DISCOURAGED

Even President Duterte’s allies from the Left are dissastisfied by his first year in office as various Labor groups held a picket at the Scout’s Circle at the intersection of Tomas Morato and Timog Avenue QC to denounce the performance of President Duterte in his first year in office.

The groups repeatedly chanted that the first year of Duterte’s presidency was a failure because he failed to live up to his campaign promise of change.

But for his chief Ally House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, the president merited a “very good”evaluation.

in particular the groups cited his supposed failure to end labor only contractualization or “endo,”

Judy Ann Miranda, Secretary General of the Partido Manggagawa said in an interview, “tuloy tuloy ang kontraktuwalisasyon hanggang sa ngayon  tuloy tuloy  ang pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin  kulng ang serbisyo sa ospital patuloy ang kababaihan ay naghihirap dahil sa kawalan ng trabaho sa mga opistal ay nangangamatay ang  kamag anak at kabataan dahil di natutupad ang siansabi na  na meron na tayong libreng gamot o serbisyo sa mga ospital  napakalaki ng kakulangan”

Miranda explained that the labor groups had high expectations of the administration that were dashed also because of the demeanor of the president. “mataas ang aming epectation dahil ito ay pinangako  nanalo ang pangulo dahil sa pangako ng pagbabago at pagwawakas ng  kahirapan pero ang tanging naririnig namin sa pangulo ay puro pagmumura  pag aalipusta sa kababaihan  pagsasalita na ang panggagahasa ay pwedeng gawin  pagpatay sa pamamagitan ng ejk ito nangyari sa loob ng 1 taon”

Miranda also cited the perennial problem of low wages, unemployment, high prices of commodities along with the declaration of martial law in Mindanao to curb the activities of the Maute Group. “”kaya hanggang sa ngayon ang aming nakikita ay kaniyang pagpapatupad ng   martial alw sa midnanao na di naman nakakatulong sa pagunlad ng buhay pang ekonomiya ng kababaihan at magagwa dumarami lang ang bakwit dumarami ang pang aanbuso”

Miranda hopes the President will do more in his remaining years in office. “sa 5 taon na natitira kay digong tiyakin na ang pagbabago ay magaganap di lamang  di lang puro wkento bigo ang unang taon ni digong walang nagyari para sa mangagawa at kababaihan”

For its part, Bayan Muna’s believes there is now A tug of war between progressives and reactionaries in the administration with Duterte drifting to the Rightists.

In a statement, the group said, “it seems that in Duterte’s first year, the Right–the militarists, the imperialists’  lackeys and the neoliberals– had pulled the rope farther to their side. Essentially,  while the Duterte administration has initiated  some pro-people programs and policies,  yet,  over-all it is the same mainly  pro-imperialists, neoliberal, anti-poor and repressive policies pushed by the pro-US,  militarists and neoliberals in the Duterte cabinet that are dominant.”

Bayan Muna has expressed its grave objection to the appointment of General Eduardo Año as the Chief-of-Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Widespread human rights violations dogged Año in his past assignments, such as the hamletting in Masbate in 2015 and the killings of lumads in Paquibato in 2014.

Likewise, Bayan Muna pointed out that the appointments of Generals Delfin Lorenzana, Hermogenes Esperon, and fifty-six other former military and police officers in the Duterte government made  the otherwise  civilian bureaucracy “a highly militarized one.”

Bayan Muna also cited the problem of extra-judicial killings, the imposition of martial law, the blood-drenched  War on Drugs, the push for the the lowering the age of criminal liability to nine (9) years of age and the restoration of the death penalty as well as proposed legislation for  a national ID system and the registration of pre-paid SIM cards.


Bayan Muna also warned the President of isolation over the appointment of neoliberal economic managers in the Cabinet: Finance secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Economic chief Ernesto Pernia. These purveyors of neoliberal policies will surely erode the pro-people pronouncements of Duterte.

 

            The Duterte administration is now aggressively pushing for the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) which they claimed is  a regressive and anti-poor tax reform package that will, among others, impose new excise taxes on fuel products, including gasoline, diesel, LPG, and kerosene; further expand the coverage of value-added tax (VAT); and introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

Likewise, ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro saw no genuine change in the first year of Duterte as President as more anti-poor policies are introduced and the nationalist and progressive people’s demands still have not been met.

“We have yet to see the realization of the people’s demands for just peace, salary increase, the end of contractualization, independent foreign policy, and genuine land reform, while neoliberal economic policies, the pork barrel system, the reintroduced death penalty, the impending new taxes and expanded VAT in the anti-poor TRAIN, and other policies are implemented by the Duterte administration,” Tinio said. “State fascism is also on the rise with the so-called Oplan Kapayapaan, aerial bombardments of civilian communities, the declaration of Martial law in Mindanao, and the killings of thousands of Filipinos in the drug war.”

Separately, Kabataan Partylist deputy secretary-general Ben Te said. “For a year, the people had to contend with his two sides – the progressive, socialist aspect, and the reactionary, fascist and neoliberal. It seems the side of the reactionaries has wielded its trump cards and won over. Now the youth and the people ask: Has change come?,”
The youth party denounced how Duterte embolded the militarists and US-puppets in the reactionary force that is now enforcing intensified all-out war against the people of Mindanao.

It also cited that  Despite the legislative advances in pushing for free education starting with the P8 billion free tuition fund for state universities and colleges (SUCs), the party adds that Duterte’s conditional veto prioritizing the poor and deserving frustrated the very spirit of the fund – that no tuition shall be collected from SUC students this year.

The youth party added that as the year ends, the progressive space in the government is narrowing down, progressive secretaries are on the brink of rejection, the peace talks is slowly breaking down, and the militarists and neoliberal economists are quickly growing in number.

Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano have yet to be confirmed by the bicameral commission on appointments.

if they don’t get confirmed, they will be removed from office.

Bayan Muna made the same observation. “While the progressives struggle to be confirmed by the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA), that has so far resulted to the rejection of Gina Lopez, and the bypassing Ka Paeng and Judy three times; the neoliberals, the reactionaries, and the militarists breezed through the CA.”

The Progressive bloc in the country has pursued a policy of critical collaboration with the President in the name of the ongoing peace process with communist rebels. Taguiwalo and Mariano were their bloc’s nominees to the Cabinet. the Makabayan bloc allied itself with the House Majority supportive of Alvarez and Duterte.

Bayan Muna in its statement counted the peace process as a plus for Duterte. ”   However, in seeming contrast to all the said reactionary and repressive policies and actions,  Pres. Duterte declared and maintain pro-people stance on some issues. He released  19 NDF peace consultants accused by the military as high ranking leaders of CPP-NPA in order to resume the GRP-NDFP peace talks. The government peace panel has also  made ground breaking agreements on free land distribution and to the principles of agrarian reform and national industrialization.”

They also lauded  President Duterte’s approval of the Social Security System (SSS) pension hike of P2,000.00 in two (2) tranches due to public protests; although, there is a supposed threat of contribution increase being pushed by  neoliberals like DOF Sec. Carlos Dominguez, who threatened to resign if the same  is not imposed. Pres. Duterte has also  taken the side of

in Congress, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said in a statement said the administration is going nowhere under the President. “A year of the Duterte administration proved that this is what is lacking – direction. It is marred by chaos and confusion that led to ill-founded policy decisions, unfulfilled campaign promises, and even more controversies.The President runs the country like a one man show. He does not want to share thestage with his cabinet officials leading to confusion as to their specific role in his administration. His cabinet officials are left in the dark and are oftentimes given the hard task of explaining or justifying the statement of the President.”

Among his misgivings: the war against drugs, the Absence of a National Security Strategy, the pace of the Peace talks, the Fight terrorism being  sidelined, weak assertion of maritime claims. upsetting ties eith the US, EU and UN.”

Just like the progressive groups, Alejano believes Duterte’s first year in office was a failure

, “The change that was promised has yet to be realized. Sabi nga nila, “Nangako na nga, gusto niyo pa tuparin!” Clearly, that has been the mantra of the President as major infrastructure projects have yet to materialize aside from ongoing infrastructure projects which were pitched during the Aquino administration, this despite the numerous loans and pledges earned in the many overseas travels made by the President and his cabinet members. He has also yet to address the traffic problem in Metro Manila which he promised to solve. “

But when asked to evaluate Duterte, ALvarez said of Duterte’s first year. “VERY GOOD.” asked what is the President’s strength, ALvarez said, “Decisiveness. ” Asked for his message to the President’s critics, ALvarez said, “Nevermind the critics the President has only 5 more years left to improve the lives of the Filipinos.”

Duterte further encouraged the President to continue undeterred. “Continue Leading the nation in the direction that he set.”

(sots Miranda, the rest statements)