Tag archive

rodrigo duterte

AFP Sings Old Tune

in Countercurrent

For five decades now, the reactionary state and its armed forces have been singing the song, “It’s Now or Never,” popularized by The Platters band in the 1950’s. They belt it out in an attempt, at first, to nip in the bud the CPP-NPA-NDF, later to “decapitate” the revolutionary organizations and push the rebels to surrender through various counterinsurgency oplans.

Marcos used this tactic. And so did all the succeeding regimes that took their turns with the “restoration” of elite democracy in the country.

Through the years the pattern has been the same: Employ force and deception, carrot and stick; guns and bullets, artillery and bombs; and the lure of financial and material rewards. Fifty years have passed and yet the tactic has repeatedly failed.

What makes Duterte think he can make it work this time around? He blew his chance when he recklessly abandoned the GRP-NDFP peace talks and instead issued the order: Kill, kill, kill.

E-CLIP Briefer: it’s all about money, money

in Countercurrent

The Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) took off from the Comprehensive Local and Integration Program (CLIP) of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) and the PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan-Peaceful and Resilient communities) program of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). The two programs were centralized under the Task Force Balik Loob, through Administrative Order 10 issued on April 3, 2018 by President Duterte. The consolidated program was renamed (how else?) E-CLIP.

On May 31, 2018, the Defense Department released a seven-paged Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR). It was jointly signed by DND chief Delfin Lorenzana, National Housing Authority (NHA) General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr., then OPAPP head Jesus Dureza, and retired police general Nelson Estarez of Office of the President (OP).

Heading the Task Force Balik-Loob is DND Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu. Aside from the DND, among the lead agencies are the DILG, OPAPP, OP, and the NHA, with the rest of the Executive departments as members.

The Task Force claims it shall pursue a “comprehensive, integrated, community-based national program” that will be implemented in the local areas to address twin objectives: secure the legal status and security of former rebels; and take care of the former rebels’ economic and social needs and psychological rehabilitation.

These objectives, according to the IRR, shall be carried out through the CLIP and PAMANA programs. E-CLIP committees shall be organized in the provinces and highly urbanized cities.

Before the two programs were integrated, the CLIP under the DILG claimed to have spent Php 101.67 million as of January 2017 to assist 1,573 “former rebels” (or Php 65,000 per “rebel returnee”). The Php 65,000 is broken down into: Php 15,000 for immediate assistance while the “former rebel’s” enrollment to CLIP is processed, and Php 50,000 livelihood assistance once enrolled.

This does not include, the DILG said, rewards for surrendered guns, if there are any. In Davao City the president’s daughter, Mayor Sara Duterte, gave away an initial Php 20,000 and Php 50,000 for every low-powered firearm and high-powered firearm, respectively.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) unit or the local government unit that processes said enrollment receives Php 7,000 assistance, supposedly for the “board and lodging” of the “surrenderees”. Based on the 1,573 “former rebels” processed as of January 2017, at least some Php11 million of the budget went to the PNP and/or the local government unit.

Numbers don’t add up

Noticeably, under the Enhanced CLIP, the increase in the budget allocation went to the PNP and/or the local government unit handling the “rebel returnees’s” board and lodging. From Php 7,000, it was raised to Php 21,000 per police unit or LGU. The Php 65,000 budget per “surrenderee” remains the same.

In several news reports, DILG chief Gen. Eduardo Año boasted that in 2018 some Php 488 million have been downloaded nationwide to build halfway houses for the “rebel returnees”, to build the capacity of agencies involved in the program, and to support military and police units handling the “returnees”. The NHA was also said to have spent Php 450,000 for the construction of settlement houses of the “returnees”.

For 2019, Año said he would allocate another Php 250 million for the E-CLIP, “in anticipation of the “influx” of NPA members who presumably would want to surrender.

If approved in the bicameral conference committee deliberating the 2019 budget, the DND would get a separate allocation of Php 48.766 billion also for E-CLIP and the Task Force Balik-Loob.

For its part, the OPAPP has been seeking an increased budget for the PAMANA program since 2016: from Php 700 million in 2016 to Php 8 billion for 2017. And the Php 5.8-billion actual allocation in 2018 is planned to zoom to Php 30.216 billion for 2019.

The PAMANA project, according to the OPAPP website, “aims to extend development interventions to isolated, hard-to-reach, conflict-affected communities.” This would be done through road projects and delivery of social services that would be carried out by various government line agencies.

That the OPAPP had been involved in various corruption issues even during the time of Pres. Noynoy Aquino has recently been exposed. At that time, OPAPP got more than Php 2 billion from the corruption-reeking Disbursement Acceleration Program.

Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza resigned in November 2018 after President Duterte fired the OPPAP undersecretary for support services and PAMANA national program manager, Ronald Flores, and his assistant secretary for support services and PAMANA concerns, Yeshtern Baccay. Both officials were accused of corruption, and Dureza assumed command responsibility for their misdeeds.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education has raised concern that the Php 36-billion cut in its 2019 budget, initiated by the House of Representatives, would affect its scholarship programs, including those offered to the children of “rebel returnees”. While the government kept drumbeating state support and services for the “surrenderees” in 2018, the scholarship program was not implemented simply because there was no budgetary allocation.

Indeed, the campaign to lure rebels “into the fold of the law” and the mock “influx” of alleged surrenderees are designed to fatten the bureaucrats’ pocket. What gives away the money-making scheme is this: the government’s actual spending and the reported number of “surrenderees” don’t add up.

CRACKS ON THE WALL

in Editorial/Gallery

As Duterte’s topsy-turvy and tyrannical rule pushes on everything is in the red: declining economy, blood of Tokhang and EJK victims, quarrels within their ranks, and the pockets of corrupt officials and druglords.

#FightTyranny
#StruggleAmidFascism
#OctoberRage

Rehabilitating the Enemies of the People

in Countercurrent
by Vida Gracias

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s power grab on the Speakership of the House of Representatives that stalled Duterte’s delivery of his third state-of-the-nation address on July 23 has highlighted the collusion between the Duterte regime, on one hand, and the Marcos and Arroyo political cliques, on the other. While this turn of event may seem to strengthen and consolidate Duterte’s political clout, in the long term it could loosen his grip on power and hasten his doom.

Ferdinand E. Marcos’ fascist and plunderous dictatorship and Arroyo’s corruption-and-brutality ridden regime that attempted to replicate Marcos’ type of rule were, in their respective times, the nation’s most-hated governments – and Ferdinand and Gloria, deemed as enemies of the people. But President Rodrigo Duterte has taken it upon himself to resurrect and rehabilitate these enemies of the people and restore them (in Marcos’ case, his heirs) to power. This is not at all surprising, given that Duterte has one thing in common with them: an obsession for dictatorship.

Arroyo is a professed ally and confidant of Duterte, and vice-versa. The relationship goes a long way back when Duterte was still mayor of Davao City. A number of Arroyo’s trusted men played important roles in Duterte’s presidential campaign. Duterte was so in awe of Arroyo as an economist and hard-driving chief executive that he put in his cabinet her key people to head his economic and security clusters.

Charged with plunder and other cases after she ended her nine-year presidency, Arroyo parlayed her allegedly serious medical condition and her network of appointees in the judiciary to have herself placed in hospital arrest, then get the case against her dropped. She ran and won the congressional seat previously held by her son, and plotted her rise to power.

But the brazen way in which she became Speaker of the House, which startled even Duterte and almost had him walking out of his SONA, should be fair warning. Arroyo is notorious for her betrayals—talking to the military generals against President Joseph Estrada even before his ouster, lying to the nation that she wouldn’t run for president, and stealing the elections from Fernando Poe, Jr. (via the“Hello Garci” scandal). Thus, staging a coup against former speaker and PDP-Laban partymate Pantaleon Alvarez was, to her, peanuts.

Even before he launched his belated presidential bid, Duterte had been vocal about his love for and idolization of Marcos and his dictatorial ways (hailing Marcos as the country’s “best president”). Amid the nation’s protests, and publicly flaunting that he was merely fufilling a promise he had made to the Marcoses, Duterte authorized the burial of the late dictator’s preserved body in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, with pomp and rites as a “hero”. He also allegedly made a deal with the Marcoses, though he denied it, to have their purloined wealth brought back to the country.

This was “utang na loob” in full display: during martial law, the dictator Marcos rewarded Duterte’s father Vicente with a cabinet post and the governorship of the then sprawling single province of Davao. Marcos’s elder daughter Imee was one of only three provincial governors who openly supported Duterte, shelling out considerable sums for his campaign. More importantly, she delivered the votes of the Solid North to help Duterte win.

Duterte has also been doing everything he can to help Ferdinand Jr. (Bongbong) to wrestle the vice-presidency from Leni Robredo, through a protest filed before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (constituting of all the Supreme Court justices). From day one, Duterte has sought to humiliate, belittle and demean Vice President Robredo, whom BongBong claimed narrowly won over him by cheating.

True, the Marcoses, particularly Imee, supported Arroyo’s power grab. But only in so far as this would also cause the downfall of her arch-enemy in the House of Representatives, former majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte, who hounded Imee with investigations regarding the misuse of the tobacco excise tax in their province.

In retrospect, the Marcoses and the Arroyos have an ax to grind against each other. Former President Diosdado Macapagal, Arroyo’s father, reneged on his promise to make Ferdinand Marcos the presidential standard bearer of the Liberal Party in the early sixties (Marcos switched party, became the Nacionalista Party presidential candidate and defeated the reelectionist Macapagal). Later, after he declared martial law in 1972, Marcos harassed and threatened to arrest Macapagal.

It was Sara Duterte, the President’s daughter, who markedly brought the Arroyos and Marcoses together, via her regional party Hugpong, in a common bid to demolish the ruling PDP-Laban party (which put up Duterte as presidential candidate) and strengthen their respective political turfs. Their collusion is highlighted at the moment. However, the emerging realignment of largely traditional and dynastic political forces, could give the Marcoses and the Arroyos more elbow room to undercut the power of President Duterte while consolidating their own in the coming days.

Already, Duterte’s draft charter change proposal for a shift to a federal system of government has come under fire from Arroyo’s minions in the Cabinet such as Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, and Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana. It is going to be a fiscal nightmare, they chorused. Government is not prepared for it, they said. While Arroyo did push for charter change during her extended term, she batted for a parliamentary system, not a federal one. She wanted to sit as Prime Minister with full powers to again rule the entire nation.

As for the Marcoses, they are not as eager as Duterte’s DDS to promote federalism, as they dream of getting back in Malacañang under the present unitary system. Imee is aiming to be senator while her brother Bongbong is intent on winning the electoral protest for vice president. Federalism will shoot down their ambitions. And should Duterte renege on any of his promises or deals, they can still wield the power of their stolen wealth and political bailiwick to make things difficult for him.

In a recent statement, the Communist Party of the Philippines hit the nail on its head by saying that “the Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos alliance is an uneasy one.” The CPP sees this alliance as a clear indication of the worsening state of the ruling system. “The ruling regime,” the party said, “now represents the starkest icons of fascism, corruption and puppetry,” adding, “it further boosts the anti-Duterte united front.”

Apart from his own sins against the people, Duterte’s maintaining such alliance shall make him jointly accountable for the plague of abuses and crimes that the resurrected Marcoses and Arroyo could inflict anew upon this nation. That said, the people’s progressive and revolutionary movements will have to make sure that when they drive Duterte out of power, the Marcoses and Arroyo shall be dumped along with him. They all must face the wrath of the people.

1 2 3
Go to Top