Monday, April 24, 2006

22nd Cordillera Day solidarity message

Fight all maneuvers to propagate and exacerbate the rotten system
Solidarity message by Bayan Muna Rep. Joel G. Virador
during the 22nd Cordillera Day
April 22-25, 2006

Magandang araw, mga kasama!

At the outset, I wish to convey my deepest regret for being physically unable to attend this time-honored event. As you are all aware, this representation, along with four of my colleagues from Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela, has been restricted to the premises of the Batasan Complex in Quezon City. We have been collectively accused of plotting to overthrow the Macapagal-Arroyo regime, and slapped with trumped up charges of rebellion. Another colleague, Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran, was illegally arrested a day after the Arroyo regime declared Proclamation 1017, and remains unjustly incarcerated at Camp Crame.

While we remain committed to the position that the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime deserves to be ousted – on the irrefutable bases of her ruinous, anti-poor economic policies, treachery of the national interest through unrestrained sell-out of the national patrimony to foreign corporate interests, shameless cheating and corruption, unparalleled repression and barefaced disregard for the established democratic institutions – her continuing political persecution of identified opponents, in her desperation to remain in power, further exposes the regime’s insolvency and merely stresses this call.

Her latest maneuver to preserve her crumbling regime involves proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution. Under the tag-line “The Great Debate,” Arroyo and her sycophants are promoting Charter Change or “Cha-Cha” as the principal solution to the political crisis. But the people cannot be so easily deceived. Even the timing and political context of such a proposal undoubtedly makes it suspect. Cha-Cha will not only ensure that Arroyo continues to serve her term until 2010 but will also consolidate elite bureaucracy – the recognized bane of Philippine politics since the beginning of the country’s history.

More relevant to our people in the Cordillera Region, especially the Indigenous Peoples, is the fact that Cha-Cha will only worsen the ill-effects of liberal economics, under the guise of Globalization. Hidden behind the so-called shift to a Parliamentary form of government is the agenda of removing the nationality restrictions in the existing Charter. Foreigners will be allowed 100 percent ownership of lands and natural resources which otherwise should be reserved for the primary benefit and enjoyment of Filipinos. Key industries, utilities, even media and education will fall open prey to foreigners motivated solely by profit.

If at present, foreigners, in cahoots with the Philippine government, have found a way to circumvent the nominal nationalist provisions of the current Constitution, as exemplified by the 1995 Mining Act, with the proposed Cha-Cha, such circumvention would no longer be necessary as foreign corporate interests would be allowed to do as they please. Cha-Cha equals all-out economic plunder sans the pretensions.

The clear intention of propagating the rotten system, typecast by elite politics that panders to foreign interests above the national interest, makes the Cha-Cha measure one of the mounting reasons for fervently opposing and ousting the Arroyo regime.

And despite the heightened political repression, I salute all the participants gathered here today, and all Filipinos who dare challenge and struggle against the patent, widespread social injustices in the country. For 22 trying but enriching years, the Cordillera Day has been an unwavering inspiration towards the achievement of deep-going reforms in the country. A rich source of experience and example of unified struggle, the significance of the Cordillera Day cannot be impressed any

On behalf of Bayan Muna, this Representation would like to congratulate the organizers and participants of this very historic event. Your calls remain all the more relevant and necessary amidst these especially trying times. Onward with the struggle! Mabuhay ang nakikibakang sambayanan!▼

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