By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Nothing, but a cheap distraction.
This was how the progressive lawmakers described Thursday the latest “Oust Duterte matrix”, saying that it was supposedly being used by the Duterte government to distract the Filipino people from the economic slowdown, lingering water crisis, and failure to assist poor farmers affected by drought.
“Isang cheap na gimik itong ‘Oust Duterte matrix’ para pagtakpan ang kabiguan ng gobyernong solusyonan ang mga kagyat na problema ng kababaihan at mamamayan at iangat ang ekonomiya ng ating bayan. Alarmingly, the GDP growth during the first quarter is slowest in four years. Ito ang balitang gustong tapalan ng Malakanyang gamit ang pekeng matrix,” Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said in a statement.
“Ang dapat gawan ng matrix ang mga kagyat na solusyon sa problemang pang-ekonomiya ng ordinaryong Pilipino. Bagsak ang exports at agrikultura, malawak ang kawalan ng trabaho, lumolobo ang utang panlabas, habang palpak pa rin ang serbisyo sa tubig,” she added.
Brosas laments that despite the imposition of penalties against Manila Water, the government still has to address the water supply problem affecting thousands of families in areas serviced by Manila Water and Maynilad.
She noted that same water woes were also being experienced by provinces and cities such as Iloilo City, which has been placed under state of calamity.
“Puro drowing at imbento ang Malakanyang samantalang kongkreto ang ligalig at kawalang katiyakan ng kabuhayan ng mga Pilipino. Kongkreto ang kawalan ng tubig. Kongkreto ang perwisyo at pahirap sa mamamayan,” Brosas said.
She called for the implementation of long-term economic reforms that will reverse trade liberalization, particularly in agriculture, and reverse privatization of power and water services in the country.
Anakpawis partylist Rep. Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao said the Duterte government should also not forget to ease the plight of farmers as damage to agriculture already reached P8 billion across the country.
He criticized Malacanang’s drumbeating of its latest “matrix” of those critical of the Duterte administration, saying that it is “beyond the normal actions of the executive office who is supposed to epitomize professionalism in public service and uphold its mandate of upholding “due process” and “rule of law” in the country.”
“It is so beyond normal or out of range of the usual absurdities the presidency blurts out, thus, we are compelled to puzzle over on its underlying motivation. Whatever exactly that is, we believe it is generally to distract the country away from pointing on more significant issues,” he said in a separate statement.
“Farmers are already marginalized at their localities, what more at the national public opinion amid the schemes generated by Malacanang,” he added.
Casilao said the releases of the matrices were part of the Duterte administration’s supposed “electoral calendar.”
“The first ‘matrix’ was released for second half of April, and now this, nearing the elections, it is not far-fetched that it was on the electoral calendar. If admin bets have nothing to offer to the people, it is better to keep them from public opinion, or coincidingly, to overshadow or derail the opposition,” he said.
He described the matrices as part of the government’s “long list of threat to authoritarianism and a means to measure public disapproval.”
“First it was the poor sectors or people’s organizations, then to lawyers and journalists, then now the opposition. This will never end until a majority section of the population expresses its resentment and demands governance that is judicious and respectful of the basic rights of the people,” Casilao said.