CEBU, Philippines — If there is one person or thing to blame for President Duterte’s declining popularity, it’s the president himself and his failed promises, militant groups in Central Visayas said yesterday.
Members of the marginalized sector of the society, for instance, expected Duterte’s administration to lift them from poverty but they have instead victims of the government’s brutal war against illegal drugs, according to John Ruiz, coordinator of Bayan Muna in Central Visayas.
Ruiz said that instead of getting protection from the government, the poor are left defenseless in the spate of killings that consider them as targets.
What’s even worrisome, he added, is that the president tries to silence his critics with threats, rather than listening to the people’s concerns and addressing them.
At a press conference yesterday meant to drum up support for an upcoming mass movement, one of the concerns raised by the militant groups was the state of local farmers and fishers.
The four-day protest campout will be held in Cebu City on October 17-20, gathering farmers and fishermen and other sectors in the Visayas to show their condemnation against Duterte’s leadership that they described as having aggravated their already impoverished situation.
Among the groups expected to be in attendance are the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Negros and Central Visayas; Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas; National Federation of Sugar Workers; Unyon ng mga Manggagawang Agrikultura; and Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas.
Jaime Paglinawan, chairman of Bayan in Central Visayas, slammed the president’s “failure” to alleviate the situation of the poor.
“Daghan kaayo siyang mga panaad nga wala natuman, aduna’y uban nga palpak pud,” he said, stressing that the change Duterte promised during the campaign has not come to fruition.
The groups also questioned the president’s “neoliberal” policies and his “fascist” administration.
Michael dela Concepcion, secretary general of Bayan-Negros Islands, which will send the biggest delegation to the upcoming campout, said the administration’s approach failed to respond to the significant issues concerning the rural poor.
Duterte, he said, is incapable of dealing with these problems.
Dela Concepcion also said the significant drop of Duterte’s trust ratings is a “symptom” that the president’s policies are futile in addressing the real situation, especially in the fight against poverty, because the president has allegedly opted to take an iron-fist style. (FREEMAN)