PRESIDENT Aquino must be reminded that it would take more than good governance, judicious government spending and anti-corruption drive – three themes that he kept harping on in today’s 25th anniversary of the Edsa Revolt – to “free the nation from poverty” and to build “a more fair and equitable society.”
This narrow-minded if not simplistic outlook on how to solve the deep-seated inequality of wealth and power while still enthusiastically implementing anti-poor economic policies and quietly maintaining traditional politics is indicative of his equally myopic view on the 1986 uprising, including its major players, the Alliance of Progressive Labor stated.
“For instance,” the APL said, “the role here of the security forces and opposition bigwigs had always been magnified, while there was a tendency to minimize the more crucial and more heroic feats of the anonymous multitude of people that packed Edsa, as well as the pioneering efforts of the anti-dictatorship movement decades before 1986.”
It is no surprise that in his first EDSA celebration as a president, Aquino extolled more the military and the police, and even the political turncoats or those former martial law loyalists who switched sides only when the tide was turning against the 20-year regime of Ferdinand Marcos, observed the APL.
It is no surprise, the APL added, that while Aquino proudly announced the construction of an initial 20,000 housing units for the soldiers and police – which they will rent-to-own for only P200 a month – he was mum on the same shelter problem of the more numerous informal settlers and even lowly paid workers whose sectors actively participated also in 1986.
Likewise, the APL again said, that while he took a swipe at Imelda Marcos’ “penchant for shoes” and the “betrayal of duty” of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino continues to adhere to many socioeconomic programs of the past regimes that worsen the very poverty that he ostensibly wants to eradicate.
Included here is the Marcos-era automatic foreign debt payment – which is ironic amid Aquino’s “responsible spending” stand and the lack of funds for social services – as well as the flawed “market-oriented” policies in the MTPDP (Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan) for 2011-2016 and a long list of neoliberal economic programs that have already been proven throughout the world for primarily benefiting only a few corporate elites and their cronies.
“It’s time now for P-Noy to walk the talk and prove that his ‘right path’ promises are not mere rhetoric or empty slogans,” Josua Mata, APL secretary general, challenged Aquino.
At the same time, the APL blasted Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of the dictator, for “hallucinating” that the Philippines could have been “a Singapore now” if the Edsa 1 did not happen. “It’s either he is also an incorrigible liar like her parents or he is in a bizarre denial stage where he honestly believes that the charges against the regime of his father – the gross violations of human rights and large-scale robbery – are nothing but mere figments of imagination of the people,” the APL retorted.