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Communist Party of the Philippines

DUTERTE’S REAL LEGACY: Criminal Neglect at Facing Epidemics and Disasters

in Countercurrent

Pee on Taal volcano, eat ash fall, and slap the (novel corona) virus—these were Pres. Duterte’s responses to the current disasters that Filipinos confront today.
The Taal volcano eruption and the novel corona virus epidemic highlight the ineptness and indifference of the Duterte regime at serving the needs and interests of the Filipino people. His regime is accountable for its negligence and ill-preparedness, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said in a statement on February 2020.

The Duterte government is aware that calamities and epidemics regularly visit the Philippines.

These would not have automatically turned to disasters if the government took steps to prepare for, and mitigate, disasters; and if the government has been addressing the people’s vulnerabilities to calamities and health emergencies such as the problem of overcrowded urban poor communities, malnutrition, lack of access to clean water and sanitation, and lack of access to free or affordable health care.

Disasters exacerbate the poor people’s insecurities that stem from these vulnerabilities.

Instead, the Philippine government has mostly been doing the opposite. The Duterte regime is INTENTIONALLY inept and indifferent to the possible disastrous impacts of calamities and health emergencies to ordinary Filipinos. It is not due to lack of foresight. It is a predictable outcome of its conscious decisions. It opts to excel more in bowing to its US and Chinese imperialist masters, for its bureaucrat capitalist gains, at the expense of the Filipino people’s lives.

It is plain to see in the series of decisions they have taken in the face of the latest health emergency and disaster to hit our shores.

“Afraid of China’s admonition, Duterte has opted to secure his selfish interests over the people’s welfare,” the CPP said. Duterte acceded to a travel ban from the virus’ country of origin only after widespread condemnation of his inaction, after the World Health Organization declared a Public Health Emergency and various governments have already taken drastic measures to limit the spread of the virus.

SLASHED BUDGET, WEAK HEALTH CARE SYSTEM FOR THE POOR

Aggravating the people’s vulnerability to epidemics is the dismal state of public health in the country. “Having decreased the health budget year upon year since taking power, the Duterte regime failed to fund enough medical experts and equipment to determine and treat highly contagious diseases,” the CPP said.

The Duterte regime has continued the neoliberal reforms turning health care into a for-profit operation.

The poor majority are increasingly deprived of free public health services but, looking at the shiny private or public hospitals boosted by Philhealth, the Health Secretary claimed we are “not a country with a weak health care system.”

Despite the dismal state of public health, he also said we’re not among the “really poor” countries the World Health Organization worried about in coping with the global health emergency.

Such illusionary denial is easily shattered by facts. The country’s latest doctor-to-patient ratio remains too low at 0.3 per 10,000. Research thinktank Ibon said this is far below the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended ratio of 1-1.5 doctors per 1,000 population.

In the Philippines, the most vulnerable from the corona virus are the urban poor communities and rural areas under-served or not being reached by health services, and are also scarcely informed about the virus, said the Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan-Bikol (MAKIBAKA, an allied organization of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines) said in a statement. In Bicol, as it is in other regions, there are too few public hospitals and most of it are in the cities, the underground women’s group said. “Often, these hospitals lack equipment or the clinics in the barrio lack personnel and don’t open everyday.”

The Duterte government’s conscious indifference to peoples’ welfare shows most starkly in the national budget.

Duterte means business in waging war against the people, conducting surveillance and deploying committees to gag critics and establish military control of civilian agencies. It allocated billions of funds for these.

It has put the people’s money where its war-mongering mouth is. It has done the opposite toward social services.

While plonking billions for military rampages that victimized mostly peasants and indigenous peoples, it has been excising funds direly needed for health emergencies and disaster preparedness.

It slashed by more than half (56 percent) the Department of Health’s (DOH) budget for epidemiology and disease surveillance program, allocating it just P115.5 million compared to P263 million last year. Its health emergency program is at 830 million pesos, or just PhP8 for every Filipino.

If the Duterte government had pursued effective emergency plans and crisis strategies, our scientists and facilities are “more than capable of performing procedures for faster and more sustainable dealing with health emergencies,” the patriotic scientists’ group Agham said in a statement.

Filipino diagnostic capabilities have a lot of room for improvement but it’s severely hampered by the all-time-low budget given the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST). Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdie Gaite said the low DOST budget means little to no funding for potential research in genomics that could have helped improve our diagnostic capabilities.

The decreasing share for health in the national government budget shows the low priority given to this, said research group IBON. Even the crucial program meant to ensure we would have a wide range of human health resources including doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, allied health professions, community health workers, social health workers and other health care providers and management and support personnel has been losing funding. IBON noted that the budget for the health department’s Health Systems Strengthening Program was cut by Php6.6 billion from Php25.9 billion to Php19.3 billion.

How would an underfunded, undermanned and ill-equipped workforce address public health challenges such as the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)?

The same criminal neglect in past and future natural and man-made disaster has been repeatedly pointed out in the national budget. A puppet government intent to survive or prolong his or her term while amassing bureaucrat loot from projects with imperialists just can’t seem to be bothered to correct this historical trend.

SLASHED BUDGET, ILL-PREPARED FOR DISASTERS

The Philippines is disaster-prone. It is in the Pacific Ring of Fire. It has active volcanoes. It has long been ripe for the Big One temblor. It regularly gets visited by typhoons. Portions of the archipelago are at risk of sinking from the predicted higher searise. In response, defying logic and this annual tally of worsening calamities, the Duterte government has been slashing the budget for disaster risk management. The Taal volcanic eruption illustrates the disastrous bent of puppet governments such as Duterte’s.

As hundreds of thousands of Filipinos reel with little to no rehabilitation yet in sight following the Taal Volcano eruption last January 12, and before that, the earthquakes and typhoons late last year, the Duterte regime’s lack of genuine concern for the Filipino people is starkly revealed.

Never mind the photo ops of government soldiers handing out relief packs (donated by the private sector) or forcing people to vacate their endangered homes (a core strength of the state troops lies in driving people out of their homes). Never mind the DILG Secretary and former Armed Forces Chief Eduardo Año asking for donations. Filipinos voluntarily give that and have in fact been doing that even without Año asking for it. The questions that reverberated following his calls for donations (“Why can’t the government take care of that when the Filipinos have been taxed to death?,” “Why do you spend so much for this and that but allocate a pittance for disasters?”), and the “shocked” responses by some lawmakers at “revelations” that they themselves slashed P4-billion from the already whittled down calamity fund for 2020. All these point to a government that shamelessly institutionalizes criminal neglect of its citizens’ needs.

That it has been caught flat-footed with meager budget for new calamities only shows it has not in the first place really thought of the people’s welfare.

Of the reduced P16 billion budget for calamity funds in 2020, only P7.5 billion can go to new disasters. The rest were already earmarked for relief and rehab of victims of earthquakes and typhoons from late last year and the still unimplemented Marawi rehabilitation. Even traditional politicians note that P7.5 billion is not enough for the more than 200,000 people deprived of livelihood and homes because of Taal’s eruption—this is just one calamity, and 2020 has just started.

BUT THERE’S MONEY IN DISASTERS

Worse than negligence and ineptness, the government is using the disaster to advance business interests and remove the people opposing the scheme. There is a threat, aired by the DILG, that in the guise of ‘rehabilitation,’ they might permanently drive away the people who used to live around the Taal Lake.

“Batangueños must be vigilant to not allow this rehabilitation effort to turn into a profiteering scheme—the 2017-2022 CALABARZON Regional Development Plan has initially proposed that Taal Lake can serve as an ecotourism and leisure zone to maximize its tourism potentials and stimulate the development of new scenic lakeside communities,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Southern Tagalog said.

Against the DILG’s proposed permanent ban of human settlement in Taal Volcano’s 14-km radius danger zone, the group calls on the public and scientific community to conduct first a comprehensive investigation and environmental impact assessment.

Duterte’s promised “aid” involves P25,000 loans, an “uncalled for” offer at this time, said Agham. Batangas’ economy is mostly driven by agriculture.

Rather than offer loans to the disaster victims, the government must fully support the farmers and the fisherfolk affected by the calamity, Agham reasoned.

The National Democratic Front in Southern Tagalog (NDFP-ST) urges the people to also be on guard against “corrupt politicians and officials of the reactionary government who will take advantage of the calamity to pocket millions of calamity funds earmarked for the people.”

OUSTING DUTERTE A PATRIOTIC DUTY, BUILDING THE PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT A NECESSITY

Today the Duterte regime not only has to answer for its neglect of the country’s health programs and disaster risk preparation and mitigation, it must account for its continuing attacks on the people. Even under calamities, the Duterte regime continues to malign progressive peoples’ organizations as they take it upon themselves to mobilize for the disaster survivors’ relief and rehabilitation.

The youth group Anakbayan’s Tulong Kabataan for instance has successfully mobilized the youth for relief and rehabilitation efforts. But last January 20, they flagged the Duterte’s P36-billion funded National Task Force-End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) whose Facebook and Twitter pages red-tagged Anakbayan. The youth group said it’s a “desperate and pathetic move to attack our organization and to distract the people from Duterte’s criminal negligence over the Taal eruption.”

Right from the first days of volcanic eruption the NDFP has mobilized people to send help. It provided immediate aid and relief and muscle in the organized move to safer locations.

While praising the Filipinos’ warmhearted and fast bayanihan, the NDF called on the people to demand greater funds for relief and rehabilitation for those affected by Taal’s eruption.

“Even more so now, there is the pressing need for the people in the regions visited by calamities to unite, mobilize and struggle for calls such as long-term moratorium in farmers’ paying of land rent to their landlord, or their yearly payment for certificate of land ownership (CLOA) under the bogus agrarian reform of the fascist US-Duterte regime, and moratorium also in paying back the high-interest loans from finance institutions and cooperatives,” the NDF-ST said in early January.

Increasing the people’s capacities to prepare for disasters and health emergencies necessitate improving their livelihoods—and this could only start with implementing genuine agrarian reform.

Orienting the government to genuine public service necessitates changing that government.

It has been decades of a corrupt, inefficient, insensitive and criminally negligent puppet governments in the Philippines.

With the corona virus and Taal volcano eruption, Filipinos see again the rottenness of their government. As the regime dawdled, the call for Duterte’s ouster trended on social media.

The Filipino people has a strong, solid basis for demanding Duterte’s ouster. He has tried to forestall it through faked theories and wild accusations. Now, however, with his left and right crimes against the people, he begs to be ousted.

As events unfold, it is clear that while the likes of Duterte is in power, the Filipino people will only get bludgeoned deeper into poverty, suffering bitter oppression, as the NDF-ST concluded in a statement early February. It added that, it is a must to oust the likes of the Duterte regime, and replace it with a leadership that has genuine concern for the people’s welfare, and ready to defend the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country from imperialist intervention and neoliberal impositions. ###

PHOTOS FROM: Aljazeera / CNN Ph / Gulf News / Rappler

#OustDuterte

—–
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Happiness is in the Revolution

in Mainstream

 

In truth, it was never what she expected.

After five years in the New People’s Army (NPA), Ka Nina, who was a youth activist, admitted a lot of her earlier perception of what a Red fighter is had changed.

For one, she thought Red fighters don’t know how to laugh, “Akala ko laging seryoso. Laging politika ang inilalabas ng bibig. Di marunong tumawa. Kaya laking gulat ko pagpasok ko dito sa sonang gerilya dito sa aming rehiyon (in Bicol) napakakwela pala ng mga kasama (I thought they were always serious, unsmiling, and talking only about politics. So I was surprised they were a cheery bunch when I came to the guerrilla zone here in Bicol),” she commented. They laugh at the littlest of things—when a dog that passes by, while practicing new songs, the pronouncements of Pres. Duterte. It must be “because we know we always face a life and death situation. That brings us closer and builds our rapport and camaraderie,” Ka Nina explained.

Ka Nina’s life in the NPA was far from the image she once held about the red fighters. Even as an activist she had no idea what kind of life they lived. Curiously, Ka Nina found her way into a guerrilla zone. And she stayed on. “Perhaps it was also because as a student activist, I saw the brutality of the state—in rallies, in picket lines,” she added.

Life with the masses

Half a decade in the people’s army, Ka Nina’s integration with the masses sustained her even as she misses her family and friends. “Mayaman kasi sa mass work ang Hukbo. ‘Yun ang isa sa pinakamahalagang salik kung paano namin napapangibabawan yung mga sakrispisyo, mga hirap, mga pisikal na pagod,” she narrated. Sharing stories with the masses erases their tiredness. “Kahit na wala ka pang kain buong araw. (Even if we haven’t eaten the whole day).”

We do a great deal of mass work. That must be one factor why we are able to overcome sacrifices, hardships and physical difficulties.

She was bursting with stories on her life with the masses. Asked to give a highlight, she begged, “pwede pong dalawa? (May I share two?).”

The first story she loved to tell and retell was when she was still new in the NPA. “Nag-ikot kami sa bahaging coastal area. Tapos yung masa doon talagang hirap sila sa pananim. Sabi nila, wala daw tumutubo doon sa lupa nila. Hirap din sila sa tubig tapos wala rin silang mga ipantatanim (As we went around the coastal community we saw the difficulties of the masses to grow plants. Nothing grows on the land. They have no fresh water and they don’t have anything to plant),” she related. Through the efforts of the comrades and the organized masses, they were able to solicit cassava cuttings and distributed these to the community members for planting. “They were so euphoric. They hugged us. That was great. It was satisfying to have done something for the masses,” Ka Nina exclaimed as she relived the moment.

The second story was when their unit had an encounter with the military. Two comrades fell, recalled Ka Nina. The masses went with them to retrieve the remains of the comrades. “It was a long walk, it was raining, and worse, we had to pass through enemy lines.” When the community members got to the place, they immediately tended to the remains of the comrades, like their own. “Bagamat malungkot ang pangalawang halimbawa na binigay ko, isa po ‘yun sa pinakamatingkad na karanasan ko kung gaano kamahal ng mga masa ang mga kasama, (The story may be sad but I just wanted to show how the masses love the comrades),” Ka Nina noted.

Collective life

Like the masses, Ka Nina’s collective carried her through hard times. “When you feel weary and weak because you miss your family, the collective is there to guide you, help you, listen to how you feel.” She said all their concerns are discussed in the collective. “Lahat ng bagay dito sa Hukbo—problema mo sa pagkain, sa pagdumi, kalungkutan— napag-uusapan, nabubutbot po yung mga ganun tapos nagagawan ng solusyon. (We discuss everything in the collective—food, poop, loneliness. We dissect and find solution to everything).”

It has also never been a problem that she is a woman. “Totoo na may pantay na pagtingin sa kababaihan dito sa loob ng rebong kilusan.

It is true. Women in the revolutionary movement are treated equally and fairly.

In her five years with the NPA, or even when she was still an activist, she claimed she has not experienced discrimination.

She admitted though that this is not true for all the masses they meet and so they have to reorient the masses on this. The same goes for the new recruits in the NPA. But the new recruits, Ka Nina said, immediately get it, citing “We are together 24/7, death is always upon us, we could encounter the enemy anytime” as possible reasons.

“Ang sabi nga ng mga kasama dapat laging maging handa, babae ka man o lalaki kasi di namimili ang punglo. Babae ka o lalaki, tatamaan ka niyan. Sa pagpapaputok ng baril, di mo kailangan macho ka o sobrang lakas mo. Babae ka o lalaki, o anuman ang kasarian mo, ang kailangan mo ay ang kapasyahang iputok ang baril. Kalabitin ang gatilyo. (A comrade said we should be prepared, always. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female because bullets don’t discriminate. One need not be macho or tough. Whether you are male, female, or whatever is the gender preference, the most important is the will to fire the gun., to pull the trigger.)”

A new generation of cadres

As the CPP and the NPA celebrate its 50th year, Ka Nina recognized the contributions of the revolutionary movement to Philippine society—from understanding its nature to instituting meaningful changes while advancing the people’s war. “In the last five decades we have proven we can rise above all challenges because what we are fighting for is just and right.”

She sees a bright future ahead with the kind of unity among the people’s army, the masses, and the Party members. There was obviously pride and elation as Ka Nina takes part in the celebration, “Masarap sa pakiramdam kasi umabot yung henerasyon namin sa ika-50 anibersaryo. Napakasarap sa pakiramdam. (I feel joyful because our generation is part of the 50th anniversary.)”

As the conversation closed, Ka Nina cracked her third highlight without a prompt: “Tapos, yung simple po na pagtawag nila lagi sa amin na kasama o Kas, o anak, ganyan po ang tawag nila sa amin. Samantalang dun sa kabila ay kaaway. Ang sarap sa pakiramdam. Talagang tama ‘tong ipinaglalaban natin.

When the masses call us comrade, or Kas [short for kasama, also comrade], or my child while they call the reactionaries as the enemy, that makes us feel good. We know that what we are fighting for is right.

ServeThePeople

PagAsaNgBayan

JoinTheNPA

*Quote from Benito Tiamzon on his June 2014 interview


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DUTERTE REGIME GOES DOWNHILL AS REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT RISES

in Statements

by Jose Maria Sison

Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines
December 26, 2019

In keeping with my historic title as Founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, I convey my warmest revolutionary greetings to the cadres and members for continuing to strengthen their great and glorious party as the advanced detachment of the working class and as leader of the Filipino people and all revolutionary forces in the struggle for national and social liberation along the general line of new democratic revolution with a socialist perspective.

I salute you for your achievements in responding to the demands of the people for revolutionary change against the rotten semicolonial and semifeudal system dominated by foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. Like you, I honor most highly all the revolutionary martyrs and heroes of the CPP and the revolutionary mass movement for all their efforts and sacrifices in order to realize the accumulated and current victories in the struggle for national independence and democracy.

This is a time for you to celebrate your struggles, sacrifices and successes, to examine the objective conditions in the Philippines, the worsening crisis and the opportunities it presents, sum up your experiences and learn from positive and negative lessons, base yourselves on the strength that you have achieved and set forth the tasks and goals that you wish to realize in the ideological, political and organizational fields.

WORSENING CRISIS OF THE RULING SYSTEM

The objective conditions are exceedingly favorable for advancing the people’s democratic revolution because the traitorous, tyrannical, murderous, corrupt and deceptive Duterte regime has aggravated the chronic crisis of the ruling system by escalating the oppression and exploitation of the people and driving them to wage people’s war and all forms of resistance.

More than ever the regime has worsened the conditions of underdevelopment, high unemployment, low incomes, soaring prices of basic commodities and mass poverty. It has further bankrupted the economy by shunning land reform and national industrialization, increasing import-dependent consumption and rapidly making the local and foreign debt burden and tax burden of the people intolerably heavier.

Worst of all, colossal amounts of public funds are wasted on bureaucratic and military corruption and on futile schemes to destroy the revolutionary movement and impose a fascist dictatorship on the people. It is apt to describe the regime of state terrorism and unbridled greed as unwittingly the best recruiter of CPP members, Red fighters and other revolutionaries. It is also the best transport and supply officer of the New People’s Army for sending its troops for annihilation on terrain advantageous to guerrilla warfare.

Since he became president in 2016, Duterte has been obsessed with seeking to destroy the revolutionary movement in order to please US imperialism and the local reactionary classes. At first, he claimed to be “Left” and “socialist” and pretended to be for peace negotiations. But he used these pretenses only to cover up his all-out war against the people and the revolutionary forces in the countryside and further launch in the name of rabid anti-communism the series of repressive measures, especiallyProclamations Nos. 360 and 374 to Executive Order No. 70.

The regime has used the most brutal and deceptive methods to impose a de facto fascist dictatorship on the entire nation and undisguised martial rule in Mindanao and in so-called focus areas of attacks. Deviously named the whole-nation approach, the scheme to militarize and make fascist the entire government and society is totally and extremely counterproductive and costly. The broad masses of the people detest the systematic and gross violations of human rights through red tagging, fake surrenders, fake encounters, extrajudicial killings, looting, arson, bombing of communities and grabbing of land and resources for plantations, mining and logging.

All efforts of the Duterte regime to destroy the CPP and the revolutionary mass movement have failed. Thus, out of desperation, he offered once more peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines on December 5. Within 24 hours, he and his military and police officers exposed their own evil intentions by demanding that the peace negotiations be held in the Philippines and that the NDFP negotiating personnel put themselves under enemy duress, control and surveillance and make themselves available for slaughter at any time.

Nonetheless, the people’s demand for a just peace, the clamor of peace advocates for for peace negotiations and the willingness of the anti-militarist section of the Duterte regime support the consistent stand of the CPP and the NDFP to be open to peace negotiations and to seek all possible ways to counter the rampant violations of human rights and to propagate the people’s demand for basic social, economic and political reforms. Thus, the NDFP has agreed with the GRP to engage in reciprocal unilateral ceasefires from December 23, 2019 to January 7, 2020 in order to foster the environment favorable to the resumption of peace negotiations.

The resumption of the peace negotiations can be realized by reaffirming the mutual agreements since the Hague Joint Declaration of 1992, by superceding the presidential issuances that previously terminated and prevented peace negotiations and by laying the ground for the Interim Peace Agreement, which is a package of agreements involving the 1) general amnesty and release of all political prisoners; 2) the approval of articles of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), particularly those on agrarian reform and rural development and national industrialization and economic development; and 3) coordinated unilateral ceasefires.

Notwithstanding the current ceasefire agreement and the probability of resuming the peace negotiations, the CPP and the entire revolutionary movement need to be vigilant and militant against the continuing scheme of the counter-revolutionaries and their imperialist masters whoseek in vain either the destruction or capitulation of the revolutionary forces at the expense of the national and democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people. So long as there is yet no final agreement that ensures a just peace, the people and their revolutionary forces have all the right to wage revolutionary struggle.

THE GROWING STRENGTH OF THE REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT

The CPP and revolutionary mass movement are invincible. They have been tempered by more than 50 years of revolutionary struggle against the ruling system and all the strategic plans devised by US imperialism and their Filipino puppets to destroy them. They keep on growing because the objective conditions for waging armed revolution are increasingly favorable and the broad masses of the people demand revolutionary change. On the basis of the CPP publications, I am well aware that the CPP is resolutely and vigorously building itself ideologically, politically and organizationally.

It continuously educates and trains the new recruits and its accumulated membership of tens of thousands in the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. As the leader of the revolutionary movement, it carries out the people’s democratic revolution by skilfully strengthening itself, waging armed struggle and availing of the united front. It conducts mass work and builds the mass organizations of various exploited classes, strata and sectors of Philippine society. It keeps on creating new units of the people’s army and the auxiliary forces of the people’s militia and the self-defense units in mass organizations.

It engages in alliance work by relying mainly on the basic toiling masses of workers and peasants, winning over the middle forces and taking advantage of the splits among the reactionaries in order to isolate and destroy the power of the enemy. At the moment, the Duterte regime is encircled by the legal democratic movement, the revolutionary movement and by the intrasystemic conservative opposition. As the reactionary government is corrupt, bankrupt and decadent, the CPP creates the organs of democratic political power to displace the power of the reactionary state in the countryside until conditions are ripe for the seizure of the cities dominated by the exploiting classes.

In the course of its ideological, political and organizational work, the CPP engages in criticism and self-criticism in order to correct errors and shortcomings in a timely and periodic manner, to improve work and style of work and achieve bigger and better results. In the course of the current rectification movement and for an extended period, it is solving the problem of conservatism which has overemphasized mass work at the expense of launching tactical offensives in certain areas and which has been characterized by overdispersal of full-time small units (squads and teams) of the people’s army.

The CPP is ensuring that in a guerrilla front the command platoon or main unit of a company is relatively concentrated and capable of collecting actionable information, planning and carrying out tactical offensives; and two other platoons or secondary units are relatively dispersed for mass work but prepared for tactical offensives whenever necessary. The NPA personnel are rotated periodically for combat and other non-combat tasks in order to develop their skills in a well-rounded way. In the face of enemy onslaughts, NPA combat units are oriented to seize the initiative and wage offensive operations to annihilate enemy units, destroy their facilities and force them to guard duty.

In the finest communist and patriotic tradition, the stronger regions of the revolutionary movement are sharing competent and battle-tested cadres and Red commanders and fighters to help strengthen weaker regions and raise higherthe overall fighting capacity of the entire revolutionary movement. The revolutionary forces under concentrated attacks by their enemy are faring well with the employment of major and minor tactics of guerrilla warfare and are developing the strategy and tactics of counter-encirclement. Those forces under relatively less concentrated enemy attacks are doing their best to launch tactical offensives by way of helping those under more concentrated attacks.

In response to the expectations of the Filipino people, the CPP is determined to lead the NPA in bringing about the full development of the strategic defensive of the people’s war, from the middle phase to the advanced phase, through extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare. The regional leading organs of the CPP are developing the coordination and interoperability of two or three neighboring guerrilla fronts for the purpose of defense and offense. The entire CPP is ever determined to create new guerrilla fronts by winning battles and campaigns in the direction of developing more NPA companies and reaching eventually the stage of the strategic stalemate.

The worsening crisis of the ruling system and the people’s hatred of the Duterte reign of terror and greed make it impossible for the coercive and deceptive instruments of the state to know and suppress all the revolutionary forces and their activities. The evil agents of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism are weighed down by their own brutality and corruption. The more violent and intimidating they become the more they goad the people to wage all forms of resistance.

The Duterte regime is going downhill to hell and cannot find enough relief from its imperialist masters to overcome the rising revolutionary movement of the Filipino people. Despite being able to retain overall dominance over the Philippines, the US is increasingly looking at Duterte as more of a liability than an asset as he fails to fulfill his pledge to destroy the revolutionary movement and as he allows China to gain advantages that prejudice the economic and security interests of the US in the Philippines.

At the same time, while pressuring the Duterte regime to do a more flagrant surrender of Philippine sovereign rights, China has not promptly complied with its promises to deliver extremely onerous loans and overpriced infrastructure projects, despite the already treasonous waiver of Philippine sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea and the rich oil, gas and marine resources under it as well as the lopsided agreement for China to explore and exploit energy resources and monopolize the valuation of the costs and the information on production.

WORSENING CRISIS OF THE WORLD CAPITALIST SYSTEM

The world capitalist system is in grave crisis. The major capitalist economies, the so-called emerging markets and the many underdeveloped economies have become depressed since the economic and financial crash of 2008. The strategic decline of the US has accelerated because of the costly ceaseless wars of aggression and the bankruptcy of the neoliberal economic policy. The US has become blatantly protectionist and blames China’s state monopoly capitalism for enjoying large export surpluses in trade with the US and using state-owned enterprises and state planning to be able totake advantage of the economic, trade and technological concessions from the US in achieving strategic economic and security goals.

The main partners in neoliberal globalization for several decades are now at odds with each other. Their conflicts are the main feature of the intensifying inter-imperialist contradictions. They arise at a time that the US is made desperate by its own strategic decline but is still in a position to expose China’s sitting on a mountain of bad debts and to upset and sabotage China’s accumulation of surplus capital for imperialist deployment through the Belt and Road Initiative. We can expect more conflicts to come from the two imperialist powers over the Philippines, the South China Sea, East Asia and in other regions of the world.

The rapidly worsening crisis of the world capitalist system is causing the intensification of inter-imperialist contradictions. The traditional imperialist powers headed by the US and the new imperialist powers headed by China and Russia are now locked in a bitter struggle for a redivision of the world. At the same time, the crisis has resulted in the escalation of the exploitation and oppression of the proletariat people both in the advanced capitalist countries and underdeveloped countries. Thus, we see today the unprecedented spread and intensity of mass protests on a global scale, especially against neoliberalism and fascism. The current mass protests are harbingers of greater struggles of the people of the world for national liberation, democracy and socialism against imperialism and all reactions.

Quite a number of the unarmed mass movements have the potential of being transformed into people’s war to address the central question of political power in the face of the growing propensity of the imperialists and reactionaries to use fascist terror to be able continue the extreme forms of exploitation under neoliberalism. The Philippine revolution is favored by the worldwide rise of popular resistance against imperialism and reaction. Consequently, it can accelerate its advance and further strengthen its role as torch-bearer of the world anti-imperialist and proletarian-socialist revolution.

Long live the Communist Party of the Philippines!
Long live the people’s democratic revolution with socialist perspective!
Long live the Filipino proletariat and people!
Long live the proletariat and peoples of the world!
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DUTERTE REGIME: A propaganda war with dire consequences

in Countercurrent
by Erika Hernandez

Neophyte Senator Ronaldo “Bato” dela Rosa, the controversial Philippine National Police chief of the Duterte government, recently led a public inquiry in the Senate and instantly spurred controversy and criticisms. He attempted to link progressive youth organizations with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).

He presented two witnesses who claimed they were “students by day and NPA by night”—a giveaway phrase as to where it came from: the military. That he sought to turn a public inquiry, purportedly in aid of legislation, into a witch hunt immediately became obvious.

The frontman in President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs” also presented parents of youth activists, who apparently had been goaded to vilify leaders of Anakbayan and Kabataan Partylist as “kidnappers who brainwash their members.” Bato’s witch hunt came with memes on social media showing NPA martyrs from the youth sector and victims of state-perpetrated enforced disappearances with a theme, “Sayang ang buhay ng kabataan (Youth lives just wasted).”

Military officers, who had been invited as resource persons, called for a review of an agreement between a youth leader and then defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile, prohibiting the presence of state security forces in the universities and colleges. They gave lame excuses, such as to prevent “front organizations” from recruiting students to join the NPA; avert the proliferation of drugs in schools; and give the military an equal opportunity to explain government programs.

Following the Senate inquiry, members of the PNP attempted to conduct “mandatory” drug testing on students at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP). Courageous PUP scholars who knew their rights valiantly resisted, driving away the cops from the university premises.

Bato couldn’t wait to use the Senate as platform for pushing the propaganda line against the CPP-NPA of the Duterte regime in its bid to defeat the revolutionary movement before the end of its term.

By striving to directly link the progressive youth organizations with the CPP-NPA and the armed struggle against the reactionary state, the fascist regime aims to justify its red-tagging, harassment, abductions, and killings of youth leaders and activists. The regime blurs—if not totally removes—the distinction between the armed revolutionary movement and the legal, above-ground democratic mass movement fighting for the people’s legitimate demands. It regards the open democratic mass movement as the propaganda component of the armed revolutionary movement.

Thus in the following weeks, the Duterte regime’s red-tagging spree, branding almost all legal organizations as “fronts” of the CPP-NPA, was raised a notch higher. Duterte’s rabid pro-US defense chief urged the illegalization of these organizations by reviving the Anti-Subversion Act of 1957 (the cold war-era legislation that illegalized the CPP; it was repealed under the Ramos government in 1992 as it entered into peace negotiations with the NDFP).

Myth-making through red tags and incessant lies

Red tagging and vilification of people’s organizations is a key facet of the “strategic communication” thrust under the “whole of nation approach (WNA)” of the Duterte regime’s counterinsurgency program. Under this overarching WNA concept—applied unsuccessfully by the US in its unending wars of intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001 and 2002—the regime seeks to “create a movement of and crusade against communist ideology starting with the youth.” It also aims to “assess and conduct counter measures on the current tri-media and social media being infiltrated and targeted by the “CNN [CPP-NPA-NDFP)” through inter-agency collaboration to counter and contain the spread of extremism and revolution.”

What the regime is trying to portray is a supposed state inter-agency collaboration with civil society collaboration against the Left revolutionary movement. While Bato exploits the Senate as platform, Congress is poised to enact repressive measures such as the revival of the Anti-Subversion Law, amendments to the Human Security Act of 2007 (the anti-terrorism law), mandatory military training in schools, among others. The Anti-Subversion Law and Human Security Act amendments portray critics and activists as “terrorists,” to justify unrelenting unarmed and armed attacks against them.

Red-tagging and vilification have preceded many cases of extrajudicial killing, torture, arrest and detention and other human rights abuses against farmers, workers, environmentalists, Church people, lawyers, human rights defenders and other sectors.

The Duterte regime’s propaganda machinery involves both the military and civilian bureaucracy, with the former taking the lead role. The composition of the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), formed through Executive Order No. 70 and headed by President Duterte, shows how civilian agencies are being mobilized for counterinsurgency operations.

The NTF has been busy in its efforts to red tag and vilify the legal and progressive mass organizations critical of the Duterte regime and its continuing subservience to US imperialism and obeisance to China as the rising imperialist power.

One of the most glaring incidents of red-tagging happened during the May 2019 elections. PNP men and women in uniform were caught on camera in the act of distributing a PNP newsletter linking Makabayan Coalition-affiliated partylist groups to the underground revolutionary movement.

In other areas such as Panay, Negros, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, leaflets containing a list of persons alleged to be communists were distributed by state agents. In the list are human rights activists, lawyers, members of the religious, journalists, and academics.

Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade, AFP deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations, is one of the most vociferous in publicly labeling human rights organizations and sectoral groups as “CPP-NPA fronts” and in peddling the lie that these organizations are involved in “terroristic” activities.

The regime also takes advantage of social media to vilify its the most vocal critics. The Philippine News Agency (PNA) and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) makes use of fake photos, fake statements, and incredible claims against leaders of the people’s organizations.

The regime has spent tremendous amounts of taxpayers’ money in disseminating its propaganda against the progressive movement to the international community. The NTF-ELCAC went as far as dispatching a team that visited officials of European Union (EU) member states to red-tag Karapatan, Ibon International, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Gabriela, among others. The task force urged these EU countries to cut funding for organizations serving the most neglected rural communities in the Philippines.

The NTF-ELCAC sent a delegation to the United Nations Working Group on Involuntary Disappearances in Bosnia-Herzegovina and egregiously urged that body to delist 625 cases of enforced disappearances in the Philippines, mostly attributed to state security forces. NTF members also furiously lobbied against the passage of a resolution filed by Iceland in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), urging the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to look into the spate of extrajudicial killings and make a written comprehensive report on the human rights situation in the Philippines. Their lobbying failed; the UNHRC adopted the resolution.

Even the academe, hospitals and other civilian agencies are not spared from the witch hunt. Policemen did rounds in schools, government hospitals and other offices, profiling the members and officers of employees’ unions.

The AFP and PNP have been spreading outright lies. They claim to have succeeded in ending the “insurgency” in some provinces—claims that have repeatedly been belied since the Ramos government first declared, in 1994, that it had strategically defeated the NPA (which it admitted to be untrue several months later). They present to the media fake surrenderers, mostly farmers they either coerced, deceived, or bribed—through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP)—into admitting they were NPA members. They churn out these falsehoods to conjure the illusion that they are winning against the revolutionaries.

But when their most heinous crimes are exposed, they readily put the blame on the CPP- NPA. This has been shown in the case of the extrajudicial killings in Negros Oriental. Braving threats and the pain of repeatedly recalling the tragic massacres, families of the victims have testified how their loved ones were killed in cold blood during the joint AFP-PNP’s Oplan Sauron operations.

When members and other paid elements of the AFP and the PNP get killed in legitimate armed encounters, they try hide their defeats, or worse, misrepresent these incidents as violations by the NPA of international humanitarian law.

Criminalizing dissent: the biggest lie

Through the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA), the AFP and the PNP jointly try to use the judiciary as a weapon against critics of Duterte and his corrupt and bungling regime. The following are just some examples showing how this administration is criminalizing dissent: the perjury charges filed by Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, the president’s national security adviser, against Karapatan, the RMP, and Gabriela; the sedition and cyberlibel cases filed against Vice President Leni Robredo, political opposition candidates in the May senatorial elections, and some Catholic bishops; and, the kidnapping charges against youth leaders and former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares.

A similar ridiculous and malicious kidnapping and child abuse charges were earlier filed against Bayan Muna President Satur Ocampo and Representative France Castro of Act-Teachers partylist in late 2018, when they helped rescue Lumad students who had been forced out of their school that was shut down by the military.

A number of activists, service providers of progressive NGOs and organizers or campaigners of legal progressive organizations, have also been arrested based on patently made-up accusations including illegal possession of firearms and explosives. In most cases the arresting teams have planted the “evidence” in the activists’ bags they seized, in vehicles or residences as in the case of labor organizer Maoj Maga, long-time peace advocate and NDFP peace consultant Rey Claro Casambre, and NDFP peace consultants Vicente Ladlad, Adel Silva, and recently Esterlita Suaybaguio.

Professional “witnesses” or “surrenderers” dragooned as witnesses are used from one case to another to churn out false testimonies, almost always bordering on the ridiculous. The use of arrest warrants against “John Doe” and “Jane Doe” have become the norm to justify the illegal arrests of any targeted person.

The “multiple murder” case involving, as supposedly prime evidence, “travelling skeletons”—first allegedly dug up from a mass grave in Baybay, Leyte then years later supposedly dugged up again in Inopacan, Leyte—has been discredited and should have been laid to rest long ago.

But, no! The biggest legal fiction of Gloria Arroyo’s Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG)—the filing of trumped-up murder charges in 2007 against Ocampo (then Bayan Muna congressman) and several others was questioned before the Supreme Court, which granted Ocampo bail. However, the case awaited action by the highest tribunal for seven years. Only in 2014 did the SC, mostly with new justices sitting, referred the case for trial to a regional trial court. Then after hearings held over about five years, the prosecutors recently asked the court to issue warrants of arrest against 38 of the co-accused, including NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison. The court issued the warrants.

In another case, the Court of Appeals recently junked both the petition for writ of amparo and writ of habeas data filed by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and a similar petition filed by Karapatan, RMP and Gabriela (the NUPL is the groups’ legal counsel). The parallel rulings indicate the sway of military influence on the judiciary. The rulings, issued by different CA divisions, practically denied the human rights defenders the legal remedies sought for their protection against political persecution and threats to their personal security and their lives.

Silencing the media

As part of its “strategic communication” strategy, the Duterte regime has been discrediting the journalism profession in an apparent bid to drown out the truth in media reporting and spread more lies. By calling journalists as bayaran, “press-titute”, and other derogatory labels, Duterte wants the Filipino people to doubt and reject the media’s role as watchdogs in society.

  1. The Duterte regime is trying to intimidate the more critical journalists using some of these methods: Producing fabricated matrices that link to a conjured ouster plot against Duterte the media organizations—the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the Vera Files, and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ)—and individual journalists such as Inday Espina-Varona and Danilo Arao.
  2. Threatening non-renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise, a virtual Damocles sword on the broadcasting giant.
  3. Filing a string of charges against online news site Rappler and twice trying to detain its CEO.
  4. Conducting “background checks” on journalists. Members of the Philippine National Police Press Corps have reported police visits and interrogations.
  5. Visiting media outfits in the pretext of “getting fair stories” regarding the bloody war on drugs, such as in the case of two media outfits in the Visayas. Some journalists have been included in the drug watch list even though there is no evidence on the alleged use or trade in illegal drugs.
  6. Red-tagging of the NUJP, the largest organization of journalists in the country, for being vocal in its defense of press freedom. Individual members of the NUJP have also been red-tagged.
  7. Utilizing trolls to harass critical journalists. Some of these include, among others, death threats and threats of raping women journalists.
  8. Launching systematic cyber attacks against alternative media websites Bulatlat, Kodao, Altermidya, Pinoy Weekly and NUJP. The cyber attacks have also targeted the websites of Bayan, Karapatan, Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Party, Ibon and scores of other organizations, including the CPP’s Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC). Sweden-based Qurium Media Foundation’s forensic report on the cyber attacks revealed that the attacks were launched on websites which are based in the Philippines.

The escalation of cyber attacks and vilification of media outfits, critical think tanks, progressive service-oriented NGOs and people’s organizations are also part of the Duterte regime’s “strategic communication” plan. The AFP first announced its creation of a cyber workforce in 2017. Since then until 2019, the AFP, the PNP and the Philippine Coast Guard have yearly held a Cybersecurity Summit.

Early this year, the Duterte regime launched a national cybersecurity plan. It created a cybersecurity management system “to monitor cyber threats,” headed by the Integrated Computer Systems (ICS) and the Israeli surveillance company Verint, with an initial licensing period of three years. Verint is a billion-dollar company with a global interception and surveillance empires.

The Duterte regime’s dirty propaganda tactics are coupled with heightening repression.

Labeling activists interchangeably as “terrorists,” “suspected drug addicts,” “kidnappers,” and the like aims to demonize and criminalize dissent and justify their killing and other human rights violations against them.

All these latest misuse of new technology to spread lies, combined with the age-old armed repression, are like carpetbombs seeking to harm not only the armed revolutionaries. Mostly targeted are citizens critical of the regime, the activists, the Church, the media and any other supporter of human rights and the struggle for genuine democracy.

The intended victims of this campaign are unarmed, visible and easy targets. The Duterte regime is fighting a truly dirty war. But the more it lies and kills even non-combatants, the more it reveals the bankruptcy of any promised good inuring to the people that it trots out to justify this dirty and costly war.

As such, the Duterte regime and its dirty war will not likely last long. With every attack it reveals its true face, the face of a rotting government that is puppet to foreign interests and seeking to maintain a crumbling status quo. It only highlights the correctness of waging and advancing the now 50-year national democratic revolution.

To break the cycle of lies and killings being perpetrated by this fascist regime, the people here and abroad should harness the courage and will power to expose and denounce its lies, and call for ever-broadening people’s resistance.###

#DuterTerorista
#FightTyranny
#DefendPressFreedom
#MakibakaWagMatakot

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