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rodrigo duterte

Two Things on Trump and Duterte (A postscript on Trump and a warning on Duterte)

in Countercurrent
Make Trump Leave in Disgrace and Make Him Pay for His Crimes

Finally, Trump has stepped down after he lost his reelection bid and then got impeached, twice. But not without showing the Filipinos the other side of him which Duterte obviously likes to do as well. That is, cling to power as much as possible, no matter how his means become increasingly shameless and despicable, not to mention tyrannical.

  1. US President Donald Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte share a lot of similar traits. The two come off as brash and arrogant, chauvinistic, hawkish, and unscientific. Both have frequently been fact-checked as espousing fake claims or outright lies.
  2. But what Duterte doesn’t have are warm bodies coming out in droves to join violent demonstrations to proclaim support for him, even with support of police and military. Not that the Duterte ruling clique has not tried hard to organize marches and gatherings supporting his rule in the past. There were rallies by the progressives in the past which Duterte countered with their own “rallyists”. Of late his minions are even instigating parents to control their children and malign activists. But, not only did they start fewer, in time they also dwindled in number. From the start he had hordes of Dutertards and DDS. Now, what’s left praising him are his paid trolls and departments eschewing fake news, fake photos, fake NPA surrenderers.
READ: The Diabolical Formula of Duterte in the Use of Violence and Deception

With his clique’s epic failure of response to COVID 19 pandemic, and with the record misery of the people as his rule only worsened the chronic crisis of the semifeudal, semicolonial system, his vaunted popularity and support has become more questionable. Duterte does not have the voluntary and wholehearted support of the masses.

Strengthen the Party! Lead the Masses in an Upsurge of Resistance to Overthrow the US-Duterte Fascist Regime! Carry the Revolution Forward!

Filipinos are valiantly striving to withstand Duterte clique’s bid to extend his term beyond 2022 by, among others:

  • Opposing charter change

Duterte has tried to pass charter change since his first year in power, when he was still popular and his “federalism” was being sold as the answer to whatever questions. His efforts to pass Cha-cha repeatedly met defeat in the face of strong public criticisms. The Filipino people reject Cha-cha as it will not only further keep the Philippine economy in its backward, non-industrial and agrarian state, but also because it is a blatant move to extend the term of the current elected officials, majority of them Duterte supporters.

READ: Resist Attempts to Railroad ChaCha to Serve Extension of Duterte Political Dynasty
  • Upholding rights to speak and protest, call out wrongdoings, and demand changes

To conjure mass support to his rule, the US-China puppet Duterte regime has embarked on virulent red-tagging, baseless accusations of terrorism and other slander of legitimate activism, media reporting, and actions for reforms and meaningful social changes. The regime tries hard to misrepresent critics, activists, and revolutionaries as the problem to evade responsibility for causing the intensified exploitation of this country’s people and resources for the profits of a few.

READ | Duterte Regime: A Propaganda War with Dire Consequences

The people responded with campaigns to defund and abolish their lie manufacturing machines (NTF-ELCAC, presidential communication office). The people’s campaign against red-tagging and terror-listing continues to gain support.

  • Defending, supporting nationalist and progressive politicians, partylist groups

In Congress the progressive party list groups under the Makabayan coalition comprise the only group with proven record at internalizing public service, transparency, and zero corruption. They call for land reform, national industrialization, people’s mining regulation, improvement of social services. They oppose pork barrel, regressive taxation, and US and Chinese military basing in the Philippines. Yet, they are continually slandered by the Duterte ruling clique, their members and campaigners harassed or gunned down. Despite these and amid indications of automated poll cheating, the people’s support to their progressive party list groups succeeded to still bring some of them in Congress.

  • Fighting US-Duterte regimes’ de-facto Martial Law

Duterte’s rule clearly favored his oligarchs and US and Chinese imperialist masters, exploiting and oppressing the Filipino masses who suffer worse poverty as a result. As with preceding bureaucrat capitalists, his rule inevitably veered toward meeting people’s disenchantment and disgust. As such, since 2017, the Duterte regime has tried hard to impose martial law—to continue pushing for neoliberal policies, to perpetuate his druglordship.

READ: The Duterte “War on Drugs” is Fake

The Duterte War on Drugs, to push for Build, Build, Build” projects as source of corruption and, to counter “Oust Duterte” calls. The people reject martial law, though, so the regime camouflaged it under various names, sweetened with false promises or couched in “anti-terrorism” and “anti-communism” hysteria.

  • Embracing, supporting the national democratic revolution with socialist perspectives

The Duterte regime alternately claimed that the revolutionary movement has become irrelevant and is losing the people’s war; yet actively recruiting and gaining ground among youth and students and various classes and sectors in Philippines society. In its twisted logic, the fascist regime peddled the lie that poverty is caused by the national democratic revolution.Truth is, the worsening crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system under the US-Duterte fascist regime is generating conditions for the democratic and revolutionary resistance of the Filipino people to gather into a powerful storm, both in the sphere of street protests and in the realm of armed struggle. ###

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

in Countercurrent

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

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

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

An imperialist puppet’s gamble for bureaucratic loot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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CONTEXT AND PREMISES OF THE CPP DECLARATION OF CEASEFIRE (December 23, 2019 to January 7, 2020)

in Statements
https://shorturl.at/nrJ36

Upon the recommendation of the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines declares to all commands and units of the New People’s Army (NPA) and the people’s militias a nationwide ceasefire order that will take effect from 00:00H of 23 December 2019 to 23:59H of 7 January 2020.

This ceasefire order is being issued simultaneously with and shall be effective upon the corresponding and reciprocal ceasefire orders in the form of Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) and Suspension of Police Operations (SOPO) to be issued by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) as a gesture of goodwill and confidence building measure.

The purpose of the reciprocal and unilateral ceasefires is to generate a positive atmosphere conducive to the holding of informal talks preparatory to the resumption of the formal peace talks. The ceasefire order is being issued in solidarity with the traditional celebrations of Christmas and New Year holidays.

During the ceasefire period, all NPA units and people’s militias shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive military operations against the armed units and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other paramilitary and armed groups attached to the GRP.

Personnel of the AFP and PNP who have no serious liabilities other than their membership in their armed units shall not be subjected to arrest or punitive actions. They may be allowed individually to enter the territory of the people’s democratic government to make personal visits to relatives and friends.

All units of the NPA and the people’s militias shall be on defensive mode at both the strategic and tactical levels. They shall nonetheless maintain a high degree of militancy and vigilance against any hostile actions or movements of the enemy armed forces, including encroachment on the territory of the people’s democratic government, surveillance and other offensive operations including so-called “peace and development”, civil-military” or “peace and order”operations. Active-defense operations shall be undertaken only in the face of clear and imminent danger and actual armed attack by the enemy forces.

All branches and committees of the CPP, units of the NPA and people’s militias and revolutionary mass organizations should closely monitor any hostile actions being carried out by the enemy armed forces. Such information should be reported to the concerned commands of the New People’s Army and leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Copy Furnished:

National Council
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

#JustPeace
#SignCASER

—–
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