By Prof. Jose Maria Sison,
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
September 15, 2017
Dear Comrades and friends,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to give you a briefing on the Philippine situation. I will discuss four points regarding the US-Duterte regime: (1) its signature policy of mass murder and bombing of communities, (2) its termination of the peace negotiations with the NDFP, (3) its neoliberal economic policy and (4) its pseudo-independent foreign policy.
1. Policy of Mass Murder and Bombing Communities
Duterte is using his so-called war on illegal drugs as a means of projecting an image as a strong man with an iron fist in order to intimidate the people and his political opponents and to popularize extrajudicial killings as a device for building a fascist dictatorship. But in only 14 months he has murdered too many, some 14,000, on mere suspicion as drug users and pushers in urban poor communities. He has gained notoriety for himself as a human rights violator. At the same time, it turns out that he is the protector of his compadre Peter Lim who is one of the biggest drug lords. His son Paolo Duterte has been exposed as a big drug smuggler and a rising drug lord himself.
The policy of mass murder is being applied in the military campaigns of suppression against social activists, the revolutionary movement and the national minorities. Aerial bombings, artillery and mortar fire have been used to attack communities and force people to evacuate in the countryside. The objective is to grab the land and other natural resources for the benefit of corporations engaged in logging, mining and plantations for export. The worst case is the destruction of Marawi City by aerial bombardments done by US pilots and their Filipino puppets.
The broad masses of the Filipino people are outraged by the brutality and atrocities committed by the US-Duterte regime. They define and denounce Dutertismo as the despotism of death and destruction. There is now a broad united front of social classes and sectors developing to isolate and oust the Duterte ruling clique. This broad united front is confident that it can overthrow the clique through street mass actions as those successfully carried out against Marcos in 1986 and against Estrada in 2001.
There are now groups within the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police that are disgruntled by the Duterte regime and are preparing to withdraw support from it. At the same time, there are the armed revolutionary forces represented by the NDFP and those of the Bangsamoro.
2. Termination of the GRP-NDFP Peace Negotiations
Until recently, peace negotiations of the Duterte government with the NDFP appeared to have bright prospects because Duterte claimed that he wanted to become the first Left president and that he was himself a socialist, that he would amnesty and release all political prisoners, that he would appoint as many as four progressives to his cabinet and that he would negotiate peace with the NDFP.
Early on, Duterte proved himself a liar on his promise to amnesty and release all political prisoners. In June 2016, he took back his promise and expressed the wish to impose on the NDFP the surrender of the revolutionary forces under the guise of a protracted and indefinite ceasefire. From the beginning of his regime, he carried out his all-out war policy, first by continuing Aquino´s Oplan Bayanihan until the end of 2016 and subsequently Oplan Kapayapaan from January 2017 onwards.
Even during the period of reciprocal unilateral ceasefire for more than five months, from August 2016 to February 2017, he never withdrew his military forces and allowed them to bombard and occupy communities and civic structures.
Duterte has terminated the peace negotiations three times on very flimsy grounds. He scuttled the 5th round of formal talks at Noordwijk in June 2017 after putting obstacles to the negotiation of social, economic and political reforms and after offending the NDFP with a proclamation of the Mindanao-wide martial law directed not only against the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups in Marawi City but also against the New People´s Army in many more parts of Mindanao. Forewarned by the repeated threats of Duterte to declare martial law nationwide, the people and revolutionary forces represented by the NDFP have come to the consensus that it would be easier to oust Duterte from power than to conclude a peace agreement with him.
3. Neoliberal Economic Policy pursued by the Duterte regime
The NDFP has always made clear that the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) must first be negotiated and mutually approved before a protracted and indefinite ceasefire can be agreed upon. But the Duterte regime has prejudiced CASER with the neoliberal economic policy already adopted by his top economic team headed by his playmate Dominguez.
It is clear that the Duterte policy is to preserve the semifeudal and semicolonial economy which is dependent on the export of raw materials and cheap labor, import of manufactures, foreign investments, foreign loans to cover trade deficits and higher taxes and prices of basic commodities at the expense of the people. The big compradors and landlords enjoy tax cuts but the working people suffer low wages, underemployment and unemployment and the higher taxes incorporated into the rising prices of basic commodities and public utility services.
Even if the GRP nd the NDFP negotiating panels were to arrive at a mutually satisfactory CASER, it is impossible to surmount the set neoliberal economic policy of the regime and the notoriously reactionary character of Duterte´s so-called super majority in Congress. The kind of Congress that exists in the Philippines today cannot be relied upon to provide the authority and funding for the social and economic development of the Philippines through national industrialization and land reform. The pro-US and rabidly anti-communist secretary of national defense has already told Duterte that the NDFP should never be given the chance to take any credit for the social progress of the Philippines.
4. Pseudo-independent foreign policy
Duterte has boasted of engaging in an independent foreign policy. But in fact, he wants the Philippines to remain under the hegemony of the US. He has not heeded the demands of the people for the abrogation of treaties, agreements and arrangements that make the Philippines a vassal of the US. Despite his occasional and superficial anti-US chatter, he belongs comfortably to the oligarchy of big compradors, landlords and corrupt officials and enjoys being the top running dog of the US in the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system.
What he means by an independent foreign policy is merely having additional foreign masters. He expects China to provide him limitless over-costly loans for infrastructure building in exchange for giving away the territorial sea, exclusive economic zone and extended continental shelf in the West Philippine Sea. He also wants to acquire additional arms from China and Russia in order to neutralize any US congressional sanction on his grave violations of human rights and to further strengthen himself in realizing his scheme of establishing a fascist dictatorship.
In the course of suppressing the uprising of Moro groups in Marawi City, Duterte has exposed himself as a consistent and incorrigible puppet of US imperialism. He has depended on US air and bombing power and has followed the US military doctrine of saving a community by destroying it. Thus, indiscriminate aerial bombing, on top of artillery and mortar fire, has destroyed Marawi, killed and wounded thousands of civilians and forced the evacuation of more than 300,000 people from Marawi and adjoining areas.
Appeal for solidarity
More than ever, the Filipino people and revolutionary forces represented by the NDFP are resolved to wage various forms of revolutionary struggle against the US-Duterte regime and the entire ruling system and contribute to the advance of the worldwide anti-imperialist and democratic movement. More than ever, the Filipino people and revolutionary forces need the solidarity and support of the peoples of the world. Thank you.