A Call on the Filipino Youth: Disconnect from Arroyo’s Lies

Youth Against Debt’s Unity Statement

Youth (SONA) State of Nation Address

University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG), Audio Visual Room

July 21, 2008, 10-12 P.M.

A Call on the Filipino Youth: Disconnect from Arroyo’s Lies

We have been betrayed.

There is no longer any hope that the Arroyo administration, as manifested by its eight years of tumultuous reign, is genuinely concerned of the plight of the Filipino people, much less of the Filipino youth which are mostly dependent on their struggling parents. The recent sudden 3-peso surge for diesel and 1-peso surge for premium gasoline is no longer a sign of the obvious – it is but another damning evidence of the crisis that has befallen us all, no thanks to Arroyo’s policy to continue with the E-VAT and oil deregulation. This is on top of the record-high 11.4% inflation rate and soaring food and rice prices.

This is also on top of continuing public rage on the allegations of corruption which, while temporarily edged out of the limelight by the far more urgent and compelling economic crisis, remains a seething concern that never goes away. The NBN-ZTE and CEP scandals, the NorthRail-SouthRail deals, and Fertilizer and Swine Scams, the virtual sale of the Spratly’s Islands in exchange for illegitimate debts, and her other Machiavellian dealings – these issues are far from dead. Rather, on top of the Hello Garci scandal, these new items are included in the public accounting of the malevolent designs she had wrecked upon the nation.

This is not to mention the more chronic, strategic mal-governance the people, especially the youth, faced under her illegitimate regime. Under her term, the Philippine national government debt rose to record heights, her administration itself keeping its record of having to borrow and pay debts more than the post-EDSA administrations combined. Under her term, the youth suffered the most, with the education spending per GNP dropping from an already meager 3.8% during the Estrada administration to a record-low of 2.2% in 2006, a far-cry to the UNESCO standard of 6%.

This unprecedented level of suffering and disgust is ironically contrasted with the official government propaganda – that of a shining rule of law and a forthcoming prosperity promised by a robust economy. It is as if Arroyo is hoping for a mass-desensitization, waiting for the feelings of despair and resignation to sink in the hearts of the people, debilitating them with the desperate acceptance of poverty, so much so that they will accept whatever lies she will feed them next.

Fortunately, the people disappointed her. The crisis after crisis under her leadership managed to gradually build the tides of people’s rage, consciousness, and hope. And this is more than evidenced by thousands of furious youth swarming the streets and challenging the minions of her State.

At this point in time, youth radicalization is no longer a question. It is already a nagging imperative that imposes its enraged face on a nation that slowly realizes that their plight will get better if they will begin to act.

Clearly, for Arroyo, the time of reckoning has come.

This SONA, the 8th in Arroyo’s illegitimate term, is yet to uncover another series of comforting deception and promises. She may yet to promise an economic program that will supposedly, magically cure our economic and political maladies. Yet we ask: should we confine ourselves with her promises? Should we still trust her after what she’d done? Should we opt to uphold the status quo which is the ultimate manifestation of our democratic deficit and economic quagmire?

We have grown tired of Mrs. Arroyo’s annual litany of deceit. We have given Arroyo her due – but she never delivered. We asked asked for the truth – and we got more lies. We trusted due process – and we have been betrayed. We hoped for prosperity – but the nation is yet to sink deeper into the abyss of poverty.

Thus, this SONA, we call on the youth to refuse to see and hear the “evil” that will once again hound the halls of Congress, and the television and radios of the millions watching and hearing in their households that day.

Let us switch off our TVs and radios on July 28. Instead of falling prey to her vicious machinations once more, let us boycott her SONA and join the people as they march on in Batasan to protest the evil that clutches on our government.

Let us free ourselves from the lies the Arroyo regime.


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