On Bonifacio Day: Migrants, “modern-day heroes,” rise against modern-day slavery, fascism and imperialism

Born 155 years ago, Andres Bonifacio lived for just a little more than three decades, and yet this great revolutionary leader who rose to lead great throngs of brave warriors to demolish Spanish colonialism in the Philippines continue to inspire many generations of Filipinos in their struggle for national democracy.

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More than a century after the withdrawal of Spanish forces, the age old troubles of poverty and oppression continue to grip millions of Filipinos. The heinous treachery of Emilio Aguinaldo has been recurrently embodied by puppet presidents from one US-controlled regime to another.

The Duterte regime is a perfect epitome of this Aguinaldo type of treason detested by the Filipino masses. It abominably presides over the gang rape of our country by emergent and established imperialist powers like China and the US.

Itching to offer his Build, Build, Build program to China, Duterte dragged the Philippines into dirty deals with big Chinese corporations. At the cost of our territorial integrity and energy security, a joint exploration deal was likewise laid down eyeing the exploitation of the rich gas reserves in the West Philippine Sea.

Migrante recognizes that these debt-ridden deals with China aggravate the Duterte regime’s exploitation of OFWs as milking cows to guarantee the country’s capacity for debt-servicing. As the country descends into the sinking sands of debt burdens brought about by corrupt neoliberal policies,   OFWs will bear the brunt of numerous and exorbitant state exactions like the mandatory insurance and SSS coverage.

Battered by Duterte’s TRAIN law, OFWs and their families back home are crying out against the agonizing 9-year high inflation rate, the worst in the ASEAN region. Under these excruciating neoliberal policies, there is no way that Filipinos will be able to get rid of their economic hardships.

Furthermore, the influx of foreign workers from China is a slap in the face of millions of OFWs who left their homeland due to the worsening poverty and unresolved issue of unemployment.

Like many Filipino workers, these Chinese workers are underpaid and overworked by exploitative Chinese firms which earned contracts for Duterte’s Build, Build, Build projects. This proves that debt-driven foreign investment on infrastructure neither translates to job generation for Filipinos nor does it improve working conditions.

120 years since the mock surrender of the Spanish forces to deceitful American troops, the prevailing problems of landlessness still plague majority of our poor farmers. Killings and harassments of organized peasants persist as the Fascist regime’s primary stance to stamp out dissent in the countryside. Up to this moment, families and supporters of the SAGAY9 massacre victims are aggressively persecuted by AFP-PNP and their paramilitary goons.

Just yesterday, Fascist elements from AFP and PNP illegally detained several dozens of Lumad students and teachers in Talaingod, Davao del Norte. Among those detained were members of the rescue team which include ACT Teachers Partylist Representative France Castro, former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo, and Pia Malayao of Katribu. They have been falsely charged of trafficking minors when in fact, they were only rescuing school children from the AFP-trained terrorist Alamara paramilitary group that closed down the Salugpongan community school. This is utterly detestable considering that Imelda Marcos and other big wealthy criminals still roam freely and even enjoy parties despite their convictions.

All bloodthirsty brutes from AFP and PNP enjoy the full backing of US imperialist aggressors. To this day, US imperialism remains the bloodiest and most destructive neocolonialist power in the Philippines as manifested in its direct involvement in all aspects during the destruction of Marawi and the three-pronged war being carried out by its puppet, the US-Duterte regime. The persecution of progressive people’s organizations through the US-dictated Oplan Kapayapaan will be intensified by Duterte’s Memorandum Order No.32 and his recently pronounced desire to form a death squad that will target idlers whom he branded as “prospective NPAs.”

In addition, the ever expanding presence of US troops both in our territorial lands and waters like in the West Philippine Sea grooms the Philippines into the main battleground between the US and China in the event that a military confrontation breaks out between the two rivals. All these imperialist expeditions must be vigorously opposed.

We Filipinos must learn from the revolutionary lessons drawn out by the heroic life of Gat Andres Bonifacio. Casting away the colonial mentality of mendicant dependence on foreign powers, we enjoin the Filipino masses to assert our sovereignty and strengthen our democratic force through our collective struggle in unity with the oppressed peasants, workers and all exploited sectors of our society.

By getting rid of the US imperialist grip on the Philippines and ending the Fascist reign of its puppet Duterte regime, only then will we be enabled as a people to freely chart our own course as a nation in the interest of the greater masses. Go forth and uphold our struggle for national democracy and liberation to address the roots of forced migration through genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization.  With all our might, let us terminate the Fascist reign of terror and the neoliberal attacks of the evil US-Duterte regime.