AGHAM Unites with the People in Demanding Genuine Development in Duterte’s SONA

Posted:

July 20, 2018

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AGHAM-Advocates of Science and Technology for the People unites with the Filipino people in resisting the anti-people policies of the Duterte government, which has enabled the plunder of our environment and the privatization of strategic industries crucial to sustaining a progressive national economy.

We stand against continued military intrusions in the West Philippine Sea and the exclusive scientific activities by foreigners in the Philippine Rise, which are tantamount to surrendering our resources and patrimony. We question the dubious rehabilitation program of Boracay, as we see that this can only pave the way for the island’s takeover by foreign capitalists, such as Chinese-owned casinos and gaming businesses. We are alarmed that Mr. Duterte condones the violence against indigenous peoples, particularly the Lumad of Mindanao, both through his public statements and his support of military action against these communities.

 We consider all these as crimes against nation perpetrated by no less than Duterte himself, who holds the office of the Philippine President, as he allows the plunder and exploitation of our natural environment and human resources, in the process revealing his utter disregard for national science and technology, its role in national development, and its professionals and workers.

 Duterte’s government has ignored research and expertise of scientists on critical issues such as the Boracay “rehabilitation,” even when they reach out and volunteer their services. Science and technology workers are burdened with the exorbitant prices of requirements for license renewal based on the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) law. Researchers and science workers will suffer government-sanctioned ENDO by the end of 2018, given the joint circular by the CSC-COA-DBM that requires all government offices to hire personnel through employment agencies. This means bidding out research assistants like glassware and lab supplies.

Like all Filipinos, scientists and engineers also suffer the brunt of the Duterte government’s neoliberal policies: the TRAIN Law, the import liberalization of basic goods like rice and sugar, the selling of energy infrastructure such as dams and transmission and generation facilities to foreign investors. These promise nothing more than a more difficult future for all Filipinos, owing to the continued increase in the cost of basic commodities and utilities.

 Despite Duterte’s early pronouncements to rekindle the steel industry, we continue to face the lack of industrial capacity especially in manufacturing, and see the constant disconnect between science research outputs and the needs of local industries. The lack of institutional support is a major problem for many of our researchers and innovators. Without a clear industrial policy, scientific output cannot contribute directly to national development, and with economic policies that put a premium over foreign investments, local entrepreneurs and businessmen are left with little to no incentives to continue their work.

These are clear indications of Duterte’s disregard for national science and technology, and ultimately, national development. And it gets worse. The proposed federal charter which grants private corporations and local government officials’ power and control over vast tracts of our lands and seas will mean the untrammelled plunder of our resources and environment, and the continued disrespect of the people’s rights.

 As we stand with the United People’s SONA, we enjoin the rest of the Filipino nation to stand against Duterte’s environmental plunder. Defend the people’s right to our natural resources, defend real national development and industrialization, and defend a nationalist science and technology.#

 

Reference:

 Feny Cosico

Secretary General

AGHAM-Advocates of Science and Technology for the People

Contact Details: 0917 811 545