Duterte is Liable for the -8.4% Contraction of Bicol’s Economy

Read in: Pilipino

The Bicolano masses will surely repudiate and condemn Duterte’s barefaced attempt to stay in power in the face of a deepening crisis that he himself worsened. No one else but Duterte should be held accountable for the -8.4 contraction of Bicol’s economy. He has buried the country deep in debt, plundered the funds for ayuda and the pandemic and completed the neoliberal policies which only further sabotaged the economy.

The deep contraction of the region’s economy only proves the failure of the neoliberal Bicol Regional Development Plan (BRDP) which Duterte designed. Nothing should be expected from an economic plan that is devised to allow the influx of anti-people and pro-foreign investments and projects while gradually killing the basic economic factors that would push the people to genuinely overcome the crisis.

Even by the reactionary government’s own statistics, the devastating effects of BRDP to agriculture, employment and livelihood are clear and even worsened by the regime’s neglect of the pandemic and the calamities that hit the region. The region’s agriculture sector plunged by 6% since 2015. An estimate of 300,000 Bicolano workers have also lost their jobs due to the lockdown. The number of Bicolano families who have access to adequate nutrition decreased to 24%. The Bicol region also experienced one of the highest inflation rates because of the TRAIN Law. Despite these, the ayuda received by the Bicolano masses was sorely lacking to the point of mendicancy. Because of these conditions, it is expected that an additional 2.6 million Bicolanos would be considered poor.

More than these statistics, the actual experience of the Bicolano masses prove the tomfoolery of the neoliberal design that Duterte attempts to complete. They are suffering daily from rising costs of production and commodities, decreasing wages and prices of agricultural products, destruction of farmlands, lack of ayuda, piling up of usurious debts and landgrabbing. These happen along with the rampant militarization and terroristic violence of the military and police that put the Bicolanos further in crisis.

Despite all these, Duterte and his neoliberal stooges in the region will certainly continue implementing the BRDP. This only means unfathomable suffering for the Bicolano masses.

Amidst the worsening crisis, the Bicolano masses are well-aware that there is no other solution to their misery but the triumph of the people’s democratic revolution. They are well-aware that one of the basic programs of the revolution is the advance of both genuine land reform and national industrialization as true foundations of the economy. To achieve this, they are waging a people’s war and therefrom are molding their proletariat strength through the pursuit of agrarian revolution, armed struggle and establishment of organs of political power. An essential part of this is their dauntless unity in exacting, holding accountable and overthrowing the fascist, corrupt, treasonous and mass murderer US-Duterte regime.

Duterte is Liable for the -8.4% Contraction of Bicol’s Economy