Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

Published by Bayan Metro Manila

After decades of privatizing health care, millions are left untreated despite the rapid spread of COVID-19. Hospitals and other public health facilities are managed to raise profits which undermined access to health services. Government subsidies to health and education are slashed. Universal health insurance is oriented to serve the interest of private corporations.

The pandemic gave face to millions of casual workers who lost jobs, informal workers whose livelihoods have been destroyed, and migrant workers who lack social protection benefits. They disprove the claims that neoliberal growth is making societies more prosperous. Their precarious conditions expose how the dominant system is enabled by dispossessing the many.

Unbridled plunder of natural resources has weakened the capacity of many nations which are today mired in extreme poverty and debt. Despite or because of implementing the prescriptions imposed by neoliberal experts and imperialist institutions, many countries today are cash-strapped and their economies are unable to provide the needs of the local population. Governments are struggling to provide emergency aid to constituents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The crisis revealed that we should not rely on the so-called ‘invisible hand of the market’ for our needs but on the quick action of publicly accountable state and civic institutions. That instead of allowing corporations to equate their profit target with the nation’s economic growth, we have to count what really matters to our lives: access to health care and other basic services, food security, and livable communities. It’s time to rethink the doctrine of turning over vital utilities, industries, and services to the private sector. Finally, we must develop a local economy that can address the basic needs of our people, especially in times of emergency.

We recognize, too, that building a resilient society requires good governance and democratic leadership. People empowerment is crucial in making governments work to prioritize the upliftment of workers, farmers, women, and other marginalized sectors of society.

We are in solidarity with International League of Peoples’ Struggle and other organizations as we reiterate our urgent demands in addressing the social impact of the current pandemic. We are one with those who assert that the new normal must lead us to reject the discredited neoliberal model of development and the bankrupt political leadership that controls this system of mass poverty and inequality. We will only heal if we will fight for a different future.

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