Unite against the Anti-Terror Bill! Overthrow the US-Duterte regime!

The Party urges all democratic sectors–health workers, drivers, women and children, media workers, artists and cultural workers, teachers and government employees, the youth and students, movie and television personalities, small professionals, the religious and all workers, peasants, the urban poor and unemployed–to unite and bring together all their grievances and aspirations.

Translation/s: Pilipino | Bisaya

On orders of Rodrigo Duterte and his National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), his minions railroaded the Anti-Terror Bill the past few days. It now awaits Duterte’s signature.

The Anti-Terror Bill will complete Duterte’s martial law reign, short of formal declaration. This will give him vast powers to accuse anyone of being a “terrorist” and have them surveiled, arrested and put under prolonged detention.

This bill will further intensify suppression of organizations and individuals long targeted by Duterte and the AFP as “CPP/NPA supporters” for their relentless exposure, denunciation and opposition to corruption, fascism and foreign subservience, and for defending the people’s democratic interests. The most vulnerable are the workers and poor people, the peasant masses, Lumad and Moro who experience repeated abuses of power by soldiers and police.

The people are disgusted at how Duterte and his minions trampled on congressional procedures to rush the Anti-Terror Bill without being reviewed and amended. They are nauseated at how he prioritized the bill and disregarded the people’s clamor for free mass testing and other medical measures amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The order to rush the Anti-Terror Bill came from Duterte and his junta composed of Delfin Lorenzana, Eduardo Año and Hermogenes Esperon, all former military officials and lackeys of US imperialism. They aim to consolidate fascist rule amid widespread hunger, poverty and the people’s seething rage against the regime’s militarist and failed response to Covid-19. Duterte wants additional martial law powers to silence the people, but is afraid to openly declare it for fear that this will rouse further outrage and protests.

The rush to enact the Anti-Terror Bill is also part the deal-making with the US government to allow Duterte and the AFP to purchase new helicopters, artillery, rockets, missiles and other weapons. This is also linked to the June 2 suspension of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement in line with recommendations of his military officers to allow US ships and troops to enter the country in connection with continuing US support for the AFP’s brutal counterinsurgency and war of suppression.

Over the past years, Duterte has built his martial law regime brick by brick with the 950-day Mindanao martial law, Memorandum Order 32, Executive Order 70 which formed the NTF-ELCAC, and recently, the claim to “emergency powers” purportedly to fight Covid-19.

He wants to have the Anti-Terror Bill enacted at once to reinforce the fascist order which he succeeded to set up through the Covid-19 militarist lockdown and perpetuate this under a “new normal” of checkpoints, and population control restrictions. This is being done behind the veil of fighting the pandemic but in fact serves to strengthen militarist rule and pursue the scheme to establish a fascist dictatorship.
The Anti-Terror Bill deliberately contains vague and overly broad definitions of “terrorism” and “supporting terrorism” to serve as a wide net to cast over the Filipino people and all their democratic forces. It extends the powers of the military and police to arrest and detain anyone to 14-24 days without warrant or filing charges, practically suspending the writ of habeas corpus. Worse, it removes any military or police liability from damages which will surely result in even worse forms of abuse of power.

Over the past years, AFP and PNP officers have arbitrarily accused critics of the regime of being “communist fronts” or supporters or linked to the CPP and NPA. They are anti-communist zealots who see red whenever anyone stands for and defends the interests, welfare and rights of the oppressed and exploited. This will worsen under the bill.

Duterte uses “anti-terrorism” to fool the people and make them accede to repressive laws that will crush their basic rights. Over the past years, the fascists falsely equate communists, revolutionaries and even social activists with terrorism, when in fact, communists, as all other democratic forces, are among the most militant opponents of the use of terrorism to instill fear among the people.

In fact, right now, the biggest terrorist in the country is Duterte himself as he has ordered the killing of tens of thousands in the drug war and the destruction of Marawi City. He has also ordered police and military raids and massacres against peasant communities. He has ordered mass arrests, military control of rural villages, the use of attack helicopters to drop bombs causing widespread terror and other fascist crimes.

With absolute powers, Duterte is set to commit the worst forms of corruption, completely surrender the country’s national sovereignty and subservience to imperialist US and China, bury the country deeper into debt, impose more taxes on the people, press down wages, favor foreign big capitalists, squander funds to purchase fighter jets, helicopters and bombs, and impose even worse neoliberal policies that will cause greater sufferings on the Filipino people.

Duterte’s rushing of the Anti-Terror Bill amid the Covid-19 pandemic has fanned the flame of the people’s anger. The regime’s actions of the past months—from the non-health military lockdown to the shutting down of ABS-CBN, from the arrest of critics and jeepney drivers to aerial bombing of rural communities, from checkpoint arrests and inhumane punishment of tens of thousands to the recent killing of urban poor leader Carlito Badion, from the anomalous procurement of overpriced PPE sets and testing equipment to the plunder of billions of pesos in emergency spending—are set to worsen once Duterte signs the Anti-Terror Bill.

The Party urges all democratic sectors–health workers, drivers, women and children, media workers, artists and cultural workers, teachers and government employees, the youth and students, movie and television personalities, small professionals, the religious and all workers, peasants, the urban poor and unemployed–to unite and bring together all their grievances and aspirations.

The Filipino people are being galvanized to take action. They must assert and protect their democratic rights now before they are all taken away by the fascist regime. The Filipino people must get organized. They must demand freedom of the press and freedom to express. They must fight back and protest fiercely.

They must take action in their campuses and communities, in their factories and offices, in churches and parks, and defend these as freedom-zones where they can collect the people’s strength in numbers. They must quickly prepare their ranks, educate the entire people, heighten their determination and be ready to lock horns with the regime’s anti-democratic forces until the Anti-Terror Bill is junked or until Duterte is ousted.