June 30, 2017
Umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan led the return of marchers to Mendiola as the nation marks the first year of the Duterte government. Exactly a year ago, leaders of Bayan held a rally in Mendiola for the Duterte’s inauguration and were later invited inside Malacañang to dialogue with the President on pressing people’s issues and demands.
Rally organizers however admitted that their optimism during the early months of the Duterte government has been dampened by lack of concrete policy measures and even reversals in the President’s pronouncements.
“There is disappointment and grave concern. While there have been some positive developments the past year, these are overshadowed by the more dominant reactionary, anti-people, pro-foreign trends in the regime. The government remains dominated by pro-US militarists and representatives of the oligarchs. This is not the change the people demand,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“The people are restive. They are pressing Pres. Duterte to address the economic and political crisis. The people demand nationalist and progressive change, not another slew of broken presidential promises,” Reyes added.
President Duterte’s first year in office takes place amid the war in Marawi, US military intervention, Martial Law in Mindanao, stalled peace talks with the NDFP, rising deaths in the drug war, and a worsening economic crisis despite claims of growth. Duterte has not delivered on hid promise to ban contractualization. There have been positive efforts on land reform, free tuition and free medicines as well as an increase in SSS pensions.
“The Duterte government is one of many firsts. These include Leftists in government, the assertion of an independent foreign policy, and an openness to dialogue with progressives. However, the Duterte regime is in danger of being no different from past regimes because of its neoliberal economic policy, backtracking on its independent foreign policy and adopting a fascist internal security policy,” Reyes said.
Rather than the usual “report card”, Bayan used floating emojis to express how the people feel about the outcome of Duterte’s promises and pronouncements. There were many “angry”, “sad” and “afraid” emojis with only a few “likes”.
“If he fulfills his promises and opposes the imperialists and oligarchs, he will gain the support of the people. If he supports the fascists, oligarchs and imperialists, he will end up isolated from the people,” the Bayan leader added.
Bayan hopes to meet the President before his second SONA in July to relay to him the restiveness of the people amid the worsening crisis. Last year, the President met with rally leaders in Malacañang just after his inauguration. He did the same after his first SONA in Batasan. ###