Mulat 2, a two-day webinar event held last March 5 and 12 by Bangon Organization, discussed the possible impact of the upcoming governance on the environment, health, politics, and education with guest speakers from various sectors.
Funding the educational sector
University of Sto. Tomas faculty John Christian Valeroso presented and expressed his concerns over the results of a survey conducted by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, which showed that most elementary school teachers outside Metro Manila are reliant on printed modules and are struggling to cover expenses to avail internet connectivity and procure gadgets. While it is the responsibility of the Department of Education (DepEd) to accommodate these concerns, Valeroso emphasized that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) should ensure that there are sufficient funds for DepEd endeavors to be carried out successfully.
“DBM is under the [Office of the] President so it is important that the president you (voters) choose has a particular project and concern [for] the education sector,” Valeroso stressed in Filipino.
He pointed out that there is also an ongoing dispute on the allocation of funds between DepEd and DBM due to the difficulty of identifying the dynamics of the work from home (WFH) setup. Thus, teachers rely more on their local government units for immediate financial support.
“Who we [are] going to vote for the local government [posts will be] crucial,” he added in Filipino.
Valeroso also highlighted the importance of reviewing the proposed platforms related to the educational sector of national and local candidates since it will be their responsibility to provide aid to teachers struggling to provide quality education to students.
Dr. Raymond John Naguit, Institute of Politics and Governance public and mental health consultant, explained the relationship between Filipino citizens’ demand for healthcare services and the wavering supply. While the health crisis spotlighted the inaccessibility of healthcare services, Naguit expressed that this issue was already common before the pandemic. He reasoned that this was due to the geographic distance of healthcare facilities to citizens living in rural areas, unequal distribution of healthcare workers, costs of healthcare, and the lack of proper information dissemination.
Naguit also mentioned that the high demand for healthcare is difficult to address due to the cap in the government’s budget for personnel services, which led to offices being unable to hire new employees. Aside from healthcare workers’ poor compensation, Naguit furthered that discrimination, corruption, and climate change are some factors that also affect the delivery of healthcare services.
“All factors affecting health are very much identical—poverty, economic situation, bad governance. All of those impact our health,” Naguit stressed in Filipino.
Call of nature
Afterward, Gaia Corporate Sustainability Services Associate Consultant Jonas Marie Dumdum discussed the negative effects of plastic waste on the environment, energy equity and security, power generation, and climate change. In a survey conducted by the Global Alliance for Interfaith Action in 2019, 164 million pieces of plastic are found to be improperly segregated. This includes sachets, labo and shopping bags, and diapers.
Dumdum said that 4.8 to 12.7 million tons of plastic worldwide leak into oceans yearly—with Asia contributing to over 80 percent of this marine leakage.
As plastic breaks down in the environment, they release greenhouse gases (GHG)—whose increased levels contribute to global warming, which is a symptom of climate change. In the Philippines, he specified that the prevailing physical impacts of such phenomena are sea level rise, sudden heavy rainfall, and ocean acidification. “We will be expecting all of this in the coming years,” stated Dumdum.
To alleviate these problems, Dumdum proposed climate change mitigation through the reduction of GHG emissions. He mentioned that currently, the Philippines aims to reduce the amount of GHG emissions from 2010 by 75 percent within the period of 2020 to 2030.
On fascism, dictatorship
Meanwhile, Kabataan Partylist National President and first nominee Raoul Daniel Manuel tackled the dynamics of politics under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. He shed light on the harassment received by the administration’s dissenters and on events that attacked academic freedom, citing Red October of September 2018, the Ouster Matrix from April 2019, and the unilateral abolition of the UP-DND Accord last 2021. He mentioned that apart from these, cases of red-tagging and false accusations of criminal activity by the government against members of the Church, government officials, and social media users also took place under Duterte’s leadership.
Manuel then tackled issues surrounding terrorism and political activists, citing that Duterte’s promise to free political prisoners has not been fulfilled. He also talked about the imposition of martial law in Mindanao and criticized the fascist nature of Duterte’s presidency, especially the Anti-Terror Law of 2020.
Continuing from this, Manuel remarked that “all things are political.” From our transportation systems, the income workers receive, to the air that we breathe every day, he stressed that everything is connected to politics. “Social media activism must support political activities outside of the online platforms,” he furthered.
Capping off the event, BANGON chairperson Kristhina Catapia reminded audiences to think carefully when voting. “We can help in the improvement of the Philippines [by] voting wisely,” she concluded.