By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
January 21, 2021
- The Duterte regime is hell-bent on using state terrorism under the pretext of anti-terrorism in order to impose fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people, prolong his rule in the style of Marcos beyond the constitutional limit on the presidential term of office and preserve the unjust semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system. This is a system dominated by foreign monopoly capitalism and run by the local exploiting classes of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists to which the Duterte family, business cronies and the bureaucratic and military officials belong.
- In more than four years of brutal and corrupt rule, the tyrant Duterte has been condemned by the Filipino people for being a double traitor subservient to both US and Chinese imperialism, selling out sovereign rights and the national patrimony, engaging in the mass murder of so-called drug suspects in the tens of thousands among the urban poor, and at the same time carrying out assassinations against workers, peasants, indigenous people, women, youth, the intelligentsia, the social activists, peace advocates, NDFP peace consultants, critics and legal oppositionists, publicly guaranteeing impunity for extrajudicial killings and other grave human rights rights violations, absolving previous plunderers who are his political allies and committing the most scandalous crimes of plunder.
- Those political appointees whom Duterte has touted as the “best and the brightest” have proven to be the worst, most corrupt and most incompetent. Even when they are exposed, they are not made to account for their crimes but are merely reassigned to other lucrative posts. Duterte’s military appointees to the Cabinet whom he has boasted of being the most efficient, “who get things done”, have proven to be even more rapacious and corrupt than the civil bureaucrats. They are the most entrenched in their positions.
- Duterte has militarized his cabinet and has admitted feeding retired and active military and police generals with money to buy and keep their canine loyalty. These generals in high positions are involved in the most scandalous scams, like the nationwide plunder of natural resources, smuggling of drugs and other contraband, a wide range of rackets involving the malversation of public funds for the “counter-insurgency”, acquisition of local supplies and foreign military equipment, aircraft and naval vessels, for the rehabilitation of Marawi City and for fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. They have also been exposed as responsible for the smuggling of illegal drugs through customs, the illegal entry and stay for some millions of Chinese, theft of Php 15 billion in PhilHealth and Php 350 million in the Dolomite sand scam and the gross overpricing of Sinovac purchases.
- Duterte takes advantage of the mercenary tradition of the reactionary military and police as creation of imperialism and the reactionary state, bound to obey the orders of the commander-in chief and prone to being a tool of fascist dictatorship and has succeeded in making the traditionally pro-US reactionary armed forces accept puppetry to both US and Chinese imperialism. The reactionary armed forces have allowed China to violate the sovereign rights of the Philippines over its exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea and build seven military bases there, the construction of China telecom cell towers in AFP military camps and collaborate with Chinese mining companies in illegally taking away Philippine top soil and mineral ores.
- While the crisis of the world capitalist system and the Covid-19 pandemic are wreaking havoc on the Philippine economy, the Duterte regime is making its own major contributions to the economic catastophe with unbridled corruption and military overspending at the expense of social services and the well-being of the Filipino people. Duterte and his armed minions have undermined their position and exposed their criminal character by actively bankrupting the government and depriving the people of mass testing, economic assistance, vaccination and other vital services.
- Mining, logging and landgrabbing for export-oriented monocrop plantations, import liberalization and smuggling of rice, meat and other food products have destroyed local food production even before the typhoons and floods came to wreak further destruction of the crops. The scarcity of food supplies is now generating runaway inflation and causing mass hunger on a wide scale. This is certainly rousing the 95 percent of the people to fight the regime. No amount of propaganda by troll armies and paid poll surveys can distract public attention from this fact.
- The Duterte regime boasts of having an unprecedented amount of international reserves after going on a borrowing spree in the name of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic slump. In fact, it has exhausted its borrowing capacity for importing both consumer and producer goods, for covering trade and budgetary deficits and for paying the mounting debt service burden. The foreign exchange remittances of overseas Filipino workers have drastically fallen as millions of them have been thrown out of their jobs and have returned home to a prostrate economy more underdeveloped and impoverished than ever before and to the increasing repressiveness and destructiveness of state terrorism.
- Duterte is using the so-called Anti-Terrorism Law to realize fully his scheme of imposing fascist dictatorship on the people and preempt the prospects of his arrest by the authority of the International Criminal Court for his crimes of human rights violations and by authority of the Philippine courts for crimes of plunder. Thus, he is desperately pursuing charter change. He is enjoying the complicity of his supermajority in Congress who had benefited from his rigging of the 2019 mid-term elections and the compliance of a Supreme Court which is dominated by his appointees.
- The Duterte regime is trying to dumb down the entire Filipino nation with the stupid rule of guilt by association: “If you criticize the regime, you talk and act like a communist, therefore you must be a communist and also a terrorist.” The regime is using the National Task Force-ELCAC and the Anti-Terrorism Council to escalate Red-tagging, frame up and plant evidence, carry out illegal arrests and detention and commit extrajudicial killings in both urban and rural areas in order to attack the toiling masses of workers and peasants, the intelligentsia, social activists, human rights defenders, peace advocates, critics and oppositionists and intimidate the broad masses of the people.
- But the targets of the Duterte tyranny and state terrorism are not at all frightened but are enraged and are fighting back with all legal means available. The most threatened targets are being driven by the regime to go underground and proceed further to the road of armed revolution. Thus, Duterte and his butcher cohorts in the military and police are in effect the best recruiters of the people’s army. They seem to forget that it was precisely the Marcos fascist dictatorship that drove so many mass activists to join the CPP and NPA.
- The escalation of fascist attacks on legal democratic organizations and mass activists in the urban areas is directly related to Duterte’s scheme of using the Anti-Terrorism Law and charter change to allow him or his hand-picked successor to rule beyond 2022. But it is also related to the already proven failure of the reactionary military and police forces to destroy the armed revolutionary movement. They say that they must crackdown on the urban-based democratic forces to stop the flow of workers and educated youth to the CPP and NPA. In fact, the armed revolutionary movement is fast growing due to the rapidly worsening crisis of the ruling system and the escalating conditions of oppression and exploitation.
- By this time, it is absolutely clear that the strategists and tacticians of guerrilla warfare know how to foil the enemy when he launches concentrated or focused military operations on any piece of territory of the people’s democratic government. The main guerrilla force retreats in the face of an advancing superior enemy force to avoid being encircled but deploys command-detonated land mines, snipers and sabotage teams against the advancing enemy; and then determine the weak points of the enemy force as it sets up a command post and perimeter posts and deploys reconnaissance and intelligence patrols and strike teams.
- Just when the enemy thinks that he has driven away the people’s army and is comfortably safe, the people’s army can carry out counter-encirclement operations, including ambushes and harassments against the weak and tired enemy troops who are low in supply and morale. They can also strike at enemy detachments on a wider scale, against perimeter posts, against patrols, supply line and even against the command post of the invading force. In any case, the counteroffensive initiatives can be carried out with surprise and with more than sufficient allowance for the guerrilla unit to withdraw to safety. There is no tightly sealed encirclement of any guerrilla front by an enemy force on the typical rough terrain of the Philippines. The enemy camp itself is vulnerable to harassment actions and telling blows that give no rest to the enemy.
- The focused military operations on a guerrilla front usually lasts anywhere from a few months to one year. There are not enough military and police forces to cover all the more than 100 guerrilla fronts of the NPA at the same time. While focused military operations occur on a certain number of guerrilla fronts within any given period of time, there are many other guerrilla fronts thriving and launching offensives elsewhere. And whenever the focused operations of the enemy cease in any guerrilla front, the withdrawal of the enemy forces becomes the occasion for intensified guerrilla offensives and mass work.
- In the course of focused military operations or small-unit operations, the reactionary military and police forces engage in behavior that alienate themselves from the people in rural communities. They occupy the barangay halls, schools and clinics. They often make a show of force by abducting, torturing and murdering civilians and bombing fields or firing at wooded areas. They intimidate the people and order them around to serve food and to work for them. To earn credit from headquarters and collect reward money for themselves, the military officers compel the barangay officials to make declarations against the CPP and NPA, assemble and misrepresent them as surrenderers. The people call the reactionary police and military forces “Hapon” for their brutal and criminal behavior, reminiscent of the Japanese fascist troops in World War II.
- In this brutal and mendacious way, the highest military and police officers in the Duterte terror machine have claimed occupying and dismantling nearly all the guerrilla fronts of the CPP and NPA and destroying the NPA several times over its size through fake surrenders and fake encounters. The reactionary armed forces have grossly underestimated the NPA at only 2000 to 4000 fighters nationwide and yet claim to have killed and forced to surrender at least 12,000 NPA fighters from 2016 to the present. And yet they keep on asking for more tax money for increasing troops, operations and equipment. They expose themselves as liars and racketeers.
- The morale of the ordinary personnel of the reactionary state army and police has been going down even as their bullying and corrupt officers keep on announcing that they will finish off the armed revolution in a short while. Such officers are running them down with futile operations, putting them in serious danger and yet stealing funds intended for food, clothing and other basic supplies. The criminality and immorality of the Duterte regime and the highest military and police officers go down to the level of field officers. The ordinary troops and police resent that they get only “drinking money” while their officers pocket the money for E-CLIP, fake surrenders, fake casualties in fake encounters and fake development projects.
- The reactionary armed forces and police are the most important instruments of the Duterte regime in oppressing the people and carrying its scheme of fascist dictatorship. Thus, they are justly most hated by the Filipino people for committing gross and systematic violations of human rights, for wanton corruption at various levels of government and at street level and for being traitors and cowardly in following Duterte’s policy of serving two imperialist powers. These inter-imperialist contradictions are bound to impact on the local exploiting classes, the reactionary state and on the reactionary armed forces and police and cause serious internal contradictions.
- It is absolutely clear to the broad masses of the Filipino people that the Duterte regime has terminated the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations for the foulest reasons at the highest level as early as 2017, to satisfy the demand of the US to destroy the armed revolution and Duterte’s own greed for power and wealth, his ambition to realize his own scheme of fascist dictatorship. Thus, the people hold the Duterte regime and its armed minions responsible for refusing to address the roots of the civil war and laying the basis for a just and lasting peace through basic social, economic and political reforms.
- The highest military and police officers have decided to end the peace negotiations because they have been assured by the US and the Duterte regime that they would have all the equipment through Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines to destroy the CPP and NPA. The so-called localized peace negotiations have been devised to junk The Hague Joint Declaration as framework for peace negotiations and to carry out purely psywar and intelligence operations against the families of suspected revolutionaries and against the people in general. But the sham of “localized peace talks” has totally failed as a means of deception.
- The broad masses of the people accept the fact that GRP-NDFP negotiations are impossible while Duterte and his fascist gang are in power. They know that upon the orders of US President Trump the tyrant Duterte terminated these negotiations through Proclamation No. 360 on November 23, 2017 and designated the CPP and NPA as “terrorist” organizations through Proclamation No. 374 on December 5, 2017. They admire and support their revolutionary forces for intensifying the people’s war against a fascist regime that aggravates the oppressiveness and exploitativenes of the ruling system.
- There are prospects for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations only if the current tyrannical regime would come to an end and the armed revolutionary movement would gain further strength through intensified struggle. However, there is no guarantee that another ruling clique from the same exploiting classes of the same ruling system will negotiate peace. Moreover, it is well proven that the reactionary classes and their imperialist masters can sabotage or end altogether any peace process if there is no compelling reason for them to negotiate. It is of crucial importance for the Filipino people to strengthen and advance their revolutionary movement self-reliantly as well as in concert with the rising and widening resistance of the peoples of the world against imperialism and all reaction.
- In the course of the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war, the revolutionary forces have grown in strength and advanced in a comprehensive way. They include the CPP, the NPA, the revolutionary components of the NDFP and the local organs of political power that constitute the People’s Democratic Government. They are indestructible and invincible as they fight for the national and social liberation of the Filipino people. The escalating conditions of oppression and exploitation provide the fertile ground for the growth and eventual total victory of the Philippine revolution. The Philippine revolution enjoys the abundant support of the proletariat and people of the world and strives to support them in the common cause and struggle against imperialism and all reaction. ###