Statements: GMA’s 2008 SONA a cover-up

Windel Bolinget, Secretary General, Cordillera Peoples Alliance
Chie Galvez, Secretary General,Tongtongan Ti Umili

July 29, 2008

The fake president harped on self-reliance and self-sufficiency as key goals that must be achieved. Consistently, she blamed the global crisis for the national economic mayhem, as if her leadership and regime had absolutely nothing to do with it.

While it is true that the world capitalist system has created such a crisis, it is incorrect to abuse this as judgment to describe the poverty that beset us. The world capitalist system has created such a crisis, but globalization policies made our country extremely vulnerable to market speculations and monopolies. This is what happened to the rice, oil and price crises.

The only way for our country to be truly self-reliant is to break away from imperialist globalization. Yet GMA implements and localizes this, as proven by her anti-people policies that made the Filipino people poorer and hungrier than ever.

Much to our embarrassment, GMA has defended the value added tax (VAT) to high heavens the way she praised her generals in last year’s SONA. In her distorted justification of this anti-people policy which shows her subservience to imperialist globalization, GMA claims that VAT shielded the people from the economic crisis. In truth, the subsidies she claimed as “Katas ng VAT” (VAT juice) comes from a very small portion of the total collection. VAT’s primary purpose is debt-servicing aimed at boosting the credit-worthiness of the credit-driven administration.

It is deplorable how the GMA government distorts the truth when the very sight of the ordinary Filipino people will say that VAT only plunged us deeper into poverty. VAT as a regressive tax does not take into account the capacity of taxpayers to pay, making the poor more burdened and more violated. Defending it is an insult to the poor Filipinos already bleeding dry.

GMA worsened national oppression

We condemn her use of human visual aids to prove her so-called achievements, and we strongly condemn her use of indigenous peoples, such as the Bugkalot chieftain clad in his traditional attire at the Batasan to earn “pogi points” in her SONA. We urge our fellow indigenous peoples not to be dissuaded by her antics and be used in her propaganda blitz. The individuals GMA used in her SONA 2008 do not embody the 90 million Filipinos.

Since her term in 2001, GMA had always been staunchly anti-indigenous peoples as she is anti-people. Her stay in power worsened national oppression of indigenous peoples by violating individual and collective rights through programs and policies.

In her mining liberalization program, 18 of the 23 priority mining projects are located in indigenous territories. Five of these are in the Cordillera. Sixty-six percent of the region’s total land area is already applied for by various mining applications, on top of the large mining operations already taking place.

GMA is proud of the issuance of Ancestral Domain titles to indigenous territories in Aurora, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya, yet these are the very areas where large mining is present. The titles are merely ploys to facilitate the entry of destructive projects. Violation of indigenous peoples rights was unprecedented under the regime, with 120 documented cases of extra-judicial killings of IPs from 2001 to present.

GMA was even cautious not to say anything related to human rights because clearly, nobody will believe another thing she will say about human rights, much more her administration’s promotion of human rights. It will be an insult to the memory of the 1,000 victims of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances of her government if she dares claim of any achievement in the human rights front. We are in a state of undeclared martial law, and we do not want another term of state terrorism.

On graft and corruption

GMA was shameless enough to say that she has been battling graft and corruption, taking into consideration stronger measures and being self-righteous about it, even encouraging the Congress to pass an Anti-Graft Act. It is absurd, when we all know that most of the large scams such as the ZTE NBN deal and the fertilizer scam involve the First Family and the president herself.

GMA should stop invoking executive privilege and subject herself to legislation process on the graft and corruption cases filed against her and the First Family.

Public opinion perceives her to be the most corrupt president in the history of the Philippines.

The people know

GMA does not care for the people. Even with her repetitious claim in the SONA that she cares, the people do not believe her. We are too tired of her lies and deceptions amid glaring realities of hunger, poverty, fascism and plunder. GMA should resign if she had any amount of decency left.

The only correct thing to do is for the people to further unite and march in step for GMA’s ouster. This is the clarion call for every Filipino, for the immediate relief from this national crisis.

Enough of Gloria! Oust GMA! #

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