As author of the book Upsurge of People’s Resistance in the Philippines and the World, I wish to welcome all who are participating in this book launch and thank the renowned personages who have agreed to review the book.
Having expressed myself so much in the book, I have been asked by the organizers of this book launch to talk at some length about the New People’s Army (NPA) by way of celebrating its 52nd founding anniversary tomorrow. Thus, I have decided to discuss Duterte’s vow to destroy the NPA and consider why he will certainly fail to realize his objective. His anti-communist campaign of state terrorism cannot destroy the NPA but necessitates the intensified resistance by the people and the NPA.
Duterte’s Peace Pretense and War Obsession
Even before becoming president, Duterte tried in vain to hoodwink the Filipino nation and even the revolutionary movement that he wanted to be the first “Left” and “socialist” president and that he would bring about peace by negotiating with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in order to form a coalition government.
But from the beginning of his rule, Duterte was already hellbent on conducting an all-out war policy against the revolutionary movement and the people under the guise of letting the reactionary armed forces continue his predecessor’s Oplan Bayanihan.
The NDFP noticed that Duterte had no intention of fulfilling his promise to amnesty and release all political prisoners even as he tried in vain to prejudice the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations by appointing certain progressive individuals as “representatives” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The CPP rebuffed Duterte’s shallow ploy but nonetheless he appointed said individuals on the basis of their own personal merits of integrity and competence.
The NDFP had an accurate evaluation of Duterte as a puppet of US and Chinese business interests and as an agent of plunderers like the Marcoses and Arroyos but continued to respond positively to the calls of a broad range of peace advocates and was ever ready to engage in peace negotiations with the Duterte regime if only to let it unfold publicly what really is its position on the question of a just peace within the framework of The Hague Joint Declaration of the the GRP-NDFP.
Even while the four rounds of peace negotiations were going on, the reactionary armed forces and police of Duterte were attacking the forces of the NPA and at the same time Duterte was frequently complaining to the press against the NPA’s acts of self-defense and misrepresenting these as offensive acts. But he never properly presented his complaints to the Joint Monitoring Committee under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) like the NDFP was doing.
As early as September 2016, patriotic and democratic mass organizations were already complaining that the Duterte regime was acting contrary to Duterte’s promises of making certain basic social and economic reforms and the amnesty and release of all political prisoners. The CPP issued on December 26, 2016 a statement criticizing Duterte’s unfulfilled promises and his manifest adherence to the US-dictated neoliberal economic policy and all-out war policy.
In January 2017, Duterte launched his own strategic plan of anti-communist military suppression which he called Oplan Kapayapaan and from month to month he took an increasingly belligerent attitude towards the revolutionary movement until he issued Proclamation No. 360 to terminate the peace negotiations on November 23 , 2017 and then Proclamation No. 374 to designate the CPP and the NPA as “terrorist” organizations om December 5, 2017.
All the while the Duterte regime was acting according to US orders to trick and attack the revolutionary forces in exchange for US military assistance under Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines beyond US congressional oversight related to human rights. Duterte himself took this as beneficial to his own scheme of fascist dictatorship to carry out a policy of state terrorism against the CPP, NPA and the entire revolutionary movement.
It became obvious that Duterte never had any serious and sincere intention to negotiate a just peace with the NDFP. Since then, Duterte had been announcing that he could destroy the CPP and the NPA from year to year, trying to appear strong and brave but trying to obscure the fact that he was in fact failing to destroy the NPA. Just like his reactionary predecessors from Marcos onward, Duterte is already a proven failure after trying in vain for five years to destroy the armed revolution by sheer military force.
The Certain Failure of Duterte’s War Objective
As his regime enters the last year of his presidential term, the tyrant Duterte boasts of being confident of being able to destroy the CPP and the NPA, especially after railroading the law of state terrorism and further concentrating resources on the military and police. But he cannot destroy the armed revolution. Instead, he is unwittingly favoring the growth in strength and advance of the armed revolutionary movement because of his brutal campaign to preserve the ruling system and aggravate such basic problems of the people as foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
In a semicolonial and semifeudal country like the Philippines, the worsening conditions of chronic crisis and extreme exploitation and oppression of the toiling masses of workers and peasants are favorable for the growth in strength of the CPP, NPA and other revolutionary forces in the people’s war. The bankruptcy of the neoliberal economic policy and the rapidly worsening crisis of overproduction and depression in the world capitalist system, especially since 2008, has squeezed the Philippine economy.
During his presidency, Duterte has aggravated the chronic crisis of the ruling system and the exploitation and oppression of the people. He has been subservient to foreign monopoly capitalism by keeping the Philippines underdeveloped and impoverished by its dependency on the export of raw materials, semimanufactures and laboring men and women ; and on very onerous foreign loans to cover the ever widening trade and budgetary deficits.
He has no idea of developing the Philippine economy beyond “pork barrel” economics, using increased domestic taxation and foreign borrowing to engage in infrastructure-building projects. Worst of all, corruption has wrought havoc on the Philippine economy with the graft-laden infrastructure projects, military overspending and runaway imports of food and basic commodities and luxury manufactures.
From time to time Duterte has pretended to be forging an independent foreign policy. But he has merely succeeded in proving himself a traitor and a puppet of two imperialist masters. He assures the US of retaining its dominant position in the Philippines. And he has conceded to China the sovereign and maritime rights of the Filipino people over the West Philippine Sea and has given to China the license to plunder the natural resources in the various islands of the Philippines in exchange for a promised loan of USD 24 billion at extremely onerous terms.
He is tyrannical and genocidal. He has framed up his political opponents in order to imprison or kill them. He has ordered the abduction and murder of NDFP consultants who are supposed to be under the protection of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees. He has openly ordered the mass murder of so many people to tout himself as a strong man and to intimidate the broad masses of the people. His armed minions have murdered more than 33,000 poor people who are arbitrarily listed as drug suspects and now he has extended the policy and method of Tokhang mass murder to those who are tagged as “communists” and “terrorists”.
He pretends to be against the illegal drug trade. But in fact he has made himself the supreme drug lord. Thus, the smuggling and trading of illegal drugs have escalated in collaboration with Chinese criminal syndicates. He pretends to be against corruption. But he has allowed his own family and his military and bureaucrat cronies to plunder the public treasury and economy; and has absolved his plundering predecessors and allies, especially the Marcoses and the Arroyos, of their crimes.
Since early last year, he has allowed the Covid-19 pandemic to spread in the Philippines, by welcoming more than 500,000 Chinese casino gamblers and tourists to enter the country from January to March last year. And he has used the pandemic as an opportunity to rob the people of promised funds for mass testing, medical care and economic assistance and to incur further massive foreign loans and raise the total public debt to an even more unsustainable level.
The Duterte regime is justly detested by the people. And yet, Duterte wants to perpetuate his rule by pushing charter change or by rigging the 2022 presidential elections to elect his hand-picked successor. The opposition has to pay attention to the fact that Duterte can easily rig the vote count as he did in 2019. Duterte conjures the false illusion of being popular by using public money to generate propaganda idolizing him and demonizing the opposition, the critics, social activists, human rights defenders and the various mass organizations and institutions.
Military overspending and corruption to carry out state terrorism and promote fascism in the name of the anti-communist campaign of military suppression has long backfired since the very start. The broad masses of the people are aware that Duterte and his favorite generals have pocketed huge amounts of public money by overfunding fake localized peace talks, fake surrenders, fake E-CLIP rewards, fake triad operations, fake community support and fake development projects.
Conditions Are Favorable for Armed Revolution
The rapidly worsening crisis conditions in the Philippines have come to the point that the broad masses of the people are outraged and are crying out for justice, freedom, ouster of the regime and system change against tyranny and treason, the widespread loss of jobs, homes and land, mass poverty and hunger, inflation of the prices of basic commodities, corruption at every level of officialdom and the brutality of the reactionary military and police.
Under the current circumstances, the CPP, NPA and other revolutionary forces of the people are thriving and developing fast as they did during the Marcos fascist dictatorship. The longer Duterte stays in power, the more the ruling system weakens and the more the revolutionary movement gains strength and scores greater victories. The broad masses of the people desire revolutionary change against US imperialist domination and the local exploiting classes of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists.
The CPP is gaining prestige and strength in leading the armed revolution being carried out by the NPA and the masses. It upholds Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, as the correct theoretical guide to action, pursues the general political line of new democratic revolution with a socialist perspective and directs the strategic line of waging protracted people’s war by encircling the cities from the countryside to accumulate strength until conditions ripen for the strategic offensive to knockout the counterrevolutionary state power in the cities.
In sharp contrast to the Duterte program of treason, tyranny, state terrorism, mass murder, plunder and mass intimidation and deception, the CPP, the NPA and the entire revolutionary movement of the Filipino people are fighting for full national independence and people’s democracy, social justice, economic development through genuine land reform and national industrialization, a patriotic, scientific and mass culture and anti-imperialist solidarity and peace among all peoples of the world.