Karapatan reminds Aquino: Same social ills that caused the ouster of two presidents perpetrated by your regime

SAM_0173
Press Release | Karapatan
September 21, 2013

Government bureaucrats and their legions in and out of the bureaucracy live on people’s hard labor to load their bank accounts, build business empires, acquire expensive houses here and abroad, buy the most expensive luxury items to indulgence themselves, and to wine, dine, and dance.

Landlords, transnational mining companies, agri-business plantations rob peasants and indigenous peoples of their lands. Capitalists rake in profits by keeping workers’ wages at bare minimum. Private corporations, in cahoots with the government, forcibly evict urban poor dwellers and demolish their houses. The youth are kept out of school because of high education costs, and the sick die without proper medical treatment or even die without seeing a doctor.

The government’s armed forces and paramilitary groups tag civilians as communists. They threaten, harass, arrest, throw false charges against the civilians, detain, and torture them. The armed forces and paramilitary groups abduct civilians, and civilians either disappear or surface dead; armed forces bomb communities of civilians; civilians leave their homes and sources of livelihood to go to evacuation centers.

US and Philippine governments say US troops are here to protect the country from foreign intervention. Without regard for the country’s sovereignty, the President allows the US troops and its warships to enter the country freely. In exchange, the US government gives military aid to improve the fighting capability of Philippine troops to undertake counter-insurgency measures against the Filipino people.

Yes, the images are Marcosian. And, yes the images capture what is currently happening under the Aquino government.  But, the reality is far more biting than these images. People’s lives are on the line, and the children’s future is at stake.

From Marcos through the Aquino government, this reality was never interrupted. The exact names of players may be different, but they are essentially the same. In fact, many survived from Marcos through BS Aquino, to name a few: Marcos-turned-Cory Aquino ally, Juan Ponce Enrile, presidential uncle Danding Cojuangco, business tycoon Lucio Tan who, under the BS Aquino presidency, got off the hook from cases on ill-gotten wealth. Needless to say, the Marcoses and other political dynasties are very much alive.

BS Aquino did not do anything substantial to change all these. He and his spinmeisters merely churned out PR spins, sound bites and surveys meant to condition public opinion.

But, the reality of skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, demolition and forced eviction of thousands of urban poor dwellers, deceptive land reform schemes such as the Hacienda Luisita case, the privatization of almost all public hospitals, high-cost of education, and continuing human rights violations far outweighs lies and spins.

As of August 30, Karapatan-documented cases of extrajudicial killings have gone up to 153, and frustrated extrajudicial killing to 168. There are now 449 political detainees; while documented victims of forced eviction and demolition are almost 13,000 and, forced evacuation nearing 32,000.

And, whatever effect these spins had on the people were finally wiped out when the 10-billion-peso pork barrel scam exploded. People are back on the streets protesting, not only against the scam, but against the pork barrel system, and corruption in general that is committed with impunity.

Widespread protest on the streets, in schools, in workplaces, and in urban and rural areas. In one voice the workers, peasants, women, youth and students, teachers, indigenous peoples, government employees, lawyers, doctors and other professionals, religious leaders and church people call for change, shouted “Enough is enough! Sobra na, tama na!”

BS Aquino should be reminded that such call reverberated and resulted to the ouster of two presidents of the Republic.

Today, as we commemorate the 41st year of the imposition of martial law, the people say “Never Again!” to the same rotten system — of corruption and plunder, injustice, subservience to US dictates, and violations of the people’s rights—perpetuated by the BS Aquino regime. ###

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