DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 30 November) – Militant groups on Friday marked the 155th birth anniversary of Katipunan founder and Father of the Philippine Revolution Andres Bonifacio with a protest at the Freedom Park here to express dismay over the “failed promises” of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao spokesperson Carlo Olalo said in an interview that they demand the Duterte administration to pursue a genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization, which will benefit the Filipino people.
He added the government should not compromise the country’s sovereignty in favor of either the United States or China, saying it won’t help sustain economic progress.
The burden caused by the country’s debts to China to finance the infrastructure projects under the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build,” program will be passed on to the ordinary Filipinos, he said.
He feared the deals signed by the Philippines with China would pave the way for Chinese control of the country.
Both countries signed a total of 29 deals when President Xi Jingping visited the Philippines from November 20 to 21, among them cooperation or assistance on infrastructure, oil and gas exploration, education, information technology and agriculture.
“We are condemning the policies of President Duterte for turning his back on the sovereignty of the country. His being beholden to the imperialist US-China is a reflection of his inaction to address poverty,” he said.
Olalo claimed the previous neo-liberal policies proved futile in uplifting the economic condition of the people.
“Historically, for a long time, the neo-liberal policies of the country with the US did not help the Filipino people. And now with China, we are being tied to the agreements through the Build, Build, Build program to fund those massive infrastructure projects. But these are not for the people because it will worsen their condition and will result to new debts and new policies that can pave the way for China to control the Filipinos,” he said.
The militant groups also demanded for the release of former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro who were among those detained and charged with violations of Anti-Child Abuse and Anti-Human Trafficking Laws after attempting to rescue students and teachers of a lumad school in Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao Del Norte from alleged harassments by the military.
Olalo said they recorded 69 political killings in Southern Mindanao Region under the Duterte administration.
He alleged that harassments and human rights violations worsened after Mindanao was placed under martial Law.
“The martial law is being used by state forces to silence the progressive groups, organizations, individuals, who continue fighting for their rights. One of our calls is to end the martial law because several people have been victimized by political killings,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)