SONAgkaisa: A Day of Reckoning. A Day of Judgement

BAYAN Canada joins the Filipino people in the annual People’s State of the Nation Address

On July 27, 2020, the ailing dictator Rodrigo Duterte will once again spew incoherent rants and blatant lies behind his pulpit at the Batasan (Legislature). Exalted by salaried online trolls, oligarchic allies, and sycophantic trapos, he would peddle the fake news that the Philippines is thriving amid the pandemic. At the same time, the indignant Filipino masses at home and abroad will take to the streets or do their rallies online to expose Duterte’s servility to U.S. imperialism and oppose his ineptitude in this period of crisis. 

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Ngayong araw ng paniningil at pagtutuos, ganap na bibiguin ng nagkakaisang masang Pilipino ang pasistang rehimeng US-Duterte.

Palpak na pagsugpo sa COVID-19. The US-Duterte regime has failed miserably in the fight against COVID-19. Its militarist approach to the pandemic continues to prove futile leaving health care workers overwhelmed and exposing the further deterioration of the healthcare system. The coronavirus spreads like wildfire across the country and COVID-19 cases rise exponentially even with the excessive lockdowns and curtailment of people’s mobility. In Southeast Asia, the Philippines has the second highest numbers of reported confirmed cases, next to Indonesia. The US-Duterte regime completely disregards the widespread call for mass testing. Instead, it deploys the Philippine National Police to knock on people’s doors, tokhang-style, to apprehend persons suspected of being COVID-19 positive, oblivious to the fact that the police and military themselves are virus super-spreaders. This backward and illogical approach to a public health crisis only terrorizes the Filipino people. Solusyong medikal ang kailangan, hindi militar!

Dama rin ng migranteng Pilipino ang kapabayaan ng rehimeng US-Duterte. Despite the immediate dangers that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and overseas Filipinos face abroad because of the pandemic, the Duterte regime continues to implement its Labour Export policy which treats Filipinos as disposable commodities. Filipino seafarers are in limbo, stranded at seaports, waiting to be repatriated and reunited with their families. Filipino workers at meat processing plants have fallen ill to COVID-19. Families of OFWs at home are told they will not get government aid because they have a family member abroad! Migrant workers have resorted to checking out the garbage to forage for food. Instead of providing compassion and assistance to them as Filipino nationals, the regime callously accuses them of staging their tragic scenario. 

The US-Duterte regime thinks nothing about adding to the burden on the shoulders of OFWs. Similar to the Marcosian policy of forced remittance, Duterte signed the Universal Healthcare (UHC) Act which mandates compulsory PhilHealth membership with increased premiums. Duterte remains deaf to the barrage of protests. He refuses to scrap the mandatory PhilHealth membership and increased premiums even if many migrant Filipinos are already covered in their host countries. This is only one of the many state-organized state exactions on the backs of the OFWs.

Naghihingalo ang ekonomiya ng bansa. Since 2016, the US-Duterte regime has implemented one anti-people economic policy after another. Its Build, Build, Build infrastructure program plunges the Philippines deeper in foreign debt, now worth trillions of pesos. Last March 2020, the country borrowed $9.5 billion to deal with the pandemic, and so the National Debt continues to swell. Four years of neoliberal blunder and plunder of the National Treasury have clearly worsened the economic and public health crises. 

In the countryside, the Rice Tariffication Law destroys the livelihood of landless peasants and farmworkers who continue to struggle against feudal exploitation. The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law entrenches poor Filipinos in poverty, siphoning their meagre income while reducing taxes for the rich. The Philippine economy remains import-dependent and export-oriented. Millions of Filipinos are unemployed or underemployed, unable to decently provide for the needs of their family. 

Huwad na pagbuwag sa oligarkiya at laganap na korapsyon. Duterte falsely projects an anti-oligarchy stance but in reality, he is only replacing the economic elites with his own corrupt cronies, whose wealth and power have ballooned in the past few years. He has not dismantled political dynasties, including his own. Even the defeated Marcoses have wriggled their way back into power. His peddling of Charter Change and federalism are unabashed attempts to consolidate his power and enrich his cronies. Duterte ignored the overwhelming public condemnation of the Health Secretary Duque for his botched handling of the pandemic response, including the dubious procurement of personal protective equipment and coronavirus test kits; instead Duque was absolved.

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Kumakalam ang sikmura ng taumbayan dahil sa mga pahirap na patakarang pang-ekonomiya ni Duterte. 

Di kailanman mapagkakatiwalaan ang inutil. Duterte and his lackeys say that law-abiding Filipinos should not be afraid. But the people know that his regime cannot be trusted. Political prisoners like Vic Ladlad (NDFP consultant), Maojo Maga (union organizer), Myles Albasin (student leader), Jenelyn Nagrampa (women’s rights advocate), Frenchimae Cumpio (journalist), and more than 600 political prisoners still languish in jail cells that are better described as COVID death traps. Church people, women, and the LGBTQ communities and others are not spared, as in the suppression of the Manila Pride protests and the illegal detention of the activists. A vocal Duterte critic, Senator Leila De Lima, remains in detention. Media giant ABS-CBN has been compelled to go off-air resulting in more than 11,000 job losses. Rappler journalist Maria Ressa weathers a slew of libel charges. Duterte is lenient on government officials who contravene pandemic protocols but harsh on ordinary citizens who voice their discontent by protesting on the streets or posting government criticisms on social media. 

Sunod sa dikta ng imperyalismong US. In line with the counterinsurgency and anti-terrorism campaigns of the US, Duterte officially terminating the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines several days after Donald Trump visited Manila in 2017. Contradicting his anti-American pronouncements, he backtracked on the cancellation of the Visiting Forces Agreement and pleaded for more loans and military assistance from the US. Duterte has not lifted a finger to defend our national sovereignty and protect the livelihood of Filipino fisherfolks from the constant harassment and intimidation by Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines is under de-facto Martial Law. Military and police officials occupy key positions in various state departments. With the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), Duterte employed the “whole of nation approach” to end counterinsurgency, thereby institutionalizing the terrorist-tagging, harassment, and attacks against activists, critics, and human rights advocates. His Memorandum Order 32 has been wreaking havoc in Eastern Visayas and the Bicol region. In Negros, the Synchronized Enhanced Managing of Police Operations (SEMPO) under the brutal hands of the now NCRPO chief Debold Sinas resulted in mass arrests and extrajudicial killings of activists, human rights advocates, farmers, and land defenders. This is state terror in real terms. 

The enactment of the Anti-Terror Law, which replaced the Human Security Act of 2007, has catapulted Duterte to surpass the Marcos dictatorship. The draconian law describes terrorism in overbroad and vague terms and also creates the Anti-Terrorism Council. The Duterte-appointed members of this council could easily and indiscriminately finger-point and accuse individuals and organizations as terrorists on mere allegation. The law also allows for surveillance and the detention of anyone labelled terrorist for up to 24 days without charges, bastardizing the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of the Filipino people. Even Filipinos overseas are vulnerable to terrorist accusations.

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SONAsaan na ang mass testing at ayuda para sa hikahos nating mga kababayan? SONAsaan na ang pangakong matiwasay at maginhawang pamumuhay? The basic problems—imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism—that plague the country remain unresolved and continue to intensify, creating a fertile ground for corruption and impunity to flourish. The Filipino people can no longer take another two years of absolute government ineptitude and neglect. Now is the time to speak out against tyranny and get rid of the US-Duterte regime. The Filipino people have a tried and proven track record of resistance which have ousted fascist puppets from the palace. Duterte’s fate would be no different.

Expose, fight and isolate the puppet fascist Duterte regime!
Ilantad, labanan at tuluyang ihiwalay ang papet pasistang rehimeng Duterte!

Junk Terror Law!
Ibasura ang Terror Law!

Hold the Duterte regime accountable for its inutile response to Covid 19!
Singilin ang rehimeng Duterte sa palpak na patakaran sa Covid 19! 

Use public funds to help the people!
Pondong bayan gamitin sa ayuda sa mamamayan!

Advance the struggle for national independence and genuine democracy!
Isulong ang pakikibaka para sa pambansang kalayaan at tunay na demokrasya!

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