Two days before the 158th commemoration of Bonifacio day, Anakbayan Metro Manila held a protest in front of Mendiola Peace Arch to demand the abolition of the controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist and Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
While lawmakers have slashed the proposed NTF-ELCAC budget by P24 billion, leaving it with only P 4 billion, for now, the youth group urged that the slashed funds should be rechanneled to fund the education sector to heed the need for resumption of physical classes alongside allocating sufficient financial aid to the poor.
“Imbis na tugunan ang mga isyung panlipunan, mas pinagtuunan pa ng pansin ang paglagak ng bilyon-bilyong pondo na napupunta lamang sa pork barrel ng mga matataas na opisyal ng militar at kapulisan sa ilalim ng NTF-ELCAC,” said Anakbayan Metro Manila spokesperson Benedict Macabenta.
[Instead of addressing various social issues, the government have focused more on depositing billions of funds that only go to the pork barrel of senior military and police officials under the NTF-ELCAC.]
He added the NTF-ELCAC’s low and slow implementation of projects, as revealed [MOU1] in the Senate budget hearings, for reasons to abolish the task force headed by Duterte.
The youth activist also scored the Duterte administration’s ‘failed pandemic response’ despite billions loaned and the national debt doubling in Duterte’s five years in Malacañang.
“Hindi natin alam saan na napunta ang 239.3 bilyon mula pa sa Bayanihan 1, sa P22.8 bilyon mula Bayanihan 2, magpahanggang P18.4 bilyon para sa 2021 budget? Samantalang patuloy na umiiral ang kagutuman at kahirapan partikular sa mga maralita,” Macabenta noted.
[We don’t know where the 239.3 billion under Bayanihan 1 went, to P22.8 billion under Bayanihan 2, to P18.4 billion under the 2021 budget? Meanwhile, the poor continue to exist in hunger and poverty.]
“Wala nang ibang nagawa ang administrasyon kundi mangutang nang mangutang sa malalaking bangko sa mga imperyalistang bayan na sa kalauna’y pipilay sa ating mamamayang Pilipino. Na hindi pa man natatapos ang pagbabayad natin sa utang ng mga Marcos ay dadagdag-pasanin muli ang mga panibagong utang na hindi naman ramdam ng masang anakpawis saan napupunta,” he added.
[The Duterte administration has done nothing but borrow from the big banks of the imperialist countries that will eventually cripple the Filipino people. This, despite not having finished paying off the debts of the Marcoses, the new debts have been added to the burden yet not the benefits were not felt by the toiling masses.]
According to IBON Foundation, the Duterte administration’s debt climbed from P5.9 trillion in June 2016 to P10.8 trillion in March 2021.
The youth activist also called on his fellow youth to join the protest on Bonifacio Day, which is also Anakbayan’s founding anniversary.