Oppose Build, Build, Build’s aggressive upheaval of Bikolanos’ lives and livelihood!
NDF-Bikol enjoins the Bikolanos from the six provinces of the region to prepare themselves and heighten their struggle to defend their lives and livelihood. The US-Duterte regime has let loose its final salvo of implementing neoliberal programs and projects in Bikol. Certainly, in the name of neoliberalization, the regime shall instigate violent and aggressive steps to ensure completion of these giant projects. The reactionary government and the China Railway Groups has already signed the contract for the Philippine National Railways-South Long-haul (Calamba-Daraga) last January 17. The contract amounts to P142 billion – the largest project the US-Duterte regime has undertaken under Build, Build, Build.
The Bikolanos are no stranger to BBB projects’ sudden outpour and consequent disruption in the region. Ten of such projects were already completed in Bikol. These include the Bicol International Airport in Albay, Pasacao-Balatan Tourism Coastal Highway in Camarines Sur and the Sorsogon City Coastal Bypass Road. All of these projects have wrought destruction on agricultural lands, livelihoods and housing of the Bikolano masses. Just like those that came before it, the neoliberal project PNR South Long Haul will surely cause massive dislocation. Since the project’s first conception in 2017, around 600,000 households have been projected to be demolished from Manila to Bikol. Almost half a million of this figure will be in Bikol while 15,000 households will be affected from Manila to Batangas and another 25,000 will be uprooted from Manila to Quezon.
What’s worse is that the Filipino people will surely pay greatly for the loans from China to be used to fund the project. Aside from the fact that the burden to pay the debt will be shouldered by the masses in the form of staggering taxes, the sovereignty of the country and the Philippines’ territories from which many Filipino communities’ livelihoods depend on is being held as collateral.
Moreover, during the whole term of Duterte until January 2022, 1,467 cases of the Bikolanos’ rights violations in the name of these projects were recorded. It goes without saying that this latest big-ticket project will surely worsen the surge in violations of socioeconomic rights and civil liberties of the masses in the region.
However, all throughout these travails, the people has shown resilience in the face of all blows of violence and exploitation the merciless and greedy Duterte regime wields against them. With the imminent commencement of the PNR South Long Haul project, NDF-Bikol encourages all Bikolanos to further fortify their ranks. Fight for every Bikolano’s right to live and earn a living. The valiant masses who rise up can be assured that NDF-Bikol will always be with them every step of the path towards victory.