August 13, 2017
QUEZON CITY – In time for the budget hearings of the Department of National Defense at the Committee on Appropriations at the House of Representatives, Karapatan joined the Save Our Schools (SOS) network and various people’s organizations in a protest action against the proposed 2018 budget, particularly items in furtherance of fascist and anti-people policies of the Duterte administration.
Cristina Palabay, Secretary General of Karapatan, said that, according to the alliance’s initial study of the 2018 proposed budget, “more than P300 billion is being proposed to fund the Duterte administration’s three wars that heavily impact on the Filipino people, particularly the poor - the war on drugs, war on terror and war against the New People’s Army.”
Marked increase is noted in the proposed budget allocation for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, which pursues the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) approach of the United Nations, as adopted by the Duterte administration on its so-called peace processes. Such approach, Karapatan said, is criticized by progressive human rights and peace advocates worldwide as a palliative and ineffective way to address the root causes of armed conflicts. “The DDR strategy plays right into the whole counter-insurgency objectives of the Duterte regime, using combat operations and deceptive schemes to pacify the people and revolutionary movements, instead of genuinely addressing poverty, inequality and transgressions on national sovereignty,” Palabay said.
Proposed 2018 intelligence and confidential funds also increased from 200% to 400%, as compared to the 2016 actual budget. Moreover, out of the proposed 2018 proposed budget of the PNP, at least PhP94 billion is allocated for conduct of operations against so-called dissidents, subversives, lawless elements, and organised crime syndicates.
“These funds will be used by AFP Chief Eduardo Año and PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa to operate on perceived and make-believe enemies of the Duterte regime – from small-time drug users/peddlers tagged by Duterte as anathema to public security, to imaginary terrorists and revolutionary groups tagged as enemies of the State. The State’s limited and deficient understanding of the roots of the social ills prevalent in Philippine society has allowed for the funding and continuation of deceptive and dubious policies meant to mask intelligence and other military and police operations.
The State’s security machinery, led by Año, Esperon, Lorenzana and Dela Rosa, are clearly uninterested in solving the roots of the conflict. Instead, they seem perfectly content in their ignorance and mindless targeting of civilians and progressive organizations. As in the Aquino III administration, these funds will not only be used to justify the killing of civilians, but these will be used to further the money-making schemes of the soldiers and police who are just out for the bounties,” Palabay added.
Karapatan said that “instead of funding such bloody campaigns that result in the increased violation of people’s rights, the Duterte regime should reallocate public funds to key economic and social reforms that will genuinely address the root causes of societal problems.