Impending widespread crackdown on pretext of “anti-terrorism”
Towards the end of December 2020, Rodrigo Duterte’s Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) announced it has formally “designated” the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as “terrorist organizations.” This designation was made in line with the Anti-Terrorism Law (ATL) which Duterte railroaded in July 2020.
The ATC’s “designation” against the CPP and NPA is malicious and baseless. The CPP and NPA are revolutionary organizations that wage a struggle for national liberation. The Filipino people’s armed resistance has long been recognized by local and international institutions, organizations and governments as a legitimate struggle against foreign and local oppression.
Revolutionary armed forces strictly adhere to internal regulations and international humanitarian laws that protect the interests and welfare of civilians. The Party and NPA firmly oppose terrorist violence against unarmed people.
The ATC issued the designation even as more than 30 complaints before the Supreme Court questioning the ATL remain unresolved. Legal experts also question why the Party and NPA are charged with “terrorism” when they are “rebels” and not “terrorists” because of their aim of overthrowing the ruling government and replacing it with a democratic people’s government.
While wrongly designated under the ATL, the Party and the NPA are not the main targets of the measure. As both organizations have long been illegal and outside the scope of the reactionary government, the CPP and NPA do not have any legal standing that can be affected by the misdesignation.
The real targets of the misdesignation of the CPP and NPA are the legal and non-armed national democratic forces and the broad ranks of progressive and patriotic organizations, party-lists, unions, human rights defenders, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individuals who are actively opposing the tyranny. Duterte’s top officials admitted that this decision will have implications against groups accused of being “fronts” of the CPP and NPA. The past months, they have relentlessly red-tagged these organizations.
In line with this, the government has ordered the “freezing of CPP and NPA bank accounts,” which will affect, not the CPP (which does not have bank accounts that the government can freeze), but the organizations and individuals being accused of “funneling funds to the NPA” by the government.
It is likely that in the coming weeks and months, the Duterte government will use this measure to outrightly illegalize and clampdown against democratic organizations. In misdesignating the CPP and NPA as “terrorists,” anyone accused of having links, supporting, sympathizing or giving them protection can be charged and punished under the ATL. Duterte will use “anti-terrorism” to justify the repression of democracy and silence all those who oppose his tyranny.
All democratic forces must firmly act and oppose Duterte’s use of the ATL to suppress legal and democratic rights. The Party encourages all forces, including those who have nothing to do with the CPP or are even opposed to the CPP and NPA, to stand against the use of the ATL to misdesignate the CPP and NPA as this will have implications on everyone’s legal and democratic rights.
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has called on the friends of the Filipino people to raise their voices against the ATL. According to the NDFP, the said law is making it more impossible to hold peace negotiations as a means of resolving the roots of the armed conflict in the Philippines.
It also called on peoples and governments of the United States, European Union, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom to stand against the misdesignation of the CPP. It asserted that the removal of the CPP and NPA from the “terror list” of the US and other foreign governments will help the Filipino people’s resistance against attempts to establish a fascist dictatorship behind the veil of “anti-terrorism” and will help create conditions for resuming the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
Because he has only 500 days left in Malacañang, Duterte is now rushing with his schemes to perpetuate the Duterte dynasty in power. Among these are plans to openly impose a fascist dictatorship, push “charter change” for federalism and secure the elections for her equally ambitious, fascist and power-hungry daughter Sara to inherit his throne.