COMMENT ON A BOOK

A Duterte Reader: Critical Essays on Rodrigo Duterte’s Early Presidency

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
13 Sept. 2017

To sharpen the sense of reality of some speculators, I ask the following questions as teasers: What is better proof of consistent struggle by the Left against the Duterte regime than the people’s war along the general line of new democratic revolution under the leadership of the working class and on the basis of the worker-peasant alliance? Among the legal forces of the Left, which organizations have been the earliest in making national democratic demands on the Duterte regime and exposing it as a US-directed puppet regime of big compradors and landlords?

The time frame of the articles in the newly-released book A Duterte Reader: Critical Essays on Rodrigo Duterte’s Early Presidency prevents a fair reflection of the current array of the broad united front now striving to isolate and oust Duterte. The CPP, NPA and the NDFP are the most formidable organized forces consistently opposing the Duterte regime by waging armed and other forms of struggle. Some of the articles carry an anti-communist bias and misrepresent as an “illiberal” alliance between the NDFP and Duterte regime the efforts of the NDFP and third party advocates to persuade the regime to engage in peace negotiations. No alliance was ever forged by the NDFP with the Duterte regime. Judy Taguiwalo and Rafael Mariano were never nominated to the Duterte cabinet as representatives of the CPP, NPA or NDFP but as patriotic and progressive individuals, highly competent, honest and diligent. Judy is a retired professor of the U.P., a state university. Paeng is a veteran member of the House of Representatives, another state institution. I told Duterte publicly that no one as representative of the CPP, NPA or NDFP would accept any position from the GRP unless the civil war would be resolved by mutually agreed social, economic and political reforms to lay the ground for a just and lasting peace.

Since the beginning of the Duterte regime in June 2016, the CPP has always denounced the regime’s all-out war policy, first under the name of Arroyo’s Oplan Bayanihan up to end of 2016 and then Oplan Kapayapaan from January 2017 onwards. As early as May 2016 the CPP condemned the 10-point neoliberal economic policy drawn up by Dominguez and his team. As soon as Oplan Tokhang was launched, the CPP publicly attacked the use of extrajudicial killings or mass murder in Duterte’s so-called war on illegal drugs. When I appeared on the same TV screen with Duterte some days after his SONA in July 2016, I called him to his face volatile and a butanguero for talking as if he could boss and push around the revolutionary movement and dictate on it to declare ceasefire according to his arbitrary deadline.. In and out of four rounds of formal talks with the GRP, the NDFP Negotiating Panel has always protested Duterte’s nonfulfillment of his May 16, 2016 promise to amnesty and release all political prisoners, the grave human rights violations against the people and the revolutionary forces even when there was a ceasefire from August 2016 to February 2017 and the unjust demand for the surrender of the revolutionary forces under the guise of a protracted and indefinite ceasefire.

To stress my point, I repeat the following questions: What is better proof of consistent struggle by the Left against the Duterte regime than the people’s war along the general line of new democratic revolution under the leadership of the working class and on the basis of the worker-peasant alliance? Among the legal forces of the Left, which organizations have been the earliest in making national democratic demands on the Duterte regime and exposing it as a US-directed puppet regime of big compradors and landlords?

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