Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) announced its list of 20 “urgent people’s demands” it urges President Rodrigo Duterte’s to address on his second State of the Nation Address on July 24.
Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said their list aims to push the year-old Duterte government to “address the worsening crisis confronting the nation and the Filipino people,” including unfulfilled promises on land reform, national industrialization, peace talks, independent foreign policy, expanded social services, respect for human rights and measures against corruption.
“It has been one year since the People’s Summit presented Pres. Rodrigo Duterte with a comprehensive People’s Agenda for Nationalist and Progressive Change. However, many of these proposals have not been addressed by government. Some have even been rejected. We are still far off from the change promised by the President,” Reyes said.
“Most alarming is the administration’s dangerous drift to the Right. As we denounce the anti-people and anti-national policies of the regime, we put forward these 20 immediate demands consistent with our calls for nationalist and progressive change,” Reyes added.
Bayan’s 20-point “Urgent People’s Demands” is as follows:
- Continue with the fifth and succeeding rounds of formal peace talks with the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) without any preconditions, and work towards the signing the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) within the year;
- Lift martial law in Mindanao and stop the aerial bombings in Marawi and other parts of the country;
- Free all political prisoners as a matter of justice and in compliance with government’s obligations to the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL);
- Recall DOLE Order No. 174 and, in cooperation with various labor groups, issue an Executive Order that would prohibit all forms of labor contracting;
- Support Labor’s demand for a national minimum wage of P750/day. Certify as urgent measures in Congress to set the basic salary for government employees at P16,000/month;
- Certify as urgent measures in Congress to reduce income taxes for rank and file employees ahead of any other measure that seeks to raise taxes on basic goods and services.
- Issue the Executive Order that would implement the 2-year moratorium on the conversion of agricultural lands as recommended by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC);
- Ensure that the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) provides free services as well as irrigation subsidies to our small farmers nationwide;
- Order all state colleges and universities to implement a “No Tuition Policy” starting this school year while ensuring the continued allocation for such item in the succeeding years’ General Appropriations Act (GAA);
- Distribute the approximately 50,000 idle AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) housing units nationwide to the homeless and ensure that such houses are provided basic facilities for electricity, water and sanitation;
- Issue an Executive Order to stop the further privatization of public hospitals;
- Prohibit the participation of American troops and their private military contractors in military operations in Marawi and other parts of the country;
- Halt the implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and cancel the remaining military exercises set for this year under the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement);
- Order the PNP to stop the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug users and pushers and create an independent body to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators. Likewise, order the AFP to stop the extrajudicial killings of activists and suspected members or sympathizers of the CPP-NP-NDFP;
- Pull out the military and AFP-backed paramilitary groups from Lumad communities in Mindanao and order a stop to attacks on Lumad schools. Ensure the safe return of evacuees to their communities;
- Overhaul of the Philippine National Police to weed out corrupt and abusive police personnel;
Uphold and implement the closure and suspension orders of former DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) Sec. Gina Lopez against erring mining companies;
Assert through diplomatic means our sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea in accordance with the UN Arbitral Tribunal ruling in the Philippines’ case against China;
- Overhaul the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and prosecute its commissioners and officials who have connived with industry players in burdening the consumers; and
- Ensure the Commission on Appointments’ confirmation of Secretaries Judy Taguiwalo of the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and Rafael Mariano of the DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform).
Bayan and its member organizations held their second People’s Summit last June 28 in Quezon City where its leaders presented their respective sectors’ initial assessment of Duterte’s first year in office.
Reyes said Bayan and its allies will hold their annual People’s SONA and expect some 30,000 participants from Metro Manila and surrounding regions.
Progressive organizations in major regional centers around the country are also expected to hold their People’s SONA mobilizations on July 24.
“We highlight these issues amid the string of unfulfilled promises of the regime. We bring these and other issues to the streets on SONA day,” Reyes said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)