Tag archive

Armed Forces of the Philippines

A ‘Prop’ to Kill

in Countercurrent
by Pinky Ang and Priscilla Guzman

Because it does not, cannot, and may never speak the truth, the Duterte regime is engaged in a losing “propaganda war” against the revolutionary forces, the progressives, and other government critics. It cannot win against the revolutionaries because revolutionaries speak of a shared belief and common aspirations with the masses—the twin source of every revolutionary’s truth.

The NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines don’t mind that their “propagandists” wrote 52TH instead of 52nd on anti-CPP tarpaulins posted in strategic locations all over Metro Manila; or “babe” instead of  babae (women) in a hastily produced supposed poster of Gabriela Women’s Party they planted among the things they allegedly found in the possession of arrested “members of the New People’s Army;” or, if those photos of NPA “surrenderers” float like ghosts as these were transported from place to place through Photoshop.

That’s the least of their concern. All they want is to prepare the ground—through lies, disinformation, and red-tagging—for the “final kill” of their targeted victims.

This despicable act is a futile attempt to hit two birds with one stone: demonize the revolutionaries and progressives and get away with their crimes, topped by murder.

Neither the people’s concerns over its bungled pandemic response, nor the ballooning debt it has incurred in their name disturb the regime. It doesn’t care about China or the US trampling on our sovereignty; or the peasants’ continuing landlessness; or the workers losing their jobs or earning a non-living daily wage. The regime will never take serious attention to the people’s basic interests and rights. Its prime concern is how to prop up the crumbling semicolonial and semifeudal system and safeguard the lot and loot of the ruling elite.   

Much has been said about the NTF-ELCAC and the AFP—the Duterte regime’s vaunted “prop war” instruments. About how vainly they have tried to discredit and demonize the revolutionaries and other concerned Filipinos who perseveringly have served the people and amplified their voices of protest and life-struggle. To the NTF-ELCAC top echelon and its cabal of “spokespersons” anyone who serves the people and questions those who do the people harm is deemed an “enemy of the state”—and worse, a “terrorist”.   

And they call this practice as “propaganda” to justify their multi-billion peso budget for fabricating and spreading lies in an “all-out war” against the revolutionary movement and the Filipino people.

“Ignorant twaddle,” that’s how Mao Tse Tung would have dismissed such practice.

“No social investigation, no right to speak”—Mao Tse Tung

To the revolutionaries, a basic tenet of propaganda is that it should be based on facts, or what objectively exists. But it doesn’t stop there. One seeks truth from facts—where the interrelation of events is established by a thorough investigation of the actual conditions and movements in society, within the country and elsewhere.   

“We should find the internal relations of the events occurring around us,” Mao Tse Tung advised. “And in order to do that we must rely not on subjective imagination, not on momentary enthusiasm, not on lifeless books, but on facts that exist objectively; we must appropriate the material in detail and, guided by the general principles of Marxism-Leninism, draw correct conclusions from it.”

For Mao, anything not based on thorough investigation is nothing but ignorant twaddle.

Admittedly, this is an extremely difficult task for the lazybones in Duterte’s NTF-ELCAC. After all, their only concern is to red-tag those whom they consider as “enemies of the state,” oftentimes using twisted logic and visualized through crass and sloppy memes and posters. It’s an easy way out of the crimes they committed; no need to study to substantiate their arguments.

Unlike the reactionary government, the revolutionaries have no huge budget for intelligence work, for personnel and production, and a rare space in the corporate mass media. But it is in every revolutionary and activist’s heart to propagate the people’s struggle and their dreams to have food on their tables, to send their children to school, to be treated by a doctor when ill, a house to live in, a farm to till, a job with a decent wage, and a government that would ensure that these interests are fostered and protected.

What comes out from the mouth of every revolutionary reflects the poor people’s actual situation—their struggles and triumphs and their aspirations for a better life. Propaganda comes from a never-ending study of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist theories applied in the realities of the country and through integration with, and learning from, the masses. From this, the revolutionary movement continues to study Philippine society—the classes and their interests—and advance the theory and practice of the national democratic revolution towards its socialist future.

Every revolutionary speaks of the people’s interests and aspirations, their struggles and their triumphs and how they are empowered and charting their own course through their collectives, their revolutionary mass organizations, and through the organs of political power established in the villages.

However, every reactionary regime and its “propagandists” hate to admit there exist two governments in the country today—the rotten reactionary government which they try to deodorize, on the one hand, and the revolutionary government that steadily spreads in most parts of the country, on the other.  

Ignorant twaddle

The ruling class(es)’[big landlords, big comprador bourgeoisie] “propaganda war” is based on lies hatched and propagated mostly by a billion-peso funded task force, namely the NTF-ELCAC, (including the PCOO and the troll farms). It scanned the revolutionary propaganda materials but, after it declared a “propaganda” war, instead of directly countering the truths of the revolutionary messaging—as one would reasonably expect—its “strategic communication thrust” has prioritized attacking the messengers of the revolutionary and progressive propaganda.

Lorraine Badoy
Spokesperson NTF-ELCAC

Yes, the “prop” war launched by the reactionaries lacks courage to face head-on the meatiest issues of the new national democratic revolution. For example, it has not responded to the revolutionary or even to the legal, unarmed progressive movement’s calls for land reform.

As everyone knows, the agricultural Philippines’ most pressing problem that’s also at the root of restiveness remains the extreme deprivation of its hardworking yet landless farmers. Most agree there must be a genuine land reform program. The New People’s Army has been gaining fighters and mass support because of its land reform program, among others.

In contrast, the AFP—in the service of the big landlords and bourgeois compradors expanding mining concessions, plantations, and land-use conversion projects—has been bombing and strafing the farming communities demanding land reform or defending their ancestral lands. Meanwhile, the NTF-ELCAC has been fart-bombing the same farming communities with red-tagging and brutal censorship. It has resorted to threats and intimidation and its money-making venture of staging fake surrenders of supposed revolutionaries and supporters.

The AFP and the NTF-ELCAC have plagued even unarmed community members and supporters resisting semifeudal exploitation with all sort of baseless accusations to justify its attacks against said communities.

Note that all reactionary stock “propaganda” spiels revolve around attacking the messengers (the revolutionaries and their unarmed activists and supporters) rather than the revolutionary or progressive analyses and demands they articulate. Hence, it appears the reactionary “prop” centerpiece is its noisy red-tagging and baseless “terrorist”-labeling.

However, the AFP and the NTF-ELCAC’s joint efforts to mislabel and demonize the revolutionaries, the open progressive mass movement, and critical members of society, have no factual grounding. No new offering or promised illusion of development or peace; and on top of that, it’s even costing the public a lot of money. This “propaganda” war runs counter to the Filipino people’s demand for genuine solutions to their unending crises.

The role of US imperialism  

Demonizing groups without factual basis, and worse, proceeding with it even when the manufactured “bases” have repeatedly been proven and exposed as false, are the hallmarks of the US-led borderless “war on terror.” It demonizes as “rouge states” and enemies those who would resist the US global hegemony. 

It is no surprise that the AFP, which was organized, ideologically trained, armed, and even funded to this day by the US, kills and maims our people in line with the US global “war on terror.” Since 1946, the US has maintained the Philippines as its neocolony, with the Philippine government functioning as the imperialist’s puppet and agent. The more the local puppet government adheres to US imperialist dictates to advance the latter’s interests here and in the region, the more it enriched its dynasty and cliques, and the more it holds on to power.

In the end

Although the reactionary “propaganda” war led by militarist clowns or spokespersons may seem loud and all over the place, ultimately it can’t help but turn off the masses rather than win their hearts and minds. Cowardly evading the issues propelling protests and civil war is one glaring weakness of the reactionary “propaganda” war.  Thus, Filipinos would typically dismiss it as “puro kwento, walang kwenta, (all talk no substance),” or judge it as “malayo ang tapal sa sugat” (the solution is way off the problem).

Another characteristic of the reactionary “propaganda” war is traitorous deceit. It aggrandizes its terror-tagging drive as “propaganda;” covers up its hawkish stance with affectation for seeking peaceful means. Yet, it’s nothing but provocation and justification for armed brutality against the Left.

Every baseless terror-tagging and provocation sets up the targets for censorship, killing, illegal arrest, arbitrary freezing of bank accounts, and other state bullying and acts of violence.

This “propaganda” war directed by NTF-ELCAC and its “whole-of-nation approach” against the revolutionaries is cruder and more bankrupt than their “propaganda” in the past. Back then, they cobbled some pseudo-theories for change or development myths in a vain attempt to counter the revolutionary calls for social, political and economic changes. This time there is neither new land reform program nor push for industrialization that the ruling classes could use to counter the popular programs for social and economic reforms that the national democratic revolutionaries are implementing in the guerrilla zones.

Even so, Antonio Parlade Jr, Lorraine Badoy and their ilk of “spokespersons” and their “propaganda” war of “terrorist” mislabeling must be exposed—and frustrated—for its utter lies and dogged pursuit of a dirty war against the broad masses of the people.

After all, the reactionary “propaganda” is nothing but the ruling class(es) flinching over being described (with tons of evidences) as butchers, landgrabbers, exploiters, oppressors, puppets of foreign imperialists, corrupt, inutile (in the face of disasters, epidemics, people’s needs), human rights violators, among other heinous crimes. All these accurately describe what the ruling class(es) actually do. Not only the revolutionaries and supporters in urban areas and countryside say so, the criticisms reverberate even in other countries and international agencies. ###

DUTERTE’S SHOPAHOLIC ARMED FORCES STRIKES AGAIN: How ‘Kill Kill Kill’ misuses people’s funds then harms them

in Countercurrent

Download

RIDING THE PROWLING CHINESE DRAGON: China’s Economic Hold in the Philippines

in Countercurrent

“This is the Chinese Coast guard. This is under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government,” blared a Chinese officer who tried to bar a cargo ship from sailing through Panatag/Scarborough Shoal, a part of the Philippine territory off Zambales province in the South China Sea. His action has sparked an outcry, but as of this writing, the Duterte administration continues to avoid offending China.

Its officials—from Malacañang to the Foreign Secretary to the Philippine Coast Guard— have all refused to call out China’s infraction on Philippine sovereignty and on freedom of navigation. Meanwhile, at a Senate hearing around the same period, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana stirred patriotic outrage when he downplayed the Chinese ships’ firing of flares as Philippine ships navigated the West Philippine Sea.

These are just two incidents in a series of cases of Chinese incursions into Philippine territory, all unchallenged, being dismissed, and at times even justified by the Duterte regime. Why would a tough-talking and cursing president, who advertises his stance as “charting an independent foreign policy,” court the people’s ire with blatant subservience? Perhaps, this question should begin with “How much…?”

An imperialist puppet’s gamble for bureaucratic loot

The first time President Rodrigo Duterte visited China three years ago, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) already enumerated ways in which the Filipino people may benefit from ties with China. This would start ONLY IF Duterte strives to build diplomatic relations with China on the basis of equality, mutual respect, and mutual benefits, the CPP said at the time.

But Duterte did not listen. Instead he has shown that he is not at all capable of building diplomatic relations with China on the basis of equality, mutual respect, and mutual benefits. He has persistently desisted from asserting the country’s victory at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, claiming China would wage war against the Philippines if he did so (which has no basis in fact). Thus, he has let pass China’s repeated incursions into our country’s extended economic zones (under the United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS) and bully Filipino fishers at Panatag Shoal.

Probably believing that in the prevailing system, presidents like him couldn’t be anything other than the worst imperialist puppets and bureaucrat capitalists of the day, Duterte is angling for whatever gains he could get from deals with the imperialists. His administration calls China an “integral partner” in their P4.23-trillion infrastructure buildup.

By now it is clear the only change that has come with Duterte is that besides serving US imperialist interests (while feigning to be distancing from it), his administration is moonlighting with another imperialist power, letting it latch on to wherever it can partake of the country’s riches and potentials.

The country’s foremost bureaucrat capitalist finds in China a promising huge pot of bureaucratic loot as former sources have dried up due to the economic slowdown, or are compelled by their citizens to raise questions on and denounce continuing extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations under his increasingly tyrannical rule. On this issue the Duterte administration is allergic to what he deems as foreign intervention.

“Duterte is in a hurry and desperate to secure his kickbacks from foreign loans and contracts from China,” the CPP said in a statement when Duterte still had three years in power. Duterte’s list of projects, flagship or otherwise, has since continued to evolve or get revised.

After three years in power, only nine of Duterte’s 75 listed “Build, Build, Build” projects begun construction. By November 2019, Duterte dropped the projects considered too long or unfeasible. It ‘overhauled’ the list such that only 30-plus of the original projects remained, and added another 68 to the “evolving” list. Half or 50 of Duterte’s flagship infrastructure projects will be funded by Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) or foreign loans, 23 are to be fully funded by the Philippine government, 24 by public-private funding, and only two will be privately financed.

Duterte’s panic over delayed delivery of the loot is palpable. Past midway in his six-year term, the amount supplied so far by China in loans and grants is still far short of the US$9 billion promised by President Xi Jinping during their first meeting in October 2016. Having already signed numerous deals with the Chinese government, his administration wants to proceed with implementing the projects ASAP so the funds could start pouring in. That can happen, of course, only if his administration can overcome the public criticisms and protests over the lopsided provisions of the deals that have been made public, criticisms for the lack of transparency on deals that have yet to be disclosed, and delays in completing the technical and legal requirements that include feasibility studies, environmental clearances, and the freely given consent of communities that would be adversely affected.

A sample of what the Duterte administration can do to push its deals with China: in time for the visit of Chinese vice-premier Hu Chunhua in October 2019, it railroaded the release of environmental compliance certificate and threatened to use police power against public protests on the Kaliwa Dam project in Sierra Madre. Yet, the protests were such that as of February 2020, his economic manager confirmed they have barely started construction in Kaliwa.

Protests against the China-funded projects hinder its implementation. Past debacles with China-funded projects such as the ZTE and Northrail also cast its shadow, slowing down Duterte’s hope for inflows of ODA from China. Until December 2019, the Chinese government wanted meetings with the Duterte government “to thresh out issues involving the Duterte regime’s big-ticket infrastructure and development projects that are being implemented with funding support from China.”

To push through with the projects Duterte needs to remove all constraints including protests. His government has busied itself imposing a de facto martial law since establishing the National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in December 2018, ordering to place civilian bureaucracies and local governments under the task force.

But Duterte cannot trample on the people’s rights and welfare on the way to collecting his loot and still maintain his dubious popularity. To deceive supporters, he is passing off his “China pivot” as “independent foreign policy.” He is also using it as leverage for demanding more support and funds from the Philippines’ long-time neocolonial master, without really upsetting the established “special relationship” with US imperialist overlords.

In fact, as a US puppet, Duterte is providing exemplary services to his master. He sets the stage for the Pentagon and the Department of National Defense-Armed Forces of the Philippines to use the China card to both increase and extend US military presence in the country. The US has been allowed to have another military facility, this time within a Philippine Air Force base in Palawan. Under Duterte, the US military and the AFP have also conducted an increasing number of war exercises designed to counter China’s military build-up in the South China Sea.

“The aim of these exercises is to ensure that the US will remain militarily dominant in order to protect its economic interests in the Philippines and across the region,” the CPP said in a statement during the Kamandag US military exercises in October 2019.

As president and “public servant,” Duterte continues to expose himself as a total scam. And so, to block protests and increasing calls for his ouster while he strives to make his puppetry to US and China more profitable for himself and his clique, he continues to militarize the bureaucracy and the entire government.

In 2019 his government allowed a military rampage nationwide on the basis of their ‘whole of nation approach’, a harsh and more insidious martial law than that carried out for 14 years by the ousted fascist dictator Ferdinand Marcos (whom he has politically rehabilitated by allowing his preserved corpse buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in 2017).

Enter the dragon: World’s No. 2 power develops its own stranglehold in PH

The Duterte regime has looked the other way as China finished reclaiming and installing military installations over three reefs within Philippine territorial waters. Duterte has all but given the green light to China’s staking claim and proceeding with plans to construct more installations at the Panatag Shoal. He is all but allowing also what amounts to China’s military encirclement of the seas around Luzon, sans any written treaty.

Commercially, China is also gaining humongous ground with the lopsided “joint” deal it signed with Duterte to explore and drill for oil in the resource-rich West Philippine Sea. Officials from the Duterte regime and China are meeting regarding the “joint” oil exploration.

The increased Chinese presence in Philippine coastal areas, islands and waters has placed fisherfolk and urban communities at a grave disadvantage. China’s aggressive grab of Filipinos’ traditional commercial fishing grounds has worsened the fisherfolk’s lot.

Not just in Philippine reefs and seas, China is also boldly entering vital Philippine industries and staking claim over rich natural resources in ancestral territories of indigenous peoples through opaque or lopsided deals with Duterte. As earlier stated, China’s actual fund release in Duterte’s big-ticket “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure projects is so far negligible. But the projects where it is bound to come in, per the deals already signed, and where other private and state-controlled Chinese firms are coming in are many times bigger and more dangerous than the NBN-ZTE deal for which Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo got burned late in her disputably prolonged nine-year term.

Some of the strategic industries where China loans or investments have come in or are in the pipeline include energy (China already owns as much as 40% stake in the National Grid of the Philippines), telecommunications (Dennis Uy’s Mislatel/Dito Telecommunity), water, heavy railways, and various infrastructure projects such as bridges and highways, real estate development including economic zones and islands to be devoted more or less exclusively for Chinese business and gambling operations.

These businesses being opened to China may be par for the course for any imperialist puppet, but Duterte is adding more, “industries” and “trading” such as gambling and drugs. Given Duterte’s red carpet for China, the Philippines has been putting up dens for gambling operations for mostly Chinese operators. Duterte, who has been publicly known as friendly to Chinese drug lords, has also repeatedly been implicated in the illegal drugs trade. The CPP describes him as the overlord of illegal drugs trade in the country.

For now, Duterte has already shown how he has been selling out the country and committing high treason. While Duterte is not the first Philippine puppet president to have entered into lopsided deals with China, his regime surely leads in ramping it up. ###

PEACE HAWKS LIE, Here’s Why

in Editorial
by Pinky Ang

The on again off again peace negotiations—scuttled by the Duterte regime—can still be saved if the people correct and debunk all the misinformation being lobbed against it by the militarists, the peace spoilers, and hawkish officials of the Duterte regime.

The following so far are some of the plain truth and observable reality on the ground which peace spoilers try so hard to deny or, failing there, to vilify and demonize. Feel free to add.

THE PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT AND TERRITORIES IN GUERRILLA FRONTS EXIST

The guerrilla fronts have expanded to about a hundred amid the continuing intensified militarization topped by increased use of civilian bureaucracy for waging war against the people. The simplest response to government or militarist denial of the existence of the people’s democratic government is: if they don’t exist, why is the Philippine government bothering with costly militarization and this disgraceful (to them) disinformation campaign?

The people’s democratic government continues to advance land reform, revolutionary justice, defense of human and natural resources for national industrialization. The government of the Republic of the Philippines and its mercenary troops know and confirm this every time they present their faked or forced surrenderers (mostly civilian farmers or government soldier pretending to be a rebel); when they order local government to declare the Communist Party and the New People’s Army as persona non grata; or when they rail against revolutionary taxation or village militias flexing muscles to defend themselves.

The Duterte regime and the militarists precisely know the existence of guerrilla fronts and people’s democratic government as they vainly try to trap them in localized peace talks. They have long failed to appreciate that the rebels aren’t as corruptible as the AFP or PNP generals. Or that the revolutionary movement continues to expand despite or because of sufferings the military and the plunderers inflict on the people.

THE FILIPINO PEOPLE AND DUTERTE NEED THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS THE MOST

The Duterte regime is now weighed down by the sheer amount of blood shed because of his dirty wars against the poor. Meanwhile, no amount of magic in official statistics can hide that the economy is not as good as it projects, and that the majority of the Filipinos are worse off.

Now in his lameduck years in Malacañang, Duterte can’t fail to notice that even his highest military subordinates (Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., Delfin Lorenzana, Eduardo Año, Carlito Galvez, and Filemon Santos, Jr.) have so publicly opposed his intent to resume peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP. Instead of addressing the roots of the armed conflict to ready the ground for peace, these military subordinates want to continue their military rampage, as well as the drive to place the government and society under military rule through Executive Order No. 70.

Unfortunately for Duterte, he is the commander-in-chief to be tried for his accountability to war crimes, and his regime is what’s on the line for history’s reckoning. His military subordinates, meanwhile, have rampaged and butchered up till their retirement from the AFP. Yet they still failed to bring down the revolutionaries through the years, through failed deadlines, under different presidents.

It doesn’t need rocket science to grasp that the Philippine government cannot win the war by military solution alone. The peace talks and the attempt to address the roots of armed conflict promise to do the job with better satisfaction from majority of the Filipinos.

THE FILIPINO PEOPLE DEMANDS SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC REFORMS

The way Duterte’s recycled generals and hawkish officials speak, you’d think the Filipinos live already in an industrial paradise, without social injustices, without worsening unemployment, low incomes and rampant poverty. Of course these exist only in their brags and baseless beliefs. The Philippine economy stands only propped up by a bloated unproductive services sector, overseas remittances, and debt. It begs for scraps from foreign investments who take away more from the country than what they bring in.
The country’s agriculture and industry have steadily declined no thanks to the past and present government’s neoliberal policies. The draft Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), up for completion and approval in the negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP should the peace talks resume, seek to resolve these problems plaguing our productive sectors.

THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS HAVE MADE UNPRECEDENTED PROGRESS BUT SPOILERS AND MILITARISTS ALWAYS SEEK TO SABOTAGE IT

The peace talks that started in 2016 have progressed in fleshing out the CASER, the meat of the peace negotiations. It used to exist as two different drafts of the negotiating panels. Before talks were halted in 2018, the four formal rounds of peace talks abroad and seven meetings in the Philippines had produced a common outline and substantial drafts on two of the most important sections of CASER: Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ARRD) and National Industrialization and Economic Development (NIED). These two alone can give vast benefits for tens of millions of Filipinos and the cause of national development.

The peace talks give the public an opportunity to better understand CASER—and that is why the militarists seek to stop it at all cost. They will be thoroughly exposed not only as peace saboteurs but as agents of enemies of the Filipino people.

DRAFTS AND AGREED UPON RESULTS OF PEACE TALKS ARE PRODUCTS OF NEGOTIATIONS AND KEEN CONSULTATIONS WITH THE PEOPLE

Whatever common drafts have been mutually agreed upon and prepared by the negotiating parties and their working groups, these were discussed and to be approved by the NDFP and GRP negotiating panels. These are no secret nor unilateral impositions—things the militarists have been known of hatching up. With regard to the NDFP proposals, these are reflection not only of the people’s desire but of the developments in the guerrilla zones. The drafts were widely disseminated and still being disseminated and discussed in guerrilla zones; and also being updated as the years go by.

The common drafts on social and economic reforms also show that it is possible for the GRP and the NDFP to set aside ideological differences and unite on concrete steps for the common cause of real economic progress for the nation.

With the people’s resolve to push for just and lasting peace, the militarists and peace spoilers, who have failed so spectacularly at bringing about peace, will not succeed at sabotaging again the peace negotiations. ###

#ResumeTalks
#SignCASER
#JustPeace

—–
VISIT and FOLLOW
Website: https://liberation.ndfp.org
Facebook: https://fb.com/liberationphilippines
Twitter: https://twitter.com/liberationph
Instagram: https://instagram.com/liberation_ph

1 2 3 4
Go to Top