Prof. Judy Taguiwalo, Ph.D, is a Filipina social activist and former professor at the University of the Philippines, who was detained twice under the 1970s’ and 80s’ martial law dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. She briefly served in President Duterte’s Cabinet as the Secretary for Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) from 2016-2017.
During the first six months of the Duterte Presidency, the Philippine government engaged in peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), which the armed revolutionary group the New People’s Army (NPA) falls under, to put an end to a decades-old conflict. Prof. Taguiwalo was one of three progressives appointed to Cabinet on the mutual agreement of the Duterte Administration and the NDFP as a good will measure to start the peace talks.
She agreed to take the position hoping to advance progressive change in the Philippines. In Cabinet she pushed reforms to improve the distribution of aid to the poor, including removing the corrupt practice requiring welfare recipients to get a signature from a local political representative to receive assistance, while also opposing reactionary policies of the Duterte Administration, such as the re-imposition of the death penalty and support for extrajudicial killings.
In 2017, following the break down of the peace talks, Prof. Taguiwalo was forced from her position by the elite dominated Congress and Senate, outraged by her challenges to patronage politics.
In this New Zealand speaking tour, “Manay Judy” – as she is fondly called – gives an insider account of the present Administration, her views on the current human rights situation in the Philippines, and what can the international community can do to show solidarity for the victims of oppression under the brutal Duterte regime.