Neoliberalism,  as a capitalist doctrine,  was formulated in order to provide a basis for the economic development of society.  This was first advanced by  Adam Smith which then came to be  called “classical liberalism”.   But  with the rise of capitalism into  its highest development    or what is known as imperialism, classical liberalism was infused with new vigor by the modern economists who believe that only liberalism can promote economic growth of societies, not only in capitalist countries of the North but also the developing countries  of the South, like the Philippines.   Liberalism was revived  and prefixed with “neo” to become “neoliberalism”.

Truly,  neoliberalism has become a potent ideological  weapon of US imperialism in pursuing its  hegemonic goals of dominating the world economy,  what came to be known as “globalization”.  The political dynamics in Third World countries are closely linked to how  the US has maneuvered to impose neoliberal policies on  the developing countries.

But what really is neoliberalism as an ideology? The advocates of neoliberalism believe in the magic hand of free market, not in government regulation, can create conditions for the emergence of a social order that promotes growth and development.  As such it presupposes an imperative option for every society to adopt and uphold its prescriptions.

So, what would be the role of government? The responsibility of government is to prepare the good climate for the operation of liberal measures that would serve as engines for economic growth.  Basically, these political measures are: liberalization, deregulation, and privatization.

Liberalization mandates “free trade” so that foreign investments can freely enter the country, including the unimpeded  inflow of commercial goods and products.   This will unleash the so-called free market forces to operate within the country and thus stimulate economic growth.  The human and material resources of the country will be energized to levels as are allowed by the free movement of capital and economic goods.

Deregulation prescribes the removal of whatever government regulations in the structuring of the economy.  It means the prohibition of  legal constraints  to the operation of economic programs as dictated by free market forces. Decontrol is therefore the axiom by which government limits its regulatory arm. There should be no government control of prices of goods.  The vagaries of the world market forces shall dictate domestic trade.  Economic growth shall be measured by such indices as GDP or gross domestic product.

Privatization requires the reliance on the private sector or private corporations to put in place the delivery of social services to the citizenry.  Such basic social services as housing,  education, health, transportation, the media, and so forth, shall be entrusted to  the specialized function and expertise of private companies.  So, state colleges and universities as well as public hospitals can be  turned over to corporate management.  In the Philippines, this finds realization in the government policy of  “public-private partnership” in the management of key public utilities and or  industries which are traditionally the  concerns of government.

Neoliberalism as Imperialist Weapon  

It should be realized that neoliberalism an ideology  is a consolidated political weapon that derives from the capitalist rage for profits. It proceeds from a doctrine whose primordial motivation is profits. It develops from the fundamental logic of capitalism that updates its strategies  to conditions of imperialist scramble for economic domination.  And so it works as the latest technology of imperialist economic aggression and  plunder. And US imperialism as the leading imperialist power wields it as a potent ideological weapon in advancing its stranglehold of the economies of the developing countries around the globe. It has thus become a strategy for “globalization”.

One of the main targets being telescoped by the foreign imperialists is direct investment in mining. Of course, it is a most lucrative field of investment as far as value and profits are concerned.  The most precious resources of the earth consist of the mineral deposits beneath its mountain crusts.  And here the  governments of host countries  are of tremendous help in easing up its frontier gates and resources to the  foreign imperialist plunder.

In the Philippines, this foreign imperialist plunder has gained headway by way of allowing US, Canadian, and Australian big mining corporations to operate in the  country’s mineral-rich areas. Towards this end Philippine legislation has been tailored to grant mining rights to foreign concerns.  The Mining Act of 1995 is a big boost to the direct investment in the mining strategy of foreign imperialists’ scramble for preferred treatment or privileges in this country.

Mindanao has since borne the heavy brunt of foreign imperialist plunder of its mineral resources. It is of common knowledge to all and sundry that Mindanao holds the largest amount of ore deposits in. the country — 40% of the country’s mineral resources consisting of gold, silver, copper, nickel, chromite. etcetera.

And it so happens that the big foreign companies which have been extracting  the ore deposits of Mindanao are operating in the ancestral domain of the indigenous peoples (Lumads).   And  their  environment-destructive mining activities meet stiff resistance from the Lumad population.  And it is not an innocent or apolitical act for the government to confront this opposition with extraordinary armed force.  And it has become a prime concern of environmentalists and human rights activists who have not slept on their social responsibility to raise their voices of protest against the deplorable phenomena of  economic plunder  with its concomitant  militarization and  environmental despoliation of the Mindanao countryside.

The onslaught of militarization has become the principal target of denunciation and condemnation  because of  human rights violations committed by the AFP troops. Already, various forms of gross abuses have been documented  ranging from harassment, kidnappings, and tortures, to killings and massacres, to destruction of Lumad schools and other community properties.  These egregious acts by the military and military-formed paramilitary groups are perpetrated; with utter impunity.  All these have come to the attention and condemnation not only  of domestic groups and individuals but also to  international institutions., most prominent of them the United Nations Organization.

As an act of the State, the massive deployment of military forces in Mindanao countryside areas which are at the same time the areas of  concentration of the big mining companies puts the government leadership in Malacañang at the spotlight of the ”protests and demands” of the Lumads.  Their latest historic and dramatic action was a protest trek dubbed “Manilakbayan” from Mindanao to the national government’s heartland in Manila, close to the threshold of the Malacañang Palace of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

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