(Statement of Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan or SPARK)
HARRY ROQUE’S recent remarks on the sky-high 6.4% inflation rate reveals his utter disconnect from the vast majority of Filipinos. According to Duterte and his crony Roque, anything short of the 50% inflation rate from Marcos’s dictatorship is not a crisis and that the issue is only strong because of the coming elections.
For the unrepentant Roque to claim that “inflation is under control” runs contrary to the experience of the masses where nearly all common goods and services have increased in cost as a result of a series of fallacious economic policies. The TRAIN law, no matter how much the administration denies it will remain the culprit that triggered the current avalanche of price hikes that burden the poor.
Serving as TRAIN 1’s backdrop is the state’s long-standing economic policy of unbrindled liberalization that is even further pushed to band-aid their own miscue – the uncalculated drawbacks that led to the current runaway inflation. The skewed importation of rice and galunggong are signs that the government has abandoned the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of farmworkers, peasants and fisherfolks.
TRAIN merely exacerbates the fundamental contradictions brought about by the economic managers’ overzealous pursuit of an export-oriented, import-dependent economy, based on the designs of the World Trade Organization.
Often overlooked by the likes of Roque from the ruling class is the intense struggle of those on the margins of society who suffer alone from their decisions in government.
One can find it in stories of students from low-income families struggling to make their allowance last in a day, who must now manage every single peso of their meager allowances with greater attention than before.
One can also find it in the stories of workers whose wages are barely enough to buy commodities to fulfill their family’s needs, and simultaneously also suffer worsening labor conditions in the form of the continuing practice of contractualization and low wages.
More examples come to mind, but if one thing is unmistakably true, it’s that the long struggles of the masses have become more intense as a result of bungled policies by the economic managers, worsened by insensitive politicians and economic idiots such as Duterte.
And yet they deny their fault in all these effects, distracting the people from the cause of their suffering, as if the masses are so stupid as to not see through their smokescreens -persecution of opposition leaders to consolidate power for themselves, rather than to serve people.
In times where the government is getting torn apart by its own internal feuds, and the struggles of the vast majority of people are being neglected, it is crucial that we as a people must assert our right to food security by unchaining ourselves from the neoliberal globalization and pursue industrialization of the economy and the modernization of agriculture.