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25 years of worsening poverty DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 12/09/2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

25 years of worsening poverty

DIE HARD III
Herman Tiu Laurel
12/09/2011
Early this week, another one of those “summits” on the dire economic straits of the country was in the news — this one convened by religious and “civil society” leaders together with a leading member of the Edsa I political crowd (who is also a counsel of choice of the oligarchs). Archbishop Antonio Ledesma and Christian Monsod had a three-day “summit on poverty, inequality and social reform,” which, as expected, grumbled and griped about RP’s impoverishment.

“Our nation,” the archbishop said, “is in an explosive situation… Poverty is mounting, streets… are teeming with beggars and dislocated indigenous peoples…” And this probably why the other intoned in his keynote, “The task today is no less heroic than at Edsa — it is liberation from the yoke of poverty that would make democracy more meaningful to the poor… Twenty-five years after Edsa, where are we on that promise?”

Where indeed is the country today after those Edsa coup cohorts of the US and the oligarchy took over the reins of government?

Monsod should be the first to know. Didn’t he lawyer for what is touted as one of the most exploitative businesses in the country? Didn’t he preside over the dramatic deterioration of the electoral system when he, as chairman of the Comelec (Commission on Elections), removed party representation in the Board of Election Inspectors while allegedly padding the voters’ list prior to the 1992 polls, which (many say) enabled Fidel Ramos to steal victory and spawned worsening election cheating ever since?

Heck, Monsod and his wife were even at the forefront of Edsa II, which ousted the only Philippine president in the past 25 years who never approved — but, in fact, vigorously disapproved — any power or water rate increases in his attenuated two and a half year term. And hasn’t his wife been the poster girl of globalization economics in the country all these years?

Together, the two only embody the prevailing economic-political-corporatist system of the past 25 years under the Yellow banner.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Ledesma, I am told, is genuinely for the poor. But the religious “bleeding heart” rhetoric and busy “good Samaritan” activities of these well-intentioned human beings (like the antics of running priest, Fr. Robert Reyes) seldom translate into actionable programs that uproot the sources of poverty and its consequent moral decline.

Even during periods of ideological radicalization within the Roman Catholic Church (such as the flowering of liberation theology), the geopolitics of Rome (which has always been intricately linked with the western oligarchy’s pre-eminence) always gets in the way. Although the Vatican has chastised capitalism in many encyclicals of popes past, to this day, it ultimately yields to the power of capital, especially in its politics.
Back here, the situation is no different as the Catholic Church still persists in harping on government corruption when, in fact, it is the corruption of unfettered and extreme, globalized capitalism that systematically concentrates wealth and power in fewer and fewer hands.

The Church spearheaded the ouster of Marcos who, in his 21 years of authoritarian government, began laying the foundations for economic democracy in building publicly owned energy, water, irrigation, transport, health, shelter, as well as social and physical infrastructures.

Such publicly owned utilities are at the heart of economic democracy, where capital from taxes, utilities payments, and profits are plowed back for the expansion and development of these shared assets and services. Without economic democracy as a foundation, any political democracy can only be a farce.

Edsa I and II reversed our budding economic democracy when these assets — financed by past and future taxes of the people — were handed over to the voracious profit-seeking local oligarchy and western corporatocracy, effectively privatizing the profits while socializing the capitalization of these privatized assets.

In the ouster of President Joseph Estrada, the Catholic Church also fell prey to the schemes of the foreign and local corporatist-swindlers. It must never be forgotten that the central issue in the ouster of Erap was not jueteng, which 10 years later is still rampant in the country. The real goal was the massive privatization of our state assets, beginning with the power generating plants.

The evidence is there: The singular focus of the Edsa II regime of Gloria Arroyo was the passage of the Epira (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) that was railroaded through the lame duck Congress in May 2001, allegedly through the carrot of $300 million in ADB loans and millions of lobby money distributed by then and current Speaker Sonny Belmonte. That’s why it is no longer a surprise to hear power oligarch Erramon Aboitiz say (before the Management Association of the Philippines) that “We considered the privatization process as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The oligarchs never had it so good when they took over our nation’s cheapest and natural energy resources (such as our hydroelectric and geothermal plants); then hiked their production cost, making our rates “the highest in Asia” (four times higher than Vietnam or China); then distributed such electric power at prices that are lopsided against residential consumers by a ratio of as much as 20:1, in favor of commercial and industrial users (like giant malls and factories).

So, should Christian Monsod and Archbishop Ledesma still wonder why the “The nation’s top 1 percent of… families — 185,000 — have an income equal to (that) of the bottom 30 percent of poor families numbering 5.5 million,” or that “the percentage of hungry families at 21.5 percent (has risen) from 15.1 percent in July?”

True, their summit may have dwelt on such issues as Hacienda Luisita, the conditional cash transfers, or the conflict in Mindanao. But, the simple truth is that all these will still have to hinge on the resolution of one fundamental injustice: The socialization of costs and the privatization of profit.

What they did to power, they did to water, toll ways, telecoms, ad nausea. These people can summit all they want; but they who created the problem can never be expected to provide the solution.

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m. on 1098AM; Talk News TV with HTL, Saturday, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111209com6.html

3 comments:

Jesusa Bernardo said...

at talagang globalization economics ang itinulak ni prop. monsod na nagdala lang sa pinas, o sa mga hindi elit, ng lalong kahirapan.

"Heck, Monsod and his wife were even at the forefront of Edsa II, which ousted the only Philippine president in the past 25 years who never approved — but, in fact, vigorously disapproved — any power or water rate increases in his attenuated two and a half year term. And hasn’t his wife been the poster girl of globalization economics in the country all these years?

"Together, the two only embody the prevailing economic-political-corporatist system of the past 25 years under the Yellow banner."

Jesusa Bernardo said...

kapal talaga, pasensya na gurong solita, ng mag.asawang monsod na ito....kung baga, ang may kasalanan sa pandaraya ni fidel tabako ay itong si then.comelec chairman christian monsod at INALIS ang representasyon ng political parties sa BEI.

"Monsod should be the first to know. Didn’t he lawyer for what is touted as one of the most exploitative businesses in the country? Didn’t he preside over the dramatic deterioration of the electoral system when he, as chairman of the Comelec (Commission on Elections), removed party representation in the Board of Election Inspectors while allegedly padding the voters’ list prior to the 1992 polls, which (many say) enabled Fidel Ramos to steal victory and spawned worsening election cheating ever since?"

Anonymous said...

The Monsods.

Kill them.

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