal. It continues to be ruled by such local exploiting classes, as the big comprador bourgeoisie and the landlord class supported by US and Japanese monopoly capitalists. Its economy is based principally on the production or export crops and the extraction of raw materials for processing by foreign industries. There are no basic industries. All manufacturing is dependent on imported components, machinery, spare parts and fuel for production. The unequal exchange between cheap raw materials and reprocessed products, on the one hand, and expensive producer and consumer goods, on the Other, creates the conditions for the chronic crisis that afflicts the economy.
The introduction of packaging and export industries and the export of labor power have not solved the perennial balance of Ira de and payment deficits, nor the problem of accumulating surplus labor brought about by the lack of basic industries and the exhaustion of the land frontier. The resort to massive foreign borrowings has only compounded the situation with the money being spent on infrastructures and nonproductive ventures, non-viable mills and technology from foreign monopoly companies; and portions going to the pockets of bureaucrats. The economy has been in a state of recession for the last three years.
The economy is being managed by US imperialism through the extended fund facility and structural program of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank (IMF-WB). These have served to strengthen the semicolonial and semi feudal system through such devices as the deregulation of foreign exchange transactions, liberalization of investments and imports privatization and rationalization. The foreign debt stands at USD40B as of April 1993 (NEDA). Forty percent of the national budget is allocated for foreign debt servicing. This has prompted more local borrowings, the frequent printing of new money, and the persistence of hyperinflation. Yearly, new taxes are imposed and expenditures for social and public services are slashed. The socio-economic crisis just keeps worsening.
The Filipino people bear the brunt of the crisis. As of July 1993, 75 percent of the population or 7.8 million of the 10.5 million families live below the poverty level of P244/day that an average family of six needs in order to survive. The effective unemployment rate is about 44.2% of the total labor force of27.5 million (NEDA). While inflation keeps eroding the real income of wage-earners, the average minimum wage nationwide is pegged at P100l day as of December 1993. The gap between the rich and the poor is widening and is the worst in Southeast Asia.
There is widespread poverty, hunger and disease. In Metro Manila alone, there are 3.4 million squatters and 80,000 streetchildren. In Bicol, the average monthly household income is P1665, the starvation Ievel (IBON). Nationwide, there are 2.5 million malnourished children, on which daily 1277 die of pneumonia, 217 of diarrhea, and 240 of measles. Infant mortality rate is 52.9/1000 livebirths, one of the highest in the world, with 28 babies dying of tetanus daily (Health Workers Manual). There is rampant neglect and abuse of women. More than 50% of pregnant and lactating mothers suffer from anemia. Prostitution and criminality abound.
Corruption plagues all branches and levels of government. The social fabric is being tom asunder.
The anti-national and anti-democratic character of the US-Ramos regime is spelled out in its Medium Term Philippine Development Program (MTPDP) or “Philippines 2000.” The Ramos government dreams of turning the country into one big export processing zone for foreign monopoly capitalists. It has assiduously been carrying out the dictates of the JMF-WB. Ramos has not only been blind to the dismal failures of his predecessors with export development strategies and foreign investment schemes, he has also refused to recognize the existence of land problem. He has militarizing the bureaucracy and is maneuvering to keep himself in power as Marcos did. The chief implementor of Marcos’ martial law and originator of Aquino’s total war policy has drawn the wrong lessons from the past.
Hand in hand with the total war policy, Ramos has initiated a psywar scheme on the issue of “reconciliation and peace” in an attempt to neutralize and isolate the national democratic movement. He has even coopted the sustainable development rhetoric of non-government organizations in order to present a progressive façade. But human rights violations persist. More than a million people continue to be displaced by military operations. The rights of the Moro and Cordillera peoples to self-determination and autonomy have still to be won. While the relief and rehabilitation of victims of natural disasters are neglected, environmental destruction goes unabated in the export processing zones and from the mining, logging and fishing operations of foreign companies, big compradors and bureaucrat capitalists, including military officers.
The US-Ramos regime has rehashed policies of deception and terror of its predecessors. For as long as the monopoly capitalists and their local adjuncts, the big comprador bourgeoisie and the landlord class control and dominate the social, economic, political, and cultural life of the nation, the basic problems of the Filipino people remain. But the people will not endure their suffering and misery forever. There is widespread and deepgoing social unrest. The US-Ramos regime cannot stop the Filipino people from organizing to bring about the fundamental
restructuring of Philippine society.
We, the participating organizations of BAYAN, reaffirm our commitment to be among those in the forefront of our people’s continuing struggle for national liberation and democracy. We reiterate our determination to help lead and mobilize the people to bring their struggle to greater heights and final victory.
We renew the vision of our forefathers to build a Philippine society that is free and independent, and where the basic rights of the people, especially the working men and women, are protected and promoted, so that justice and equality shall prevail, and the people shall enjoy the fruits of their labor and the prosperity of the nation.
We hereby pledge this commitment in honor of the thousands of martyrs who have died for the cause of national freedom and democracy, and for the sake of the future generations of Filipinos who will harvest the fruits of the struggle.