State of the Nation Address, or the PEOPLE’s SONA. Yesterday, President Noynoy Aquino III gave his annual
SONA to the Philippine people and proclaimed that his administration made real progress in improving the economy, advocating for peace, and strengthening the Philippine nation.
However, as Filipino youth and students who see the realities of our families living in the Philippines, we do not consider increasing unemployment, huge cuts to education and social services, subservience
to foreign interests, and a rise in human rights violations as “real progress.” President Aquino has not brought “hope” to the Philippines, but has continued the rotten policies of U.S. puppet regimes before
First, Aquino promised to improve the economy and create jobs in the Philippines. However, he allows big businesses to continue labor contractualization, leaving workers with little job security, benefits, or the right to unionize. Meanwhile, CEO’s of big businesses make record profits as millions of Filipinos are jobless. Instead of creating jobs, Aquino continues Marcos’ labor export policies that force over 4,000 Filipinos to leave the Philippines every day looking for jobs. This is why our families have come to America but when our parents and other Filipino workers face discrimination, exploitation, or abuse they are ignored by the Philippine government. Where is the economic growth and jobs that the Aquino government promised?
Second, Aquino promised to allocate money for social services and education. However, all we have seen is a rise in the cost of living, food and utilities price hikes, and massive cuts to the Philippine budget for education. Last year, the Aquino administration signed a P1.39 billion cut in funding for the University of the Philippines, the largest budget cut in all of UP’s history. To add insult to injury, the cost per unit at the University of the Philippines was severely increased from P1000/unit to P1500/unit, making access to
this flagship state university nearly impossible for the majority of Filipino youth. The government spends only P5.79, or 14 cents, per day per Filipino student for basic education. If Aquino really cares about education and social services, then why does he keep slashing the budget?
Aquino also promised peace in the Philippines and justice for victims of human rights violations. However, in just one year, Aquino’s new military counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan, has caused over
48 political killings and 29 cases of torture- allegedly by the military and police. Many of these victims were critical of the government, and the Philippine courts have not prosecuted a single perpetrator. How can the Filipino people have peace and justice if they are silenced with violence and oppression?
Lastly, the Philippines is still subservient to US Imperialism. The Aquino government supports the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the US and Philippine joint military exercises. These one-sided military agreements have displaced indigenous peoples, terrorized communities, unconstitutionally allowed American soldiers to engage in combat and get away with rape and other crimes without punishment. The Aquino administration is loyal to the US Imperialism, and its recent effortsto secure the Spratley Islands will only allow American oil companies to steal more Philippine resources.
It is time to expose and oppose the Aquino regime for the continuing injustices committed against the Filipino people. We are aware that it is not merely President Aquino that needs to be removed from power,
but that the entire political, economic, and social system needs to be replaced. It is time for all Filipinos overseas to realize that genuine social change and freedom in our motherland will only be realized through joining our people’s movement for national democracy. As an overseas chapter of the vanguard comprehensive youth organization in the Philippines, Anakbayan Los Angeles dedicates all our energy and collective effort towards arousing, organizing, mobilizing our fellow Filipino youth of all backgrounds to play our part in bringing about this bright future. We look forward to the victory of the national democratic struggle and will continue to spread and strengthen the movement until we are truly free.