Duterte delivers dismal and disjointed SONA to mark the final year of his term of office

For being dismal and disjointed, the final state of the nation address (SONA) of Duterte fittingly marks the beginning of the ignominious end of his rule. It has been overshadowed by the mass protests of the Filipino people in the Philippines and abroad and likewise by the gold medal victory of the woman weight lifter Hildilyn Diaz in the Olympics. She has been widely honored as an inspiring achiever in contrast to Duterte, especially because she was previously maligned as a drug addict and listed in a so-called matrix of personalities who wanted to oust Duterte from power.

Duterte’s SONA has disgusted the broad masses of the Filipino people because it does not show any remorse for the gross crimes of treason, tyranny, mass murder, plunder and mass deception that he has committed and does not show any concern for the people’s suffering the escalating conditions of oppression and exploitation, including unemployment, inflation and mass poverty, due to his aggravation of the chronic crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system.

He does not discuss either his traitorous sell-out to China of Philippine sovereign and maritime rights in the West Philippine Sea or his continuing dependence on the US for military advice and supplies against the revolutionary movement of the Filipino people. He does not answer the growing mass protests against his tyranny, the extrajudicial killing of thousands of people as a way of giving rewards to military and police officers, allowing the plunder of the economy and environment by foreign and domestic corporations, the corruption of high bureaucrats and generals and the use of mass intimidation and mass deception.

He blames the Covid-19 pandemic for the failure of what he describes as the brilliant programs and excellent work of his economic managers. But even before the pandemic, he had already plunged the country and his own government into a deep economic and financial crisis because of the neoliberal policy regime of unbridled greed, the extraction of superprofits by foreign monopoly firms, bureaucratic corruption and military overspending.

He opposed the program of genuine land reform and national industrialization proposed by the National Democratic Front of he Philippines for economic and social development of the Philippines. And he thought that it was more beneficial for himself to engage in graft-laden pork barrel projects to perpetuate dependence on the export of raw materials and cheap labor and the import of foreign manufactures.

He also considered it cheaper to terminate the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations in 2017 and to engage in all-out war and military overspending. In fact, he used the sequence of the bogus war on illegal drugs and the increasingly brutal campaign against the revolutionary movement as a way of corrupting and making the military and police generals his criminal accomplices in his drive to gain absolute power and impose state terrorism on the Filipino people.

It is convenient for him to blame the pandemic for the grave economic and social crisis. But it was he who allowed the pandemic to spread in the Philippines by letting more than 500,000 Chinese tourists and casino players enter the Philippines from December 2019 to March 2020. And then he used the pandemic as pretext for the congressional appropriation of hundreds of billions of pesos and raising the public debt by at leat two trillion pesos supposedly for mass testing, health treatment and vaccines and economic assistance to those who have lost heir jobs and livelihoods.

But he rechannelled the public funds and loans to his own private pocket in collaboration with his favorite generals whom he had put in charge of the national task force to fight the pandemic. Worse, he has used the pandemic to railroad the Anti-Terror Act in order to unleash state terrorism in the name of anti-communism and anti-terrorism. He is now systematically using this state terrorism to aggrandize the Duterte dynasty and its subalterns and to realize fully his ambition to impose a fascist dictatorship on the people.

In his SONA, Duterte mentions in passing his promises and prevaricates by claiming to have realised these, such as provision of adequate food and housing, environmental preservation,and respect for the culture, free college education to everyone, universal health care, fighting drugs, criminality and corruption, development of infrastructure and free irrigation and subsidies to the farmers.

And he claims to have accomplished all these by colliding and tangling with his fellow oligarchs. In fact, Duterte has been conniving with the biggest and worst of the oligarchs like the Marcoses, Arroyos, Estradas and Enrile in keeping them out of prison and in continuing to plunder the country. At the same time, Duterte makes sure that he is the big lion by taking the biggest share.

He still harps on the line of fighting illegal drugs despite the fact the people know too well that he has used his bogus war on drugs to make himself the supreme drug lord in the Philippines and his own crime family dominant in the drug trade in combination with the Davao and Cebu-based Chinese criminal syndicates. That is why he has focused on killing the poor and not the drug lords whom he has intimidated to follow him as the supreme lord.

And of course he claims to have succeeded at weakening the armed revolutionary movement and reducing it to near destruction. He gives patently false figures like 17,000 NPA fighters have surrendered and 15 NPA guerrilla fronts have been dismantled. The timely articles of Marco Valbuena and myself expose these lies. In fact the armed revolution has become far stronger because of the gross crimes of Duterte and the rapidly worsening economic and political crisis of the ruling system.

He pretends to lick the boots of his own armed minions by heaping praises on them, reminding them of how he has raised their salaries and pensions above those of public school teachers, health workers and other employees of the state and assuring them of legal protection from prosecution together with him before the International Criminal Court. And he cannot help talking like a criminal gang lord by calling on them to kindly shoot the communists dead and make him happy.

At the site of the SONA, Duterte was video-recorded wobbling and tottering as in many other previous occasions. There is the possibility that Duterte will die from any of his multiple illnesses before the ICC can serve a warrant of arrest on him. If Duterte stays alive and yet the ICC cannot arrest and try him, the armed revolutionary movement and so many familiies and communities that he has victimized with death, dispossession and destruction will be running and gunning after him and the worst of his criminal accomplices.###

Duterte delivers dismal and disjointed SONA to mark the final year of his term of office