For two straight days, the Philippines posted record highs in daily new COVID-19 cases. The DOH reported Mar 20 that the country registered 7,999 cases, breaking the previous all-time high of 7,103 monitored just a day before.
The surge in new COVID-19 cases in the Philippines is the second worst in Southeast Asia. Based on data compiled by the Economist, the Philippines registered 78 confirmed new cases per 100,000 people in the past 28 days as of Mar 20. That puts the country behind Malaysia which had 166 new cases per 100,000. Indonesia ranked third with 70 confirmed cases.
But what is even more alarming for Filipinos is that amid the surge in new COVID-19 cases, the response of the Duterte government to the pandemic more than a year into the crisis remains grossly inadequate and incompetent. While implementing the strictest and longest lockdown in the region, the Philippines continues to lag behind our neighbors in Southeast Asia in actually responding to the pandemic.
To illustrate, Malaysia, which has the worst surge in new cases over the past month, has been providing more than 97 vaccinations per day per 100,000 people. The Philippines, on the contrary, is providing only 23 per day per 100,000 people. Indonesia, which has a comparable intensity of surge in new cases with the Philippines, is way ahead in terms of vaccination as it administers 139 vaccinations per day per 100,000 people.
We are lagging behind even the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. The Philippine economy is about 14 times the size of the Cambodian economy but the latter is providing six times the number of vaccinations per 100,000 people than the Philippines.
As of today, only 0.3% of the Philippine adult population has at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine – the worst among Southeast Asian countries with high levels of cases. Poorer neighbors like Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos have even much better vaccination numbers. ###
On Mar 7, yet another wave of coordinated arrests and alleged extrajudicial killings struck the activist and cause-oriented groups in the country. According to media reports, nine were killed and six were arrested in simultaneous operations carried out by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Southern Tagalog. The victims are activists from organizations of workers, urban poor, farmers and fishers, as well as from human rights groups based in Batangas, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal provinces.
This latest spate of attacks against activists came a mere nine weeks since the PNP launched a similar operation in Panay island. Nine people were killed and 17 were arrested by the police in several indigenous Tumandok communities on Dec 30, 2020.
Common to both cases is the PNP claim that they were enforcing search warrants against the targeted activists for supposed illegal possession of firearms and explosives. Even more strikingly similar is that in both police operations, apparently the same judge issued the search warrants – Judge Jose Lorenzo R. Dela Rosa of Branch 4 of the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC). (Note: in the Tumanduk case, another Manila RTC judge, Judge Carolina Icasiano Sison, was also named as behind the warrants.)
Less than two weeks prior to the Tumandok operations, the PNP also searched the houses of activists in Metro Manila and nabbed seven people on Dec 10, 2020. Again, the police secured search warrants for firearms and explosives to legitimize their operations. Providing the warrant was Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert of the Quezon City RTC Branch 89. Villavert first gained notoriety for issuing the search warrants that led to the arrest of 57 individuals (including 15 minors aged 12 to 17) in Negros Occidental on Oct 31, 2019.
Activists and communities in the island of Negros have been repeatedly targeted by joint police and military operations using court-issued search warrants as a cover. On Mar 30, 2019, state forces, in the process of enforcing 36 search warrants, killed 14 people and arrested 16 more in Negros Oriental. Just three months earlier, on Dec 27, 2018, six people were killed and 31 were arrested in simultaneous police operations in the same province. This time, the PNP was armed with more than 80 search warrants, according to reports. One judge sanctioned both Negros operations – Judge Soliver Peras of Branch 10 of the Cebu City RTC.
The Duterte administration has blatantly weaponized the regional trial courts and included the legal system in its arsenal against activists and the marginalized communities and sectors they serve. When the justice system itself is weaponized to repress the people, the injustices committed become doubly abhorrent. Where else are people supposed to go to correct the wrongs made against them when those who are supposed to dispense justice are perceived as hoodlums themselves?
The police and military template of taking in activists based on concocted lies and justified by dubious warrants has naturally led to ludicrous cases of arrests. In several instances, the arrested victims involve elderly women whom state forces laughably insist are in possession of explosives and firearms in her home, a household that usually includes young grandchildren. Even the United Nations Human Rights Office in a June 2020 report raised the alarm (in the context of Duterte’s equally vicious drug war) on how the Philippine police would “repeatedly recover guns bearing the same serial numbers from different victims in different locations” during their operations.
For those killed during bloodstained police operations, even Duterte’s Justice department could no longer fully rationalize the “nanlaban”narrative (i.e., the victims resisted arrest and were killed by the police in the process). In a report to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Justice department admitted that in more than half of the nanlaban cases they reviewed in the drug war, law enforcement agents did not follow protocol and no full examination of the recovered weapon was conducted.
While the victims are involved in legitimate advocacies on the issues of land, labor, human rights, etc., they have been set up for state-perpetrated assaults through the non-stop red-tagging (labelling activists and their organizations as communists terrorists) by the regime. All these – the red-tagging, the use of courts to legitimize the raids on the houses and offices of activists, and the consequent killings and arrests, are part of the counterinsurgency campaign of Duterte. The made-up narrative is that the activists belong to the armed communist rebellion, thus the search warrants for firearms and explosives.
The UN Human Rights Office pointed out that that “the vilification of dissent and attacks against perceived critics are being increasingly institutionalized and normalized” in the country, as it noted how red-tagging “has posed a serious threat to civil society and freedom of expression”. It correctly argued that activists have become the targets of verbal and physical attacks, threats and legal harassment as “human rights advocacy is routinely equated with insurgency and the focus diverted to discrediting the messengers rather than examining the substance of the message.”
What exactly is the substance of the message?
Some of those who were killed and arrested in the latest attacks in Southern Tagalog are workers and labor rights advocates. The minimum wage in the Calabarzon region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) is between PHP 317 and PHP 400, barely 20% of the estimated cost of living. Southern Tagalog workers and their supporters, as elsewhere in the country, have every reason to organize and struggle for their interests and rights, including on decent living. This is especially so under Duterte whose presidency is the worst in terms of addressing the issue of low wages.
Some of those who were killed and arrested are farmers, fishers and peasant rights advocates. With chronic landlessness and lack of government support, farmers suffer the worst poverty in the country. Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the poverty incidence among farmers is at 31.6% – the highest among all sectors, followed by fishers with 26.2 percent. Meanwhile, based on the official Census of Agriculture, as high as 62% of farmlands in Calabarzon in terms of area are not fully owned or controlled by the tillers. Farmers and peasant rights advocates in Southern Tagalog have every reason to organize and struggle for their right to land and life; especially so under Duterte who has openly instructed the police and military to shoot and kill farmers who are asserting such rights.
Like all the oppressed, the workers, farmers and people of Southern Tagalog do not only have the reasons to fight their oppression – they also have the legitimate right to do so. Indeed, no court warrant can arrest or kill the people’s collective right to resist injustice. ###
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported today that the second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) declined by a huge 16.5 percent. The contraction – the largest quarterly decline since the country started recording quarterly GDP figures in 1981 – put the Philippines officially into a technical recession after the economy fell by 0.7% in the first quarter of the year.
In his last State of the Nation Address (SONA), Pres. Duterte confidently proclaimed that under his leadership, the country is “in a better position to weather the crisis caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic”. Nothing could be be farther from the truth. With the COVID-19 crisis, the stage is set for what could be the worst period so far in the country’s state of permanent economic decay. Compared to its neighbors in the region, the Philippines is in fact most vulnerable to the economic impact of the pandemic.
This as the traditional and illusory growth drivers such as labor export earnings that for so long used to conceal the deterioration of the Philippine economic crisis teeter on the edge of collapse. Multilateral lenders, credit rating agencies, and the economic managers all project that the gross domestic product (GDP) will contract this year as the pandemic ravages production, consumption and trade, and wipes out millions of jobs and livelihoods.
Even before COVID-19, GDP growth under Duterte was already on a decelerating trend as the domestic economy remained dependent on an increasingly uncertain global economy wrecked by and still reeling from a series of crises. From a 7.1% expansion in 2016, GDP growth steadily slowed down to 6.9% in 2017; 6.3% in 2018; and 6.0% in 2019. There are several factors behind the deceleration. One is the slower growth in domestic consumption, which historically comprises about three-fourths of the GDP and thus closely mirrors GDP growth trends. From a 7.1% growth in 2016, household final consumption expenditure (HFCE) slowed down to 6.0% in 2017 then further to 5.8% in 2018 before barely recovering to 5.9% last year. In the latest PSA report, HFCE fell by 15.5 percent.
What has been driving domestic consumption in the country for decades are the remittances from Filipinos earning abroad. Based on World Bank data, the Philippines ranked fourth worldwide in terms of migrant remittances inflows in 2019. But relative to its economy, the Philippines is the most dependent on such inflows with remittances accounting for 9.9% of its 2019 GDP. The three countries ahead of the Philippines in the list of global top earners of migrant remittances last year have a far smaller GDP ratio. World’s number one India has a remittances-to-GDP ratio of just 2.8%; China has 0.5% while Mexico, 3.0 percent. In Southeast Asia, the Philippines has the largest remittances-to-GDP ratio where the average ratio of its neighbors is just 3.3 percent.
To be sure, Duterte inherited the defective four-decade old labor export strategy. But contrary to his campaign rhetoric of bringing home the Filipino diaspora, he did not only perpetuate the defective policy, he is also further institutionalizing the strategy in lieu of sustainable domestic job creation. Since taking over, his administration has been working hard to secure more overseas employment visas; has created a bank specifically intended for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs); and has been pushing for a Cabinet-level OFW department.
But as the world crisis deepens with every flare-up of economic recession and destruction of productive forces in the centers of global capitalism and their neo-colonies, the labor export strategy has been standing on more and more shaky ground. Migrant remittance inflows this decade have been growing annually by an average of just 5.8%, twice slower than its pace in the 2000s (11.7% yearly growth) and thrice slower than in the 1990s (19.8%). Under Duterte (2016-2019), remittances are flowing at a much slower pace with an annual expansion of 4.2 percent.
With COVID-19 further sparking off labor protectionist policies that are already on the rise even before the pandemic, the backward Philippine economy faces greater difficulties in the coming months and years. The Labor department estimates that OFW remittances could drop by as much as 40% this year due to COVID-19. Some 345,000 OFWs have already been affected by the pandemic that would add to the already massive and burgeoning domestic joblessness.
Domestic consumption should be fueled by locally-created jobs and locally-generated incomes, both of which have always been problematic in the Philippines and now made drastically worse by the pandemic. The grossly understated official unemployment posted 7.3 million jobless workers in government’s April 2020 survey, an all-time high based on government records. Official unemployment rate more than tripled from 5.1% in April 2019 to 17.7% in April 2020, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
However, the actual unemployment situation could be way bleaker than what official data claim, which exclude from the labor force and do not count as jobless those workers who did not look for work in the last six months prior to the government survey or are unable to immediately take up work. Note that adult joblessness as measured by the polling firm Social Weather Stations (SWS) averaged 9.3 million workers or an unemployment rate of 19.9% in 2019, already much higher than the COVID-19 jobless data of government.
Indeed, a problematic technical definition of unemployment could not hide the reality of a chronic crisis in job generation that Duterte, like his predecessors, has failed to reverse by strengthening in a sustained manner domestic productive sectors such as industry and agriculture. Long-term trends show a worsening local unemployment situation. Based on SWS surveys, the annual average rate of joblessness more than doubled in the past three decades – from 9.8% in the 1990s to 18.7% in the 2000s and then further up to 23.1% in the 2010s. Under Duterte (2016-2019), the annual unemployment rate is averaging 21% using SWS figures.
Not only has Duterte failed to create enough and productive jobs to boost domestic consumption. His policies and programs even further eroded the capacity of ordinary Filipino households to consume. The minimum wage, for instance, has increased the slowest during his administration compared to other Presidents under the Wage Rationalization Act of 1989.
Since Duterte took over, the nominal minimum wage in NCR, for instance, has increased by only 9.8%, based on data from the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC). At a similar or comparable point during their terms, the minimum wage has increased by 16.1% under B. Aquino III (2010-2014); 39.0% under Arroyo’s second term (2004-2008); 13.1% under Arroyo’s first term (2001-2004); 17.0% under Estrada (1998-2000); 39.8% under Ramos (1992-1996); and 32.6% under C. Aquino (1989-1990).
At the same time, Duterte pushed his highly contentious tax reform program (TRAIN Law), which imposed additional taxes on basic goods and services, while continuing neoliberal policies like deregulation and privatization that make the cost of living more unaffordable for most Filipinos.
Under Duterte, the pump price of gasoline has already jumped by about 31.3%; diesel, 40.3%; and LPG, 31.8% to 34.6 percent. Power rates (Meralco) have increased by around 3.5% for households consuming 70 kilowatt-hours (kWh) to 4.6% (200 kWh) while water rates have increased by about 7.0% (Maynilad basic charge) to 14.6% (Manila Water). The cost of public transport has likewise jumped by around 18.1% (ordinary bus) to 33.3% (taxi).
Basic food items like rice has increased its retail price by 2.7% (regular-milled) to 10.0% (well-milled); fish, 25.0% to 28.6%; and meat, 35.7% to 63.6 percent. According to a study, the cost of basic food items comprises 62.3% of the current average minimum wage in the Philippines, the fourth largest in its survey of 54 countries, and higher than neighboring Thailand (51.6%), Vietnam (50.2%) and Malaysia (32.4%).
COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on a Philippine economy that has long been ravaged by underdevelopment and flawed economic programs. Amid a raging global crisis that is obliterating whatever is left of the limited opportunities for Filipino families to earn a living, the Duterte administration’s severely lacking response to the pandemic including social amelioration, combined with an increasingly oppressive political environment, creates conditions for a perfect storm of social unrest. ###
(This article is an updated version of an article first published by Bulatlat.com)
Terorista lang daw ang target ng anti-terrorism bill ni Duterte?
The farmers, the lumad – they are the biggest victims of terrorism, by the state. Duterte made the Philippine countryside the deadliest place in the world for farmers, indigenous people and the advocates of their rights.
In 2019, for instance, we ranked first in the list of countries with the highest number of monitored extrajudicial killings of farmers, farm workers, indigenous people, and land activists with 38 cases and 50 victims. That’s about one killing per week. Colombia, another country notorious for its political killings of rural people and activists, was a far second with 21 monitored cases and 27 victims.
As Metro Manila and other areas prepare to transition from modified ECQ to GCQ, Pres. Duterte said Thursday (May 28) that figures on COVID-19 in the Philippines are “all in all, not so bad”.
“The death toll is 921. So you would see that the Philippines has…ratio and proportion vis-a-vis with the population, we have a low rate of mortality here in this country,” Duterte claimed.
But latest available data (as of May 28) show otherwise.
In ASEAN, the Philippines actually has the worst record in terms of COVID-19 deaths in relation to the population. Eight Filipinos die of COVID-19 per 1 million people in the country. In comparison, the death rate in Brunei and Indonesia is five per million people. Malaysia and Singapore have four deaths per million; Thailand has one.
Overall, the Philippines is the 12th worst country in Asia in terms of COVID-19 deaths relative to population size (as of this posting). We’re the worst among all countries not just in Southeast Asia but also in South Asia and East Asia. (See data here)
Relative to the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the Philippines ranks next to Indonesia in terms of the worst mortality rate in ASEAN. Indonesia has 6.10 deaths per 100 cases of COVID-19 while the Philippines has 5.91. Thailand has 1.86; Malaysia, 1.51; Brunei, 1.42; and Singapore, just 0.07. ###
If you feel that the COVID-19 lockdown being imposed by the Duterte regime is very strict, data say you are right. In fact, Duterte’s lockdown is the strictest in the region, even more rigid than that of his fellow authoritarian ruler Narendra Modi of India.
Compiling Google’s data on six categories of public mobility (retail and recreation; grocery stores and pharmacies; parks; transit stations; workplaces; and residential areas), the Nikkei Asian Review reported that the Philippines posted the largest average decline at 50.83 percent. With severe restrictions, the Duterte administration brought down public mobility by 85% in transit stations; by 79% in retail and recreation; and by 71% in workplaces. India ranked second with an average decline in public mobility by 47.83 percent.
But data also say these repressive lockdowns are not effective in the fight against COVID-19. While the Philippines and India are imposing very tight rules to restrict public mobility, they are still failing to bring down the number of new COVID-19 cases, which continue their upward trajectory after almost two months of lockdown.
On the contrary, countries that implemented less severe measures to control public mobility like Taiwan (2.16% decline in public mobility); South Korea (11.0%); Japan (13.83%); Vietnam (29.5%); and Thailand (31.66%) are significantly doing better in terms of bringing down the number of their daily new cases, as shown in the charts. (From EndCoronavirus.org)
Lockdowns are meant to hide the sorry state of public health systems and a convenient cover for leaders like Duterte (and Modi) to consolidate their authoritarian rule. The effective way to contain the spread of the new coronavirus are not repressive measures but reliable health and medical interventions, including testing.
Not surprisingly, there is an inverse correlation between testing and severity of lockdowns. Countries that conduct less tests tend to implement more severe lockdowns. India only conducts 1,042 tests per 1 million people while the Philippines conducts 1,379. Compare these figures to those countries that restricted public mobility less severely: Taiwan (2,790 tests per 1 million people); South Korea (12,773); Japan (1,502); Vietnam (2,681); and Thailand (3,264). (From Worldometer)
You know the Philippines is in deep shit when it has the highest number of #COVID19 deaths relative to the population and one of the worst testing capacities in the region, and yet all President Duterte could talk about are Martial Law and the NPA.
As of Apr. 24, the Philippines is averaging four COVID-19 deaths per 1 million people, the highest in ASEAN. This is twice the rate of Singapore and Indonesia, the top 2 countries in the region with the most number of novel coronavirus infections in absolute terms. (See Chart 1)
Meanwhile, COVID-19 tests in the Philippines are among the lowest in ASEAN, pegged at 660 per 1 million people. Brunei is conducting more than 28,400 tests per million; Singapore, more than 16,200. Even Thailand is conducting thrice the number of tests that the Philippines does relative to its population. (See Chart 2)
The Philippines has the world’s most overcrowded prisons, according to the World Prison Brief (WPB). In Asia, a region where jammed detention facilities are ticking #COVID19 time bombs, Philippine prison overcrowding is twice as worse as Bangladesh, the distant second in the region in terms of prison overcrowding.
At the Quezon City jail, which is almost 5x overfilled, nine inmates and nine staff members are COVID-19 positive. In a Mandaluyong jail, 19 inmates and a staff are COVID-19 positive. In Cebu City, two inmates are infected. To be sure, there could be more.
Worse, Duterte’s Martial Law-like implementation of anti-COVID-19 measures is further overcrowding prison facilities unnecessarily. In the 35 days of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the Philippine National Police (PNP) has arrested 31,363 people for violating government’s draconian lockdown rules.
Those arrested include urban poor who were demanding government aid; people who were forced to eke out a living despite the ECQ due to lack of government support; and even more outrageously, relief volunteers who were assisting poor communities cope with the crisis amid absence of government assistance.
The militarist mindset and approach of the Duterte regime are further exposing the public to greater danger. ###
“WE’RE STARVING”. Residents of an urban poor community in Sitio San Roque in Quezon City trooped to EDSA on Apr. 1 amid strict lockdown rules due to COVID-19 to demand relief from government. (Photo: Yahoo! News)
President Duterte’s militarist response to the COVID-19 crisis took a turn for the worse on Tuesday, Apr. 1. In a televised address to the nation, he warned people seeking government relief amid the pandemic that he will “shoot them dead”. His unscheduled speech was apparently triggered by the protest of an urban poor community in Sitio San Roque demanding the government assistance promised to them when the capital region was put on enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
The police arrested 21 of the protesting urban poor, adding to the more than 17,000 mostly poor people arrested nationwide for violating government’s lockdown policies. Compare the number of people arrested by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to the number of persons tested by the Department of Health (DOH) to combat COVID-19, which stood at just 3,938.
Filipinos have been enduring Duterte’s mindless and violent rants for four years now. But his latest incendiary rhetoric of ordering his police and soldiers to kill without hesitation those who violate his authoritarian ECQ hits differently for most. Locked down, deprived of mobility and productive work, starved and grappling with fear and uncertainty so much as with the unfamiliar virus as with government’s overall response to contain it, the people are enraged.
Duterte, as he is wont to do every time the legitimacy of his leadership is challenged, framed his virulent tirade as a warning to the Left, whose only desire according to the long ailing Chief Executive is to destabilize his government. He thought that this would justify his violent diatribe because the Left is supposedly an enemy of the state.
But the public felt it was not just addressed to the Left; or more likely they have already identified with the legitimate demands of the Left from this regime. Whichever is the case, Duterte is picking a fight not just against the politically organized sections of society, but all the people harshly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and government’s tyrannical response to a public health crisis.
The erstwhile apolitical, be they public personalities or one’s family and friends, are speaking up over Twitter or dinner against Duterte’s heartless verbal onslaught and its real implications to people’s welfare, especially those who are vulnerable to more hunger and poverty. The ECQ may have prevented public gatherings, but it also gave people more time online to discuss, share and process their collective thoughts and sentiments against the regime. It gave families and neighborhoods more time together to agree as a group how insufferable and contemptible the President and his men have become.
The ECQ meant to isolate the people from each other because of COVID-19 is ironically bringing more and more together in the conviction that the current state of the nation is no longer acceptable and tolerable. The people are not afraid of you, Mr. President. They are increasingly finding strength and courage from each other.
Duterte and his Defense and military people who are behind and in charge of the lockdown wrongly thought that their dastardly agenda of repressing dissent and democratic rights under the pretext of political stability has been made easier by the COVID-19 pandemic. On the contrary, the crisis and the government measures to supposedly address it in fact have heightened the conditions for greater social unrest and conflict, and for people to organize and take collective political actions.
The existing and emerging material conditions for these are unmistakable. Duterte’s own economic managers are forecasting an economic contraction of as much as 0.6% and job losses of as high as 1.8 million (one million in Luzon alone) this year due to the pandemic. Total economic losses could reach as much as PHP 1.36 trillion, with Luzon accounting for more than one trillion These estimates assume that the ECQ will only last for a month.
As the crisis is global, the economy could not rely on foreign exchange, including remittances from overseas Filipinos and foreign trade, to boost domestic consumption. The world economy may already be in a recession that some economists say is comparable in severity to the 2008-2009 Great Recession. Or it can even be worse. The International Labor Organization (ILO), for instance, estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic could wipe out up to 24.7 million jobs worldwide. For comparison, the global financial and economic crisis 10 years ago claimed 22 million jobs.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) expects remittances to drop by as much as PHP 8.5 billion this year due to the crisis. Many Filipino families will face hardship in the coming months, even long after the lockdown has been lifted. They include not just the urban and rural poor, who are the most exposed to the impacts of pandemics and economic declines, but even those who used to have the means to spend more. The pressure will further increase for government to provide social and economic services, something that the COVID-19 crisis has shown the regime is incapable of.
There is a disease spreading in government that is plunging the nation into chaos and death. It is not caused by the novel coronavirus, but by the old, familiar virus of authoritarianism. To get rid of this virus and heal as one, the country truly needs a bayanihan – to determinedly and strongly work together as a people in building a government and a nation that is truly theirs. In this battle, all the oppressed are frontliners.
✅ Develop the countryside, to ease the heavy congestion in urban centers like Metro Manila with the creation of longterm economic opportunities in the regions
✅ Build Filipino industries, to supply the needs of building and maintaining the country’s transport infrastructure as well as the needs of transport rehabilitation and modernization programs
✅ Protect the environment, by utilizing domestic renewable energy resources to power mass transport especially rail systems and funding the rehabilitation and modernization of current modes of public transport like jeepneys
✅ Uphold people’s rights and welfare, by ensuring the reliability, accessibility, efficiency, safety and affordability of public and mass transport at all times, which entails, among others, reversing the privatization of the county’s rail systems, toll roads, etc. and discarding the neoliberal user pays principle in mass transport
✅ Finance development, and ensure the mobilization of sufficient public resources to fund national, regional and local transport infrastructure development, including subsidizing their operation and maintenance
✅ Strive for sovereignty and independence, because those mentioned above will not be possible if Philippine policy making and determination of national development agenda will continue to be shaped by foreign interests with ties to local oligarchs and bureaucrats who run the transport system and build transport infrastructure for private profit
(People Economics is a campaign led by research group IBON Foundation to articulate and enrich the people’s alternatives to the failed policies and programs of neoliberalism in the national economy.)