People turning to revolution because of Duterte’s tyranny and failed pandemic response
In a televised address a few days ago, Duterte angrily rebuked Filipino health workers for publicly calling for urgent changes in his goverment’s strategy in addressing the Covid-19 and challenged the people that “if revolution is what you want, do it, and do it now.” Duterte is itching to use all-out the powers he has claimed under his new terror law in the vain hope of silencing everyone and securing his power.
The way Duterte continues insists on his militarist and police-centric response to the pandemic and resorts to intimidating the people and silencing criticism and dissent, he is bound to get what he wishes for.
Indeed, the hardships and sufferings brought about by Duterte’s failed response to the pandemic is rousing the Filipino people. Increasingly, the people are realizing that the biggest impediment to the country’s ability to surmount the pandemic is Duterte himself, and his cabal of inept military officers at the helm of the Inter-Agency Task Force. More and more people are becoming increasingly vocal, angry and defiant, and becoming more organized and willing to take action, both here and abroad.
Because of their fascist orientation and mindset, Duterte and his minions continue to handle the Covid-19 pandemic as a national security question and a matter of political survival, and less than a public health crisis.
Since the start of the year, when the entire world was alerted of the rapidly spreading Covid-19 disease, the Duterte regime has failed to put into place urgent measures to strengthen the capacity of the country’s health system to manage the pandemic. He has stubbornly sticked to his “let us wait for the vaccine” line.
Thus, despite widespread clmaor, Duterte ignores demands to put into place urgent health measures necessary to confront the pandemic. He ignored early calls to strengthen the health system to prepare for the Covid-19 pandemic. He remains adamant in refusing demands for free mass testing and free treatment of Covid-19 patients. The costs of testing and treatment are beyond the reach of the working class. Inadequate measures have been taken to strengthen the capacity of public hospitals and laboratories, recruit enough nurses and medical workers, provide enough personal protective equipment, raise their salaries and provide them medical insurance.
In typical Marcosian fashion, Duterte insists on blaming the people’s “lack of discipline” for the spread of the virus to justify the imposition of police and military lockdowns and restrictions on people’s freedoms as the regime’s principal response to the pandemic, forcing people to stay in their homes without income or livelihood, and without adequate and timely social subsidies. Millions of people are going hungry and have been driven to desperate straits.
In Metro Manila, tens of thousands are rushing to go home to their home provinces, despite the uncertainty and lack of economic opportunities that await them. The regime’s often idiotic travel restrictions and policies have resulted in large crowds congregating in airports, piers and stadiums waiting for their opportunity to board airplanes, ships or buses. Hundreds were likely infected and became disease transmitters in the provinces.
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to rapidly spread in the Philippines. The number of cases by the first week of August has skyrocketed to more than 110,000, rising by almost four times over the past month. The number of deaths have doubled to more than 2,000.
Because of Duterte’s failed response, Filipinos have become even more vulnerable to the Covid-19 infections. At the same time, his prolonged lockdown has resulted in further economic devastation. It has accelerated the downward slide of the country’s economy which before the pandemic was already on a decline as a result the slowdown of the international capitalist system.
As in previous regimes, Duterte refused to heed the people’s demand for an end to the export-oriented and import-dependent economic system characterized by the absence of national industries and genuine land reform. Instead of taking the opportunity to invest in productive sectors to manufacture medical equipment and other much needed commodities to create jobs and lessen reliance on imports, the regime has gone berserk in foreign borrowings to finance its corruption-laden infrastructure projects.
Duterte has taken advantage of the pandemic to consolidate his tyrannical regime and further strengthen his control of the fascist state. At the same time, he has given the police and military establishment unprecedented powers to arrest and detain people in their numbers, and suppress their democratic rights. Under the regime’s new terror law, the military and police are more and more emboldened to clamp down on people’s basic civil and political rights. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, counterinsurgency and political repression against dissent and opposition have become the tyrant’s top priorities.
Duterte has spewed the vilest propaganda against the patriotic, progressive and revolutionary forces and promoted the most backward and unscientific ideas and prejudices in the vain hope of sedating the masses and keep them perpetually imprisoned in a state of stupor. However, the more that Duterte assaults the people with his lies and demagoguery, the more that he rouses the people’s indignation and stokes the fire in their bellies.
The more that Duterte uses the pandemic to strengthen his grip on power, to accumulate more wealth by diverting public funds, serve the economic interests of his favored oligarchs, and further kowtow and surrender the country’s economic sovereignty to China in exchange for financial and political favors, the more that people are convinced that there is no other recourse but to raise their collective voices to demand the tyrant’s resignation or cause his ouster. The Filipino people know better than to wait for a vaccine or to wait for 2022, knowing full well the grave situation that Duterte can put the country into within that time.
Clouds of a perfect storm continue to gather. The people’s rumblings of discontent steadily grow stronger and await an opportunity to explode in a conflagration that will surely terrorize the tyrant and surpass his worst nightmares. Soon enough, the Filipino people will be able to overcome the regime’s reign of terror, surmount state repression and bring together large numbers of people in an exercise of the people’s power. Duterte likes to believe that he has surpassed Marcos for having established a dictatorship without yet declaraing martial law. But in the end, he will prove to be no different from Marcos, who was driven away by the invincible force of a united people.
As the detested regime intensifies its antidemocratic and anticommunist tirades and attacks, the Filipino people, especially the youth, are becoming more open to revolutionary propaganda and education. The pandemic has laid bare the ills of the semicolonial and semifeudal society which can only be resolved through a people’s democratic revolution.
By tirelessly arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people, the revolutionary movement is rapidly expanding and strengthening its ranks both in the underground mass movement and in the armed movement in the countryside. The Filipino people’s national democratic aspirations are ever fervent and irrepressible.