Saturday, May 18, 2013

Philippines: On the Outcome of the 2013 Elections

National Democratic Front of the Philippines
International Information Office

Amsterdamsestraatweg 50
3513 AG Utrecht
The Netherlands

Tel: +31 30 2310431
Fax: +31 84 7589930

75% of incoming members of the House of Representatives belong to political dynasties. All the top-running contenders of the Senate will either extend their own or their family's political careers. Not a single one of them come from the ranks of the toiling masses.

By Communist Party of the Philippines
16 May 2013

On the outcome of the 2013 elections

  1. The just concluded 2013 Election is clearly no different from previous elections under more than half a century of neo-colonial reactionary rule. From the national to the local levels, the elections were dominated by political parties funded by and representing the interests of big compradors and landlords and subservient to foreign big business.
    Initial results of the elections show that 75% of the incoming members of the House of Representatives belong to so-called traditional political families or dynasties. All the top-running contenders of the Senate will either extend their own or their parent's or family's political careers. Not a single one of them come from the ranks of the toiling masses.
    The Filipino people have no fundamental gains from the 2013 elections. In general, the elections only served to strengthen the control of the reactionary ruling classes over the government and its bureacracy. Despite all the hype about "democracy", the 2013 elections have proved to be a pseudo-democratic exercise where the "power" of the people is limited to selecting from among the ruling reactionaries and casting their votes for those who will make or implement the laws that will oppress and exploit them.
  2. The results of the automated elections of 2013 are widely discredited because of the complete lack of transparency. The automated counting and canvassing system of the 2013 elections have become ever more untransparent and undemocratic. The absence of transparency is at all levels, from the lack of a public review of the source code, to the built-in secrecy of the counting of votes by the automated counting machines and the national canvassing of votes.
    The automated system is owned, controlled and administered by foreign companies that are driven by commercial profits not by any patriotic duty. That there exists no system to check the digital signatures or integriy of the software that runs from the compact-flash cards means the machines could be run with malicious software to manipulate the vote count and carry out wholesale tampering of election results away from public scrutiny. There is a complete absence of means for the public or the political parties to independently verify the software and review the numbers being fed to the central computer servers of the Comelec and its private company partner Smartmatic Inc.
    Advocates of electoral democracy are united in the rejection of the system of automated elections in the Philippines. These are condemned as a step away from democracy. The so-called automated counting alienates the voters from the votes they have cast. They insist that automation should be done in the transmission of votes after these have been democratically, openly and manually counted. In the history of Philippine elections, precint-level counting was never the bottleneck, rather the canvassing at the municipal, provincial and national levels where tampering of election returns are at its worse.
    The prevalent news about corrupted compact flash cards, failed electronic transmissions, malfunctioning counting machines and the delays in the canvassing of votes underscore the widespread doubts concerning the results of the elections.
  3. The Aquino regime will take advantage of the results of the 2013 election to help further consolidate its oppressive and repressive rule. Majority of the incoming new senators are Aquino allies and are expected to support the IMF and World Bank programs being implemented by Aquino.
    Under the direction of his US advisers and pressure from the American and European chambers of commerce, the Aquino regime is set on further liberalizing investment and trade policies in the Philippine. They are pushing for the removal of constitutional restrictions against 100% foreign ownership of land and key public services and enterprises through an amendment of the 1987 constitution either by convening a chacha (charter change) commission or convention or passing new laws overriding such provisions.
    In accordance with US dictates, there is also an increasing push from Aquino to ensure the legal justification for the increasing presence and basing of US military forces in the Philippines to skirt the prohibitions against foreign military facilities in the 1987 constitution. Foreign big business groups have also been vocal in pushing for the removal of constitutional restrictions against the re-election of the president beyond one six-year term.
    With a firm hold over the Philippine congress, Aquino seeks to further liberalize the Mining Act of 1995 in order to attract bigger investments in the mining sector. He completely disregards the Filipino people's opposition to foreign plunder of the country's patrimony and environmental destruction resulting from large-scale commercial mining, plantation and logging operations.
    Having majority control of congress, Aquino hopes to pursue his budgetary program to carry out austerity measures by further reducing social spending and carrying out the privatization of public utilities and services. Anticipate the Aquino regime to go full-throttle with the privatization of public hospitals and schools over the next few years. Relatedly, Aquino is set to push for more tax measures to further raise the government's revenues in the face of the continuing economic crisis.
    Without a strong opposition block within congress, the Aquino clique hopes it can go ahead in signing government contracts with private contractors without fear of public rebuke and blue-ribbon investigations. The Aquino regime is slated to carry out the public bidding of the extension of the LRT project, the fare increase and privatization of the Metro Rail Transit system and the rebidding of the Laguna Lake dredging projects. The big bureaucrat capitalists and big comprador partners of Aquino are likely to bag these contracts in the same way that the Daang-Hari construction project under the Public-Private Partnership Program was anomalously granted to Aquino's cronies despite lower bids by contending parties.
    With a firm electoral victory, Aquino is emboldened to further intensify his regime's all-out war of suppression under Oplan Bayanihan. Aquino seeks the collaboration of the Philippine congress to increase funding for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) and put into place the deceptive counter-insurgency programs as the Pamana and Kalahi projects which have been used by military commanders and local bureaucrat capitalists to line up their pockets.
  4. The recently concluded elections did not address the most pressing problems and concerns of the Filipino people. Save for the efforts of progressive parties which participated in the political campaigns, election discussions and debates failed to center on the people's most urgent demands including land reform and national industrialization, higher wages, lower prices, local employment and affordable housing.
    The Filipino people have no other recourse but to heighten their struggles against the pro-imperialist and anti-people Aquino regime. They must vigorously advance their demands and mount intense and widescale mass struggles. The Filipino people and their democratic mass movement can take advantage of schisms among the reactionaries by employing united front tactics to forge alliances with the anti-Aquino sections, especially in light of the political maneuvers related to the approaching 2016 presidential elections.
    In the face of their worsening socio-economic conditions, the Filipino people are compelled to more resolutely advance their struggle for national and social liberation through democratic mass struggles and armed resistance.

No comments: