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Left hits Duterte for reneging on reform vow and eyeing martial law

19 September 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr
(left) and Eman Villanueva, reelected chairman of
Bayan HK & Macau
A year after Rodrigo Duterte assumed the presidency, he has yet to fulfill his promise of undertaking reforms, and instead exposed himself as a reactionary representative of the ruling class, Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr said.

Reyes, in a lengthy speech at the second general assembly of Bayan Hong Kong & Macau on Sept 10, also said the progressive movement would oppose any moves by Duterte to declare martial law nationwide, as he has threatened to do.

“Natapos ang isang taon, ganap nang nalantad si Duterte bilang reaksiyunaryong kinatawan ng rehimeng naghaharing uri at mga ekonomista. Hindi tinupad ang mga pangako at naghahasik ng lagim sa buong bansa. At maaaring lumala pa ang sitwasyon,” Reyes said at the event attended by around 300 people at the University of Hong Kong.

Duterte’s use of repression, violence, murder and disregard of human rights, and its protection of US interests, were not the change he promised in his election campaign. Reyes said.

He warned Malacanang may be heading toward imposing martial law throughout the country, after putting Mindanao under military rule in the wake of the attack on the southern city of Marawi by Muslim rebels.

Reyes said martial law has displaced nearly 500,000 Filipinos and led to the biggest man-made calamity in the country that has killed 136 soldiers, 45 civilians, and 620 rebels, in addition to the growing number of human rights violations.

Elsewhere, he said the nightly killings of suspected drug addicts and pushers continue, despite the government’s claims to the contrary. He cited Duterte’s dismissal of the recent deaths of Kian delos Santos, 17; Carlo Angelo Arnaiz, 19; and Reynaldo de Guzman, 14, as mere coincidences.

The Bayan leader has accused the military of sabotaging the peace talks between the Left and the government, leading to the collapse of the negotiations.

On the removal of leftist Cabinet officials earlier appointed by Duterte, Reyes said: “Pumasok tayo diyan para gumawa ng mabuti. Kung sisibakin tayo, hindi tayo maglulupasay at parang asong (sabik) sa puwesto at isusuko ang prinsipyo para lang mapanatili sa puwesto.”

He said the Left had proposed social and economic reforms, including free distribution of land to farmers, but Duterte had yielded to pressure from landlords and the military.

Meanwhile, corruption was well-entrenched, as shown by the smuggling into the country 6.4 billion kilos of shabu of methamphetamine hydrochloride into the country through the Customs “Green Lane” for VIPs.

On Sept 21, Bayan will lead a protest rally in Manila against Duterte’s plan to declare martial law nationwide, as well as the extrajudicial killings and other key issues.

Meanwhile, Eman Villanueva was re-elected by the 47 voting delegates from member organizations as chairperson of Bayan HK & Macau. Shiela Tebia was elected as vice chair; Josie Pingkihan as secretary general, and Rina Beldia as deputy secretary general. Betty Maguinsay was elected as treasurer. The new officers were sworn into office by Reyes.

Before the voting, delegates approved the alliance’s general program of action for the year.

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