Like their fellow-communists in other countries, the leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines/National Democratic Front have told the government that the current round of peace negotiations will come to a successful end – with their arms laid down – if the government will agree to reforms that they are demanding. The reforms are divided into political reforms and social and economic reforms.
The political reforms are clear enough, and so are the social reforms. I have seen lists of both. What I am not knowledgeable about – what I have not seen a list of – are the economic reforms demanded by the CPP/NDF.
What changes in this country’s economic structure does the CPP/NDF want? In what ways does the CPP/NDF want the Philippine economy to operate and be run differently? I am exceedingly interested to know.
In the critical area of fiscal policy, might it be CPP/NDF’s desire that the wealthy – those who receive more than a certain amount of income annually – be taxed more highly and that the poor class and the lower half of the middle class be tax-exempt? Does it favor the continuation of the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) and, if so, what changes does it wish it to introduce into the program? How does it feel about the present system of subsidies and fiscal incentives? What other forms of fiscal intervention by the government in the economy does CPP/NDF want?
With regard to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, does CPP/NDF desire any changes in the present monetary policy-making structure in this country? How does it feel about the present system of interest rate-setting? Does it think that Philippine banks are operating in a socially acceptable manner?
Planning of the economy is central to communist dogma. Is CPP/NDF content with the existing structure of economic planning in this country? If it is not content with the National Economic and Development Authority structure, what changes would it like to see in the way Neda operates and economic-planning decisions are made?
With regard to a domestic and foreign trade, how does CPP/NDF feel about protection and tariffs? Does it think that Philippine industry and agriculture should enjoy more government protection than they do now? Does CPP/NDF think that the recently-passed Philippine Competition Act has sufficient power to ensure a level playing field among industries and business establishments?
Almost certainly, CPP/NDF wants to see the government extending more assistance to workers and small business establishments than it is extending now. What forms does CPP-NDF want such incremental assistance to take? What changes in the Labor Code of the Philippines and the NLRC structure does CPP/NDF want to see introduced, and is it satisfied with the collective bargaining system as it now stands?
For too long the “economic reform demands” of CPP/NDF has been a nebulous and imprecise phrase. It is time that we had more specificity and precision, the better for the Filipino people to be able to decide whether CPP/NDF is a pragmatic or an unrealistic group of individuals.