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Ferdinand Marcos

Marcoses’ political rehabilitation bodes more tragedy for the nation

in Editorial

Three decades have gone by since February 1986, when the Filipino people’s unified will and action ousted the Marcos dictatorship. Ignominously, the US imperialists plucked the tyrant and his family—along with their loot—out of Malacañang by helicopters, subsequently flying them to safe exile in Hawaii.

Yet today the Marcos heirs are back in the high circles of power. And the dictator’s embalmed remains—publicly displayed in Batac, Ilocos Norte for over two decades—was deceitfully ensconced in the Libingan ng mga Bayani in November 2016, courtesy of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Yet they haven’t returned much of the estimated $10-billion they had stolen during their corrupt, abusive and repressive reign. With such a huge war chest that can only grow bigger over time (even at conservative interest rates in what Imelda Marcos flaunts as over 100 secret bank accounts), they are being served/protected by a platoon of lawyers. They have allies and toadies at various levels of the reactionary government, besides a fleet of PR people, false historians, and keyboard warriors.

They thus feel secure moving freely within the same bureaucrat capitalist system that nurtured them in power.

The rotten system enabled them to amass wealth at the cost of thousands of Filipino lives and the stunting of Philippines’ agricultural and industrial development. It allowed them to spend five years of lavish and vulgar exile in Hawaii. Upon their return, towing the embalmed body of their dictator patriarch, this system welcomed them back into the fold as they gradually carved anew their fiefdom.

Twice did Imelda Marcos attempt to run for President: in 1992 when she lost and in 1998, when she withdrew her candidacy. In between her two presidential bids, Imelda won a seat in Congress where she served as Leyte representative for three years (1995-1998). In 2010, she again won a seat in Congress, this time representing Ilocos Norte, the late dictator’s home province and political base.

Starting from their Ilocos Norte base, the two elder Marcos siblings took turns being the province’s governor and congressional representative from 1992 to 1998. It was 24 years since dictator Marcos was ousted when Bongbong Marcos entered the Senate in 2010. Imee Marcos took longer entering the national scene. She came into the Senate in 2019.

It was in Bongbong Marcos’s first stab at the vice-presidency in 2016 that the family tasted their first defeat in what some accounts call their “spectacular comeback.” Unaccustomed to setback, Bongbong lodged an electoral protest he wouldn’t let go even after three years.

The family has now repositioned itself back as close as possible to Malacañang. But for Bongbong’s defeat at the 2016 national polls, he would have been just a heartbeat away from the presidency, a very real threat to the Filipino people considering Duterte’s multiple acknowledged illnesses. Had Marcos Jr “won” the vice-presidency, Duterte would have—as he has publicly expressed a number of times—opted to yield the presidency and thus pave the way to the Marcoses’ total political rehabilitation.

Undoubtedly, the Marcoses are a veritable example of bureaucrat capitalism. To this day articles are being written about how the dictator Marcos and his wife “smartly” looted the national coffers, put up opaque companies and seized stakes in strategic businesses, and how he “transformed” the military and the police into a unified armed forces to back up his fascist rule, rendering the armed services deeply partisan (for him) and more corruptible than ever.

Throughout that process, the US imperialists propped up his dictatorship. They armed, trained and guided the establishment of the armed forces for their own imperialist ends and those of their puppet tyrant. Marcos, “our ‘son-of-a-bitch’” (as then President George Bush referred to him) only became a “problem” to them when the people began protesting against the dictatorship in evergrowing number and frequency. The armed communist-led revolution was growing by leaps and bounds and had led the fight against the dictatorship and its imperialist master.

Marcos’ ouster will always be a historical triumph of the Filipino people’s collective power— both armed and unarmed, in the underground and in the open democratic arena of struggles. The ongoing turbo-charged rehabilitation of the Marcoses under Duterte, however, is as loud a reminder as we all can get that, no, the people cannot stop at merely ousting the current, abusive tyrant. The system that breeds such ilk needs also to be smashed. This system has proven to have merely continued the puppet presidency and imperialist domination of the country.

A corrupt system is bound to rehabilitate the Marcoses

The Communist Party of the Philippines, in a 2018 statement, sharply pointed out that the “successive reactionary regimes failed miserably to address the clamor of the Filipino people for swift justice.” “Every ruling regime allowed the Marcoses to return stage by stage,” it said. “None carried out a decisive act of justice, fearing this will rouse demands for the same measures to be meted against them over the same crimes they themselves commit while in power.”

At the outset, Cory Aquino, responding to insistent public demand, established the PCGG (Presidential Commission on Good Government) to go after the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth. But her administration emasculated the PCGG by ordering it to seize nothing directly and work instead through the courts. What the agency recovered, of course, was peanuts for the dirty-moneyed Marcoses.

The US imperialist’s rescue of their once serviceable puppet continued even after the Marcoses returned to the Philippines. The US government redacted transactions involving US organizations in their records. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) refused to disclose what they knew, reportedly prompting a veteran of PCGG to call the US and Marcoses “partners in theft.”

Most probably, the US possesses loads of damning information on the kleptocracy and rights abuses of the Marcoses. Not only does it exercise control of the Philippine state forces, it’s also been known to keep tabs on even its “allies,” according to a declassified report on the CIA’s eavesdropping on conversations of government leaders such as those of the Philippines.

With clues from the US and their latest puppet on how the Marcoses were to be cossetted since the late 1980s, Marcos died in Hawaii without being punished by the Filipino people, through their supposed government’s justice system. His widow, Imelda, returned to the Philippines with her three adult children in 1992. She was greeted by an avalanche of graft cases. But with their political allies regaining government posts, she never had to worry about jail time or threats of warrants of arrest.

Imelda was convicted at least twice for graft, once in 1993 for a fraudulent land deal and in 2018 for illicit financial dealings with Switzerland-based NGOs. But she remains free to this day. In her 2018 conviction, under Duterte’s watch, she was asked to put up bail of only P300,000, despite the gravity of the case and the amount of what’s been stolen. The conviction is turning out into a ploy to fast track the movement of the case.

After more than five administrations (including two Aquinos), more than 90 lawyers and personnel of PCGG placed at the increasingly frustrating trail of seeing signs of billions of hidden wealth — only for these to be whisked away before their eyes — and the precious length of time that’s gone by, the Marcoses still harbor much of the ill-gotten wealth. Some of it was divulged in the upheaval of disclosures regarding what are called the Panama papers, where the ultra-rich keep their money away from taxes and prying eyes.

By now it’s clear the graft cases against the Marcoses have been filed only to placate the angry masses.

Dictator’s final rehab under a Marcos clone

The impact of the people’s victory in ousting Marcos and the underlying desire for genuine democracy was such that it took the Marcoses more than three decades before bureaucrat capitalism could ease them back into Malacañang as “honored” guests. The Marcoses managed to do it under another imperialist puppet president they financially supported as candidate, who publicly claims he idolizes Marcos and looks back at his father’s political career as one that had benefited from the Marcoses.

And, yes, before we forget, a president who evidently wants to be another dictator and tyrant. He himself has already reprised many Marcosian tactics.

Despite his anti-corruption posturing, Duterte early into his term stunned the nation by allowing Marcos’ embalmed remains to be buried, after at least two postponements due to public protests, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in November 2016. The most brazen of post-Edsa puppet presidents at helping the Marcoses, he nevertheless balked at personally witnessing the undeserved public pomp reserved only for a hero’s and former president’s burial. It took him a year before he set out again to glorify Marcos: commemorated him in postage stamps. The Duterte regime has timed its actions idolizing Marcos on the last quarter of the year.

Under Duterte the corruption cases against the Marcoses that dragged on for more than three decades are being thrown out one by one.

In August and October 2019 several ill-gotten wealth cases against the Marcoses, 27 to 31 years in court, were dismissed allegedly for lack of probative evidence (government lawyers only submitted photocopies of documents, whose originals are supposedly kept in the Bangko Sentral vaults), or for the lawyers’ failure to attend court hearings.

The bulk of their massive loot remains beyond reach of the government and the people from whom they stole it. Estimates of what the PCGG managed to recover ran from just one to two billion dollars. The precious works of arts bought with stolen money inadvertently would show in Imeldific photographs in her posh digs, but they always disappear whenever the investigators come knocking.

The billions they extorted from coconut farmers were partially recovered but each succeeding administration has made it difficult for the coconut farmers and real owners of the fund to fully recover it.

People must clip the Marcoses’ greed

Thus, looking at the Marcoses’ rehabilitation into power, it is not true that horror repeats itself. It gets more horrendous in Part 2.

Unapologetic, flushed with their success, the Marcoses are greedy for more. They’re spoiled believing they can get away with it, again and again. They’re coming back to do more of the same on a vehicle much bigger and ratcheted up by their original loot; oiled by the blood, sweat and tears of injustices of those they had oppressed; and covered by the same imperialist power that continues to lord over the country as long as their puppets dutifully run it to the ground for the benefit of their businesses and military interests.

More than three decades since the world applauded the Filipino people’s uprising that booted them out, the Marcoses have not been made to account for the thousands of human rights violations and humanitarian crimes they committed to maintain the dictatorship.

Now the maturing children, beneficiaries of the Marcos loot and their network of allies and cronies, are hovering about for another chance to take over Malacañang. They are intent as well in whitewashing their family’s crimes; Imee Marcos chose to head the Senate committee on culture. Like father like daughter, as he had faked his wartime medals, she faked her academic achievements (so did Bongbong, too). Whenever confronted about their family’s crimes, Imee perfunctority tells the Filipinos: “Move on.”

Against the Marcoses’ rehabilitation and whitewashing, against the current president’s desiring to be another Marcos, the CPP 2018 statement declares that theFilipino people “have no other recourse but to take revolutionary action and overthrow the ruling system and class rule of big bourgeois compradors, big landlords and bureaucrat capitalists.”

“Only by wielding revolutionary power—democratic people’s power—can they subject the biggest criminal and fascist oppressors to just punishment with full decisiveness and dispatch,” the CPP statement concludes. ###

#NeverAgain
#NeverForget

—–
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STATE TERRORISM ON THE PRETEXT OF ANTI-TERRORISM

in Statements
by Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant

27 February 2020

The Philippine Senate, now dominated by an overwhelming number of pro-Duterte senators as a result of the rigging of the 2019 mid-term elections, has approved Senate Bill 1083, otherwise known as the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, seeking to amend the Human Security Act of 2007.

The bill aims to legalize and aggravate the already rampant state terrorism of red tagging, arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings on the pretext of anti-terrorism. It is meant to further entrench the de facto fascist dictatorship of Duterte without need of any formal declaration of martial law as Marcos did in 1972.

Like the term subversion during the Cold War and martial rule under Marcos, terrorism is vaguely defined to make it a catch-all term for any concerted action or any common crime and for taking punitive measures against the broadest range of opposition, critics and social activists in violation of basic democratic rights and fundamental freedoms.

The bill seeks to penalize those presumed by the authorities to propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation, and facilitation of a “terrorist” act; as well as those presumed to provide material support to “terrorists”, and recruit members for a “terrorist” organization.

It enables the police or military personnel to arbitrarily place individuals and organizations under surveillance; compel telcos to divulge calls and messages; arrest these people without warrant, and detain them for an extended period up to 14 days.

It allows the preliminary proscription of suspected “terrorist” organizations prior to their being given an opportunity to be informed of the charge and avail of counsel and judicial review.

It lowers the standard for warrantless arrest and detention.

It removes from the Human Security Act of 2007 the compensation for persons wrongfully detained. Without any liability, the hounds of the state will violate human rights with impunity and on a wider scale than ever before.

Regional trial courts can outlaw individuals and organizations as “terrorists” on the mere say so of the regime, the police or military as well as upon the request of foreign or supra-national agencies. The imperialist masters will also benefit from the state terrorism of the Duterte puppet regime.

We can be certain that the regime and its military and police agents will engage in surveillance, warrantless arrests and arbitrary detention, cruel and disproportionate punishments, and violations of the right to freedom of association, free expression, right to privacy, mobility, and to due process.

The Lower House of Congress, also dominated by the pro-Duterte supermajority united by pork barrel corruption, is also in the process of passing a so-called anti-terrorism bill like that of the Senate. Such bill is synchronized with bills for changing the charter and extending the terms of elective government officials.

The Duterte regime and its followers know no limits in their escalation of the oppression and exploitation of the broad masses of the people. They are closing every possibility for peace negotiations with the NDFP.

They are inciting the people to wage all forms of resistance in defense of their national and democratic rights.

As did the Anti-Subversion law in the past, the current “anti-terrorist” legislation by the running dogs of Duterte in Congress will not deter the people’s revolutionary movement but will persuade more millions Filipinos to take the road of armed revolution in order to achieve their national and social liberation from the semicolonial and semifeudal conditions that have been made more intolerable than ever by the the tyranny of the Duterte regime. ###

#PHstateterror
#JunkTerrorBill
#OustDuterte

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Why the Marcoses’ comeback is more tragic than ‘Shame on you’

in Editorial

Forgive and forget. Move on. Really?

As years go by—after the Filipino people finally ousted the Marcos dictatorship in 1986—it gets better and better for the Marcoses. They haven’t returned the estimated $10-billion they stole while Ferdinand Marcos was dictator and tyrant, and Imelda Marcos and two of eldest children, Imee and Bongbong, have occupied various government posts.

With a huge war chest that can only grow bigger with time, they are being served by a platoon of lawyers, allies at various levels of reactionary government, PR people, false historians, and keyboard warriors, and most of all, by the same bureaucrat capitalist system that nurtured them in power.

It lets them amass wealth at the cost of thousands of lives and the Philippines’ genuine agricultural and industrial development. It helped to pluck them out of reach of People Power and allowed them to spend five years of lavish and loud exile in Hawaii. Upon their return, towing the embalmed body of their dictator patriarch, this system welcomed them back into the fold as they slowly carved back their fiefdom.

INCHING THEIR WAY BACK TO POWER

Imelda Marcos twice attempted to run for President—in 1992 when she lost and in 1998, when she withdrew from candidacy in the middle of the campaign. In between her two presidential bids, Imelda won a seat in Congress where she served as Leyte representative for three years from 1995 to 1998. In 2010, Imelda again won a seat in Congress, this time representing the province of Ilocos Norte.

Starting from their base at Ilocos Norte, the two elder Marcos siblings took turns being governor or Ilocos Norte Representative from 1992 to 1998. It was 24 years since dictator Marcos was ousted when Bongbong Marcos entered the Senate in 2010. It took longer for Imee Marcos to enter the national scene via a Senate seat in 2019.

It was only in Bongbong Marcos’s first stab at vice-presidency in 2016 that they tasted their first defeat in what some reports call their ‘spectacular comeback.’ Unaccustomed to setback, Bongbong lodged an electoral protest he can’t let go of even after three years.

Since their inglorious, forced exit in 1986, the family of deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos has now positioned itself back as close as possible to Malacañang.

But for Bongbong Marcos’s defeat at the 2016 national polls, he would have been just a heartbeat away from the presidency, a very real threat to the Filipino people considering Duterte’s illness. If Marcos Jr had “won” the vice-presidency, Duterte would have had added to his legacy the Marcoses’ total rehabilitation. As things stand now, two of the Marcos siblings are running among the pack that’s circling Malacañang.

The Marcoses is one big example of bureaucrat capitalism.

To this day articles are being written about how the dictator Marcos ‘smartly’ looted the national coffers, put up companies and seized stakes in strategic businesses, and how he ‘transformed’ the armed forces and the police to make it partisan and more corruptible than usual. US propped him up and let him use the state forces it had established, trained and armed for their own imperialist ends, facilitated by its favored local puppet. Marcos, their ‘son-of-a-bitch’ as then President Ronald Reagan said, only became a ‘problem’ to imperialist US when the people were protesting in millions. The local armed communist revolution was growing by leaps and bounds and had led the fight against the dictatorship and its imperialist master.

IT TAKES A CORRUPT SYSTEM TO REINSTATE THE MARCOSES

Marcos’ ouster will always be a historical triumph of the Filipino people’s collective power— both the armed and unarmed, those in the open and underground struggles. The ongoing turbo-charged rehabilitation of the Marcoses under Duterte, however, is as loud a reminder as we all can get that, no, the people cannot stop at just ousting the current, most abusive tyrant.

The system that breeds such ilk needs also to be smashed.

This system has proven to have merely continued the puppet presidency and imperialist domination of the country.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), in a statement issued in 2018 pinpointed that the “successive reactionary regimes failed miserably to address the clamor of the Filipino people for swift justice. Every ruling regime allowed the Marcoses to return stage by stage. None carried out a decisive act of justice fearing this will rouse demands for the same measures to be meted against them over the same crimes they themselves commit while in power.”

At the outset, Cory Aquino, responding to insistent public demand, established the PCGG (Phil. Commission on Good Governance) to go after the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth. But, her administration emasculated it by ordering it to seize nothing and work instead through the courts. This was of course peanuts for the dirty-moneyed Marcoses.

The US imperialist’s rescue of their once serviceable puppet continued even after the Marcoses returned to the Philippines. The US redacted transactions involving US organizations in their records. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) refused to disclose what they knew, reportedly prompting a veteran of PCGG to call the US and Marcoses “partners in theft.” The US likely has loads of damning information on the kleptocracy and rights abuses of the Marcoses. Not only does it enjoy control of the local state forces, it’s also been known to keep tabs on even its “allies,” according to a declassified report on the CIA’s eavesdropping on conversations of government leaders such as that of the Philippines.

With clues from the US and their latest puppet on how the Marcoses were to be cossetted since the late 80s, Marcos died in Hawaii without being punished by the Filipino people. His widow, Imelda, returned to the Philippines with her three adult children in 1992. She was greeted by an avalanche of graft cases. But with their political allies regaining government posts, she never had to worry about jail time or threats of warrants of arrest.

Imelda was convicted at least twice for graft, once in 1993 for a fraudulent land deal and in 2018 for illicit financial dealings with Switzerland-based NGO’s.

But she remains free to this day. In the 2018 conviction, under Duterte, she was asked to pay bail of only P300,000, despite the gravity of the case and the amount of what’s stolen. The conviction is turning out into a ploy to fasttrack the movement in the case.

After more than five administrations (including two Aquinos), more than 90 lawyers and personnel of PCGG at the increasingly frustrating trail of seeing signs of billions of hidden wealth, only to be whisked away before their eyes, and the precious precious length of time that’s gone by, the Marcoses still have much of the ill-gotten wealth. Some of it were divulged in the upheaval of disclosures regarding Panama papers, where the ultra rich keep their money away from taxes and prying eyes. By now it’s clear the graft cases against the Marcoses were only to placate the angry masses.

MARCOSES’ FINAL REHABILITATION UNDER A MARCOS CLONE

The might of people’s victory in the ouster of Marcos and the underlying desire for genuine democracy is such that it took the Marcoses more than three decades before bureaucrat capitalism can ease them into Malacañang as ‘honored’ guests.

The Marcoses managed to do it under another puppet president they supported as candidate, who publicly claims he idolizes Marcos, and who looks back at his father’s political career as one that had benefited from the Marcoses.

And, before we forget, a president who evidently wants to be another dictator and tyrant. He himself has reprised many Marcosian tactics.

Despite his anti-corruption posturing, Duterte early into his term stunned the nation in allowing Marcos’ frozen remains to be buried, after at least two postponements due to protests, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in November 2016. The most brazen of post-Edsa puppet presidents at helping the Marcoses, he nevertheless balked at having the requisite public pomp expected for a true heroes’ and former president’s burial. It took him a year before he set out again to glorify the Marcoses. The Philippine government commemorated Marcos in postage stamps.

Under Duterte the corruption cases against the Marcoses that dragged on for more than three decades are being thrown out one by one.

In August and October 2019 several ill-gotten wealth cases against the Marcoses, 27 to 31 years in court, were dismissed for lack of evidence from government lawyers, or for their failure to attend court hearings.

The bulk of their massive loot remain undisclosed to the people they stole it from. Estimates of what the PCGG managed to recover ran from just one to two billion dollars. The precious works of arts bought with stolen money inadvertently would show in Imeldific shots in her posh digs, but they always disappear when investigators come knocking. The money they extorted from coconut farmers were partially recovered but each succeeding administrations made it difficult for the coconut farmers and real owners of the fund to fully recover it.

PEOPLE MUST CLIP THE MARCOSES’ GREED: FROM ILOCOS NORTE TO MALACAÑANG

Looking thus at the Marcoses’ rehabilitation in power, it is not true that horrors repeat itself. It gets more horrendous in Part 2.

Unapologetic, flushed with their success, they are greedy for more.

They’re spoiled believing they can get away with it, again and again. They’re coming back to do more of the same on a vehicle much bigger and ratcheted up by their original loot, oiled by blood, sweat and tears of injustices to those they had oppressed, and covered by the same imperialist power that continues to lord over the country as long as their puppets dutifully run it to the ground for their businesses and military interests.

More than three decades since the world applauded the Filipino people’s uprising that booted out the Marcoses, these Marcoses have not been taken to account for the thousands of human rights violations and humanitarian crimes committed to maintain the dictatorship.

Now the maturing children, beneficiaries of dictator Marcos’ loot and network of allies and cronies, are out and about for another chance in Malacañang. They are intent as well in whitewashing their family’s crime, Imee Marcos chose the committee on culture in the Senate. Like father like daughter, she faked her academic achievement and when confronted about their family’s crimes, she tells the Filipinos to ‘Move on.”

Against the Marcoses’ rehabilitation and whitewashing, against presidents desiring to be another Marcos, the Filipino people “have no other recourse but to take revolutionary action and overthrow the ruling system and class rule of big bourgeois compradors, big landlords and bureaucrat capitalists. Only be wielding revolutionary power—democratic people’s power—can they subject the biggest criminal and fascist oppressors to just punishment with full decisiveness and dispatch,” the CPP said.###

#NeverAgain
#NeverForget

—–
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FAILING OPLANS: from Marcos to Duterte

in Editorial

Since 1981, when the Marcos dictatorship initiated Operational Plan (Oplan) Katatagan purportedly “to defend the state” (the besieged fascist regime) from the fast-growing New People’s Army (NPA), each succeeding administration has followed suit. This is understandable, since the planner-implementor of every Oplan has been the same military establishment habituated to martial-rule repressive action.The Oplans have had varying names. Yet all have been aimed at deterring the growth of or strategically defeating the NPA, to preserve the existing rotten ruling system.These were: Corazon C. Aquino’s Oplan Mamamayan and Oplan Lambat-Bitag I and II; Fidel Ramos’ Lambat-Bitag III and IV, and Oplans Makabayan and Balangay (which transitted into Joseph Estrada’s truncated presidency); Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya I and II; Benigno Aquino III’s Oplan Bayanihan; and Rodrigo Duterte’s Oplan Kapayapaan and Oplan Kapanatagan.While each succeeding administration adopted its predecessor’s operational concepts, it added new ones. But all such operational concepts were, invariably, copied from the counterinsurgency guide of the US Army. Although these may have worked for some time in America’s wars of aggression and intervention in different parts of the world, over the long run they have failed to achieve their prime objective: decisive military victory.Instead, these American wars—practically wars against the peoples of the countries they invaded, starting with the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century—have left behind countless deaths mostly of civilians, including children; pervasive human rights violations; displacements en masse of the population; and massive destruction of socio-economic resources requiring decades to recover.Similarly, albeit in smaller scale, these have been the dire impacts of the successive counterinsurgency Oplans on our people—since Marcos’ time to the present—in the undefined arenas of war across the archipelago, mostly in the countrysides and hinterlands.The current Oplan Kapanatagan started as Oplan Kapayapaan in January 2017. The latter was also dubbed as the AFP Development Support and Security Plan 2017-2022, which the Armed Forces off the Philippines (AFP) described as an advance from Aquino III’s Oplan Bayanihan. It adopted the latter’s “whole-of-nation” or “people-centered” approach. Oplan Bayanihan, the AFP bragged, resulted in getting 71 of the 76 (out of 86) provinces deemed to be “insurgency affected” declared as “insurgency free” and “peaceful and ready for further development.”The change to Kapanatagan stemmed from the AFP’s assessment that Oplan Kapayapaan was failing to achieve its targeted goal to defeat the NPA midway of Duterte’s six-year term of office.When first announced by AFP chief Gen. Benjamin Madrigal before the May 2019 midterm elections, it was billed as the AFP-PNP Joint Campaign Plan “Kapanatagan” 2018-2022. Madrigal described it as a “medium-term broad plan that shall guide the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) in providing guidelines and delineation of authority while performing their mandated tasks to promote peace, ensure security, and support the overall development initiatives of the government towards inclusive growth.” It is anchored, he added, on the national strategic guidance defined in the National Vision, National Security Policy, Philippine Development Plan, National Peace and Development Agenda, and the 2018 Department of National Defence (DND) Guidance and Policy Thrusts.“The respective strategic thrusts of the AFP and PNP were thus harmonized in this Joint Campaign Plan “Kapanatagan” 2018-2022,” Madrigal said. He called it “a dynamic process to establish greater inter-operability in our continuing operations to address security concerns within our respective areas of concern, including all other productive endeavors wherein we join hands in support of national government initiatives as envisioned by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.”Specifically, Madrigal cited two “salient features” of Campaign Plan Kapanatagan: 1) The PNP shall support the AFP in combat operations involving the suppression of insurgency and other serious threats to national security; and 2) The PNP shall take the lead role in law-enforcement operations against criminal syndicates and private armed groups, with the active support of the AFP.”It was in the Cordillera region where the AFP and PNP first “rolled out” Oplan Kapanatagan, after the May midterm elections. Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat then said: “Because of the effort of the AFP and PNP in preventing violence and any actions of the local terrorist groups in the Cordillera region, we assure that the AFP and PNP will continue to work together through Joint Kapanatagan Cordillera.”He emphasized that the AFP-PNP would carry out “joint actions and plans to ensure a more collaborative effort to address the peace and security concerns, especially in those geographic isolated areas” (the guerrilla zones) in Cordillera. He expressed hope that the local government units and other “partner agencies” would collaborate to ensure implementation of Executive Order 70 and the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) it created, headed by Duterte.Gen. Salamat disclosed that at a “national convergence” meeting in Malacañang, all those working under NTF-ELCAC had put all efforts “to come up with a cluster of responses” on the different issues, including “issues that have been exploited by the local terrorist groups” so that the government can respond to them.And how has the government responded through NTF-ELCAC and Oplan Kapanatagan?Recently, the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF-National Democratic Front of the Philippines) issued a primer on this two-in-one counterinsurgency plan, titled “Disturbance and Plunder by the State Against the People.” Among others, it points out the following:R(egional)TF-ELCAC Cordillera was formed in July 2019, followed by P(rovincial)TF-ELCAC Mt. Province in September. In the last three months of the year municipal-and barangay-level TFs are targeted to be formed.In September, Nolcom launched military operations in various parts of the Cordillera and Ilocos regions, side-by-side with these joint campaigns by the AFP and PNP: disinfomation, surveillance, psychological war (disseminating false information that the NPA had planted land mines in the mountain areas of Bauko, Tadian, and Sagada towns in Mt. Province); forcible entry into civilian homes purportedly to “collect” firearms kept for the NPA in the communities of Besao town; threat and pressure used on residents summoned to pulong masa to sign up on a memorandum of agreement with the AFP-PNP and a declaration of the CPP-NPA as “persona non grata”; holding seminars and symposia on Duterte’s “war on drugs”; and delivery of “services”, “relief and rehabilitation”, among others.The AFP-PNP also set up detachments within three communities of Besao and one in Sagada, in violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). (In the National Capital Region, through Implan/Oplan Kalasag, the NCR version of Oplan Katatagan, the AFP-PNP tandem has also set up detachments in some communities in Caloocan City. Uniformed armed teams engage in red-tagging, harassment, intimidation, while others offer “livelihood programs” to identified leaders and members of progressive organizations).CPDF also says the implementation of Oplan Katatagan and NTF-ELCAC in the region aims to facilitate the entry of energy and mining projects by foreign-local joint ventures that threaten the ecology, and violate the Cordillera people’s right to their ancestral lands. It named the following: Bimaka Renewable Energy Devt. Corp., Hydroelectric Dev’t Corp., Chico River Pump Irrigation Project by China’s CAMC Engineering, Aragorn Power Energy Corp., and Cordillera Exploration Co. Inc.-Nickel Asia of Japan.In sum, CPDF denounces the two-in-one campaign as designed to “pacify and press the people to obey the dictates of the reactionary state.” It calls on the Cordillera people to assert their rights, oppose the campaign through various means, and expose the true intent of the campaign: to crush the just struggle of the oppressed masses.It’s useful to note that, in 1981 the Marcos dictatorship already employed thru Oplan Katatagan the full force of the AFP, the police and paramilitary forces, its “development agencies”, and some civilian organizations. Duterte’s Oplan Kapanatagan and NTF-ELCAC—backed up by extended martial law in Mindanao and state of national emergency in other areas of the country—can be correctly described as an “Enhanced Oplan Katatagan.” Note further: the Oplan failed—in 1986 the people ousted Marcos.#FightTyranny
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