Tasks after 100 days under Duterte

A hundred days into the Duterte regime, the situation now exists allowing the forging of a patriotic alliance between his anti-US regime and the revolutionary and patriotic forces.

Towards this, both sides must work hard in peace negotiations to forge a common program. At the same time, mass struggles must be carried forward to convince Duterte to address the democratic interests of the people.

The revolutionary forces are heartened by the heightened discourse of GRP President Duterte against US meddling and military presence. He has denounced these almost daily over the past several weeks. He has declared his intention of building economic and trade alliances with China and Russia.

Duterte is clearly stating his anti-US stand, a radical shift from seventy years of state subservience to the US. In words, he is determined to uphold an independent foreign policy. His frequent bellicose speeches fan the flames of Filipino patriotism.

Duterte’s anti-US tirades have caused deep fissures within the ruling classes. He has set forth the line to divide the ruling classes into two camps. He has set out on a risky political drive, fully aware that the US imperialists continue to hold dominant influence and command over the vast majority of the ruling elite and military and police officials.

US officials fear that Duterte’s anti-US declarations will soon become concrete policies. Even before Duterte’s 100th day in office, US officials have issued thinly-veiled threats against him. Anti-Duterte politicians have joined the US lead. Pro-US zealots in his government has joined in to pull back his momentum.

The revolutionary forces are keenly aware of the nature of the Duterte regime as the current chief representative of the reactionary ruling classes in the Philippines. It was installed primarily on the strength and support of the big bourgeois comprador and landlord classes and is beholden mainly to them.

The emergence of the anti-US Duterte regime became possible under the following circumstances: the grave crisis of the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal system; the global discredit of the US-EU and IMF-WB neoliberal policies; the strategic weakening of US imperialism; and the emergence of China as a burgeoning imperialist power which aligns itself with Russia against the US.

With Duterte’s promotion of an independent foreign policy, the CPP and the national democratic forces are encouraged to work with the Duterte regime in a patriotic alliance with the aim of upholding national sovereignty and opposing US imperialist domination in the country.

With such an alliance, the Duterte regime and the revolutionary forces can work side by side to fight US neocolonial rule, expose and fight its political, military and cultural agents, reject economic policy impositions and defend the Philippines against all US political and military intervention.

The patriotic forces must heighten anti-imperialist propaganda and education in order to arouse and mobilize the Filipino people, especially the youth, in their millions. They must raise the people’s anti-imperialist consciousness by showing how the US condemned the Philippines to a perpetual state of semicolonial and semifeudal backwardness, crisis and dependence. They must show how the Philippines was colonized in order to plunder the country’s cheap resources and cheap labor and retain it as a military outpost to serve US aims of imposing its hegemony in the Asia-Pacific.

The Duterte regime has broken ground in challenging US sway and command of the armed forces by seeking an end to its dependence on US weapons sale. He must expose its officers and men to patriotic reeducation. He can start an anti-imperialist military school and push for the reorientation of the armed forces from US counter-insurgency dogma to national defense.

While uniting with efforts of the Duterte regime to promote an independent foreign policy, the Filipino people must independently advance their mass struggles to confront the long-standing socio-economic problems. They must oppose the anti-people and anti-democratic measures carried over from the past regimes which presently remain effective.

Duterte can further strengthen the patriotic alliance if he will heed and decisively address the people’s democratic demands.

The people must call for a reversal of the US-dictated neoliberal policies which have brought about widespread poverty and hardships. They must urge the Duterte regime to expand social services to provide the people with free or affordable public health, mass housing, education, telecommunications and mass transportation. Immediate measures to bring down the price of food, medicine, fuel and other basic commodities must be implemented.

The Filipino people must urge the Duterte regime to immediately address the pressing democratic demands of the broad masses of peasants and workers for genuine land reform as well as jobs, higher wages, a national minimum wage and ending contractualization and other forms of flexible labor. Duterte must address the demands of students, urban poor, government employees, minority peoples, small professionals, health workers and other democratic sectors. Duterte must also be convinced that this should be the principal means of solving the drug menace.

The Filipino people must also demand respect for human rights. They are urging the Duterte regime to complete the pull-out of paramilitary and military forces from communities which they claim to be supportive of the New People’s Army. The Duterte regime must also be pushed to free around 520 political prisoners.

Through ongoing peace negotiations, the Duterte regime and the NDFP can forge agreements that will form a common program to formalize a patriotic alliance.

The Duterte regime must address the key question of land reform. The NDFP will push for genuine land reform both to attain social justice and as a key economic measure to unleash the rural productive forces.

The Duterte regime can meet the peasant demand by allowing large areas of land (public, idle, haciendas owned by parasitic landlords) to be subjected to land distribution. It can neutralize landlord opposition by getting them on-board an industrialization program, providing them with funds and incentives to engage in productive investment.

In conjunction with pushing for land reform, the NDFP will push for a national industrialization program. This can serve as the broader framework for a plan to develop the local steel industry earlier promoted by Duterte. A comprehensive plan for industrialization will ensure the creation of jobs and of necessary commodities and goods for consumption and production.

The Duterte regime’s plan to develop economic and commercial ties with China and Russia must be framed along efforts to develop the local productive forces and the ability of the domestic economy to stand on its own feet.

To promote the peace talks, units of the NPA have strictly abided by the ceasefire declared forty days ago. The ceasefire can be extended as long peace talks are moving forward. But the GRP President must tame the AFP and order it to end or scale down Oplan Bayanihan counter-insurgency operations or risk the possibility of armed clashes.

While engaging in peace talks, it is the duty of the revolutionary forces to continue carrying forward the people’s war by recruiting, arming and training and mobilizing the New People’s Army to enforce the laws and policies of the people’s government that protect the rights and welfare of the people. They must vigorously carry out anti-feudal campaigns and continue to build and broaden the mass organizations and build the people’s government.

The Party must continue to expand and strengthen itself, engage in vigorous ideological work to take stock of the situation and setting forth tactical tasks with a strategic view of the situation.

The Party, the NPA and all revolutionary forces must strike deep and wide roots among the people. They must rouse the people in their millions to wage anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and democratic struggles and join the revolutionary armed resistance in the countryside.

(First published as Editorial of the October 7, 2016 issue of Ang Bayan.)

Tasks after 100 days under Duterte