MANILA - New opposition group Laban ng Masa on Sunday called for social justice and equality as it accused the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte of being "brutal and pro-elite."
Laban ng Masa chairman Walden Bello pointed out that thousands, mostly poor, have been killed in the anti-narcotics drive of Duterte.
Duterte, Bello alleged, has also sided with the ruling class instead of delivering his election promises of abolishing labor contractualization, curbing destructive mining practices and returning coco levy funds to farmers.
"Iyung retorika niya ay pangmasa raw siya, pero ang katotohanan ay siya ang nagiging representante ng mga uring naghahari... Pro-elite ang esensya nila," Bello told DZMM during Laban ng Masa's launch at the University of the Philippines-Diliman.
(His rhetoric is pro-masses, but in truth, he has become a representative of the ruling class. their essence is pro-elite.)
"Ang Laban ng Masa, kailangan namin i-expose ito. We want to show that this is an administration that is not only brutal, but it upholds inequality," added the former Akbayan representative.
(Laban ng Masa needs to expose this. We want to show that this is an administration that is not only brutal but it also upholds inequality.)
He also accused Duterte of attempting to "consolidate the monopoly of power" in his push for a federal system of government and threat to set up a revolutionary government or declare martial law.
Duterte and his allies have maintained that suspects killed in the war on drugs have resisted arrest. Malacañang has also denied that the campaign is targeting the poor.
The President also vowed that he would not become a dictator.
Laban ng Masa is a coalition of labor and civil society groups like Partido Lakas ng Masa, Alliance of TriPeople for the Achievement of Human Rights, National Federation of Labor, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Katarungan at Alab Katipunan.
The coalition, Bello said, is not part of any plot to destabilize the government.
Bello also noted that none of Laban ng Masa's members were former administration allies as he distanced the coalition from other groups critical of the administration, like the House Makabayan bloc and Tindig Pilipinas.
Makabayan was once part of a supermajority with Duterte's PDD-Laban until it bolted out of the alliance in September.
A union among different opposition groups, Bello said, is "premature" for now. -- With Jeff Hernaez, ABS-CBN News