Ang Bayan
December 07, 2020

Take a big stride forward

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The Filipino people have suffered relentless beating and oppression under the Duterte regime’s militarist and anti-people response to the Covid-19 pandemic and successive calamities. The rotten regime abandoned its obligation to address the health and economic needs of the people. It intensified repression and imposed measures which worsened poverty and hunger.

Fearing a people’s upsurge amid crisis similar to those in other countries, Rodrigo Duterte used deception and intimidation on the one hand; and violence and armed suppression, on the other. The past months saw intensified suppression of the mass media and red-tagging, and the campaign to sow disinformation, lies and trash talk.

At the same time, Duterte used the longest “lockdown” and restrictions on people’s freedoms, and surveillance, imprisonment and successive murder of known revolutionaries, mass leaders and activists. Worse, he railroaded the new terror law which effectively imposes fascist dictatorship without declaring martial law.

The ultimate aim using these tactics of psywar and suppression is to aggravate the national democratic forces and mass organizations, and get them occupied with defending their rights, safety and lives. This aims to prevent them from voicing out the people’s grievances, paralyze the democratic mass movement and prevent street demonstrations from mounting.

Duterte is confusing the people’s mind to scatter their attention and draw their consciousness away from their main and urgent problems resulting from his regime’s corruption, neglect of the masses and prioritization of the interests of a few.

Over the past months, the people’s outrage has been prevented from flaring up into widespread demonstrations against the ills, crimes and neglect of the Duterte regime of its obligations to the people amid the pandemic. Among these are the slashing of the budget for health and disaster response, lack of free and reliable Covid-19 testing, lack of subsidies for those who lost their jobs and income in the cities and for peasants in the countryside, low wages for nurses and failure to employ additional nurses in public hospitals, prioritizing the purchase of helicopters, fighter jets, the private jet for Duterte and his generals, bombs and other war matériel, allowing the reduction of workers’ wages, corruption in the purchase of personal protective equipment and medical provisions, corruption in PhilHealth, handing over pandemic response leadership to generals instead of doctors, overaccumulation of loans for oligarch’s infrastructure projects, planning to impose new taxes and other measures that will worsen the burden and poverty of the people.

Based on the anti-people and anti-poor 2021 budget set to be approved by the reactionary congress, the people’s sufferings are set to even worsen. It continues to prioritize the military and its dirty war against the people, the business of oligarchs, corruption and favors for his minions and political loyalists and preparations for the 2022 election; while the people’s livelihood, public health and education remain neglected.

The Filipino people must unleash a widespread and intense protest movement in the coming months against the oppressive and burdensome policies. Raising protest is the key to preventing new taxes and other policies and measures that will worsen the people’s lives.

The national democratic forces must strengthen their efforts in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the broad masses of workers, peasants, youth, health workers, the unemployed, professionals and other sectors hard hit by the economic crisis.

While they defend against the attacks of the Duterte regime, they must firmly take hold of the people’s burning issues. Strive to unite the whole people on a clear and simple set of urgent demands in the face of the pandemic, calamities and economic crisis. Expose the anti-people and anti-people US-Duterte regime and the rotten core of the ruling system.

There must be untiring propaganda using forms that directly reach the masses while effectively countering disinformation in mass media and social media. The mass organizations must be expanded and strengthened severalfold to enable the masses to voice out and raise their grievances and demands.

Experiences must be studied, assessed and summed up to develop strengths and overcome weaknesses in efforts to arouse, organize and mobilize the people in their hundreds of thousands or millions in the face of the pandemic and calamities, and in face of the relentless fascist suppression and brutality of the tyrannical regime.

On the basis of an assessment of work in the past years and taking stock of current strength, tasks and plans must be laid out for the coming year. These must serve the objective of uniting the masses of the people and unleash a widespread upsurge of protests and struggles to advance the interests of the masses.

Strengthen the unity and determination of the national democratic forces to shoulder the difficult tasks despite the threats of suppression and restrictions behind the veil of pandemic response.

In a few weeks, the Party will mark its 52nd anniversary. The broad masses and their revolutionary forces anticipate this as an occasion to celebrate their achievements of the past year, assess their strength and lay out plans to attain bigger revolutionary victories for 2021.

AB (2020-12-07): Take a big stride forward