To be able to freely oppose the “fascist Rodrigo Duterte regime,” the Makabayan bloc announced Thursday it is bolting from the majority coalition in the House of Representatives.
The group’s sitting representatives and other leaders said in a press conference said they will henceforth be an independent bloc in Congress.
“Today, we, seven party list representatives of the Makabayan Bloc, declare our separation from the Majority Coalition in the House of Representatives to intensify our opposition to the Duterte administration that has now fully unravelled as a fascist, pro-imperialist and anti-people regime,” Makabayan said.
Makabayan is composed of Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers, Anakpawis, Kabataan, and Gabriela Women’s parties.
The group said it joined the Majority last year after being encouraged by Duterte’s reformist and populist actions and pronouncements on a range of issues.
Makabayan cited Duterte’s promise to resume the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), release of political prisoners, ending of neo-colonial ties with the United States of America government, pursuing an independent foreign policy, addressing the roots of the Moro rebellion, ending labor contractualization, increasing government support to farmers, putting a stop to destructive mining practices, reducing income taxes of rank and file employees, and increasing social pensions, and prioritizing basic social services over infrastructure as among the reasons for entering the coalition.
“From the very start, we consistently opposed the Administration’s anti-people bills and policies to the point that we were stripped of our committee chairmanships due to our stand against the death penalty bill. Despite one disappointment after another, we persisted in the Majority in the hope that some socioeconomic and political reforms could be achieved, if not through Congress, then through the Government of Republic of the Philippines-NDFP peace talks,” the group explained.
Duterte has failed on his promises, Makabayan said.
“Worst of all, his ‘war on drugs’ has turned into a campaign of mass murder of the poor, for which he shows no signs of turning back,” the group said.
Earlier, Malacañan said it hoped Makabayan would keep it ties with the Duterte government.
“We hope the Makabayan bloc will stay with the administration and the House majority,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said at a palace briefing last September 8.
Abella said the palace hoped the progressive solons would continue to work with the administration on certain issues, even if they decide dissociate themselves from the Duterte.
“However, if they do decide to go, we wish them well and we hope that they will remain open to working together with others on issues of shared interest,” Abella said.
Makabayan in its announcement today however said the die is cast.
“We shall fight the fascist US-Duterte regime and hold it accountable for its gross violations of human rights and the further oppression and impoverishment of our people,” the group said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)