The Cavite province suffered enough no thanks to the “Duterte virus,” progressives say.
Words by Rudolf Immanuel Custodio
“Walang napala ang mamamayang Kabitenyo at ang buong sambayanan kung hindi patayan, demolisyon, kawalan ng trabaho, kawalan ng lupa, kapabayaan, kainutilan, at malawakang paglabag sa karapatang pantao,” Jerry Caristia from Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Cavite told the viewers of the July 25 State of the Province Address (SOPA).
Such words captured an image of Cavite being burdened by the continued negligence of the national government, which led to numerous land-grabbing cases and other human rights violations (HRVs).
It was the week when Pres. Rodrigo Duterte would be presenting his final State of the Nation Address (SONA). Joining BAYAN-Cavite were fellow progressive groups from the province and beyond, including Peasant and Church Movements of Cavite, Panday Sining Cavite (PSC), MARA, Kabataan Partylist, College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), and GABRIELA.
With Duterte as their “virus,” the speakers were there to “diagnose” the national situation.
Caristia said that there are still no clear plans for mass testing, contact-tracing, and vaccinating in the country even after the trillion-peso loans of the government from different imperialists and international banks (READ: Why can’t we make our own vaccines?).
“Wala pa sa limang porsyento ng populasyon ang nababakunahan sa ating bansa. Pinatutunayan lamang nito na walang interes ang rehimeng Duterte na tugunan ang pandemya,” he added.
Moreover, Caristia tagged the president as a traitor after selling and giving away the country’s natural resources such as the West Philippine Sea to China since 2016. He also mentioned the continuous demolitions and reclamation of lands and waters in Bacoor, Silang, and other parts of Cavite to give way to the huge projects of foreigners.
“Sa kabila ng kakulangan sa pagkain, inuuna ng rehimeng Duterte ang pagpapalayas sa mga magsasaka sa kanilang lupang sakahan,” he explained, referring to the demolition project in Brgy. Tartaria in Silang. There, approximately 350 hectares of land are continuously converted to eco-tourism and industrial spots by the local government unit (LGU) of Silang (READ: Cavite farmers, shopkeepers stand against demolition threats).
Aside from health and agriculture, Caristia also discussed how the Duterte regime neglected the youth and education sectors in the country especially after a year of lockdown.
“Sa kabila ng malawakang panawagan ng mga kabataang estudyante para sa ligtas na balik-eskwela, nananatiling bingi ang CHED at DepEd hinggil dito. Dagdag pa, patuloy ang kawalan ng ayuda sa mga kabataan na pinahihirapan nitong distance learning,”
Furthermore, the speaker also mentioned how anti-worker and anti-poor the administration is after issuing no salary raise for workers amidst tallying the highest inflation rate.
Peasant and Church Movements of Cavite’s Pastor Migs stated that there are many cases of killings and abductions with made-up warrants and fabricated evidence in Cavite.
“Patuloy na sinisikil [ang hanay ng taong simbahan] tulad ng buong sambayanang Pilipino. At nakakaranas tayo ngayon ng isang ganap na marahas at abuso sa kapangyarihang gobyerno ni Duterte,” he stated.
Additionally, Kabataan Partylist also took part in the program expressing the call to end campus militarization after the continuous student repression during the Duterte administration. Moreover, they also demanded aid for the students and teachers who are burdened with the new mode of learning due to the pandemic.
“Sa loob ng nagdaang taon sa ilalim ng administrasyon ni Duterte, hindi naiiba ang kalagayan ng mga kabataan sa iba’t ibang sektor ng lipunan. Palpak ang pagtugon ng pamahalaan sa hinaing ng mamamayan lalo’t higit sa hinaing ng sangkaestudyantehan,” Kabataan Partylist representative said in her speech.
On the other hand, CEGP Cavite Chairperson JM Berdera reiterated the call for campus press freedom after the slaughter of no less than 19 campus journalists in Cavite and the passage of Anti-Terror Law.
“Matatandaan natin nitong 2020, maraming nagdaang mga kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao ng mga mamamahayag. Nand’yan po ang kaso ni Joshua Molo ng UE Dawn,” Berdera referred to the harassment Molo faced after releasing his statement towards the Duterte Administration’s response to the pandemic. (READ: Student journalist threatened with libel case, forced to apologize for criticizing government)
With the persistent submission of a disqualification case for the GABRIELA Women’s Party to the congress, the GABRIELA Youth Cavite, likewise, echoed calls for women’s legislative rights and voice. GABRIELA Women’s Party is the sole organization representing women in the congress.
“Ang sapilitang pagtanggal ng boses ng kababaihan sa kongreso ay matinding atake sa lehislatibong karapatan ng kababaihang Pilipino. Sa limang taong pamamalakad ng pangulo, hindi mawawala ang tema ng pagyurak sa karapatang pantao,” GABRIELA Youth Cavite said.
At the end of the program, the organizations emphasized and encouraged viewers to join in ending the fascist and macho-feudal rule of the Duterte administration and fighting for the sovereignty and democracy in the country.
They also cried for justice for the late BAYAN Cavite coordinator Emmanuel “Manny” Asuncion, who was killed along with four others on the “Bloody Sunday,” formally known as COPLAN ASVAL.
“Wakasan na ang rehimeng US-Duterte, tumindig para sa demokrasya, soberanya, at karapatan. Patuloy na ipanawagan ang hustisya kay Manny Asuncion at sa lahat ng biktima ng pasistang estado,” Caristia concluded. [P]
Photo by DY Sanchez