Protesting Duterte “broken promises,” threats, war on drugs at Philippines’ SONA
NEW YORK — “The fight will be unremitting as it will be unrelenting –the fight will not stop until those who deal in it understand that they have to cease, they have to stop because the alternatives are either jail or hell.”
One year into his presidency, protesters at the Philippine Consulate in New York said President Rodrigo Duterte’s second state of the nation address this week is nothing but a déjà vu of his first.
“The fight against criminality and illegal drugs and corruption will be relentless and sustained… we will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financier, and the last pusher have surrendered or put behind bars or below the ground, if they so wish.”
Duterte is somehow the most promising President of the Philippines.
“During his campaign period he made lots of promises to the migrant workers, the Filipino migrant and to the Filipino people, and when he got elected he made the same promises to the Filipino people. But after a year, he’s still making those promises,” said Aaron Ceradoy.
There’s one campaign promise the president has kept until today – that is to keep instilling fear in the minds of Filipinos.
“In the Philippines, it is really an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. You took a life, then you must pay for life,” he said in his speech. “That’s the only way to do it to instill fear, that if you do it, you will die.”
These protesters believe that killing and living in fear are not the answer to the Philippine problems of drugs and criminality.
“For us it’s addressing the root of our problems,” said Mike Legaspi, from Anakbayan NY. “We think rehabilitation, and the creation of a national industrial economy will help rather than just killing them all.”
This human rights abuse survivor under the Marcos martial law is also a loyal Duterte supporter, yet Potri Ranka Manis is also critical of the president.
“We cannot be blind… I know what you mean by extending martial law in Marawi, because there are still people who are kidnapped and still in the hand so of those terrorists, but do you really think martial law is the solution?”
The president has been drum beating that change is coming, but these protesters believe the drum beats continue but change has not come to the Philippines.
“This administration; we have seen a very demonstrative track record of failed promises, of failure, of unfulfilled broken promises of “I can nix the drug menace,” “I can nix ISIS,” and yet none of these major problems have been resolved,” said Bernadette Ellorin from Bayan USA.
Protesters say they have given the President more than enough time to prove his ability to lead the Philippines.
But they say, all they’re seeing today is a trail of blood behind his one-year-old administration.
“Whether or not my first year of administration was a year of gains or a year of setbacks is not for me to say,” Duterte said. “But for the people to judge, I defer to the people’s judgement.”