Litany of Suffering under Duterte
The Freedom from Debt Coalition, together with Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Sentro, Katarungan, Piglas Kababaihan, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Kilusan at Ugnayan ng Maralitang Pasigueno (Kumpas), WomanHealth Philippines, Sustainability and Participation through Education and Lifelong Learning (SPELL), Block Marcos, and In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDefend), decries the litany of suffering of ordinary Filipinos under the Duterte Administration.
Barely two years in office, President Duterte has already brought change into the country, except that the change he brings is causing immense suffering to the poor and working class. Prices of basic commodities, such as rice, have risen, thanks to his pro-business and anti-poor and worker policies, such as the new Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, which burdens the poor with higher consumption taxes.
However, the pro-poor and pro-worker policies he promised during his 2016 campaign, such as bringing an end to contractualization, have yet to be realized. Duterte has made good his promises to the business community with his Dutertenomics, but not to the 1.3 million contractual employees who continue to suffer from unjust working arrangements.
But the gravest sins of Duterte are not just his broken promises to ordinary Filipinos, but also his collaboration with the rich and powerful to protect their interests, persecute activists, militants and the opposition, and put the country in a state of impunity, all at the expense of the poor and working class who not only receive limited social services and protection from government, but also have to endure the threat of state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings, and the government-induced nightmare that is Dengvaxia.
Many of the poor and working class who voted Duterte into Malacanang were deceived into believing that Duterte could bring an end to poverty, just as he could bring an end to contractualization. What they didn’t know then and would soon discover later is that Duterte’s Ambisyon 2040, which envisions the eradication of poverty by 2040, is in reality a neoliberal roadmap borne on their backs, and fueled by their blood, sweat and tears.
As the rich get richer with state support, the poor get more miserable by the day with Duterte’s blessings. How can they not when Duterte clearly has no interest in listening to the cries of the people? Democratic space is all but shrinking, and power is concentrated more and more in the hands of a few, all of which are Duterte’s allies and supporters who benefit from the state of impunity the president created.
Ending our litany of ills requires our solidarity to forge a new path for our nation. We call on fellow Filipinos to keep the fight in holding President Duterte and his government accountable in creating a state of justice instead of impunity, in ensuring that the state is beyond the influence of the rich and powerful, and in empowering the poor and working class to steer our nation towards a just and equitable future. # # #
27 March 2018
The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) – Philippines is a nationwide multi-sectoral, non-sectarian and pluralist coalition conducting policy advocacy work and campaigns to realize a common framework and agenda for economic development. FDC’s three-year program starting this 2018 can be classified into three major broad themes: (1) debt, fiscal and tax justice policies and programs; (2) reversing privatization and neoliberal policies, and reclaiming the commons; and (3) advancing alternatives.
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