Four years confirm Duterte’s anti-poor regime – Anakpawis
Manila, Philippines – As people’s organizations mark the 4th year of Duterte presidency with protests in front of the Department of Agriculture central office and compound of the Commission on Human Rights office in Quezon City, the Anakpawis Party-list declared that the 4 years confirm his anti-poor regime, that carried out programs and policies detrimental to marginalized sectors. The group said that Duterte’s performance if to be based on the call “Lupa, Sahod, Trabaho, Tirahan at Karapatan” ranges “from totally negative” to “not applicable.”
“Peasants remain landless, workers with low wages and without job security, urban poor families are being evicted from their communities, and worse, the poor are being killed literally by this regime. Duterte’s presidency is not even worth to be called such, but oppression, exploitation and tyranny,” Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao, Anakpawis Party-list former representative said in a press statement.
Casilao who primarily authored the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) in the 17th congress said that amid the expiration of Republic Act 6657 Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) stressed that landless peasants in the country are not deprived of even an aspiration to be awarded with lands. Amid absence of a new law, legitimate tenants who are tilling lands for many decades are condemned to landlessness.
“Duterte is a total ‘trapo’ in the face of poor peasants. He promised genuine rural development and scrapping of CARP, but is now carrying out the total opposite,” he slammed.
He also denounced Duterte’s betrayal of poor workers when he flip-flopped on his promise to end contractualization of labor. Worse, minimum wages are pushed down with his anti-labor policies and collusion with rich, powerful and influential capitalists. Urban poor communities are also being demolished, a total betrayal of his blabber ‘no relocation, no demolition,’” he cited.
He noted that the past administration posted with an average annual minimum wage hike for workers in Metro Manila of P14.5 per year, of from 2010’s P404 to 2016’s P491 per day. This is larger than the present administration’s P11.5 per year, or from 2016 to 2020’s P537 per day.
As Duterte’s anti-poor policies are faced with popular resistance from marginalized sectors, he is waging an all-out oppressive rule, which is now epitomized by his pushing of the anti-terrorism bill or as activists branded it as terror bill.
“Sham ‘war on drugs’ killing tens of thousands, ‘war against the poor and people,’ triggering extrajudicial killings of activists, massacres and other human rights abuses, are all Duterte’s desperate measures against the mounting opposition against his programs and policies. At present, we are now victims of criminal negligence and incompetence, as the regime is a total failure against responding to the pandemic. It is ludicrous in carrying out military measures on a public health crisis,” he slammed.
He recalled that activists have been demanding free mass testing and other medical responses from the start, which the Duterte regime totally disregarded. As consequence, the country is still facing mounting number of COVID-19 cases. Compare to Taiwan’s ratio of cases and testing of 170 (447 cases, 76,209 tests) and Vietnam’s 774 (355 cases, 275,000 tests), our country is a total failure with 19 (36,438 cases, 708,534).
“It simply means that the country is still suffering the impact of the pandemic, as the government denied speedy response with free mass testing, which is vital to arrest the pandemic. But all it arrested was poor people, accused of violating quarantine measures,” he said.
He added that the militarist approach totally disregarded its impact on the economy, that resulted the record-high 17.7 unemployment rate in the country last April. This reflects to 7.3 million Filipinos without sources of livelihood and household incomes. The lockdown spilled over affecting the interests of middle class and even big business groups, that pressed them to push for the easing down of the lockdown. The gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter posted a negative 0.2% from its previous year’s of 5.6% growth. The losses for this year is estimated at P2.2 trillion.
“The government’s claim of ‘we are winning,’ is fake news at its worst form, if not branded as ‘stupid attempt of mass deception.’ We are all victims of the Duterte regime’s anti-people, anti-poor and incompetent reign and we are duty-bound to hold it accountable. We owe it to the next-generation Filipinos who deserve a better government,” he ended. ###
From Amihan, Pamalakaya, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries