Volume V, Number 14 - July 31, 2023
In his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24, Marcos Jr. was deceitful in portraying the real situation of the Philippines, made dishonest claims of achievements, and ended with undoable promises.
Pretending compassion with the suffering masses, Marcos Jr. began his speech on the topic of inflation, the main concern of most Filipinos. He then cherry-picked statistics to portray the illusion of a “robust economic growth.”
Though inflation rate has further eased in April after the 14-year high of 8.7% in January, according to IBON it will remain high and volatile because the government has not taken decisive steps to lower prices. The Marcos Jr administration refused to heed the people’s call for the removal of the 12% value added tax on goods and services as well as taxes on oil. High taxes on fuel increase the price of oil which causes the price of other products to rise.
The “fast-growing economy” exaggerated by Marcos Jr. was misleading the public and overdoing it by ascribing it to the president’s “good economic stewardship.” The 7.6% full-year growth happened only because the economy was still recovering from the -9.5 percent contraction of the GDP in 2020. The fast growth is unsustainable since the rebound effect from the negative growth in 2020 has been exhausted. The economy will start slowing and return to its real trajectory of slowing growth prior to the pandemic.
Conspicuously unmentioned in Marcos Jr.’s SONA is the implicit permanent basing of US troops in country. Marcos Jr. enabled this by allowing EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) bases in strategic locations in the country, where the US is now prepositioning its troops, battleships, war planes and munitions as part of its “first island chain” war preparation against China.
The series of “interoperability joint exercises” of the AFP, US and other allies are, war preparation against China. Marcos Jr. is allowing the US to drag the Philippines into a potential inter-imperialist war!
Another intended omission was the issue of human rights. There has been no change in form and substance of Marcos Jr’s campaign of suppression from those of his predecessors. Under his watch, there were 94,448 victims of human rights violations in 954 separate cases. This translates to two victims per day from June 30, 2022 to June 30 this year.
Marcos Jr. further enables the impunity in state-sponsored terrorism by his decision to totally disengage from the ICC (International Criminal Court).
In its first year, the US-Marcos Jr regime has made clear its blatant contempt for peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
The revolutionary cause for genuine national freedom and social justice is far greater than Marcos Jr.’s offer of amnesty. History shows how the counterrevolutionary state have used amnesty offers as sugar-coated bullets against revolutionary forces.
The MIF (Maharlika Investment Fund) was mentioned casually in his speech in order not to attract more attention to this controversial law. The Php500-billion MIF which he and his minions in congress railroaded despite widespread opposition by the Filipino people will be the single biggest source of corruption in the country’s history. The MIF will facilitate the “laundering” of the bulk of the Marcos ill-gotten wealth.
Finally, the exhortation to a “Bagong Pilipinas” (New Philippines) is a clever rebranding of the corrupt and fascist “Bagong Lipunan” (New Society) mantra of the late Dictator Marcos Sr.