IN THE CLAWS OF TYRANNY: State of Workers’ Rights under Duterte Administration
Genuine Change! Promise that is crystal clear for millions of Filipinos that prompted them to junk the common traditional politicians in 2016 and embraced Rodrigo Roa Duterte as the President of the Republic of the Philippines. His assumption to power earned him the attention of both critics and supporters all over the world.
Gone are the promises that he will eliminate the illegal drug within three to six months to protect the children and the future of this country; address the problem of criminality and corruption; End all forms of contractualization of labour; release all political prisoners; pursue the peace talks by addressing the root cause of armed conflict to achieve a lasting peace. He did say that he will kill criminals and those involved in drugs.
Two years in office, what has been fulfilled zealously is the killings of poor drug dependents and peddlers, while drug problem persists unabated. The situation of the poor which he pledged to improve worsened, while he did not blame his immediate past regime, his administration took note of its corrupt practices as what critics considered as both exaction of elitist justice and revenge. Corruption runs deep in its own backyard, though unpopular appointees involved in alleged graft and corrupt practices are fired. Administration’s policy critics particularly over its aggressive pursuit of neoliberal economics, its alarming record of human rights violations are attacked in different fronts. Even Constitutional bodies like the Commission of Human Rights, Ombudsman that are not in sync into current policies are undermined, the latest of which is the Supreme Court,
paving the way for a complete tyrannical rule. The illusions of positive change are gone. Paradoxically, the President’s popularity though dove several notches is ably preserved albeit temporarily by its hardest core of supporters using the technology in astute way and their blind following as a sort of guaranteed ticket to longer years of political career.
The country now has a government whose reference for governance falls within the framework of strong-man rule, of rule by law, of admin-controlled Congress, of force and intimidation with no regard for the poor, a government worst than the past regimes, functioning along the interests of foreign dominant countries and corporations. A President who cursed the poor, and wished them died or killed. On the other end, this is administration that continues to shower the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police (AFP or PNP), with perks, higher pay and privileges despite evidenced-based accusations of human rights violations, consequently deepening the culture of
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