By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
July 15, 2019
The tyrant Duterte recognizes that the US is still the most dominant imperialist power in the Philippines and does not dare to offend it in any serious way. The US is privileged and well-entrenched by a comprehensive range of unequal treaties, agreements and arrangements that give it full-spectrum dominance (economic, social, political, military and cultural).
It is not true that the Duterte regime has become independent of the US. It is even more untrue that it is opposed to the US. It is a puppet regime dependent for its tyranny and mass murder of poor people on a military and police force indoctrinated, trained and armed by the US.
Duterte has proven his puppetry to the US by scuttling the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and pledging to it the destruction of the revolutionary movement. He has assured the US of charter change to allow US and other foreign corporations 100 percent ownership of land, natural resources in all types of businesses.
Thus, the Duterte regime continues to receive military aid under Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines in the name of “anti-terrorism” and beyond US congressional oversight. It still maintains close economic and financial relations with the US, the IMF, World Bank and the WTO and subjects the Philippines to a neoliberal policy regime.
The US estimates that Duterte is still more of an asset than a liability and that there is yet no urgent need to change him as when Marcos outlived his usefulness to the US in 1986. The US keeps in reserve the issue of human rights violations as potential cause for junking him when the Filipino people rise up to a certain high point and when he thereby becomes more of a liability than an asset.
The US appears to tolerate Duterte in trying to enrich his own family and cronies by taking commissions and other payoffs from onerous loans and overpriced infrastructure projects from China and by keeping shady relations with the Chinese criminal triads engaged in illegal drug smuggling and in gambling.
But the US has no choice but to consider seriously how threatening to its interest is China’s drive to turn the Philippines into a debt colony and field of investment and to have at the same time the artificial islands China has built in the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as its military bases in the West Philippine Sea.
The US observes that China is making a big headway into the Philippines with the collaboration of Duterte who has exposed himself as a traitor and paid agent of China by deliberately refusing to enforce the judgment of the Arbitral Tribunal in favor of the Philippines under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea against the false ownership claims of China over 90 percent of the South China Sea.
The exposure of Duterte as a traitor and paid agent of China is one more potential cause for the US to instruct the pro-US military and police officers to withdraw support from him at the time and circumstances it chooses.
The broad masses of the Filipino people are already outraged by Duterte’s failure to take the appropriate diplomatic steps to consolidate the legal victory of the Philippines against China since the judgment of the Arbitral Tribunal on July 12, 2016. They are deeply insulted by Duterte’s constant attempt to scare them with war by China.
Duterte has failed to follow the advice of Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio for the Philippines to make agreements with Vietnam and Malaysia to define the boundaries of their extended continental shelves and to ask the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to confirm the boundaries of the Philippine continental shelf west of Luzon.
Duterte has also failed to go to the UN and the appropriate courts to complain against the transgressions of China in the Philippine EEZ in the West Philippine Sea and to demand justice and compensation for the building of artificial islands and the destruction of the marine environment.
Instead, Duterte does not conceal his self-serving and traitorous scheme to surrender to China the rich marine resources as well as the trillions of dollars worth of oil, gas and other mineral resources in the Philippine EEZ in the West Philippine Sea. These resources are vital for the sustenance and development of the Philippines.
It is in the interest of the US and all other countries of the world to have the freedom of navigation in the high seas of the South China Sea and to e secure from any harassment, interference, threat or attack from Chinese military forces that are illegally occupying the artificial islands built in the Philippine EEZ.
It is a source of wonder why the Duterte regime and the US government have not combined strongly enough to complain against China’s violation of the sovereign rights of the Philippines and have not formally invoked against China the US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty even only as a warning or deterrent to any act of aggression.
As much as the US has not shown any inclination to wage war with China over the West Philippine Sea, China has so far shied away from threatening to wage war with the US and the Philippines because this would completely negate China’s line of peaceful rise. China is also known to fear internal economic and political instability, especially at this time that the US has instigated a “trade war” with it, abandoning the many decades of US-Sino collaboration in pushing neoliberal globalization.
There are times to focus on issues against US imperialism. And there are also times to focus on issues against Chinese imperialism. Thus, there is currently a focus on the issue of the West Philippine Sea vis-a-vis China. This is an urgent issue that cries out for a patriotic stand and action. Otherwise the corrupt Duterte regime would have a free hand in selling out Philippine sovereign rights to China. It is necessary to assert the Filipino people’s sovereign rights under the UNCLOS and international law and it is even permissible to avail of US-Sino contradictions in order to uphold such sovereign rights.
It is safe to predict that the Duterte regime will meet an ignominious end as a result of its gross and systematic human rights violations, its acts of treason in puppetry to two imperialist powers, unprecedented corruption, economic plunder and so many grievous crimes that are now inciting the people to rise up in defense of their national sovereignty and democratic rights and in pursuit of social justice and all round development.
As in the fall of the fascist dictator Marcos in 1986, the disgraceful end of Duterte is bound to come when gigantic mass actions of the people shake the ruling system from base to rafters and his own military subordinates withdraw support from him either upon instruction of the US and/or upon their own sense of patriotism and desire to shake off the indignity of being the instrument of Duterte’s tyranny and treason. ###