Resist the Fascist US-Duterte Regime Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic -- CPDF - Mt. Province

Wasting people’s wealth for Duterte’s war. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Duterte did not let go of his all-out war. He imposed a military solution, which worsened the socio-economic crisis, to maintain the rotten system and uphold his tyrannical rule. The US-Duterte regime pursued its non-stop anti-people war, and continued to mobilize it’s taskforces ELCAC (ending local communist armed conflict) led by the AFP and PNP. The TF-ELCAC simultaneously conducts Duterte’s focused military operations (FMO), and retooled community support program (RCSP) for surveillance, red-baiting, psywar, and campaigns to force civilians to “surrender” and to pacify the people asserting their democratic rights. The US-Duterte regime’s counter-insurgency ELCAC operations in the Mt. Province and adjacent provinces of Abra and Ilocos Sur have resulted in:
=The continued encampment  of the villages of Aguid, Bangaan,  Fidelisan, Madungo and Pide in Sagada, and of Bangnen Proper and Bangnen Oriente in Bauko.
=Roving of military assets, drones, reconnaissance planes and helicopters through the province and it’s boundaries. On April 12, two Huey helicopters air-dropped leaflets with candies as weight. The AFP entices the people to surrender and avail of the E-CLIP funds (enhanced comprehensive local integration program), milking cow of military handlers and commanding officers.
=Firefight between the Alfredo Cesar Jr. Command (NPA-Ilocos) and the 81st IB on April 21 nearby Patiacan, Quirino, Ilocos Sur. The 81st IB on combat operations searched for the NPA’s base. The guerilla forces actively defended themselves that resulted in at least one casualty on the rabid AFP troops. The AFP troops began its combat operations in the tri-boundary areas since the 2nd week of April – they openly violated Duterte’s pretentious unilateral ceasefire that lasted until April 15, and even desperately pretended to be on relief work.
=Illegal arrest of 2 farmers from Tambuan, Besao on April 25. Eddie Mangliw and Elias Buyagan were tending to their upland farm in the boundaries of the towns of Besao, Quirino and Tubo, Abra.
=Spreading of lies and fake news such as “NPAs stealing relief goods” in Samoki, Bontoc; and red-baiting of people’s organizations, communities and activists – even threatening their families and children, such as Igorot leader and human rights defender Windel Bolinget, regional chairperson of the Cordillera People’s Alliance.
On top of these is the massive waste of public funds and resources that could have provided for the basic needs of thousands of families in Mt. Province affected by the lockdown.
Neglecting the public health, repressing the people’s rights. The US-Duterte regime never had an agenda to change the dire situation of the country’s public health system, and the historical government neglect against the national minorities. The inadequacy and poor state of the health service in the country, including Mt. Province, became glaring in the face of the COVID pandemic. The regime’s highlight response was the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and thousands of AFP-PNP checkpoints. Duterte pushed for social distancing, but did not promptly provide adequate resources for personal protection,  especially for the frontliners, facilities and technology for mass testing, contact tracing, isolation, and treatment for COVID patients. The prolonged absence of a comprehensive public health solution, humanitarian and economic support for the people, revealed Duterte’s ECQ as a militarist lockdown – another tool of the fascist regime to repress the democratic rights to livelihood, food and other basic needs, mobility, security and freedom of expression.
The people of the province, mostly farmers, rely on daily-based and informal work to augment their inadequate production income. The lockdown caused an economic displacement, almost all had minimal or no income for nearly 2 months. They relied on their harvest and small savings, including families of overseas workers who have also been affected by the pandemic crisis. The meager government support was overdue, and the social amelioration program (SAP) was evenmore delayed by the bureaucracy. Complaints throughout the province include: receiving SAP with an amount of less than PhP 5,000; and not being listed as beneficiary for not qualifying as “low income” family,  or due to the patronage politics, or for being a new or temporary settler.
Duterte lamented on the lack of funds to combat the COVID pandemic; but he maintained the trillions of allocated budget for military spending, debt service, and big infrastructure projects under his Build, Build, Build that primarily serve the interests of the biggest local and foreign corporations and investors such as the China. As head of a puppet government, he opted to acquire new loans, further pinning down the nation to bigger debts, pro-imperialist agreements and neoliberal policies. In the end, allocated funds for the public health and economic support for the people remained insufficient.
Total mass mobilization vs. COVID-19 and the fascist US-Duterte regime. The worsening crisis under the US-Duterte regime forces the Filipino people to stand for their rights. The CPDF-Mt. Province enjoins the people to total mass mobilization against the COVID-19; for their immediate needs and long-term socio-economic demands; and to resist the impending formal declaration of martial law in the country. The people must continue to unite and mobilize for their subsidy from the economic displacement. Let us be inspired with the recent mass mobilization of the people of Sagada as they trooped their LGU for their rightful economic subsidy from the SAP. The communities must expand and strengthen their organizations to sustain and heighten their collective actions and vigilance, and to further demand for the public funds and resources to develope the public health system,  the agricultural sector, and other basic social services for the people. The CPDF-Mt. Province urges all LGU to stand with the people – serve for their demands and aspirations, and to resist from being used as instruments of Duterte’s all-out war against the Filipino people.
Under the leadership of the CPP, the people in the Mt. Province and the NPA, continue to lay the grounds for the full establishment of the people’s revolutionary government by intensifying the national democratic revolution (NDR). Only the total victory of the NDR and the start of the socialist construction will guarantee that the country’s wealth will be used for the comprehensive social and economic development for the national minorities and the entire Filipino people. #
Resist the Fascist US-Duterte Regime Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic -- CPDF - Mt. Province