Thursday, July 10, 2008

The lessons -- will we ever learn?

Lesson One: Marcos was right. When he became president in 1965, he already set out to do the basic physical and socio-economic infrastructure of a new nation. Reparation payments from Japan went to road infrastructure to link the northern tip of the archipelago to the southernmost islands; public investments went into agricultural expansion for food self-sufficiency; and after the experience of the 1971-1973 skyrocketing of oil and energy prices, Marcos invested national resources heavily on oil and energy development. If these programs for energy and fuel self-reliance had been allowed by the succeeding government of Cory Aquino to proceed as planned, we would not be suffering from the horrendous and nationally enervating fuel and energy price crisis we have today.

Lesson two: Cory Aquino was dead wrong. She was wrong in scuttling the Marcos

food, fuel and energy programs. She was wrong in consenting to the

de-industrialization of the country’s economy, selling off the Mariveles

vehicle body stamping plant to China and scuttling the engine manufacturing plant in Bicutan, among many other industrial operations dismantled, and worse, scuttling the energy programs and initiating the sell-off of energy companies.

Even Cory’s so-called “restoration of democracy” was wrong because she converted Marcos’ nationalist authoritarianism to a patrician plutocracy of the old elite-feudal aristocracy of Philippine society -- the landed Ayalas, the sugar baron Lopezes, the cacique Aboitizes, et al. She started everything that is now eating our society up like a plague.

Lesson three: the jury is still out on whether the Filipino people are capable of learning its lessons from history. Of course, many individual Filipinos, as well as, many particular sectors of Philippine society have learned the lessons well; because of those lessons, many Filipinos began rejecting leadership choices offered by traditional moral “authorities” such as the elite Makati Business Club, the foreign diplomatic community, the academe, and the Church whose “high and mighty” Cardinal Sin proclaimed “anybody but Erap.” The people voted Erap to the presidency and were not disappointed by his populist measures to ease the nation’s economic burdens. Not very long after, Edsa II came along to depose the leader who tried to start pro-people reforms.

The “Filipino people” is a collective term encompassing all classes and ideological shades of Filipinos, but within that collective body is a small powerful group whose inordinate influence comes from its colonial ties with the historical American-British overlords. This small powerful group is often tagged as the Makati Business Club and its allies in “civil society,” a.k.a. “the elite,” the same group that led and funded Edsa I and then Edsa II, and invariably ends up the winner in every political turmoil and regime

change. The vast majority of the Filipino people have not been able to overcome the inordinate sway of this small foreign-backed elite, including the conscientious elements of armed forces sworn to defend the nation and the Constitution and entrusted with the nation’s powers of coercion.

To this day, this small power elite continues to ravage the country with its rapacious, parasitic greed as surrogates of foreign powers -- by sponsoring the electricity privatization law Epira, designed to steal our national patrimony such as hydroelectric and geothermal resources; by acting as agents in the swindle of the national transmission grid (Transco) in behalf of the Carlyle group and the State Grid of China; by enforcing oil privatization and deregulation that swiped the state oil companies and subsidiaries of Petron; and by sucking out VAT collections for the IMF-WB and the global banking mafia which get 75% for debt service. As long as this small power elite rules, there

shall be no salvation for this nation from the predatory feeding of the Anglo-US vampires on its lifeblood.

While this power elite rules, disguised behind the fa├žade of “democratic and electoral politics,” and controls through corruption and threats of “people power,” this country will remain an enslaved nation, helpless against the diktats of Western economic exploitation.

The current manipulated oil price crisis is a repeat of the 1971-1973 detonation of oil prices, which was designed by the US to recoup its financial losses from the Vietnam War. Nixon severed the dollar from the Gold Standard to default on paying its debt to the world, which has hitherto believed dollar debts were redeemable in gold. Kissinger arranged with the Saudis to accept only dollars for oil, generating astronomical petrodollars, which was arranged to be deposited in US Treasury bills to further shore them up.

The current round of wild oil price upsurge is the manipulation and hoarding of oil futures contracts by speculative hedge funds. They use financial leverage provided by major banks and financial companies with directorates interlocked with global oil companies, such as British Petroleum and Goldman Sachs cited in Chris Cook’s article, “Oil Market Manipulation.” This is being done to help the US recover its losses from the collapse of the dollar and the subprime crisis.

None of this manipulation is possible without the passive or active support of the US, British and European oil producing, refining and trading powers. The only way for a nation to defy such manipulation is to have its indigenous sources of energy, and the Philippines has what it takes by way of its geothermal and hydro resources, and more oil and gas in the long term.

Marcos started the first stages of energy self-sufficiency and industrial take-off. Only the sabotage delayed them until they were scuttled after a farcical “revolution” that fooled a great majority of the people. Will we be fooled again this time around?

There are a number of false leaders already poised to offer themselves as the “hope” of this nation with all the “democratic” rhetoric. What we really need is leadership dedicated to the nation and its aspiration for energy, food and economic freedom; and that means not another Cory Aquino, FVR or Gloria who’ll only cater to Big Business and the foreign powers. From the political arena, I can only see the likeness of true Filipino leadership in President Joseph E. Estrada, whose slogan, “Walang tutulong sa Pilipino kundi kapwa Pilipino,” defines his qualification.

From the ranks of alternative leaders, I can only pick from the Bagong Katipuneros (a.k.a. Magdalos), to include Gen. Danilo Lim and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, whose very image and names embody the nationalist fervor and determination. By election or others means -- by all means -- we need leadership such as these. This is our last lesson from history.

The Daily Tribune Column

July 11, 2008