BACOLOD

Ombion: Dangerous convergence

PERSPECTIVE

GALORE of social concerns have pointed to sugar and other sectors into a dangerous track this year and beyond.

The sugar industry has once more entered a dangerous crossroad.

Malacañang technocrats want it to succumb further to neoliberal policies. Industry stakeholders including labor are resisting it charging it maybe the end of the more than a century old industry. Legislators are divided, with those having an interest in the industry joining the resistance.

A compromised settlement may be agreed upon, but if ever, it would only be temporary, or a delay in the full implementation of zero tariff in all trade among the members of Asia Free Trade Agreement (Afta).

Still, no one can escape compliance with the agreement to open up the member’s economy, or suffer sanctions from advanced capitalist powers (ACP) dictating Afta and controlling the neoliberal global trade system.

Sooner or later, most likely between 2022 and 2025, conflicts among Afta members will intensify as the trade war between the ACPs, specifically China, US and Russia are bound to sharpen and erupt.

With Train 1 and 2 now in place, sugar and agriculture in general are bound to become collateral in the trade war.

Mid-term election 2019 will add to the definition of the socio-economic scenario 2nd half of this year and beyond.

Most of Duterte’s bets in the lower and upper house are staunch promoters of neoliberal policies.

Election rules are more relaxed for ruling administration bets and stricter against the opposition.

Should most of them win and dominate the house, the biggest casualties would be the sugar, fishery, energy, mining and quarry, agricultural lands and land reform, water system and human rights. Other key sectors and concerns have already been liberalized, deregulated, privatized and defanged.

Should there be a balance of power, chances are the ACPs would still find ways to push their plans within and outside the house. They can do and get whatever they like.

War on terrorism by various names, anti-drugs, anti-crimes, anti-corruption, anti-insurgency, will intensify nationwide and likely to disrupt more communities, displace more marginalized sectors, and increase widows and orphans.

State security forces are more emboldened to kill due to the President’s agitation, increasing the budget for the defense and military institution, and resurging US politico-military support for the ruling administration.

With the Trump administration reaffirming call for an intensified fight against so called global terrorism, and support to the Duterte administration, the Philippines is bound to be dragged into the US war and therefore fuel the rechanneling of more budget to external and internal security operations, causing more debts for the country and hardships for the people.

Revolutionary movement is obviously surging most parts and sectors of the country.

The failure of peace talks whoever caused it to collapse has only increased the political and military leverage of the revolutionary movement led by CPP-NPA-NDFP.

The economic crisis and the sharpening political contradictions among the ruling elites have weakened the capability of the state to address people’s concerns and demands; this has added value to the political position of the revolutionary movement and their allies.

The increasing and well-orchestrated armed activities coupled by the organized actions of the movement and the territories reportedly under their revolutionary organs of political power, are often in the front pages of the social media and the mainstream television, broadcast and newspaper media.

It seems, the galore of social issues and concerns are disturbing.

Sugar and agriculture issues, midterm election, the war on terrorism and revolutionary movement are fast shaping a dangerous convergence that may further put the Philippines into a bigger mess, beyond the control of the ruling administration and the ACPs.

(For feedback, email to ombion.ph@outlook.com)


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