Message to the 15th National Congress
of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Philippines
September 14, 2018
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines
Chairperson, International League of Peoples´ Struggle
Dear Fellow Teachers,
On behalf of the entire International League of Peoples´ Struggle, I convey warmest greetings of solidarity to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Philippines (ACT) and to all delegates of your 15th National Congress. We congratulate you for gathering more than 300 regional, provincial and city leaders of ACT and its affiliate organizations. They signify the growing strength and capabilities of your alliance.
We wish you utmost success in realizing the objectives of your congress, such as the assessment of the activities and programs of ACT from 2015 to 2018, the election of new members of your National Council and National Executive Committee, the gathering of reports from your regional unions and affiliate organizations on the state of the entire education sector and organizational status, issues and concerns pertaining to working conditions, and adoption of your General Plan of Action for 2018 to 2021.
We appreciate highly your theme and battlecry, ¨Unite and Fight for Wages, Jobs and Rights! Fight for Education and Society that is Free, Democratic, Progressive and Peaceful¨. In this connection, we wish to share with you our view of the challenges and prospects for Filipino educators in the context of the political and economic situation of the Filipino people.
Like the entire Filipino people, you are once more challenged by the accelerated worsening of the chronic crisis of the ruling system of big compradors and landlords and corrupt officials who are shamelessly servile to the dictates of foreign monopoly capitalism and are extremely oppressive and exploitative of the people. You are confronted and challenged most by a tyrannical regime that is obsessed with using the brute force of state terrorism and that is wallowing in unbridled corruption and plunging the country into a more severe and deeper crisis.
Duterte is obsessed with establishing a fascist dictatorship under the pretext of charter change to federalism. In this regard, he worships and adores the despicable cruel and corrupt rule of Marcos. His highest priority is to boost public spending for the military and police forces in terms of personnel compensation, operation and equipment acquisitions from abroad. Thus the budgetary appropriation for education, health and other social services have been severely cut back.
What is misrepresented as economic development is infrastructure building that favors the big compradors, landlords and their foreign partners in the local production of raw materials and semi manufactures for export in exchange for manufactured imports and that puts the Philippines in debt bondage to the imperialist powers. The shallow and absurd spiel is being made that the infrastructure boosts tourism, attracts foreign interest in the sale of Filipino labor, tour facilities, local ecosystems and other natural resources and rakes in more foreign exchange.
As in the time of the Marcos fascist regime, overpriced infrastructure projects yield superprofits to the big foreign and domestic contractors and huge bribes to the highest bureaucrats. In his own diabolic way, Duterte is treasonously giving up to China the sovereign rights of the Filipino people over the trillions of dollars worth oil, gas and other natural resources under the West Philippine Sea under the guise of a joint development agreement in exchange for a few billion dollars worth of overpriced infrastructure projects and onerous loans.
The tax burden has been increased at the expense of the consuming public, causing the spiralling prices of basic goods and services at an accelerated inflation rate, in order to raise tax revenues to feed bureaucratic corruption and the build-up of the apparatuses of repression, cover the widening budgetary and trade deficits, and service the growing amount of loans from foreign creditors. The value of the peso is sinking as the balance of payments deteriorates.
Domestic and borrowed resources are being used to close the possibility of economic development through national industrialization and genuine and to perpetuate the semicolonial and semifeudal system of the big comprador-landlord oligarchy subservient to US imperialism and other foreign monopoly capitalist powers.
The Duterte regime has terminated the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations not only to scapegoat the CPP and NPA for the purpose of proclaiming martial law nationwide but also to block the NDFP´s proposals for basic social, economic and political reforms to address the roots of the arned conflict and lay the basis for a just and lasting peace.
As matters stand, the Duterte regime has a cruel sense of priorities by giving the ordinary soldiers and policemen the minimum salary of 29,800 pesos a month, plus the cash rewards for the abduction, torture and murder of drug suspects under Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Double Barrel, and of rebel suspects under Oplan Kapayapaan.
In sharp contrast, teachers receive a monthly salary of 20,179 pesos and nurses an average of 13,500 pesos. The drastic reduction of budget appropriations for education, health and other social services means that the underpaid personnel must demand better working and living conditions amidst the soaring prices of basic goods and services.
It is a matter of socio-economic and political right that you must have decent working and living conditions. You must therefore engage in both economic and political struggle, especialy because you are confronted by a regime that violates human rights in a comprehensive way, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
Purely economic struggle within the confines of the bureaucratic channels or even within the tripartite mechanism of the ruling system is not enough. Most important of all, you must wage a political struggle to arouse, organize and mobilize your unions and alliance in concert with the other democratic forces of the people in order to do away with the oppressive and exploitative policies and practices of the current regime and the entire unjust ruling system.
Teachers, especially when well-organized, can significantly contribute to promoting the rights and welfare of members not only of their of their own sector but also those of other sectors that you naturally reach and interact with inside the schools and in communities around the schools. These include the student youth, the parents, the non-academic personnel and the downtrodden classes in both urban and rural communities, who are the worst victimized by the multiple attacks of this unjust system and its current fascist regime.
Nationwide, the teachers’ movement is rightfully viewed as a trustworthy and strong carrier of public opinion. Many of you have good access to institutions as well as counter-institutions in education, media and culture. Many of you have relatives overseas, and in fact a big number of teachers seek work abroad, and are thus active in correcting misconceptions and fake news about Philippine affairs. You can use this power not just to expose wrongdoing and deception by big and petty tyrants, but to amplify the people’s grievances, conscientize the public into action, and further the cause of basic social, economic and political reforms.
It is absolutely correct for you to demand and fight for the type of education that is national, scientific and pro-people in character and for a society that is truly free, democratic, progressive and peaceful. Respect and just compensation for the educators must be realized upon the growth in strength and advance of the national democratic mass movement and at best in the foreseeable future, upon the rise of the democratic power of the working people.
At this very moment, Duterte´s scheme of fascist terror, mass murder and mass intimidation is being totally discredited. Duterte is now regarded by the people as the supreme new lord of illegal drugs, crime and corruption. The mayor of Cebu City has dared to expose Duterte as the biggest protector of the illegal drug trade.
The problem of illegal drugs has become more rampant because Duterte´s war on drugs is merely aimed at protecting and favoring the drug empire in which his compadre Peter Lim and his son Paolo Duterte are involved. Indeed, Duterte has practically become the supreme drug lord.
Criminality has become worse because Duterte has turned the military and police into his private armies and has made their officers his accomplices in mass murder and other crimes and has corrupted them with cash rewards and promotions in rank. Criminals in authority are far worse than ordinary criminals because they enjoy presidential protection, impunity and government facilities. Thus, the people are further driven to seek justice through the mass movement and the revolutionary process.
Corruption is far worse than ever before from the level of the president and his cabinet to every lower level of government. The regime has systematically used mass murder and mass intimidation to dissuade the people from airing their grievances. But the organized forces of the national democratic movement and the broad masses of the people are fighting back and are succeeding to expose the crimes of the regime and prepare for its ouster.
The people understand very well that Duterte´s scheme of charter change to federalism is a cover for fascist dictatorship and that federalism is an expensive project to centralize all powers in the hands of a fascist overlord who hand-picks his subalterns from among the dynasties and warlords at the regional, provincial and municipal levels.
In recent months, it has become obvious that the regime cannot get from the Senate the necessary majority needed to form a constitutional assembly. Thus, it is plotting to proclaim martial law nationwide and declare a pseudo-revolutionary government in advance of the 2019 midterm elections. Martial rule is aimed at fixing the said elections if still to be held and the charter change for pseudo-federalism.
But the US-Duterte regime is already isolated and hated by the people. The people hold the regime responsible for the tyranny and economic suffering that are afflicting them. The more it resorts to state terrorism, the more it will incite the people to rise in revolt. The social and economic conditions cannot be expected to improve because the crisis trend in the domestic and global economy is relentlessly worsening even without the aggravation done by Duterte.
A broad united front of patriotic and progressive forces has arisen to defy and fight this cruel and corrupt regime and has made its opening salvo last July 23, with the United People´s SONA challenging Duterte´s SONA. We look forward to far bigger manifestations of people´s strength on September 21 and beyond.
From month to month, the broad masses of the people are expected to rise up against the US-Duterte regime. It is expected that when enough millions of people have been mobilized nationwide, enough military and police officers will emerge to withdraw support from the regime.
It has been proven and demonstrated before that the legal democratic mass movement can oust cruel and corrupt regimes like those of Marcos and Estrada. But in any case, the armed revolutionary mass movement keeps on growing to support the broad united front and the legal mass movement and ensure that the people have the revolutionary forces to rely on in the long run.
We hope that our view on the political and economic situation can shed light on the challenges and prospects that the ACT and the entire teachers´ movement face. May our view help in clarifying the situation and defining the tasks to achieve your immediate and long-term goals. ###