Monday, July 28, 2008

UNHDI: from No. 77 to 90

The indisputabe bottom line about the real state of the nation is the latest United Nations Human Development Report. In its index measuring the level of human development, measuring a broad range of indicators from hunger to education, housing and health care, child to senior citizens’ care, etc., the Philippines under Gloria Arroyo has plunged from the rank of 77 to 90, behind Peru, Lebanon and Ecuador, where Iceland is number one and Sierra Leone is last. Hunger is a top indicator and two years ago, in Gloria’s 2006 SONA, she promised to: 1) Make food plentiful and affordable, and 2) Reduce the cost of electricity. What has happened to these promises?

Last week the SWS reported the highest level of severe hunger in the past ten years with 2.9 million families going hungry. Electricity rates have gone up to unprecedented heights with the WESM reporting price manipulations by Meralco and Napocor.

Gloria’s third priority in 2006 was to: Modernize infrastructure to efficiently transport goods and people. The oil price crisis has descended upon this country two years later and when commuters sought succor in the elevated mass rail transit, there wasn’t enough to accommodate them. Newspapers reported in 2006 that Gloria was: “Flush with cash, thanks in large part to the recently implemented value-added tax” or R-VAT, which nine in ten Filipinos want out today. What then did she have to say in her 2007 SONA?

From the news, Gloria said: “…investments focused on three key areas…in physical, intellectual, legal and security infrastructure to increase business confidence. (Then, translated from Filipino) Infrastructure for businesses and jobs. One million jobs generated every year.” Yet in the 1st quarter of 2008, 200,000 workers already lost their jobs due to her failure to remedy the manipulated global oil price hikes. Then, unwilling to cut or eliminate the VAT on oil, and control the avarice of the oil companies, while taking advantage of the huge windfall from oil VAT and focusing on the flippant “Katas ng VAT,” Gloria has continued coddling these predatory oil companies.

Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the Bagong Katipuneros’ (a.k.a. Magdalo) Oakwood protest. This was against corruption in the military institution, the treasonous acts of corrupt military officials embodied in Operation Greenbase and the illegitimacy of Gloria Arroyo’s regime. Five years after Oakwood: the Philippines was just recently declared by the WB anti-corruption arm as the “most corrupt in Asia,” “false flag” terrorism continues to be conducted by elements from within Gloria’s cabal, such as the mutilation of 15 Philippine marines in Basilan and the Glorietta bombing, and surveys confirming that after “Helo Garci” over 80 percent of the people doubt Gloria’s legitimacy and want her out Asap.

One vital issue today is the Mindanao situation. There would be no problem anymore today had President Estrada and the AFP’s rout of the MILF at Camp Abubakar not been reversed by Gloria Arroyo after Edsa II. After returning the seized camps, and after eight years of Moro-Moro peace talks with the MILF, under the stage direction of the US Embassy and the Malaysian government, the land grab by MILF has become obvious. Only the objection of the AFP has forced Gloria to yield to the nationalist demand to keep the integrity of our Philippine territory in Mindanao and abort the land grab. The stabilization of Mindanao is a prerequisite for economic take-off, and this has been delayed eight years because of Gloria’s appeasement policy to divisive forces.

Fidel V. Ramos weighs in on the problems too. Ironically, he is the father of all of this poverty due to his IPP-PPA scheme; the Centennial and PEA-Amari scams, etc.; the Sulo hotel cheating operations; his coddling of the MILF; his partnering with the Carlyle group, ad nausea. If he wants a big fish in jail, we should start with him and his protégé Gloria. Erap, meanwhile, views Gloria’s Sona only as a fairy tale. It’s a view shared by 90 percent or 80 million Filipinos. This fairy tale had much of the population mesmerized when Edsa II started in 2001 and gradually waned with the “Hello Garci” scandal, followed by the unbroken string of corruption cases since the Bolante fertilizer scam and topped off by the GMA-Abalos ZTE-NBN scandal.

With all these cases waiting to hound and put her behind bars, Gloria is desperate to stay on and the resurrection of the Cha-cha, which this column also predicted along with a few others who never had faith in the Supreme Court and the Senate in the first place, is not back on the table of Gloria and the coalition FVR is building with Villar and the NPC is going to make this fairy tale a continuing nightmare. Right now, though, the most important issue that we need to look at is the US Embassy’s thumbs up on the exploitative and oppressive economic policies of Gloria. Naturally, Western corporations and financial institutions have been the ones raking it in over the past eight years, which they would want to continue until 2010 if they had their way.

My column, “Kenney’s Sona-ta to Gloria” elicited quite a number of responses from the public, many of whom see only now that Gloria’s survival so far has depended on the conditional support of the US – conditional on the continuous implementation of the looting policies on this country. The apparent criticisms from the West on corruption and human rights are really just pressure on Gloria to do their bidding – or else.

One newspaper’s special report on a pundit’s view of the SONA describes Gloria’s situation as a: “Perfect economic storm (meeting a) determined and lucky Arroyo administration.” That’s inane! Arroyo has neither been determined nor lucky; just subservient to the Western powers who prop her up against the will of the people, and it’s just her misfortune to be the dispensable puppet when the nationalist revolution transpires. (Tune to 1098AM, Mon. to Fri., 8:30-9am; Tuesday 8:45-9:30pm on Destiny Cable, Channel 3 – this week with ex-Sen. Francisco Tatad on “Depopulation NSSM 200”; our blog

The Daily Tribune 7-28-2008