BY ORLAN R. RAVANERA
In these dark times amidst the onslaught of the pandemic that has put our country and the world in so much disarray, in an age of unparalleled economic inequality under the regime of the global one percent amidst morale and religious apathy that has turned its back on the class struggle, the voice of the people can become a beacon of hope in the forthcoming elections, if only the people are conscienticized on the socio-economic-ecological realities besetting us locally and globally. As pronounced by the world’s renowned social scientists, “There are clear and strong indicators across the entire political and socio economic spectrum that the contradictions of capitalist globalization and the neo-liberal policies associated with them threaten to unleash powerful forces with the capacity to produce not only highly destructive outcomes for growth and prosperity, justice and social peace, but also concomitant consequences for democracy, the environment, and human civilization as a whole.”
The West Philippine Sea is indeed a part of Philippine territory, yet, such rightful and legally established truism is being mocked by China, now the most powerful country in the world. Yes, we do not want war with China but when powerful forces are unleashed glaringly violating our basic right, does that mean power makes right? Never. Let that bullying of a super power awaken the people in deep slumber. But the awakening process must now begin especially on socio-economic-ecological realities under the regime of a few elites in a country that follows a business-managed electoral system. As expressed by the highest law of the land, sovereignty resides with the people and all governmental power emanate from them.” But in a highly stratified, pyramidal societal order where the economy is controlled by the oligarchs, economic power begets political power and the will of the people which should be the supreme law is just being mocked in a “big circus” called Philippine elections.
Ecologically, we are now in the state of planetary emergency as climate indicators have escalated so quickly that an emergency response is imperative if civilization is to avoid breakdown and eventual collapse. While the ecological crisis is so grave especially in a country that has been described by the United Nations’ Disaster Risk Index as the number four country in the world worst hit by climate change and despite all the ecological disasters experienced by our people, especially the poor and the vulnerable, no concrete action to heal the blighted land back to life. In fact, such was glaringly shown when the Philippines refrained from giving its commitment to stop the usage of coal in the recently concluded COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland during the G20 World Summit. Don’t you know that in Mindanao alone, we have some six (6) coal-fired power plants with a total Megawatts of 2,200MW? That should have been protested by the Mindanawons as the usage of coal is the number one cause of climate change and the tiny particles they emit when inhaled cause cancer.
Not only shall we address climate change; let us also rectify social wrongs especially in the life of our ecological people – the peasantry, the fisherfolk and the Indigenous Peoples who are now becoming the poorest of the poor. It is so painful to note that in the last decade, the agricultural sector had only a .02 percent contribution to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and the most negatively affected by climate change and the on-going protracted war.
Indeed, as we have lost our ecological integrity, we have also lost our food security. Based on the data of the Food and Nutrition Institute, 85% of the Filipino children are malnourished especially in Mindanao, an island called the “food basket” of the country. While our vast tracts of land are teeming with high value crops to supply the consumerist needs of the people in advanced countries, we cannot even satisfy basic staples such as rice and milk. The Philippines is the biggest rice importer in the world, even bigger than what China is importing with a population of some 1.5 billion people; our country imports 99% of milk needs from other countries. Based on social scientists’ analysis, while the Philippines is so rich ecologically with marine resources described as the “center of the center of marine life on Earth” and the richest with regards to endemic resources on flora and fauna, but who controls? Who profits? Who decides? Only a few elites following an extractive economic system where our country exports cheaply-bought raw materials and dumping ground of finished products. Don’t you know that everything sold in this country passes at least five marketing layers? A bag of Ammonium Sulfate fertilizer bought in Ukraine at P50 is sold in Mindanao at P1,000; a Lipitor pill bought in New Delhi, India at P.035 is sold in Philippine pharmacy at P50.
No way can these social wrongs be rectified by candidates who are running with full support of big businesses. A candidate who has the highest financial support from big business almost always wins but when elected, his/her priority goes to the financial supporters and not the welfare of the Filipino people. But the Filipinos are not apathetic. TAHIMIK LANG PERO NAGDADAMDAM DIN. PAGSUBRA NA, TATAYO SILA AT MAG PEOPLE POWER! TOTOO NGA NA SA KADILIMAN NG GABI, MAY NAGLALAMAY SA PAGDATING NG UMAGA. The awakened people are the beacon of light amidst darkness, a beacon of hope amidst despair! MABUHAY ANG SAMBAYANANG PILIPINO!