The late President Aquino is now being remembered as the Philippine leader who stood up to China; but let us also not forget that he was the President who signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US, further deepening the neocolonial ties between the two countries and all the atrocities it brings to the Filipino people.
A Radical’s Nut has produced 62 blog posts tagged as “Noynoy Aquino” during his term as president from 2010 to 2016. As people revisit his legacy as the country’s 15th president, let me share here 15 of these notes on the Philippine economy and politics under Aquino, which I think could help remind the public of his true legacy as a leader.
Not included in the list below are two articles that summed up his legacy in relation to his centerpiece economic program – the public-private partnership or PPP, and the state of the Filipino people at the end of his term.
Now, the list –
“The basic premise of Noynoy’s advocacy conceals the structural roots of poverty. It hides the universal truth that the working people are poor because a very small minority monopolizes ownership over production means and the wealth society produces.”
“Instead of surrounding himself with new people who have fresh ideas (or even old names but with unblemished and worthy track record), he may end up with people from the administrations of his late mother Cory, Fidel V. Ramos, and even Arroyo. Not only are these bureaucrats recycled, but they also played major roles in crafting and implementing policies that hurt the poor and the economy.”
“Abused with impunity by an arrogant Arroyo administration for more than nine years, many were predictably thrilled by this strong statement from the new President. But beyond the walang wang-wang rhetoric, did President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III offer anything fresh in substance, as his vision of long-term economic development, in his much-hyped inaugural speech?”
“Aquino’s promotion of PPPs and privatization in his SONA has further reinforced the view that his administration is incapable of introducing new policies that will reverse the old pro-business, pro-market neoliberal policies of the past administrations, including the Arroyo administration.”
“It is true that the greater the poverty of the people, the more that they will embrace revolution to achieve social justice such as the four-decade civil war being waged by the NPA. But using supposed poverty reduction and development projects as part of a military campaign to end the insurgency shortcuts the process of achieving genuine and lasting peace, and thus could never truly address the root causes of the conflict.”
“After 100 days, it has now become unmistakably clear that the Aquino administration is far from being a reform-oriented government that it has depicted itself to be, especially in the realm of economic management and policies. The good news is that the public saw this reality as early as now and thus could immediately start exerting pressure on the Aquino administration to shift its course towards the genuine “straight path”, the one that puts people’s interests above all.”
“As much as the people long to make Arroyo and her minions accountable for their many crimes, the Aquino administration could not hope that the public would be forever distracted by the ongoing impeachment trial. Unless real reforms are implemented soon, even the conviction of Corona and Arroyo could not bail out the weakening popularity and legitimacy of the Aquino administration.”
“Aquino must apologize to the people of Mindanao for blaming them for the power crisis and accusing them of being spoiled by “cheap” power rates. Aquino must apologize for being shamelessly insensitive to the plight of Mindanao where 36% of the country’s poorest families live.”
Aquino’s apathy to the working class is matched only by his concern for big business. In fact, among the major commitments he made in his so-called Social Contract, creating favorable conditions for private business is the only promise that Aquino has been fulfilling.
“The simple fact that a significant amount of their 2010 electoral spending was directly bankrolled by the Aquino family further bolsters the argument that they do not represent the under-represented and marginalized. How can they claim to represent the farmers when Akbayan is being funded by one of the country’s richest and most powerful landlord families? How can Akbayan claim to fiscalize Aquino on the issue of land reform when the president’s family bankrolled their electoral campaign?”
“It is also notable that since taking over in 2010, Aquino’s relatives who bankrolled his presidential bid have inked business deals with Malaysia. Could these business interests be another possible explanation for the administration’s handling of the Sabah crisis?”
“Aquino indeed has deep ties with the Big Water monopolies. The Ayala family, which controls Manila Water, has a long history of close association with the Aquino family, dating back to the time of Aquino’s late mother Cory as Philippine President. Manny V. Pangilinan, who controls Maynilad, has done a number of mega business deals with presidential cousin and officially declared top Aquino funder in the 2010 polls, Tonyboy Cojuangco such as the PLDT and TV5 deals. MVP and the Ayalas are seen as among the major backers of Aquino in his presidential bid. So don’t be surprised that the chief executives of their business interests landed strategic Cabinet positions.”
“In forging the Concession Agreement with the MVP-Ayala group, President Aquino has betrayed the public interest and welfare and has put the government in a patently disadvantageous position. While DOTC officials claim that the MVP-Ayala group submitted a negative bid of P9.5 billion – meaning they will pay the government such an amount to do the project – it is the commuters who will ultimately bear the burden as the concessionaire will recover the money from the riding public through higher fares.”
“These planned expenditures show how public funds, raised mainly through taxes of ordinary wage earners and consumers, are being wasted and drained not only through corruption and political patronage but also through questionable economic policies that only benefit a favored few such as big business groups involved in PPP projects.”
“While the media coverage has so far mainly focused on the death of the 44 police commandos after the botched operation on January 25, little has been publicly said about the Moro communities in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. But on the ground, reports of human rights abuses, violations of the International Humanitarian Law during combat, and involvement of US military personnel were persistent.” – (Initial Report of the People’s Fact-Finding Mission on the Mamasapano incident, February 9-11, 2015) ###