Engulf the corrupt and fascist Duterte with waves of protests

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Duterte is like a cornered monster subdued by the seething anger of the people disgusted over cases of large-scale corruption amid the pandemic, economic crisis and mass suffering. The tyrant’s throne is being rocked by a political crisis threatening to explode. The Filipino people must take advantage of this prevailing crisis by pushing their democratic struggles against the corrupt, terrorist and tyrannical regime.

Duterte’s “anti-corruption” sign­board is now in tatters. Clearly, it was used over the past five years to cover up and conceal the systematic and widespread thievery and plunder of the people’s coffers and accumulation of wealth. The initial report of the Commission on Audit (COA) and Senate investigations have exposed the direct involvement Duterte himself and his closest underlings in these anomalies.

Duterte abused his power amid the health crisis. He took advantage of the pandemic to divert the people’s money to buy overpriced face masks, face shields and personal protective equipment (PPE) from his favored questionable Chinese company. Senate and COA investiga­tions will likely expose similar and worse anomalous deals.

Corruption under the Duterte government is one of the biggest factors behind the failure of governance in the face of the worsening Covid-19 pandemic in the country. Duterte and his accomplices prioritized their pockets instead of raising the country’s capacity to confront the grave health crisis. While Duterte and the bureaucrat capitalists fattened themselves by robbing and squandering the people’s money, the people suffered from oppressive lockdowns, lack of mass testing, contact tracing and hospitals and medical facilities, slow vaccine roll-out, neglect of nurses and healthcare workers, widespread unemployment, loss of livelihood and income and paltry economic aid.

The pandemic in the country continues to worsen because of government neglect and failure. Duterte’s officials only admitted that the lockdowns have become ineffective, to avoid the responsibility of providing aid to the people and not to push for the strengthening of the health system. The plan to carry out granular or localized lockdowns are bound to fail amid widespread infections and lack of mass testing and tracing. The surge of daily new cases to around 20,000 threatens to further increase in the coming weeks. Hospitals are overwhelmed and many sick people—not only of Covid-19—are being denied medical attention.

The worsening pandemic is accompanied by intensified oppression and violence against the people. The campaign of murder against leaders and those active in people’s struggles has not relented, neither have the arrests, legal charges, threats, red-tagging and “forced surrender” against those who stand against the fascist regime. Billions of pesos continue to be squandered for bombings, shelling and strafing in military operations in the countryside that unleashes terrorism against the peasant masses.

Amid the pandemic and crisis, the Filipino people’s seething anger against the Duterte regime can no longer be restrained. Duterte responds with more lies and deception, bullying and arm-twisting to manipulate the Filipinos sentiments and views. Duterte’s style, however, can no longer win over the people’s support because these are clearly used only to grab more wealth and power.

Because of Duterte’s ambitions to stay in power beyond 2022 and cement their dynasty in Malacañang, support has slowly eroded even among his allies among the Marcoses and Arroyos. They undertake independent maneuvers to position their factions for the upcoming elections. Even his own PDP-Laban party split because of Duterte’s push to run as vice president, which he uses as leverage to win more political gains.

A political crisis threatens to explode as Duterte clings to power amid the pandemic, destruction of the economy and people’s livelihood and exposure of large-scale corruption under his regime. There are intensifying contradictions within the ruling classes and between the ruling fascist regime and the people which can lead to major showdowns even before the elections. In the face of Duterte’s maneuvers, more and more are becoming open to the idea of ending the tyranny even before next year’s elections.

The situation favors advancing the mass struggles to end Duterte’s tyrannical regime. The anti-Duterte united front is ever expanding and consolidating as more and more organizations and personalities are being roused to take a stand and openly speak against the corruption and failure of the ruling fascist regime.

The Filipino people must take advantage of the situation to tirelessly advance their struggles to defend their rights and welfare. The people’s strength must be built in the factories, hospitals and offices, campus and communities, and their consciousness and determination to fight must be roused through studies, meetings and assemblies. Let the streams of protest merge into a giant wave of people marching in the streets.

Link the struggles in the cities with the struggles in the countryside and amplify the demand of the peasant masses for land and rights amid the openly brutal campaign of suppression of the military and police.

The New People’s Army must also intensify its tactical offensives and target the worst of the fascist criminals. Make the thunderclap of the armed victories echo the clamor for the overthrow of the monster Duterte.

Engulf the corrupt and fascist Duterte with waves of protests