Editor’s note: Just ONCE I’d like to see a SYAG article that’s all good news.
The Lumad continues to bear the brunt of intensified militarization
According to a press release by Friends of the Lumad in Caraga, as of January 29, a total of 161 families comprised of over 700 individuals, have been forced to leave their communities and farms, due to human rights violations committed by the military.
This is the latest development in the plight of the Lumad, the largest indigenous group in the Philippines, who have been displaced from and forced out of their native lands by way of intensified militarization as far back as 2015. According to a statement by Kahugpungan sa Lumadnong Organisasyon sa Caraga (KASALO Caraga), the military has been committing these acts of violence in order for various mining companies to expand operations on the peoples ancestral lands.
At a gathering held at the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command headquarters in Davao City, President Duterte told Lumad leaders to consider inviting investors to use their land in the interest of generating wealth. But Duterte says a lot of things, including, in one instance, having threatened to bomb Lumad schools, stating that they are being operated by communist guerillas.
As for the Lumad’s response to Duterte’s call to kill communists for money, they have this to say.
The first package of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program faces criticism following threats of gas hikes
Speaking of the President, it has been almost two months since Duterte signed the first package of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion AKA TRAIN, and well, let’s just say reviews have been mixed. Lawmakers have criticized the package as being anti-poor, threatening increasing the tax on various items such as: petroleum products, diesel fuel, gasoline — commodities that many not-so-rich Filipinos most likely spend on on a regular basis.
The Department of Finance has released a statement on its official website, saying that it is currently “fine-tuning” certain aspects of the tax reform program’s “package 2 plus,” which covers how taxes relate to tobacco products and coal and casino operations. But considering a petition Uber Philippines submitted to the LTFRB last January 25, which proposes that the fare per kilometre should be increased, maybe the administration should consider fine-tuning TRAIN first.
The Chinese military encroaches
And finally, recently surfaced aerial photographs show China having nearly completed construction of their militarized artificial islands on the Panganiban Reef of the West Philippine Sea. A lot of Filipinos aren’t happy about it.
During a Palace news briefing and in response to criticisms regarding the Duterte administration’s silence on the matter, Roque has stated, “What do you want us to say?” Which is really the worst thing to say when you’ve been caught acting incompetently, aside from assuming we can get our islands back *magic conch voice* maybe someday…
What do you think? How should the government respond to these issues?