June 30 marks the fourth year of installation of President Rodrigo Duterte, and farmers say enough is enough!
Farmers have had enough of this administration’s burdensome policies that continue to weigh down Filipinos. This situation of worsening socio-economic and political crisis did not happen overnight. It is a result of Duterte’s four years of anti-people policies and negligence to address the most basic problems of the country. The COVID-19 pandemic was the last card in Duterte’s losing deal. His militarist and anti-people response to the health crisis only made matters worse. By July, the country will hit 40,000 COVID-19 cases and government is still at a loss on what to do.
In the past four years, Duterte only managed to militarize the civilian bureaucracy by appointing retired military generals to the Cabinet and government positions. He willfully ignored the just demands of workers for higher wages and regular employment. He outrightly rejected farmers’ demands for a genuine agrarian reform and free land distribution. He killed tens of thousands of Filipinos through his merciless ‘drug war.’ Behind Duterte’s strong tyrant act is a morally-corrupt and failed presidency. We must hold the Duterte administration accountable for the aggravating social crisis.
The situation of farmers worsened under Duterte. He enacted the Rice Liberalization Law that only plunged farmers into poverty and the domestic rice industry into bankruptcy. He allowed local and foreign businesses to landgrab and convert agricultural and ancestral lands. He authorized the killing of farmers, indigenous peoples, and environmental defenders. More than 260 farmers and peasant leaders were killed by death squads and state forces since 2016. Hundreds more were illegally arrested and incarcerated. He is killing and imprisoning activists and peace advocates like they are war trophies.
Duterte only showed loyalty and allegiance to his two masters — the U.S. and China governments — while selling-out the country’s resources, national patrimony, and sovereignty. Malacanang even brushed off the collision between Filipino fishing boat FV Liberty 5 and HongKong-flagged MV Vienna Wood cargo vessel as ‘just a collision without a major implication’ that would unlikely affect the Philippines’ ties with China.
“It is clear as daylight now how Duterte and his administration have abandoned the Filipino masses. We must show our outrage and discontent to this contemptible government. Tama na, sobra na. Dapat nang matapos ang pagpapahirap at panunupil ni Duterte sa taumbayan.” ###