By Reynard Magtoto
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) released its list of 20 urgent people’s demands for President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24.
Its list aims to push the year-old Duterte government to “address the worsening crisis confronting the nation and the Filipino people”.
According to Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr., 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.
BAYAN has various short-term and medium-term recommendations to ensure that change would indeed come.
These ranged from land reform, national industrialization, the peace talks, an independent foreign policy, expanded social services, respect for human rights and measures against corruption.
But, “we are still far off from the change promised by the President.,” Reyes said. He added that 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. 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 added.
List of 20-point Urgent People’s Demands for #SONA2017 to address the worsening crisis confronting the nation and the people:
1. Continue with the 5th and succeeding rounds of formal peace talks with the NDFP without any preconditions, and work towards the signing the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) within the year.
2. Lift martial law in Mindanao and stop the aerial bombings in Marawi and other parts of the country.
3. 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).
4. Recall DOLE Order No. 174 and, in cooperation with various labor groups, issue an Executive Order that would prohibit all forms of labor contracting.
5. Implement a national minimum wage that is compliant with Labor’s demand of P750/day.
6. Certify as urgent to Congress the reduction of income taxes for rank and file employees ahead of any other measure that seek to raise taxes on basic goods and services. Enact a P16,000/month basic salary for government employees.
7. 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).
8. Ensure that the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) provides free services as well as irrigation subsidies to our small farmers nationwide.
9. 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).
10. Distribute the approximately 50,000 idle AFP and PNP housing units nationwide to the homeless and ensure that such houses are provided basic facilities for electricity, water and sanitation.
11. Issue an Executive Order to stop the further privatization of public hospitals.
12. Prohibit the participation of American troops and their private military contractors in military operations in Marawi and other parts of the country.
13. Halt the implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and cancel the remaining military exercises set for this year under the VFA.
14. 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-NPANDF.
15. 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.
16. Overhaul of the Philippine National Police to weed out corrupt and abusive police personnel.
17. Fully disclose to the public the terms and conditions of the Chinese loans, investments and economic assistance as recently agreed upon by China and the Philippines.
18. 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.
19. Overhaul the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and prosecute its commissioners and officials who have connived with industry players in burdening the consumers.
20.Ensure the Commission on Appointments’ confirmation of Secretaries Judy Taguiwalo of the DSWD and Rafael Mariano of the DAR.
BAYAN-Bicol strongly supports the 20-point “Urgent People’s Demands” and will highlight local issues amid the unfulfilled promises of the regime.
According to Dan Balucio, BAYAN-Bicol spokesperson, they will bring these and other issues in their various Mass Action Centers across six provinces here in the region on SONA day.(BaretangBikolnon.com)