Youth group Anakbayan challenged President Duterte to actually push through with his appeal on Filipinos to occupy the properties of landed oligarchs in the wake of the 100,000-strong International Labor Day rally last May 1.

“We challenge Duterte to just do it. Despotic landlords and big businessmen in cahoots with transnationals and scrupulous officials have victimized Filipinos for so long. It’s time government actually take action against the ruling oligarchy,” said Anakbayan National Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo.

Addressing the country’s oligarchs, who he said has not paid proper taxes and enriched themselves at the expense of the poor, Duterte threatened: “I will ask the Filipino people to occupy the lands in your hands…I will ask the Filipino people to get it from you and occupy your own land.”

More than failing to pay taxes, the youth group said the oligarchic ruling classes have long squeezed the Filipino workers dry through low wages, contractual labor, and other exploitative schemes, land grabbed from farmers, and profited from corrupt public housing projects.

“It is good that Duterte understands why urban poor occupied public housing units that have remained idle while thousands are homeless. Why not the occupation of big businesses owned by oligarchs paying workers a pittance and keeping them contractual while siphoning millions in profits?” said Crisostomo.

The youth group also called on the Duterte regime to seriously push genuine agrarian reform by freely distributing land to the farmers, which was agreed upon during the latest round of peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

“To break oligarch rule in the country, we need more than warnings and threats. Ultimately, this means Duterte himself breaking away from neoliberal economics that sustain the oligarchy and seriously implementing a program of genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization,” said Crisostomo.

 

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