Triple Whammy of Misery, Crisis and Liberalization: A Look at the Last Three Bills of Duterte Administration

With Duterte’s last three “legacy” economic bills supposedly aimed at the recovery and sustainability of the economy, the Freedom from Debt Coalition stands that the justification given by the government to implement and advertise these economic measures is flimsy and highly questionable.

The Public Services Bill will reduce the role of the government in the delivery of public services by reducing the coverage of what is a public utility; its supplementing bill enacted last year on retail trade allows foreign retailers to come in and compete at the small grocery level. At the same time, the amendment of the Foreign Investment Act is another pending bill before the end of Duterte’s administration, which seeks to liberalize the entry of foreign investments in the domestic e-commerce market and other areas of the economy. It opines that these foregoing triple measures are not only anti-development but also anti-Constitutional.

Now, the question sets for us is clear: Babangon ba o lalong lulubog ang Pilipinas? Join FDC with Walden Bello live via Facebook and Zoom on February 23, 2022 at 10:00 AM and participate in this discussion! 

“16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence”

Amidst Multiple Crises: Women’s Fight for Survival, Safety, Security, Justice, and System Change

The Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) stands in solidarity with women all over the world in raising their voice against all forms of gender-based violence and in calling for an end to the systemic discrimination, marginalization and exploitation that millions of women in Asia contend with every day. This year’s observance of “16 Days of Activism against Gender-based violence” – an annual tradition started by women and adopted by the international community – takes special significance as we face the multiple crises of health, economic recession and climate emergency. The increased gender-based violence amidst these crises underscores the urgency of women’s fights for survival, safety, security, and justice, and calls attention to the systemic and structural issues that lie at the root causes of violence, inequality, and the exploitation and oppression of women.

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We, the members of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), join today’s coordinated actions to condemn the Anti-Terrorism Law recently signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.

That the legislative measure breezed so swiftly through Congress—an institution notorious for the glacial pace at which it conducts its business—shows the unabashed subservience of the ruling majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to Malacañang. Duterte’s callous disregard of the growing chorus of dissent from ordinary citizens, human rights advocates and legal experts is yet more proof of the Duterte administration’s tragic obsession with suppressing dissent.

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Bolder action to “re-balance” PHL economy necessary under Covid—advocacy group

The advocacy group Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) called on the government to use the “historic opportunity” provided by the Covid-19 pandemic to take bolder steps to “re-balance” the economy to make it more resilient and sustainable.

“The country is facing an unprecedented economic crisis that is likely to persist and even deepen up to 2022. Government initiatives to organize and strengthen public health system in response to pandemic are laudable but not enough and weak in implementation. Efforts to support the vulnerable sectors are also laudable but the various social protection programs were limited, badly implemented, and many have been excluded. To put it simply, the response to address the pandemic crisis is not enough and not bold enough.,” Dr. Rene Ofreneo, FDC president said during a webinar with Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay’s 1st District.

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HB 78: Downsizing government in the Delivery of public service

Whose interests are the Members of the House of Representatives serving?  Interests of the citizenry or the interests of the big foreign service providers?

One cannot avoid raising this question when one takes a closer look at House Bill 78, a bill which  the chamber’s majority passed with indecent haste.  The bill is a clever ploy to amend the Constitutional provision limiting to Filipino citizens or corporations (at least 60 per cent owned by Filipinos) the operation  and management of public utilities (Sec 11, Article XII). 

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