Anti-Terrorism Bill: a law that will cement Duterte’s tyrannical rule -- Maria Laya Guerrero, Kabataang Makabayan

The Duterte regime intends to legalize state-sponsored terrorism against the Filipino people. Amid its intentional failures in addressing the crisis, Duterte tramples on the democracy of the Filipino people to champion the interests of his imperialist masters and cronies. By its utter neglect of the people, by gunning down critics, dissenters, and activists, and by its relentless war on the poor, there is no other terrorist here than Duterte.

After a nod on final reading from the senate, Duterte’s lapdogs in Congress have now approved the Anti-Terrorism Bill — a law that will cement Duterte’s tyrannical rule in the country. This law allows the state to pinpoint even random individuals as “terrorists” based on their broadened and vague definition. Even on mere suspicions of being one, reactionary forces can immediately arrest anyone even without a warrant. It allows the reactionary state to suppress the people’s civil liberties as even the mere act of protesting or criticizing the regime can be labeled as acts of terrorism. The bill, in effect, legalizes state surveillance. The fascist regime intends to launch a chilling witch-hunt for critics, activists, and for every Filipino citizen who falls in the state’s broad definition of a “terrorist”.

The Filipino people suffered miserably under Duterte’s intentional neglect in solving the pandemic. In more than two months of community quarantine — the longest lockdown the world has seen — Duterte only sent millions of Filipinos deeper into poverty. Amid the ₱353.86 billion budget and massive cash loans from international banks, the government’s Social Amelioration Program is still faulty with numerous anomalies. On top of failing to cover the needs of the millions of Filipinos during the lockdown, the government has finally shrugged off the welfare of the Filipinos as it refuses to provide more economic assistance in the coming months.

As of May 28, the regime is still far from its target of 30,000 tests per day by the end of the month. Instead, only 7,000 per day are tested — the capacity of the regime declined from its usual 9,000. In total, only 239,135 individuals are tested, far from the 110 million population in the country. As Metro Manila prepares to be put under General Community Quarantine without mass testing in sight, Filipinos fear for the dangers of the virus. Instead of providing efficient aid, implementing mass testing, and boosting support on the healthcare system, Duterte exercised draconian measures on the Filipino people by warrantless arrests, killings, and human rights violations.

The crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic exposed Duterte’s true dictatorial colors. On top of his deliberate neglect, he took advantage of the pandemic to complete his tyrannical rule and wage a war of terror over the people. Amid the declining healthcare system and social services, Duterte spends billions to modernize the military capabilities of his fascist rule — using the country’s sovereignty as a collateral for all his international cash loans. Duterte pleases his imperialist masters and prioritizes war funding over the pandemic. Because of his blatant disregard and exploitation of the people, Duterte now fears for the collective ire of the Filipino people who unites for his ouster.

Passing the Anti-Terrorism Bill only completes his fascist and insecure rule over the country. His desperate steps to quell the growing resistance of the people only shows his collapsing dictatorship. Under a system ruled by the bourgeoisie, overproduction brought by monopoly capitalism consistently brings about crisis. During crisis, it is inevitable that the bourgeoisie — like Duterte’s cronies and imperialist masters — will resort to coercion to accumulate more wealth at the expense of rights and welfare of the toiling masses. This will also result in a heightened and more consolidated resistance from workers and peasants. Passing Anti-Terrorism Bill during a public health crisis is one of Duterte’s cheap tactics to subdue the broad resistance of the Filipino people and plunge them to worsening suppression.

It is certain especially for semi-colonial and semi-feudal countries to turn into fascist states. Duterte’s Anti-Terrorism Bill aims to cripple the growing ouster movements by the disgruntled masses and secure his place in the government. So long as Duterte and his imperialist masters stay in power, with the orchestration of monopoly capitalism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism, the broad masses will experience brutal crisis and suppression.

The broad masses must unite and demand accountability from a government that prioritizes war and fascism over the very tangible and urgent calls of the people. We must amplify our calls and demand for the people’s rights. The masses must struggle to oust a dictator who easily dispenses the people’s welfare and the country’s sovereignty in favor of the interests of the ruling class.

With the Anti-Terrorism Bill, and with his more aggressive fascist steps, Duterte now wages violent war against the Filipino people. The youth, alongside the workers and peasants, must advance the people’s war and struggle to win for the national democracy.

Anti-Terrorism Bill: a law that will cement Duterte’s tyrannical rule -- Maria Laya Guerrero, Kabataang Makabayan