NDF-Ilocos: Long live revolutionary Workers of the World! Labor movement remains militant despite pandemic and fascism


The National Democratic Front – Ilocos salutes all workers of the country and of the entire humankind as the world celebrates International Labor Day. In the midst of a pandemic that threatens all countries and all peoples of the world, the working class will not allow Rodrigo Duterte’s bungled up job of managing the coronavirus disease to dampen the militancy of the labor movement in commemoration of its special day. Now, more than ever, it is becoming even more blatantly glaring that the lack of job security has made workers and their families most vulnerable in this pandemic. And as the Duterte regime ambivalently fields the idea of easing the lockdown and allowing parts of the economy to resume operations, it is the working class once again that will suffer the consequences of Duterte’s ineptitude.

Workers Are Most Vulnerable

The medical crisis of Covid19 quickly escalated into an economic one that hit marginalized classes and sectors the worst. Regular workers from non-essential businesses found themselves doing odd jobs for their families’ survival since relief assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment and from their local government units (LGUs) are frustratingly inadequate if not inaccessible. They add to the already saturated sector of semi-proletariat or those that do not have a regular means of income and are thus forced to work on minor rackets. Together, they experience job insecurity more intensely.

The looming end of the community quarantine also poses problems for workers and employees because the administration dismissed the necessary medical measures to address the pandemic. Without either mass testing or any assurance that the Department of Health has already contained the virus and its mutations, the working class will face the hard decision of foregoing work and not earning for their families or risking contracting Covid19 and endangering their own households. To compare, other countries that manages the pandemic far more efficiently than the Philippines does are now experiencing a second wave of infections. An ill-equipped government like the Philippines’ that implements mainly militarist instead of medical measures will surely have its people face worse consequences if it lifts the lockdown prematurely.

The national government seems aware of these scenarios. Instead of identifying prerequisites to lifting the enforced lockdown and ensuring that all LGUs meet them satisfactorily, it cunningly passed the decision to the latter. Yet again, national government controls the billion-peso funding while LGUs are left to decide for themselves and to take the blame once things go awry for the people.

Militarist Management

It is the Duterte regime’s task to manage the widespread precariousness brought about by more than a century of exploitation and government neglect towards the working class and millenniums of the same treatment towards the peasantry and all oppressed classes. Neoliberal policies saw the liberalization of trade at the expense of local producers, privatization of government resources, deregulation of industries and denationalization of patrimonial assets. For the working class, this meant flexible hiring schemes and indecent wages. Concretely, this translates to more and more families perennially stuck in hand-to-mouth existence. During times of crisis—medical, economic or a combination of both—this could lead to much more fatal conditions.

To, indeed, manage the precariousness of the situation, Duterte employs tried and tested fascism. From giving an express go-signal to use violence against the people from making up tales of supposed encounters as basis to declare Martial Law, Duterte is intent on managing the justified indignation and anger of the people more than Covid19 itself. In Ilocos Region, for example, the warmongering Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict directs the fight against Covid19. Yet, nowhere in its bloody anti-people record could it be deemed qualified to handle such a crisis. Instead, its record boasts of purely waging war, along rabid anti-Communist line of thinking, against legitimate democratic organizations.

Duterte and his ilk in the bureaucracy and in the military could exploit, neglect and endanger the working class all in the same breath but the working class will continue to advance the struggle. A people’s democratic revolution in the countryside, comprised mainly of peasants and led by the most advanced class of proletariats, is the key component to achieve that change in the social structure. Clearly, the pandemic only serves to reiterate the correctness of the struggle to achieve systemic change. Even clearer at this time is the fact that the proletariat has nothing to lose but their chains. Through the Communist Party of the Philippines, it is in the best position and disposition to lead the people into revolutionary action until its inevitable victorious end. ###
May 2020

NDF-Ilocos: Long live revolutionary Workers of the World! Labor movement remains militant despite pandemic and fascism