Duterte projecting power amid diminishing strength
Duterte went on live television last Tuesday to project power and control. However, his failure to address the outstanding economic issues, his relentless fascism, bloodthirst, dictatorial ambitions and anti-people policies only fuel the people’s resistance and heighten their desire to kick him out of power.
The Party has called on the broad masses of the Filipino people to unite and struggle to oust Duterte’s fascist regime. In less than a year, a broad united front has arisen with a wide range of patriotic and democratic forces marching together to demand an end to Duterte’s tyranny, fascism, corruption and puppetry.
However, Duterte’s claim of a conspiracy between the CPP, Trillanes, the Liberal Party and other forces is a figment of his imagination. In desperation, he has gone the extent of risking charges of treason by claiming a “foreign country” provided him recorded conversations proving such a conspiracy.
In fact, he is only raising the spectre of an ouster conspiracy to justify even more tyrannical measures to clamp down against all forces ranged against his rule. The threat of a Duterte crackdown or nationwide martial law remains palpable. Duterte is increasingly desperate to exercise tyranny as his power becomes increasingly tenuous.
Duterte continues to be fixated with persecuting and seeking to silence his critics and political rivals. His latest obsession is to nullify Senator Trillanes’ amnesty and cause his imprisonment. This follows the recent attempt to cause the arrest of four leaders of Makabayan, the ouster of Lourdes Sereno as Supreme Court chief justice, the terrorist proscription case against more than 600 activists and progressive leaders, the incarceration of Sen. Leila de Lima and so on.
However he desires it, Duterte cannot summarily effect Trillanes’ arrest over fears of causing further dissension in the military and further emboldening the political opposition. There are disagreements even within his cabinet. Deep discord within the ruling clique, as well as within the armed forces and police, are quickly emerging over conflicts in government contracts, business favors as well as protection of criminal operations.
Duterte rules over an increasingly bankrupt government presiding over a crisis-ridden economy. It remains afloat only by imposing more and more taxes and borrowing more money. The fiscal deficit is rising sharply. The country’s trade deficit has risen sharply this year and has reached records high. The balance of payment deficit continues to rise while the value of the Philippine peso has dropped to its lowest levels in nearly a decade and a half.
Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program, with his cronies and dummies cornering most of the contracts, is leading the country deeper into debt. He shamelessly begs for loans from various countries to finance his weapons-buying binge.
Duterte’s political power has weakened considerably primarily because he has caused the Filipino people grave economic hardships. He has become further isolated from the people after having made them carry the burden of the US-dictated TRAIN taxes, soaring prices of basic necessities and overall worsening state of poverty.
The people are suffering from the accumulated effect of close to four decades of trade and investment liberalization, privatization and deregulation. The toiling masses suffer from widespread unemployment and low wages. Duterte provides the people with mere band-aid solutions such as cash subsidies or price controls but insists on the policies which cut deep wounds against the broad masses.
The broad masses are growing ever restless under the dark clouds of the economy. The demand of the downtrodden masses for wage increases, land, jobs, social subsidies and other immediate relief from the crisis are driving them to mount strikes, occupy land and launch various forms of protest.
Duterte continues to rouse resistance over his campaign of mass murder and violations of human rights. He continues to use the “war against drugs” smokescreen to justify the killings of street peddlers and users as a way of hurting the operations of drug syndicates which rival those under his protection, including that of his own son and associates.
Police and military abuse of power run rampant under Mindanao martial law and Oplan Kapayapaan in Duterte’s drive to suppress rural unrest, silence the demand of the peasants for land reform and drive away the national minority peoples from their ancestral land to pave the way for the entry of big foreign mining companies and plantations. Duterte is inciting the people to fight back and take up arms.
As Duterte grows isolated, politically weak and physically impaired, he is becoming ever more zealous in his drive to impose a fascist dictatorship. He will, however, be met with much fiercer resistance by the Filipino people who are even more determined to end his fascist and rotten rule.