Duterte and his stooges’ visit to the destructive Bicol International Airport, barefaced parade as the king of neoliberalism
The filing of candidacy is still ongoing, yet the Duterte faction are already out on their heels to desperately sell themselves. Duterte is not yet satisfied with his hijack of the weekly Talk to the People for his own agenda and the never-ending regional tours of his minions. Now, they are pouncing on the opportunity to show themselves off to the Bikolanos and count their supposed achievements one by one through the opening of the Bicol International Airport. But what will they boast off in a project that is not of any benefit to the masses and worse, destroyed hundreds of hectares of farmlands in the neighboring areas? The only thing it proves is Duterte’s legacy of being the king of neoliberalism and a traitor to the people’s interests.
Instead of development, the construction of BIA only exacerbated the destitution and oppression the Albayano masses experience. Just recently, farmers from the barangays of Alobo and Mabini in Daraga complained about the flooding of their rice paddies because of the BIA’s clogged drainage system. Before this, even during the time of construction of the said airport, many farmers have already been forcibly dislocated away from their communities and had their livelihoods destroyed. Not less than 6,956 individuals residing in the 408-hectare wide lands of Alobo, Burgos, Kinawitan and Gapo of Daraga and Del Rosario in Camalig were affected by the project.
Because of the neoliberal project BIA, famers were openly deprived of their right to the land that they till. The peasantry and the masses were further isolated from their hopes to have a place to farm. A new wave of land reconcentration and centralization to the hands of compradors, land owners and foreign capitalists occurred.
These neoliberal projects also always mean escalated militarization since a conducive climate for the tourists, local and foreign investors must be maintaned and thus mass campaigns and protests against the projects must be impeded. In fact, the 31st IBPA’s Charlie company has been exclusively deployed for the Task Force Alobo Airport. This equates to ceaseless human rights violations and violence. Since the construction of the BIA, one case of massacre with four victims, one case of extrajudicial killing and one case of illegal arrest have been reported in just the town of Daraga.
Furthermore, the Albayanos shall surely be faced with problems of illegal drugs, prostitution, criminality and other anti-social activities that capitalists shall encourage to entice more tourists and pocket even more profit.
NDF-Bikol unites with the Bicolano masses’ strong condemnation of all the neoliberal projects that destroy communities and sources of living. It is right for them to continue to stand and struggle against these projects. No amount of presscon and Duterte’s projections in front of the camera can fool the masses who concretely experience the harsh effects of the neoliberal design and the lack of genuine socioeconomic programs that truly serve them.