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Sahod Itaas, Presyo Ibaba! Filipinos Deliver the Real State of the Nation One Year into Marcos Jr.’s Fascist Regime

On July 24 in the Philippines, President Bong Bong Marcos Jr. will assail Filipinos around the world with lies and empty promises on the occasion of his second State of the Nation Address. BAYAN USA calls on Filipino people across the country to come together and oppose the regime by holding their own People’s State of the Nation demonstrations and calling for their demands. 

Marcos Jr. has yet to deliver on his promises of post-pandemic economic relief that he pronounced during his first State of the Nation Address in 2022. Today, working Filipinos are in a deeper crisis, struggling to eke out a living in the midst of rising costs and depressed wages. Marcos Jr. rejected the pleas of the people to reduce the cost of oil and gas, even temporarily, while refusing to raise the daily minimum wage. 

Instead, he prioritized profit for private corporations like the LRT train system, which he allowed to raise the fare for commuters. Meanwhile, most Filipinos make less than P610/day ($10.98) when it takes more than P1200/day ($21.61) to survive. That is much less than half of a living wage, which is even worse in the provinces.

On July 18, Marcos signed the controversial Maharlika Investment Fund into law after railroading it through Congress by deeming it “urgent.” This sovereign wealth fund will supposedly facilitate widespread domestic economic growth by allowing private corporations to use public funds. By diverting public coffers for the profit of corporations, the U.S.-Marcos regime will only worsen problems of peasant landlessness, diminishing wages, and inaccessibility of basic commodities and social services. Through the Maharlika Investment Fund, the poorest taxpayers could end up financing their own dispossession further.

Filipinos overseas carry the burden of the Marcos regime’s anti-people policies. Forced to leave the Philippines in order to find work and send remittances back home, Filipino migrants are not only separated from their families but exploited and forced into difficult conditions. Many migrants face unsafe working conditions, wage theft, job loss, police violence, and anti-Asian hate crimes. 

Meanwhile, the Philippine government through its embassy and consulates regularly fails to meet the needs of their constituents. Even overseas, the Philippine government is consistent with its misplaced priorities, even going so far as to prioritize the surveillance of Filipino activists over providing accessible Consular services. This is an effort to expand the U.S.-Marcos regime’s red-tagging witch hunt abroad, which has already resulted in at least 100 extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, including five children, at the hands of military and police forces in 2023. 

Today, the U.S.-Marcos regime continues its efforts to rewrite history and erase the crimes of the Marcos family in order to cement the political dynasty’s power. This past week, the Supreme Court of the Philippines affirmed the dismissal of the ₱1.05 billion ($19.2 million) ill-gotten wealth case against late dictator President Ferdinand E. Marcos, former first lady Imelda Marcos and their cronies due to “insufficiency of evidence.” Biden welcomed Marcos Jr. into the U.S. with open arms multiple times despite a criminal contempt order against BBM and his family. In exchange, BBM sold off Philippine sovereignty through the expansion of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and the addition of four new military bases for the U.S. military. This puts the Philippines directly in the middle of the war path between the U.S. and China. 

Despite these fascist blows, the National Democratic mass movement continues to fight for genuine democracy and national liberation. BAYAN USA welcomes the International Criminal Court’s human rights investigation into former president Duterte’s “War on Drugs” and condemns the Marcos administration’s refusal to cooperate. The international community will be watching—ready to expose, oppose, and isolate the fascist U.S.-Marcos regime. BBM will undoubtedly be confronted by crowds of Filipinos and their allies upon his return to the U.S. for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leadership Summit in San Francisco this coming November, demanding genuine solutions to the worsening conditions in the Philippines. 

More decisively, Filipino people—even overseas—must and will fight for their rights and livelihood as Marcos Jr. continues to spout lies while the Filipino people’s suffering continues to heighten under his dictatorship. Only through the painstaking organization of the masses to wage struggle will the fascist regime be brought to its knees and the state of the Philippine nation truly flourish.