The Marcos Jr administration entered its sixth month in office failing in its responsibility to uphold economic, social and cultural rights. The grandiose Maharlika Wealth Fund proposed is emblematic and shows that it is more concerned with financial returns than ensuring social and economic benefits for the majority of Filipinos. The economic team justifies it as giving benefits to future generations – bizarrely forgetting that the majority of Filipinos are distressed and need urgent assistance today.
The 2023 budget it will be passing this month is an austerity budget for the social services and protection so needed by the people amid massive disguised joblessness and falling household incomes. The budget for emergency cash assistance is cut while the budgets for public hospitals and education remain far below what is needed to ensure quality health care and schooling.
Yet the allocations for big business- and pork barrel-biased infrastructure is increased, as well for debt service and militarization. The persistently large budgets for these are at the expense of direct social and economic benefits for the poorest three-fourths of the population suffering irregular incomes and soaring prices. Small farmers, fisherfolk and enterprises are not being given the support they urgently need.
Wages are not being increased. Taxes on consumers are kept high to enable tax cuts for large corporations. Destructive mining, disruptive reclamation projects, and pollutive fossil fuel plants are being allowed to increase. Disaster victims are not being given the assistance they desperately need. The list of violations gets longer as the state continues to negate from its responsibility.