Commentary

With Duterte’s TRAIN, poor pay higher taxes so rich can take home more

December 13, 2017

By Sonny Africa The Duterte administration’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill reportedly due for ratification by Congress this week burdens the poor with higher consumption taxes so that the rich can have higher take-home pay. The Department of Finance (DOF) used income tax gains for a few middle-class families as a smokescreen […]

Economic rights violations also worsen under Duterte admin

December 10, 2017

IBON Features – Contempt for human rights is fast becoming a Duterte administration trademark. Over 10,000 people, mostly poor, have reportedly been executed in its war against drugs. Extrajudicial killings, harassment and intimidation, illegal arrests and forced evacuation of communities have continued and recently started escalating. The victims include many opposing the government’s anti-people policies. Authoritarianism […]

2017 SONA: Change is not always for the better

July 25, 2017

Sonny Africa Among Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s idiosyncrasies is preferring a vulgar stream-of-consciousness approach in his speeches. This is even for the annual state of the nation address (SONA) at the opening of Congress which is undoubtedly the government’s highest-profile policy speech of the year. The president’s choice is a matter of style but then this […]

President’s SONA can unite, but will likely divide

July 24, 2017

Sonny Africa Pres. Rodrigo Duterte started his term as a potentially powerful unifier of the nation, but he is now unfortunately its biggest source of division. Last year, he spoke of resuming peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), bringing all Moro groups together in an undivided peace process, and upholding […]

Land reform, starting point of rural development

January 20, 2017

“Agricultural development should first focus on real land reform. This ensures that subsequent farm support will increase rural incomes and improve the livelihoods of the majority poor peasantry, expand the domestic market, and create a surplus for reinvestment in national industry. These are also the conditions for greater linkages between agriculture and industry, including the […]

Aid for profit undermines development

December 5, 2016

Official development aid (ODA) is increasingly becoming a tool to support private profits rather than people-centered development. This indicates the persistence of the neoliberal ways that prevent aid from meaningfully contributing to national development. The Second High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) recently held in Nairobi, Kenya, concluded with a […]

US aid and imperialism

October 21, 2016

For daring the US and others to withdraw their aid, President Rodrigo Duterte has been called a “psychopath”. For those whose way of thinking has been systematically warped by colonialism and neocolonialism/imperialism, it is plain madness. As a poor country, why would we shun the “altruism” of rich countries like the US? On the contrary, […]

Hindi lumingon–a second look? The economics of the Duterte administration

May 14, 2016

by Sonny Africa IBON FEATURES – Presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte projected a vastly different image from the other presidential candidates and indeed from every national politician the Philippines has ever had: coarse, cussing, irreverent, misogynistic, an unrepentant human rights violator, and a self-proclaimed “Socialist” and “Leftist”. But, never mind, the strongman was effective and got […]

Path not to take: The exclusionary and elitist Daang Matuwid

May 8, 2016

#BeyondElections2016 | The Aquino administration’s long-playing call to sustain its so-called legacy of a fast-growing economy driven by “good governance” resonated in the “ituloy ang Daang Matuwid” electoral campaign. That the elections are just a day away and that the term of Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III is nearing its end are opportune moments to review […]