Marcos SONA: Point by point criticism
1. Marcos’ SONA was a fairy tale completely disconnected from the reality of the toiling masses’ pressing socioeconomic problems: spiralling prices, low wages and massive unemployment and widespread landlessness and land grabbing.
2. Marcos is wrong to think that his technical jargon and grandiose promises will succeed in mesmerizing the people. The toiling masses need urgent action: lower prices, higher wages, and land — not promises of prosperity in some unknown future.
3. Marcos is fooling the people by claiming 8% GDP growth in Q1 indicates a strong economy. Such relative growth comes from very low numbers during height of lockdowns in 2021. Job-generation is at lowest. Millions remain unemployed or have become “unpaid family workers.”
4. Akala ni Marcos mamamangha ang taumbayan sa mga salitang teknikal at engrande–pero hungkag–na mga pangako. Nakalutang siya sa alapaap. Bingi siya sa sigaw ng mamamayan: Umento sa sahod! Libreng lupa! Hanapbuhay! Katarungan!
5. Ang “sound fiscal management” na sabi ni Marcos ay katumbas ng kaliwa’t kanang DAGDAG buwis sa mga konsyumer at maliit na negosyo, at KALTAS buwis sa mga dayuhang mamumuhunan.
6. Marcos declares PH will be an upper-middle-class income country by 2024 and reduce poverty to 9%. This is pure fantasy when majority of Filipinos now could rarely afford three square meals a day.
7. Marcos wants “fiscal stability” but makes no mention of the fact that annually 20% of national budget is lost to debt service payments. Need to suspend interest payments is urgent amid threats of government bankruptcy.
8. Marcos talks of grand plans, but all will be undertaken primarily or exclusively by private sector, from infra building to public utilities. Ano gagawin ni Marcos? taxes/customs, labor export, social welfare for disaster victims, of course, corruption.
9. Marcos declares future plans to build railways, but fails to address pressing daily transportation problem in NCR. Failing to develop job-generating industries dispersed across the country, economic activity centered in a few cities will result in perennial transpo problems.
10. Marcos’ economic program is no different from four decades of RELIANCE on foreign investment. To attract investors, workers wages will be kept low, and taxes reduced. He is only perpetuating the country’s import-dependent “assembly-line” economy.
11. Marcos projects 6.5–7.5 % economic growth this year. Growth for whom? No assurances of jobs, because there are none, except for OFWs and tourism. No talks of industry and land reform as key to econ growth.
12. Marcos wants “strategic industries” to come to ecozones? When did it ever happen that a beggar can demand what he will receive. Ecozones are foreign investment havens where multinationals enjoy all freedom, including where to put their money.
13. Marcos promised to condone outstanding land amortization and give out land titles under CARP but made no declaration to end wanton importation of rice and other agri products, land grabbing and other anti-peasant policies.
14. Plan to grant land reform titles likely linked to World Bank push to facilitate land sales to allow multinational corporations to expand their plantations and mining operations. In Mindanao alone, as much as 300,000 hectares are targeted.
15. Marcos “agri productivity” plan sounds like a redux of Masagana-99: “farm modernization” with “new technology” assisted with “institutionalized” government loans. The peasant masses are already deep in debt.
16. No mention of addressing demand of peasant masses to eliminate exploitative and onerous land rent by big landlords, high-interest on loans and need to raise farmgate prices.
17. Marcos plan to build a “national network of farm-to-market roads” sounds like a lot of nonsense. This is just an opportunity for large-scale corruption. Peasants demand free land distribution not road construction.
18. Marcos wants Kadiwa centers back, but makes no promise WHEN his ₱20/kilo rice will materialize: not in one day, one month or one year, he says. Probably never!
19. Marcos orders DSWD to preposition goods for disaster victims, but bares no plan to address the reasons behind frequent landslides and widespread flooding, i.e. denudation and river siltation caused by logging, mining and other destructive activities.
20. Without addressing man-made reasons for calamities, “disaster” response is being reduced to an opportunity for politicking, taking advantage of people’s miseries for political gain.
21. Hindi na raw kakayanin ang lockdown sa pagharap sa Covid-19 pandemic. Mali naman talaga ang matatagalang lockdown na pantugon sa pandemya. Pero liban sa pagbabakuna, di naman pinalalakas ang public health system. Bulok pa rin ang mga public hospitals.
22. Marcos made mention of Heart Center, Lung Center etc only to hark back at his father’s memory. In fact, he promised only to build clinics that won’t even be staffed with full-time medical personnel (2x a week lang daw).
23. Center for Disease Prevention and Control? Pampapogi lang ito. Dati namang may ganitong mga ahensya ang DOH, pero kulang na kulang ang badyet. Vaccine center? Pangako din ito ni Duterte. Asahan nang popondohan ito ng mga multinasyunal.
24. Sabi ni Marcos, improve welfare of medical frontliners. Napakalaki pa rin ng utang ng gubyerno sa mga nars na hindi naibibigay ang tamang sahod at benepisyo. Mababa ang sweldo ng mga nars, kaya marami pa rin ang gustong mag-abroad.
25. Marcos claims he does not want cartels controlling the pharmaceutical industry. Big words! The global pharmaceutical industry IS controlled by a few monopoly capitalist companies. Not even the WHO could command Big Pharma to share their recipe for Covid-19 vaccines.
26. Students have long demanded for resumption of safe in-person classes. Marcos declares plan to open “face-to-face” classes, but makes no budget allotment to solve shortage of more than 500,000 classrooms for 20-student single-shift classes.
27. Marcos wants focus on STEM education, not to help improve local economy, but to make Filipinos more employable abroad. He wants English educn prioritized, contrary to findings that learning is better in native tongue. Education must be integrated w/ natl industrialization.
28. Marcos makes no promises of creating local jobs. In fact, he wants DMW to speed up seeking jobs abroad and make it easier for foreigners to employ Filipinos.
29. Marcos wants PH to be part of 4th Industrial Revolution, but ignores the fact that country remains non-industrial and backward.
30. Connectivity is not the key to transform the lives of Filipinos, contrary to Marcos claims. Land reform and national industrialization are key. Without land and without jobs, internet connectivity will only transform the country to a youtube and tiktok economy.
31. Marcos’ push for a National Broadband Plan reminds us of Arroyo’s NBN-ZTE deal around 15 years ago. It remains to be seen what big business interests will benefit from these government contracts.
32. Marcos wants priority to infrastructure building. Short-term jobs in exchange for quick proit for foreign companies & big capitalists; and long-term loss of income for peasants & fisherfolk, years of burdensome debt payments & irecoverable damage to the environment.
33. Marcos talks of alternative energy sources, all of which will be owned and operated by private enterprises. Filipinos will remain at the mercy of the big capitalists controlling public utilities. People are made to pay for services that, in the first place, should be public.
34. Marcos cynically laments PH is vulnerable to climate change despite small contribution to global warming, but ignores massive destruction of PH environment caused by mining, logging, land reclamation, dams, wanton infrastructure building, even ecotourism.
35. Marcos wants “preservation of environment” but did not reverse Duterte’s order to allow open-pit mining.
36. Marcos seeks deployment of OFWs to Saudi Arabia amid push by Saudi Arabia to replace immigrant workers with local workers in the face of their domestic unemployment crisis.
37. Marcos declares he wont abandon “even one square inch,” but avoided the urgent question of TAKING BACK what we have already lost: thousands of sq miles of territorial seas & formations in the WPS TAKEN by China; and vast spaces OCCUPIED by US military forces under VFA/EDCA.
38. Of the 19 priority bills Marcos lists, none pertains to the urgent demands of the people amid the crisis: put a stop to spiralling fuel and food prices, land, wage increases, jobs.
39. Marcos praised Duterte several times, a definite assurance that he won’t allow the International Criminal Court to prosecute him for crimes against humanity.
40. Marcos wants to revive mandatory military training which will give the AFP wider platform for red-tagging and fascist indoctrination. What “love of country” will human rights abusers and pro-US zealots teach the youth?
41. Marcos did not touch on rampant rights violations by state forces, a virtual signal for the NTF-Elcac and the AFP/PNP to continue with the brutal drug war and costly counterinsurgency drive. The generals are elated: Bombs away!