State of the Nation – a year of deceit, as seen by LFS

Photo by Arkibong Bayan

By Joey Natividad

CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region – The League of Filipino Students (LFS), along with other militant groups hit President Duterte’s failed promises and increased human rights violations on his second State of The Nation Address on Monday.

Despite the intensified atrocities committed by the AFP in Mindanao, Duterte and his lap dogs in the Senate and House opted to extend Martial Law until December 2017, LFS declared.

Extended martial law

LFS continued: “These fascists have shown no sympathy for the victims of militarization in Mindanao- 9 Lumad communities forcibly displaced from Surigao del Sur, hundreds of thousands of evacuees with little to no immediate relief and rehabilitation in Marawi, victims of military harassment, warrantless arrests, airstrikes, and food blockade. As if these violations weren’t enough, Duterte and his military troops have continued to red-tag these civilians as rebels and part of the New People’s Army.”

“It is with no doubt that this regime has been wired ever since with the US government and its military troops as they have waged multiple wars against the Filipino people. The extension of Martial Law in Mindanao is yet another proof not just of the AFP’s incompetence, but also the Duterte administration’s tactical move to become a military dictatorship.” LFS national spokesperson JP Rosos said.

Stalled peace talks

During the start of his term, President Duterte, according to LFS, had claimed to be progressive and an ally of the left when he promised to resume the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) along with the release of all NDFP consultants and a handful of political prisoners.

LFS continued: “Now, the tables have turned as he hijacks his words and insists on having a bilateral ceasefire before the negotiating panel discusses the proposed socio-economic reforms. The political prisoners have turned into hostages, a condition further aggravated by the detention of eight youth leaders who staged a lightning rally in the joint session of the congress for the extension of Martial Law on July 21. These youth leaders, now known as #Kabataan8 are composed of three Lumad volunteer teachers and students from other universities; they are held temporarily at Camp Karingal.”

Rosos, as part of the Kabataan8 have expressed his condemnation on their deliberate arrest and infringement on their right to free speech and to peaceably assemble.

He stressed how this government continuously generates its rebels through its violent pacification on the people who dissent.

“War” at all levels

“Duterte’s war on drugs, all-out war in the countryside, and the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao are all manifestations of his desperate answer to the root causes of poverty and armed conflict in the country. Despite his earlier anti-US projections, he has no significant steps to cast away the US troops in our lands. In fact, he seems to have become more hospitable to foreign forces, almost embracing them and inviting them to further exploit and abuse our country and our people,” said Rosos.

Confusing foreign policy

LFS also denounces Duterte’s fraudulent independent foreign policy. Given the existence of the US military troops in the country and all lopsided agreements with US, records of military harassment and violence have intensified even before the Mindanao-wide martial law has been declared.

Stable jobs, a dream

“The promise of a decent and stable job for our workers has remained a castle in the air under Duterte’s administration as there are no concrete steps to end all forms of contractualization. With this, we are not surprised of the fact that he entrusted the Filipino youth’s future with the neoliberal pawns in his cabinet, transforming the education system to become a breeding ground of passive workers, a pool of cheap labor addressed to the needs of the global market as dictated by the imperialists and not in any way geared to contribute in building a self-reliant economy,” Rosos added.

Education, only for the rich

Until now, the right to education is met with a huge price to pay. His Free Tuition Policy implementation in state universities and colleges has been a safe pass to enact a nationwide socialized tuition system, making education all the more inaccessible to the majority of the Filipino youth.

A year after he took office is more than enough time for the President to fail his people. There are no notable expectations from the wide ranks of masses but a reinforced fascism and continuous imperialist plunder.  []


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