Intensified Police Operations in Masbate, equates to intensified poverty for the Masbateño peasants
Read in: Pilipino
The peasantry demands an end to poverty and not the escalation of police presence and operations. They demand the elimination of avaricious landlords and foreign investors who have been stealing away the natural resources of Masbate. They call for an end to the ceaseless violence and terrorism of the state’s mercenary army. The interests of capitalists, bureaucrats and imperialists mean certain death for the Masbatenyos – death from hunger and death from the barrels of weapons by the murderers who protect this oppressive domination.
The additional police presence in Masbate will only cause the exacerbation of Masbatenyo masses’ destitution. This order has no intention to improve the people’s livelihood nor to end the widespread starvation among the poor. It only follows the US-Duterte regime’s fascist fantasy to crush the CPP-NPA-NDF, as well as the peasant movement in Masbate, to completely erase all hurdles to the implementation and management of neoliberal programs and projects that waste and devastate the livelihood of the masses. Only the big landlords and capitalists who drool over the province’s naural resources will profit from PNP Chief Guillermo Eleazar’s directives. Their ears clap in joy because they will gain access to even more armed minions who shall follow all their capricious orders and who shall protect their plunder and thievery.
Since then, Masbate has been neck-deep in poverty despite its rich natural resources. The Masbatenyos have not tasted an ounce of development despite the onslaught of big-ticket businesses and neoliberal projects in the province. Instead, they have floundered in hunger and deprivation even more. The island remains to be one of the poorest provinces in the country and has the highest poverty incidence in the whole region. Around 250,918 hectares in the province is controlled by no less than 200 ranchers and rich farmers. Meanwhile, 20 mining companies covet the 100,155 hectares covering the towns of Mandaon, Milagros, Mobo, Balud, Baleno, Dimasalang, Cawayan, Palanas and Uson. In 2017, Empark Land and Development, Inc. owned by Chinese capitalist Huang Rulun was established. Rulun is a known close associate of Duterte. With this, the P190.19B Masbate International Tourism Enterprise and Special Economic Zone commenced construction. It will cover 1,854 hectares of land in the towns of Dimasalang, Palanas and Uson. Casinos, malls, hotels, resorts and a golf course are already in line for development.
Most of the businesses, ranches and neoliberal projects in the province are under the control of the powerful bureaucrat families. The additional police presence is further guarantee that political dynasties shall win in the upcoming elections and will be able to remain in power. During the 2019 elections, Masbate had the most number of supposed election hotspots and experienced intensified police and military operations which resulted to killings and other human rights abuses.
The peasantry and the people know for certain that Eleazar’s desire to intensify police operations in Masbate can never solve the poor farmers’ demands. This shall only bury the Masbatenyos even deeper in impoverishment and unequivocal suffering caused by the violations of their rights. It is this very same destitution in Masbate that pushed the peasantry to turn to the revolutionary road they themselves cleared and created to achieve genuine justice and genuine solutions for their demands. They choose to take arms and join the just people’s war.