Makabayan ‘thumbs up’ for Duterte; avoids ‘attack mode’ on copycat economic agenda

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and former Bayan Muna partylist representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño. Photo courtesy of Makabayan
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, former Bayan Muna partylist representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño. Photo courtesy of Makabayan

By Joey Natividad

CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region – Abstaining from attacking Duterte’s proposed copycat 8-point economic agenda as unleashed Monday by Kabataan Partylist and Bayan on Friday, Makabayan Coalition welcomed the overwhelming victory of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the May 9 presidential election. (See related news:  ).

“We recognize such victory as an expression of popular outrage over and rejection of the regime of “daang matuwid” and a cry for sweeping change in the elitist and anti-people system,” said the Makabayan statement sent Sunday to online news

The Makabayan coalition, comprising the progressive partylist representatives in the House of Representatives, has been in the forefront of pro-people issues that had rocked the House in several occasions.

“We are encouraged by his pro-people and pro-poor policy pronouncements on a number of issues, including the immediate resumption of peace talks with the National Democratic Front and the release of detained peace consultants and political prisoners; putting an end to labor contractualization; increasing support to farmers and prioritizing education, health, food aid and other essential services over big infrastructure projects in the light of mass poverty and hunger. Makabayan pledges its full support for the fulfillment of the said promises,” said the statement.

Satur Ocampo, President, Liza Maza, Co-Chairperson, and Rafael Mariano, Co-Chairperson signed the statement.

However, the Makabayan bloc challenges Duterte to let justice be served on the misdeeds and illegal acts allegedly committed by outgoing President Aquino, including his key officials.

“At the same time, we challenge the incoming Duterte administration to immediately hold responsible outgoing President Aquino, DBM Secretary Abad and other officials for the illegal and graft-ridden Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for the circumvention of the Supreme Court ruling against the pork barrel system, and for all the anomalous transactions they entered unto Aquino, and other responsible officials must also be held to account for the Mamasapano carnage and the killing and maiming of protesting farmers in Kidapawan,” Makabayan demanded.

Makabayan reminded Duterte not to pursue the neoliberal economic policies that were carried out by President Aquino.

Duterte 8-point economic agenda

As prepared by Duterte’s transition team, the incoming Duterte administration has the following proposed 8-point economic agenda:

  1. Continue and maintain the current macroeconomic policies. However, reforms in tax revenue collection (in the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs) efforts will be complemented by reforms within the bureaucracy of these tax collecting agencies.
  2. Accelerate infrastructure spending by addressing, among others, major bottlenecks in the public-private partnership (PPP) program. Maintain the target of setting aside 5% of the country’s gross domestic product to infrastructure spending.
  3. Ensure attractiveness of the Philippines to foreign direct investments by addressing restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution and our laws, and enhancing competitiveness of the economy.
  4. Pursue a genuine agricultural development strategy by providing support services to the small farmers to increase their productivity, improve their market access, and develop the agricultural value chain by forging partnership with agribusiness firms.
  5. Address the bottlenecks in our land administration and management system.
  6. Strengthen our basic education system and provide scholarships for tertiary education which are relevant to the needs of private sector employees.
  7. Improve the income tax system to make it progressive to enable those who earn little to have more money in their pockets.
  8. Expand and improve implementation of the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.

“These are the broad outlines of the economic policies that the new administration will pursue,” said Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez, former Agriculture Secretary, and member of the transition team.

However, the militant BAYAN umbrella organization offered Duterte unsolicited advice on its own version of “progressive economic agenda.”

Progressive bloc suggested economic agenda

Renato M. Reyes, Jr. BAYAN secretary general, released Friday its idea of pro-people economic agenda.

“The recently unveiled 8-point economic agenda of presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte’s economic team is a continuation of the neo-liberal poison imposed on the people by the Aquino regime. In response to Duterte’s agenda, we offer a different 8-point proposal that seeks to advance real change. It is anchored on the rejection of “business as usual” politics and on nationalist and pro-people economic development,” Reyes countered:

  1. End the neo-liberal economic policies of the Aquino regime. Pursue national industrialization, economic sovereignty and the strengthening of the domestic economy. End the import-dependent, export-oriented, backward, pre-industrial economic set-up.
  2. Review and reverse existing and proposed PPP projects. Pursue people-oriented infrastructure development that would help develop industry and agriculture. Develop government-supported mass transport systems.
  3. Pursue economic sovereignty and strengthening of the domestic economy and abandon all plans for economic Charter change. Review the business terms of big foreign mining companies, coal plants, large plantations and other enterprises that plunder our national patrimony and destroy the environment.
  4. Truly develop the agricultural sector through genuine land reform and the implementation of various forms of collective farming with increased government support. Make agriculture address domestic needs rather foreign demands.
  5. Increase government spending for basic social services such as health and housing.
  6. Increase state subsidy for education on all levels. Implement a moratorium on tuition fee increases. Stop the implementation of the K-12 program.
  7. Pursue income tax reforms for working people. Increase pensions for SSS members. Improve revenue collection. Go after the big tax evaders and smugglers from big business. Scrap the VAT on electricity and oil products.
  8. Make domestic job creation a priority instead of relying on CCT to address poverty. Support workers and employees calls for a national minimum wage. End the regime of labor contractualization. Address the urgent demands of migrant workers.

“We realize though that these issues and demands will not be resolved simply by submitting proposals to the powers-that-be. Their achievement relies on actual struggle by the people themselves, especially since the ruling elite stand opposed to these pro-people reforms. In the end, it will be the people, not the politicians, who will be decisive in achieving real change,” BAYAN said

Meantime, Makabayan said: “Furthermore, we challenge incoming President Duterte to repudiate the neoliberal economic policies pursued by previous administrations that have failed to bring about real development and prosperity to our people and perpetuated gross social inequality, Instead we urge him to implement an economic development program anchored on national industrialization (to create increasing numbers of regular jobs) and on modernization of agriculture through genuine agrarian reform that would create varied agri-based rural industries. Only then can it be said that change, indeed, is coming.”

The coalition calls for economic programs free from neoliberal economic policies which are pro-people and promote social equality. []


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