Monday, 24 July, 7pm: Duterte’s Wars: The Philippines One Year after Elections

Die LINKE Neukölln, Wipperstraße 6.

President Rodrigo Duterte was elected into power in May 2016 by a large majority. His electoral victory was a seeming rejection of the traditional elitist and corrupt political dynasties of past administrations. He proclaimed himself as the first ‘Left’ president of the Republic, and pledged to wage war against corrupt government officials and illegal drugs. He appointed highly competent officials to manage his social welfare programs, released a number of political prisoners, and resumed peace negotiations with the armed revolutionary movement.

After a year in power however, his most prominent and notorious achievements have been the thousands of poor people killed as suspected users and dealers of illegal drugs; the thousands of refugee families, displaced by militarization, and the most recent imposition of martial law in the island of Mindanao. Duterte appointed neoliberals to manage the country’s economy. And despite his anti-US rhetoric, he has allowed continued US military intervention in the South, aside from currying favors from Russia and China.

What brought this local politician to the presidency? What has he achieved in the past year and where has he failed? What lies in store for the Filipino people in the years to come?

These questions are some of the focal points of our discussion on Monday, 24 July 2017, the same day that President Duterte will deliver his State of the Nation Address before the Philippine Parliament.
CATHERINE ABON, Coordinator, Gabriela – Germany. Cathy originally comes from the Philippines and now lives in Potsdam. Gabriela is the biggest grassroots women’s organization in the Philippines, and has chapters in various parts of the world.

Cathy finished her bachelors and masters degree in Geology and Earth Sciences from the University of the Philippines. She obtained her PhD in Hydrology and Water Resources Science from the University of Potsdam in 2015. She has more than a decade of experience as an advocate of science and technology for the betterment of the broad masses. As a university student, she was already very active in campaigns, public meetings and mass demonstrations on the issues of environmental protection, fighting against foreign mining corporations, onerous environmental agreements with foreign countries, the opening of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, and others. As a geologist, she volunteered in various environmental impact assessments for the protection of threatened communities in the Philippines.

She also taught in the University of the Philippines, where she continued her organizing work among other professionals in her institute, before going to the University of Potsdam.