On June 30, 2016, Benigno Simeon Aquino III, the 15th president of the Government of the Philippines, steps down from Malacañang. Plagued as it is with cases of bureaucratic corruption, criminal negligence, inept leadership, sell-out of the nation’s sovereignty, the BS Aquino presidency also leaves behind an atrocious record of human rights violations, which he continues to ignore to this day.
Mindanao takes the center stage of BS Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan.
The massacre of the Lumad leaders Dionel Campos, Juvello Sinzo and Emerito Samarca on September 1 in Lianga, Surigao del Sur brought to the fore the state of human rights in Mindanao and in the whole country under the BS Aquino regime—the unabated political killings, attacks on communities and on self-initiated schools, forced evacuation, among many other military atrocities. The brazenness by which the crime was committed speaks of the climate of impunity that continues to pervade the country.
On December 10, as the world commemorated International Human Rights Day, the Filipino people, represented by progressive people’s organizations, put on trial the US-backed Aquino regime for crimes against the Filipino people.
For more than four years, the US-backed Aquino regime has only resorted to dishing out catchy slogans to mask its attacks on the Filipino people—an endless and unproductive loop of lies.
Oplan Bayanihan, which is instrumental in the bombing of communities, illegal arrests, detention, and killings of activists, hides behind ‘peace and development, and respect for human rights’ slogans.
The police brutality used against legitimate protest actions and during demolition of urban poor shanties masquerades as ‘maintenance of peace and order’.
The Filipino people seethe with anger and discontent.
The protest actions that followed the exposé on the PhP10-billion pork barrel scam sent the Aquino government scampering for ways to dissipate the people’s anger, but only in ways that Benigno Simeon Aquino III and the bureaucrats in his government can continue to feast on the pork and drown themselves in pork fat.
Months into the end of Oplan Bayanihan's Pahase 1, human rights violations continue to belie the conjured picture of "peace and development" of the three-year US-Noynoy Aquino regime. Oplan Bayanihan (OpBay) is Aquino's version of Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL).
The almost complete unmasking to the public of a pretentious rule marks the second year of Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s presidency.
Despite supposedly improving economic statistics, the majority of the people are still mired in poverty reeling from high prices of basic commodities and services, unemployment, unlivable wages, sham land reform, inadequate housing and so on. Even its much touted campaign against poverty is under question as more cases of corruption by people from the Aquino administration surface. No hope can be pinned on this president whose government fails to lighten and instead adds to the burden that the people, especially from the basic sectors, endure.
Noynoy Aquino’s reckless implementation of privatization, liberalization, deregulation and denationalization, all earmarks of neoliberal globalization, proves his puppetry to U.S. imperialism. Just like Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino has been anointed to be the U.S. lackey in Asia especially in its current “pivot to Asia-Pacific.” In exchange for Obama’s pat on the head and American military aid,Malacanang welcomes stronger U.S. military presence in the country and perhaps even the possible return of U.S. bases.