By D. L. MONDELO
Below is the follow-up interview by Bulatlat.com with Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
Our interview on the 2010 elections last week attracted a great deal of attention from the top mass media in Manila and elicited reactions from certain major political quarters. First of all, what do you think of the reaction of presidential spokesman Gary Olivar? He said to the effect that because you had expressed support for Manny Villar you accepted the existing ruling system and that you would be amenable to a peace agreement without any revolutionary change.
JMS: The presidential spokesman should read carefully the full text of the interview in Bulatlat. I described the ruling system as one in need of basic social reforms and revolutionary change because the system is run by the oppressive and exploitative forces of foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
I referred to the 2010 elections as one dominated by the big compradors and landlords. I did not endorse the ruling system and I made clear that all the major presidential candidates, including Noynoy Aquino and Manny Villar, are competing to become the chief representative of the same rotten system, which I described as semicolonial and semifeudal.
I merely compared the two top presidential contenders, Aquino and Villar, in answer to your specific question. Indeed, Villar offers the relatively better program by promising land reform and self-reliant food production, expansion of local manufacturing to generate employment, support for small and middle entrepreneurs, conservation of natural resources, ecological protection, peace negotiations, respect for human rights, indemnification of the victims of human rights violations, review of the Visiting Forces Agreement and an independent foreign policy.
What about the reaction of Edwin Lacierda, the spokesman of Noynoy Aquino? He said that because you support Villar he is therefore supported by the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. He went further to claim that you and therefore the CPP, NPA and the NDFP were responsible for the protest demonstration of peasants and farm workers in front of the residence of Noynoy Aquino.
JMS: The non sequiturs are plenty and amazing. The spin doctor of Noynoy Aquino is as maliciously way off the mark as the spin doctor of Gloria M. Arroyo. I am just the chief political consultant of the NDFP in peace negotiations with the reactionary Manila government. I never said that I represented the CPP, NPA and NDFP in making a comparison between Manny Villar and Noynoy Aquino.
The Nonoy Aquino camp should not dismiss the series of injustices done to the peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita as the handwork of communists. Noynoy Aquino should not hide behind cheap Red-baiting. The Cojuangco-Aquino family to which Noynoy Aquino belongs has long exploited the peasants and farm workers and has prevented land reform through the swindle called stock distribution option.
Worst of all, the bodyguards of Noynoy himself participated in the Hacienda Luisita massacre. Noynoy has continuously used Red baiting tactics to cover up the murderous collaboration of the Arroyo regime and his own security agency in the Hacienda Luisita massacre and the subsequent murders in Tarlac. He aggravates his dishonesty by topping his consistent violent opposition to land reform with the patently false promise of carrying it out in 2014.
Cory Aquino has been praised for championing land reform and specifically for the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)? Was she truly a champion of land reform? How would you compare her land reform program with that of Marcos? How important is the question of land reform?
JMS: Both Ferdinand Marcos and Cory Aquino were engaged in bogus land reform programs in their respective times. Thus, up to now, the land problem persists. Millions of tillers own no land. Land is concentrated in the hands of a few landlords and agri-corporations. Feudal and semifeudal exploitation runs rampant throughout the country.
Marcos pretended to use the police power of the state in the name of social justice to carry out the expropriation of landlord estates producing rice and corn. But of course the bogus land reform program of Marcos did not solve the land problem because the bureaucrats and landlords combined against the tenants to raise the value of rice and corn land and in the meantime the biggest landlords and agri-corporations continued to accumulate land.
The bogus land reform program called CARP was even worse than that of Marcos. Under the Aquino constitution of 1987, the social justice issue of land reform was reduced to a real estate business matter. The issue of land reform was subordinated to the malevolent principles of voluntary sale by the landlord, current market value as the meaning of just compensation and evasion of land reform through the stock distribution option and conversion or reclassification of the land as non-agricultural.
I consider land reform as decisively important. If genuine and thoroughgoing, it means the socio-economic and political liberation of tens of millions of peasants and farm workers. It is the fulfillment of the main content of the unfinished democratic revolution. It lays the ground for a just and lasting peace. When combined with national industrialization, it paves the way for a great advance in economic and social development.