Why the Philippines is not really a free country
By Andrea Lim
In a government that mostly serves the interests of capitalists and foreign powers, this is one question we should all take the time to ponder – are we even truly free? Every June 12th, Filipinos are lulled into an even further sense of false ‘nationalism’ and ‘freedom’ when the reality of the matter is that we are still not free as a country.
Our national policies are still influenced by our former American colonizers. Our economic freedom is being sold part and parcel to China by big business taipans, and the oligarchs are keeping us under servitude to the interests of multinationals.
President Noynoy Aquino defined ‘true freedom’ as freedom from hunger, ignorance, poverty and joblessness. However, youth group Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo says that the number of hungry, jobless and poor Filipinos actually increased in Aquino’s first year, and more so in the succeeding ones. The number of school drop-outs also remain in large numbers.
This shows that not only is the government’s so-called declaration of independence a façade, but it also proves that the country’s political and economic policies stay-one sided in favor of foreign powers and their local puppets.
Sovereignty For Sale
Instead of calling for national sovereignty, we have a President who chooses only to bow down to foreign powers even if it is at the expense of the Filipino people.
US influences on our armed forces through policies and programs extends to our economy – the economic crisis being experienced by the Philippines is a result of the government’s neo-liberal policies pushed by the US, such as the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the Balikatan exercises, and most recently, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
Meanwhile, China has already subdued the Philippines economically. Big capitalists such as Henry Sy, Lucio Tan and other foreign businessmen continue to exploit the Filipinos for cheap labor. What’s worse is that President Aquino himself offers us to them.
Aquino’s government has steered mainstream media into distracting us from relevant issues in our society. Instead of having us focus on the corruption cases involving Budget Secretary Butch Abad and other yellow cronies, we are bombarded with news of Noynoy’s new ‘love interest’ or Kris Aquino’s summer fling with Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista.
Cuban freedom fighter Che Guevarra says that the mere act of proclaiming independence or winning an armed victory in a revolution does not mean the freedom of a country. True freedom is achieved when the “imperialistic economic domination” over people is brought to an end.