This is the Filipino workers’ challenge to Duterte after his first one hundred days in office: translate your independent foreign policy towards a pro-Filipino economic framework. By this we mean working towards a self-reliant economy through national industrialization and genuine land reform.
Workers fully support the President’s assertion of the country’s sovereignty against foreign intervention. We urge Duterte to immediately put into writing his assertions for an independent foreign policy. He can start by issuing an order to junk the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement which allow increased US military presence and permanent basing in the country in gross violation of our sovereignty.
However, the President’s independent foreign policy cannot be fully realized if his administration’s economic framework remain subservient to US dictated neoliberal policies of privatization, liberalization, deregulation and denationalization. Such policies have subjected Filipino workers and people to decades of worsening hunger and poverty.
We strongly urge President Duterte to junk his administration’s 10-point economic agenda which blatantly negates his pro-worker, pro-people and patriotic sentiments. The programs drafted by his economic managers are mere photocopies of previous administration’s neoliberal economic policies that paved the way for widespread labor contractualization and further pressing down of workers’ wages through wage rationalization.
President Duterte can choose to take the path towards developing a genuinely self-reliant national economy by adopting as his economic development program the National Democratic Front of the Philippines’s draft for a Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) of National Industrialization and Genuine Land Reform. The administration can draft policies to assert majority Filipino ownership of vital industries and enterprises with rural agro-industrial development as its backbone.