Mutual aid efforts are an indictment of the failed Duterte regime

Read in: Pilipino

Over recent days, what has come to be known as “community pantries” have sprouted in a number of places, where people with a little extra food items can contribute so that others can pick up some necessities for a quick bite or cooking a meal in their homes.

These mutual help initiatives are a strong rebuke and indictment of the gross failures of the Duterte government to provide for the needs of the people amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the worsening economic conditions.

These bayanihan projects are a welcome relief for those who have lost their jobs and their sources of income and who could ill-afford to feed or provide for the basic needs of their families amid rising prices and more burdensome taxes.

However, as the initiator of the community pantry herself said, these are only a “temporary solution for empty stomachs.” She has no illusion that these will solve the bigger problems arising from Duterte’s corruption and militarist response to the pandemic.

In the face of the sharp crisis engulfing the entire country, these mutual help projects can, at best, help a few thousand people. However, resources in the hands of the state must be mobilized to address the daily needs of millions going poor and hungry.

Those who take part in the community pantries and mutual aid efforts know that every peso given and every peso taken from these community pantries is a peso which Duterte has failed to provide the people and has instead spent for his bloated military and police, and for lining the pockets of his corrupt officials.

These community pantries, like community soup projects and other various forms of mutual aid which have emerged since last year, must serve to galvanize and rouse the people to take the path of collective action.

Beyond mutual aid, solidarity among the workers, peasants, semiproletariat, the petty-bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie must be further strengthened to help each other gather the courage to wage militant struggle.

Indeed, these temporary solutions should be accompanied by more efforts to get organized and go out into the plazas and streets to fight for higher wages and substantial state aid and other urgent public health and socio-economic demands and to put a decisive end to the incompetence, corruption, repression and treachery of the Duterte regime.

Mutual aid efforts are an indictment of the failed Duterte regime