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It’s the Economy, Stupid by Antonio ‘Butch’ Valdes

It’s the Economy, Stupid by Antonio ‘Butch’ Valdes


THAT DOES IT by Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) September 3, 2008

Originally published online and on print at The Freeman, Korina Sanchez’s THAT DOES IT column on September 3, 2008.

It’s the Economy, Stupid by Antonio ‘Butch’ Valdes


This is the third and final part of the series as written by guest columnist Antonio ‘Butch’ Valdes, of the LaRouche Society Phils. I would like to thank Mr. Valdes for his three part series detailing his analysis on “who really benefits” from the controversial Memorandum of Agreement between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. In the oral arguments last Friday no less than Supreme Court Justice Adolfo Azcuna commented that the agreement, under international law, would have been binding had it been signed making it a “very dangerous document”.

As expected and precisely on cue, the intensity and frequency of clashes between the MILF and the AFP threatens to bring the country into a full-scale civil war, if not already into one. The numerous radio and tv interviews granted by PGMA’s peace negotiators saw Esperon, and Garcia impliedly and sometimes explicitly express the government’s lack of resources and logistics to sustain a protracted war against the secessionists. Despite all the tough talk on the amount of fire-power which can be unleashed by this administration, on the Mindanao insurgents, the President and all her surrogates know that we cannot afford a war… and it seems, the MILF know it too. But not only does our economics dictate our inability to defend our nation-state, it is that which compels the various factions in our society to separate themselves from what they perceive as a morally corrupt and incompetent central government, which has miserably failed them.

Although the move to secede, or to gain some amount of autonomy in order to make known the specific indigenous people’s concerns, the plight of the citizen from whatever region has primarily and always been a demand for an improvement of his welfare and an assurance of a better future. As it is for the whole nation, the fundamental issue to be addressed in Mindanao is the decrepit condition of life of as much as 80% of its population. This consists of both Muslims and Christians fighting to survive the unprecedented rise in prices of all commodities, and now employing violent means as a reaction to what they conclude to be a hopeless situation.

The stupidity, let alone the malice of decision-makers, PGMA , local and foreign advisers included, seems to be based on the premise that, since one cannot bomb-out poverty, and since the AFP cannot win a war where the “enemy” is motivated by hunger and survival, they create the conditions which would spark a Muslim-Christian conflict . The MOA was precisely the match which was lit to start the chaos. What follows is an escalation into a civil war which would eventually prompt government to formally request the United Nations to intervene. This was a move which was contemplated as early as the Ramos administration. This starts the process of dismemberment… and the beneficiaries are least of all, the Filipino people.

Nothing short of a massive infrastructure program, not unlike the program initiated by Pres. Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 to lift his country out of the great depression, creating millions of jobs within days, weeks and months, unifying his country to survive the threatened disintegration, and prosper to be the most powerful nation in the world, can provide the historical example of inspired leadership necessary to confront our critical situation. It is in the same tradition and the same vision that we should approach our current problems.

Infrastructure development, such as a circumferential railway system, cris-crossing the whole of Mindanao; at least a one thousand megawatt nuclear power plant; desalination plants, more ports and airports; and a master plan for a major agro-industrial development program…will begin to solve the decades-long problem of the south.

Because of negligence, and failed leadership of previous governments, the people of Mindanao have fallen prey to foreign financial/ political interests and their greedy local surrogates… they who work best in creating chaos, exploiting the needy, in an impoverished environment. But so have we all fallen prey, the nation as a whole, to those who challenge the integrity of our Republic. No right-minded Filipino should let this happen.
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