Almost four years with Duterte’s rule, nothing has been fundamentally done to break the elite rule in the country, thus, people-oriented programs are continued to be shelved. Oligarchy indeed cripples the country, and Duterte surely empowered them even and vice versa as oligarchs are his funders, his top campaign donors. His administration is a living contradiction, as in reality, the oligarchs are Duterte’s allies.
Contrary to Duterte’s speech last July 13 where he said he is very happy for successfully dismantling the oligarchy without even declaring martial law, the Duterte administration merely re-organized the status quo and rather supported his cronies and the ruling clique to which he belongs. He just uses such appetizing catchphrase to single out one oligarch as against the new ones he has helped consolidate power throughout his regime.
Duterte’s long-time and close companion Dennis Uy, for example, recently broke into Forbes’ list of richest Filipinos in 2019. It can be remembered that back in 2016, Uy contributed to Duterte’s presidential campaign with a P30 million donation. Following Duterte’s election, Uy has grown in power by accumulating wealth from the country’s energy sector.
The Sy and Villar empires have also been standing unscathed proving the falsity of Duterte’s anti-oligarchy ploy. What is Duterte happy about when in fact controversial anti-people projects and community displacements instigated by Villar’s real estate interests have always gotten the green light?
The administration’s flagship projects also funneled public funds to the hands of Duterte’s ruling clique. His pump-priming schemes including the crooked Build-Build-Build program concentrated projects in Davao and Manila which are regions where coincidentally his presidential bidders have businesses at. These Davao businessmen include Lorenzo Te, Antonio Floreindo Jr. (from the family of the Floirendo banana plantation tycoons), and Dennis Uy, among others.
Ironically, the top 10 richest Filipinos and the top 50 conglomerates even increased their wealth under Duterte’s rule.
Much can be said about how elites and oligarchs still rule the country’s economy and politics, and that no people-oriented or radical change can be trusted with the current administration having the same ruling class interest. Without a formal declaration of an autocratic Martial rule, the Duterte administration managed to bag millions of people’s money.
Duterte only regurgitated his anti-oligarchy babble to justify his recent attack on press freedom following ABS-CBN’s closure. The conditions of the broad masses, which would reflect the destruction of elite power, rather show a further exploited and repressed state. The presidential spokesperson speaks nothing about uplifting the lives of millions affected by the pandemic. Worse, the Congress, with Duterte’s certification, passed a law that would curtail people’s civil liberties.
The claims expressed by Duterte are nothing but lies, particularly crafted to cover up false hopes and promises. The youth are already tired and sick of sycophantic speeches and along with the Filipino people, long for genuine and long-term socio-economic reforms!###
July 17, 2020