Read in: Pilipino
In fact, Duterte loathes the Bicolano people. If he has any sort of love, it is of a puppet dictator’s obsession for power and violence.
Duterte continued to keep the Bicol region as one of the country’s poorest. He allowed the unprecedented influx of big-ticket neoliberal projects and the all-out expansion of big mining, ecotourism and infrastructure operations and projects in the region. The Bicol International Airport damaged nearby farmlands in Alobo, Daraga, Albay. Only foreign entities benefited from tons of gold plundered by Filminera in Masbate as well as foreign-controlled mining operations in Camarines Norte. Even the construction of wide road projects in Partido Area, Camarines Sur would only serve the interests of big mining companies. Hundreds of Bicolano families have lost their lands because of these projects.
Duterte destroyed the livelihood of millions of Bicolanos. Bicol suffered one of the highest inflation rates and stayed as one of the regions with the lowest minimum wage among workers due to his policies such as the TRAIN Law and the Rice Liberalization Law. The region’s agriculture continues to suffer from increasing costs both of production and commodities while prices of agricultural products continue to drop. More than 200,000 Bicolanos are still unemployed because of the longest lockdown.
He also abandoned the Bicolano masses who are still suffering the devastation caused by both the pandemic and the onslaught of typhoons. More than P8 billion in estimated damages have been brought by the typhoons Tisoy, Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses to the region’s agriculture. Hundreds of thousands of houses have been damaged. But what did the Bicolano masses get in return from Duterte who even pretentiously visited Bicol? Nothing more but mere three kilos of rice, five pieces of canned sardines, sack after sack of futility and a perilous enormity of destructive projects expanding in the region.
Bicol was also targeted by the regime’s bloody total war against the people. Under Duterte and through his fascist policies such as MO 32 and EO 70, the region is one of the most militarized areas in the country. Under Duterte, Bicol registered the most number of political killings and massacre.
Hundreds of communities are currently militarized and occupied by 16 battalions of combined AFP and PNP forces under the Joint Task Force Bicolandia. The US-Duterte regime attempts to suppress the Bicolano masses’ capacity to contribute a strong force in the continuously growing mass movement against his tyranny.
But, of course, the Bicolano masses doesn’t need any love from a dictator such as Duterte. because of Duterte’s fascist and neoliberal offensive in the region, the Bicolano masses ignited their love and reliance to the people’s war. It is their life. It is through the people’s war, by waging both revolutionary armed struggle and agrarian revolution, that the masses shall arise and advance.
It is also through the people’s war that the masses obtain their strength in order to achieve their necessary, imperative and long-desired task: hold Duterte into account for his neglect, make him pay for his fascist crimes and overthrow his tyrannical rule.#