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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!
Long live proletarian internationalism and anti-imperialist solidarity of peoples!

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#ServeThePeople
#HanggangSaTagumpay
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#JoinTheParty
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#Padayon2020

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THE TYRANT DENIES THE PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO JUST AND LASTING PEACE

in Countercurrent

 

by Leon Castro

Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) President Rodrigo Duterte announced last August 14 that he has terminated the peace process with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). It came weeks after he, his spokesperson, and his peace adviser separately declared again suspending the peace negotiations. There was a need, the GRP said, to review the achievements of the GRP-NDFP peace talks, including all agreements between both parties since 1992 when The Hagu e Joint Declaration was signed.

“I have terminated the talks with the Reds—with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), with Sison—because in the series of agreements before, even [during] the time of [GRP President Benigno] Aquino, they entered into so many things that they scattered the privileges and power which they wanted,” Duterte said in his usual rambling way. We summed it all and it would really appear that it was a coalition government [they wanted] and I said, “I cannot give you an inch of that even. I cannot give you what is not mine,” Duterte added.

Duterte went on to declare yet again that his government would instead resume the fight against the revolutionary movement. “We have suffered and—in numbers. And I think it would not be good [to continue with the peace process]. We will just have to continue fighting,” he added.

Duterte’s latest announcement of the termination of the peace process is actually nonnews, NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison said. Sison explained it was not the first time Duterte terminated the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. The first time was actually in February 2017, as he again did on November 2017 with his Proclamation 360 that he followed with Proclamation 374 accusing the CPP and the New People’s Army (NPA) as “terrorist” organizations. Sison said Duterte’s proclamations had the malicious intent of making doubly sure that he had killed the peace negotiations.

Either Duterte was lying or ignorant of what he was saying. There had only been one formal round of talks throughout the Aquino regime and the agreements signed in The Oslo Joint Statement of February 2011 the reactionary government tried to abrogate with full malevolent intent. In addition, Prof. Sison had repeatedly denied the NDFP asked or wanted a coalition government with Duterte’s own murderous regime.

But beyond Duterte’s unfounded accusations that the NPA—and not his bloodthirsty military and police—is on a rampage in both rural and urban areas, the question of why is he bent on throwing away the substantial gains achieved by the peace negotiations with the NDFP begs to be asked. If he claims his regime is suffering from the attacks by the NPA, why would he think that to continue fighting with the revolutionary army is the best and only solution? If he still claims he is for peace and development, why can he not admit that agrarian reform and national industrialization—prospective agreements of which are already submitted to him by his own peace negotiators for approval—are tangible efforts to addressing the roots of the armed conflict?

TYRANT AND DICTATOR

GRP President Duterte has completely unmasked himself and his regime as a tyrant and dictator in the mold of Ferdinand Marcos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Duterte made a complete turnaround from proclaiming himself as the country’s first “leftist” president to being the chief executive of a cabal that rules through terror, tyranny, and corruption. His Senate is presided by, like him, a misogynist. His Speaker of the House of Representatives—manouvered into place by his daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte—is herself a tyrant, cheat, plunderer and human rights violator of the worst kind. He has replaced the Supreme Court Chief Justice with one who has voted to bury Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Members of his own personal and official families are involved in smuggling, graft and corruption, and influence-peddling. They have lifestyles that could rival Imelda Marcos’s. Recently, investigative reports have shown that Christopher “Bong” Go has profited billions in government contracts as his most trusted assistant and operator.

The number of extrajudicial killing victims of Duterte’s drug war, mostly poor, has breached 20,000. The reign of terror remains unabated despite increasing opposition and condemnation in the Philippines and abroad. Despite all these deaths, Duterte’s so-called war has only succeeded in allowing tons of illegal drugs into the country while bigtime drug lords, including presidential son and Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, remain at large or are being exonerated publicly by no less that Duterte himself.

Like his idols Marcos and Arroyo, Duterte is succeeding in running the country’s economy to the ground. From the get-go, Duterte’s anti-people Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) measure caused inflation rates that overtook so-called growth rates and hit 6.4 percent last August. While the Philippine Peso lingers at around P53 to P54 to the US dollar, hot money from the speculative market is leaving the country, making the Philippines one of the worst performing economies in the world. The country’s foreign debt has also increased dramatically under Duterte and has gone beyond P7 trillion. As a result of all these, oil prices and prices of basic commodities have drastically gone up and continued to do so, angering more and more Filipinos. Duterte’s approval rating has also consistently taken a dive since the start of the year, one that could no longer be fixed by his totally discredited propaganda machine.

Meanwhile, poverty alleviation measures promised by Duterte the presidential candidate and Duterte the newly-installed president were exposed to be nothing but hot air and lies. Labor contractualization remains the main mode of employment for workers while genuine agrarian reform is still a dream under his regime.

But are these developments really surprising, more so that no one among the NDFP-nominated progressives remained in Duterte’s Cabinet while the most reactionary disciples of neo-liberalization are still well-entrenched? Barely a year after progressives were rejected by the Commission on Appointments, corrupt practices have returned with a vengeance at the Department of Social Work and Development at the behest of corrupt politicians across the street at the House of Representatives. At the Department of Agrarian Reform, more and more agricultural lands are being handed to landlords and land grabbers. And more than a year after the National Anti-Poverty Commission has published a progressive anti-poverty roadmap, not a single recommendation is being implemented.

In the absence of honest to goodness pro-people policies and programs by the Duterte government, the NDFP-GRP peace process was among the very few avenues for genuine social change. Alas, Duterte is determined to deny the people their right to just and lasting peace.

NATIONAL INDUSTRIALIZATION AND AGRARIAN REFORM

Last June 16, the NDFP released backchannel documents it crafted with the GRP Negotiating Panel. The documents represented weeks of hard work not just by the NDFP and its consultants and resource persons but the GRP Negotiating Panel, advisers and staff, not to mention the Third Party Facilitator, The Royal Norwegian Government. These consisted of The Stand-Down Agreement; Guidelines and Procedures towards an Interim Peace Agreement, and the Resumption of Talks, with an attached timetable; The Initialled Interim Peace Agreement; and, The NDFP Proposed Draft of the Amnesty Proclamation, which was given to the GRP and the Third Party Facilitator. These documents were all ready for approval by both panels on the fifth round of formal talks last June 28. Four rounds of informal talks throughout April to June 2018 preceded the scheduled formal in June.

The “Stand Down Agreement”—a temporary cessation of hostilities—between the NDFP and the GRP, was in fact signed and approved by the chairpersons of the negotiating panels and witnessed by the Third Party Facilitator. It was due for announcement and implementation on June 21, a week before the formal talks.

The GRP-NDFP peace negotiation has been postponed, canceled, and terminated by Duterte several times. Duterte thinks nothing of the hard work by everyone involved in crafting agreements already hailed as real solutions to the worst evils of Philippine society: poverty, corruption, and subservience to foreign interests. Instead of signing the initialed drafts of agrarian reform and rural development, as well as national industrialization and economic development agreements, he listened to militarists in his regime—especially defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana, national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon, and interior and local government and interior secretary Eduardo Año—who were all bred during the last years of Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law and wantonly let loose upon the people during Gloria Arroyo’s own reign of terror. With bloodthirsty officials like these three as his most trusted hatchet men, is it surprising that Duterte’s way of addressing the roots of the armed conflict in this country is heightened fascism and terrorism?

The NDFP and all its allied revolutionary organizations, led by the CPP and the NPA, on the other hand, said they condemn how Duterte waylaid the peace process. While they are not intimidated by Duterte’s bluster and threats and are ready to continue defending the Filipino people, they have expressed willingness to resume peace negotiations with any reactionary government serious in negotiating basic reforms that address the roots of the armed conflict. The NDFP said it is hopeful that a genuine peace negotiation shall contribute to the liberation of the Filipino people from the bondage of poverty, neglect and plunder by foreign and local ruling elite.

Perhaps Duterte is not ready to admit the NDFP’s seriousness and sincerity in negotiating peace. Perhaps he was surprised when he was shown by his own negotiating panel that the NDFP has initialed national industrialization and economic development as well as agrarian reform and rural development draft agreements. Perhaps he himself was not ready to implement peace even when the NDFP publicly announced it is ready to sign a stand down agreement between the NPA and the AFP and PNP, even an interim peace agreement deal. Perhaps Duterte was not really sincere when he promised he would release all political prisoners. Whatever the case may be, his repeated pronouncements to terminate the negotiations defy logic if he really wanted peace.

The question begs to be asked and asked loudly, “Why is Duterte afraid of peace?”

But, then again, is peace possible with a tyrant?

Mindlessly Mishandling the GRP-NDFP Peace Negotiations

in Mainstream
by Leon Castro

Like a poker game that he plays all by himself, whimsically rigging the rules, is how Rodrigo R. Duterte now apparently treats the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. He has mindlessly cast aside all the hard work that both his government’s negotiating panel and that of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) have painstakingly undertaken.

Twice did Duterte arbitrarily cancel the fifth round of formal negotiations, in May and August 2017. But in both instances (as he had done earlier) he subsequently resorted to back-channel talks and agreed to continue the negotiations.

Up till the last minute, all looked rosy for the peace talks. In two discreet back-channel discussions in October and early November—to which Duterte had given explicit go-signal—the GRP and NDFP panels worked furiously to hammer out three draft documents. They had agreed, at the minimum, to refine and initial the documents at the fifth round and, at the maximum, to finalize and sign them at the sixth round in early 2018. The heads and members of both panels were already in Oslo, Norway, when Duterte’s order to cancel the talks came.

The three draft documents were: a draft agreement on agrarian reform and rural development and on national industrialization and economic development (the prime aspects of a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms or CASER); a draft Coordinated Unilateral Ceasefire Agreement; and a draft General Amnesty for political prisoners.

Had the fifth round of formal negotiations proceeded and achieved its set objectives, 2017 would have ended with high hopes for continuing peace negotiations. And the Duterte government would have looked good in the eyes of the Filipino people.

Hundreds of hours of meetings cum negotiations by the Reciprocal Working Committees for Social and Economic Reforms (RWCs-SER) went into the drafting of the first document, which could have accelerated the entire peace process towards addressing the root causes of the nearly 50 years of armed conflict and attaining just and lasting peace in the country.

Common agrarian reform and national industrialization drafts

Over seven months of peace talks with four formal rounds of negotiations, the NDFP and the GRP panels were able to forge ahead in crafting common drafts for agrarian reform and rural development and for national industrialization and economic development. They held bilateral meetings during the second, third and fourth rounds—in Oslo, Norway (October 7-8, 2016); Rome, Italy (January 22-24, 2017); and Nordwijk an Zee, The Netherlands (April 4-5, 2017), respectively. In addition, there were no less than 10 bilateral meetings in the Philippines and abroad by the NDFP and GRP RWCs-SER between April 25 and November 17 last year.

On agrarian reform and national industrialization, there were nine sections in the common draft signed in Manila by the RWCs last November 20 and witnessed by the Royal Norwegian Government third party facilitator. These are:

Free distribution of land to tillers, farmers, farmworkers and fisherfolks and writing off of the arrears in amortization payments by earlier land reform beneficiaries;

The agreement includes coverage of plantations and large-scale commercial farms with leasehold, joint venture, non-land transfer schemes (e.g. stock distribution option);

  • Immediate and expedited installation of farmer beneficiaries;
  • Implementation of agrarian support services on production, harvest, post-harvest, insurance, credit and free irrigation;
  • Elimination of exploitative lending and trading practices;
  • Fisheries and aquatic resources reforms;
  • National land and water use policy aligned with agrarian reform;
  • Develop rural industries and domestic science and technology; and
  • Building of rural infrastructure, such as irrigation, post-harvest, transport, communication, power facilities.

Signed on the same day, the NDFP and the GRP RWCs common draft on national industrialization listed 10 agreed-on sections, as follows

  1. Use of the term “national industrialization”;
  2. Explicit mention of economic planning;
  3. Development of specific industries, industrial sectors, and industrial projects;
  4. Nationalization of public utilities and mining;
  5. “Filipinization” of minerals processing and trade;
  6. Regulation of foreign investment;
  7. State intervention and regulation;
  8. Creation of workers’ councils;
  9. Breaking foreign monopoly control of industrial technologies; and
  10. Financing through higher taxes on the rich and lower on poor, as well as revenues from gambling, luxury goods, tobacco/alcohol, and tariffs. The parties also agreed to set up an industrial investment fund.

The agrarian reform and rural development and the national industrialization and economic development accords, are parts of the prospective Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) Part III, under the title Developing the National Economy. These are mutually acknowledged by the NDFP and the GRP as the most important aspects of the peace negotiations. When finally approved by the principals and implemented, they are expected to alleviate poverty and inequality in the country—addressing the root causes of the armed conflict.

From both sub-agreements, the social and economic reform negotiations are expected to move on to the next issues, which are environmental protection, rehabilitation and compensation. The other parts of the CASER agenda include the following:

Part IV. Upholding people’s rights 
A. Rights of the working people
B. Promoting patriotic, progressive and pro-people culture
C. Recognition of ancestral lands and territories of national minorities

Part V. Economic sovereignty for national development 
A. Foreign economic & trade relations
B. Financial, monetary & fiscal policies
C. Social & economic planning

Part VI. Overall implementing mechanism

Part VII. Final provisions

Negotiations on the above issues are expected to be easier and faster, compared with those on agrarian reform and national industrialization which are deemed to be the hardest part of the entire negotiations.

Volatile GRP president

Apparently, all it took for Duterte to mindlessly cast aside these great achievements of the negotiations was his seeing on television militant activists protesting US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Philippines for the Asean summit last November. Were imagined personal slights arising from such protest action against one he probably considered a soul mate, more important to him than assiduously working to achieve peace?

Not long after seeing ASEAN protest videos on television, Duterte ordered his negotiators to cancel “all planned meetings with the CPP/NPA/NDFP.” Subsequently, he issued Proclamation 360 (November 23) terminating the GRP-NDFP peace talks. This was followed by Proclamation 374 (December 5) declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as “terrorist organizations” under both the Human Security Act of 2007 (RA 9373) and the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 (RA 10168).

Under the law, the proscription of the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations doesn’t instantly take effect. The government needs to first file a petition with a Regional Trial Court to proclaim the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations, which petition will have to undergo hearings before the court can issue a ruling. Yet Duterte’s proclamation and his military minions’ relentless campaign to slander the revolutionary organizations have opened the gates to more human rights violations, as happened in his notorious Oplan Tokhang against suspected drug users and peddlers.

His ordering the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the reactionary government’s intelligence branches to arbitrarily list down suspected officers and members of underground revolutionary organizations and of their alleged aboveground “fronts” can only be interpreted as orders for increased intimidation, abduction, torture and murder of legal democratic activists and other civilians.

In the latter part of 2017, Duterte did these things that expose himself as a fraud and a liar disinterested in peace as well as a tyrant in the exact mold of his idol Ferdinand Marcos.

NDFP determined to fight for just peace

Duterte’s lies and slander against revolutionary organizations, however, failed to gain traction among the Filipino people. The people have become aware of and disgusted over Duterte’s mass murder of suspected drug users and peddlers. More and more have also wisened up to his obvious subservience to capitalist and foreign interests, plunder of the environment, attacks against peasant and national minority communities, and his own family’s connections with underworld groups. And his lies against the revolutionary forces are increasingly being dismissed as hot flashes of a drug-addled mind.

NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison has remarked that the US-directed Duterte regime is daydreaming that it can discredit and destroy the sovereign revolutionary will of the Filipino people by proscribing the revolutionary forces as terrorist organizations, by requiring them to submit themselves to the sham processes of the reactionary state, and by unleashing gross and systematic crimes of terrorism and human rights violations.

The Filipino people and the revolutionary forces, he said, are determined to fight for national and social liberation, people´s democracy, economic development, cultural progress and just peace.

While the Duterte fascist regime may have terminated the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, Sison pointed out, “it cannot be too sure that it will last long [in power] because the Filipino people and even those in the GRP detest the monstrous crimes of the regime, especially mass murder, corruption and puppetry to the US.” The crisis of the ruling system continues to worsen and the resources of the regime for violence and deception are limited.

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