All democratic forces must unite and support each other in fight to end Duterte’s tyranny
The Party extends its solidarity with the broad range of democratic forces which have declared unity under the banner SONAgkakaisa!. These organizations, alliances, groups, parties and individuals have vowed to show their unity on July 27 and demonstrate their protests against Duterte’s terror law, against the shutdown of ABS-CBN and against the continuing incompetent and militarist response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The coming together of this broad range of democratic forces reflect the widespread indignation against the Duterte regime and the Filipino people’s ardent desire to see an immediate end to the reign of tyranny and state terrorism.
The Party calls on all democratic forces to consolidate their ranks and support each other’s democratic cause against the fascist regime. The need for unity is of great urgency as the tyrant and his minions carry out a blitzkrieg of hostile attacks against the people.
On July 10, Duterte’s rubberstamp congress carried out his order to shut down ABS-CBN in a clear case of political vendetta against a media outfit that has allowed the airing of criticism against the regime. It is a grave attack on press freedom and a thinly-veiled threat against those in the media who cross the tyrant. The shutting down of ABS-CBN also paves the way for Duterte’s favored big business partners to make a bid of ownership of the broadcast company.
The attack against ABS-CBN came just a few days after Duterte signed the Anti-Terror Act (ATA). The terror law is far worse than Marcos’ martial law in 1972 as it gives him the power to order the arrest of anyone without a judicial warrant and detain people for up to 24 days without filing charges and denying them the right to defend themselves. With the terror law coming into effect, Duterte’s reign of state terrorism is bound to worsen. Duterte is set to form the Anti-Terror Council (ATC) which has the power to designate anyone as a “terrorist” or “terrorist-linked” or “terrorist-supporters” using the law’s vague and overly broad definitions. The ATC is set to conjoin with the NTF-ELCAC to consolidate Duterte’s military junta.
Just days after Duterte signed the ATA, state forces were unleashed to mount attacks across the country. Last July 5, police and military forces massacred three peasants in Masbate, the 19th, 20th and 21st victim of political killing perpetrated by state forces since May. Successive arrests and harassment were carried out against activists and human rights workers. Mass demonstrations, even Catholic masses, are being subjected to police surveillance, using pandemic lockdown restrictions as pretext.
With the law on state terrorism, Duterte is set on mounting even more attacks in the coming weeks and months, in anticipation of seething unrest and rising protests as a result of its incompetent response to the Covid-19 pandemic, worsening corruption, its devastation of the economy and complete disregard of the people’s livelihood and well-being. Duterte vainly hopes to silence all protests and resistance as he pursues his scheme of establishing a fascist dictatorship and securing his rule or that of his chosen successor beyond 2022.
The monster Duterte must be confronted and slain by the people’s giant power of democracy and freedom. To grow in strength, the various sectors must act as one in defense of their democratic interests. By supporting each other’s demands, the democratic sectors provide each other the much needed strength to get organized and the courage to stand alongside the rest of the Filipino people against Duterte’s tyranny.
While amplifying the clamor against the terror law and to bring back ABS-CBN, they must also support the demand of nurses and health workers for protection and salary increases; of jeepney drivers to get back on the road; of workers for higher wages and safety at work; for immediate and sufficient subsidy for millions who lost their jobs and whose livelihoods were lost due to the lockdown; of peasants and fisherfolk against destructive infrastructure projects and entry of mining operations that are driving them away from their homes, land and fishing grounds; of the indigenous peoples and rural folk against military occupation of their communities, intimidation and the brutal campaigns of killings, abductions, aerial bombardment, artillery shelling and human rights abuses that characterize the regime’s counterinsurgency; of the children, youth and teachers to open classes safely; and so on.
Duterte presents himself as a rabid monster, but a sick and dying one. He exploited the pandemic to claim extensive powers, accumulate wealth through corruption and used public funds to make purchases of overpriced protective gear and medical equipment. He forced big business to their knees by threatening to close or take over their property and operations. He placed the entire population under martial law control causing widespread misery and hardship, and apprehended tens of thousands, all in the name of public health. He murdered activists, imprisoned critics and enacted the terror law. He bought billions worth of jet fighters, attack helicopters, artillery systems and other war matériel, all while accumulating more than $5 billion of foreign loans for his favored infrastructure projects to the detriment of the local economy and the people’s livelihood.
However, each time Duterte strikes at the people with repressive and oppressive measures, he only succeeds in further isolating himself from more and more people and inciting more and more sectors and a wide array of forces to fight back. When he struck at press freedom by ordering his minions to shut down ABS-CBN, he roused the indignation of journalists and media workers, as well as broad segments of Philippine society. When he signed the terror law giving him extraconstitutional powers, he roused the indignation not only of the Filipino people, but also of people and organizations around the world. Duterte and his minions are now poised to push for charter change to allow 100% foreign ownership of enterprises and land, as well as to allow removal of term extension limits in order to pave the way for Duterte’s stay beyond 2022.
His state terrorism has galvanized the Filipino people and steeled their determination to act and seek his resignation or ouster at the soonest possible time. A whole range of democratic forces are now arrayed against Duterte’s tyrannical regime, from sectoral organizations, alliances and movements among the workers, peasants, semiproletariat, health workers, students, teachers, women, religious workers and other oppressed sectors and classes; to the opposition forces in the conservative opposition, as well as in the Church hierarchy, big business and secretly within the government bureaucracy and in the AFP and PNP.
Street marches and large demonstrations are bound to erupt in the coming weeks and months. The bigger and more frequent these demonstrations become, the higher probability that disgruntled military and police officers, as well as the international community, will openly withdraw support and push for a process of succession in line with the 1987 constitution.
All the revolutionary forces under the leadership of the Party are aligned with the aspirations of the Filipino people to see an end to their sufferings under the tyrannical regime. While continuing to conduct public health and economic work with the peasant masses, the armed revolutionary forces under the New People’s Army must mount tactical offensives to defend the people against the Duterte regime’s terrorist attacks against the people.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the regime’s overarching priority to establish its fascist dictatorship is putting whatever is left of the people’s democratic rights and the people’s health in great danger. There is broad consensus that the tyrant must be ousted from power as soon as possible. The Filipino people must firmly unite and rise up now!