On Bonifacio Day, Karapatan calls on candidates for the 2022 elex to address the needs of the toiling masses

Today, as we commemorate the 158th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, we remember the heroic revolutionary struggle of the Katipunan, which Bonifacio led, for the liberation of the Filipino people from Spanish colonialism, as we salute the modern-day heroism of ordinary Filipinos in asserting their rights and welfare, especially amid the crisis brought by the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hardships that the toiling masses continue to face, however, is not something to be glorified. The sacrifices of our workers to put food on their tables, provide for their families, keep the economy afloat are being praised by the government through only piecemeal and superficial gestures and statements — yet the government refuses to genuinely listen to and address their needs and grievances.

With Rodrigo Duterte’s criminally negligent, corrupt, and fascist rule, the sufferings faced by the Filipino people have become even more brutal and deadly. The Duterte government has shamelessly tried to sweep under the rug serious allegations of corruption from the acquisition of medical supplies to the distribution of aid as millions of Filipinos bear the brunt of joblessness, homelessness, and hunger.

Meanwhile, people who uphold and fight for their socioeconomic rights and welfare such as trade unionists, community organizers and housing rights advocates in urban poor communities, peasant leaders, indigenous communities, and human rights defenders, are threatened, harassed, arrested, and even killed. Filipinos are left with no options but to die either through bullets, hunger, or sickness.

We have lost so much lives. This cannot continue — the 2022 national elections provides an opportunity for the Filipino people to put an end to Duterte tyrannical regime, to frustrate the efforts of a Marcos restoration and a Duterte extension, and to continue to advocate for people’s rights, especially the rights of the people to health, livelihood, housing, along with our basic freedoms.

We call on candidates in the 2022 elections to standing alongside the toiling masses such as farmers, workers, fisherfolk, and indigenous peoples in their struggle and call for a comprehensive, scientific, and rights-based response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to hold accountable those who have exploited the pandemic to pocket the people’s money and forward their militarist interests.

We hear the promises of change with every election — and now, far worse, we hear promises of continuing the same anti-people policies. This only proves that genuine change to break the oppressive cycle can only come from the people’s collective action, and the candidates who deserve the people’s support are those who are willing to fight with them for their rights, welfare, and dignity.

Cristina Palabay
Karapatan Secretary General