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“Terrorism”, in general, is the use of deliberate violence against civilians as a means to sow fear and terror among masses of the people to impose power.
The United Nations General Assembly has repeatedly condemned terrorist acts using a more political description of the term, to wit:
“Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes (that) are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.”
This description and definition of terrorism has often been abused by reactionary states and governments to suppress opposing individuals or groups. US Law, for instance, defines “terrorism” as “violent acts or dangerous acts…that violate federal or state law…intended to influence…(and) affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping. Thus, conveniently absolving itself of terrorist acts committed by its own government, as with the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima during WWII, or the wars of aggression and interventionist wars it continues to launch post-9/11 in light of its so-called “global war on terror” that has caused the mass murder of civilian populations worldwide.
“Terrorism”, in fact, is the convenient weapon of all oppressive, suppressive and exploitative systems and forces to eliminate their opposition, legal or illegal, and valid dissent.
Currently, in the Philippines, this kind of state terrorism is most exemplified by “#Duterterrorism”.
What is #Duterterrorism? It is the Duterte regime’s systematic use of armed and coercive state violence against civilians to preserve its mafia state and protect the interests of Duterte, his military junta and his mafia government in the service of his favored ruling clique and imperialist bosses, US and China.
#Duterterrorism went into play full force in less than a year since Duterte took office when he launched his three wars against the Filipino people: #Duterterrorism exposed itself in the so-called “war on drugs” (Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Double Barrel) that killed some 30,000 mostly poor Filipinos in a murder frenzy by police and vigilante death squads. Ignoring the Filipino people and international censure, Duterte continues to use the anti-drug war to make it appear that he is employing an iron fist against criminality but, in truth, has only succeeded in monopolizing the local drug trade by eliminating would-be competitors. Meanwhile, giant drug lords close to Duterte like Peter Lim and presidential son Paolo remain untouchable.
#Duterterrorism reared its ugliest head in the form of the all-out war against the revolutionary movement and the people (Oplan Kapayapaan) that followed the Duterte regime’s scheming unilateral termination of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). War-monger Duterte ordered the AFP to “flatten the hills” by launching indiscriminate aerial bombings and artillery shelling, terrorizing peasant communities and destroying farmlands and the environment. Combined with the brutality of focused and sustained military operations, the military stepped up its recruitment of paramilitary forces and saturated the countryside with thousands of military detachments nationwide – around 600 in Mindanao alone.
Cases of human rights violations steadily rise, characterized by the extrajudicial killings of activists and human rights defenders, illegal arrests, forced and fake surrenders, filing of trumped-up charges, forced evacuation and hamletting of communities, military occupation and threats to bomb Lumad schools, harassment of media practitioners and closure of critical media groups and institutions, and red-tagging of legal democratic organizations, progressive personalities, the religious and private citizens.
#Duterterrorism went further through its fabricated war against the Bangsamoro. On the pretext of a “rebellion”, the Duterte regime staged a brutal 147-day siege of Marawi City in a US-directed war that displaced and wreaked havoc on at least 500,000 of its civilian residents and nearby towns. At its wake, he sowed terror on the entire island of Mindanao by imposing martial law allegedly to “suppress terrorism”. He railroaded the Bangsamoro Basic Law to further disregard the Moro people’s right to self-determination and reinforce their national oppression. Duterte’s BBL has only served to disempower the Moro people by disarming them and exploiting them further through the wholesale of their ancestral domain to big businesses and foreign investors, including the oil- and mineral-rich Liguasan Marsh.
After the military siege of Marawi, Duterte had declared that the AFP will be focusing its operations against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People’s Army (NPA) and promised to “annihilate” and “render irrelevant” the revolutionary movement by the end of 2018. After miserably failing to meet his self-imposed deadline, he extended the target deadline to mid-2019, then the end of 2019, to the end of 2020, and, recently, until the end of his term on 2022. He then proclaimed Executive Order 70 that created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), placing the entire government machinery at the behest of Duterte and his military gang junta for their whole-of-nation terrorism.
Duterte’s triple war of mass murder, militarization and mayhem are his biggest terrorist crimes against the Filipino people. These three wars have now evolved into a more systematic, encompassing and sinister attack against the Filipino people through the enactment of the Anti-Terror Act (ATA). #Duterterrorism is now effectively legalized by the ATA, vilifying every and all government dissenter, anyone at all who exhibits opposition to Duterte’s policies and exercises freedom of speech and expression, as “terrorists” or “terrorist supporters”.
By Duterte’s own admission, the ATA is focused mainly on the revolutionary movement which he considers the only genuine threat to his mafia regime. And if #Duterterrorism’s twisted logic is to be applied, anyone who dares air out protest or grievance against the regime is automatically red-tagged as “communist terrorists” or their supporters, like celebrities Liza Soberano, Angel Locsin and Catriona Grey.
Contrary to Duterte’s claims, however, former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio attests that there is no legal basis at all that the CPP and NPA can be declared terrorists under the ATA. In his legal opinion of the ATA, Carpio pointed out that the CPP and NPA are waging a rebellion, and “rebels are not terrorists and cannot be declared as terrorists”. He further stressed that the CPP and NPA’s rebellion intends “to remove any territory or military force of the Philippines from the allegiance to the Government or its laws” and is therefore different from the ATA’s overly broad and loose definition of “terrorism”.
It is clear that in Duterte’s desperation to annihilate the CPP-NPA, the ATA’s real intent is to deny and discredit the legitimacy of all revolutionary forces by downplaying rebellion as mere lawlessness, insurgency or banditry. Its aim is to strip the Filipino people of their basic and historic right to take up arms against an oppressive and exploitative regime by refusing to distinguish between terrorist acts and revolutionary violence in defense of their civil liberties, national patrimony and sovereignty.
The CPP and NPA are, in principle and in practice, not terrorist organizations. They are revolutionaries engaged in a just war. They oppose and fight terrorism in all forms. They are a revolutionary force that has stood against state terrorism, from the Marcos fascist dictatorship to all succeeding pseudo-democratic reactionary regimes thereafter. They are waging a national democratic revolution to overthrow the oppressive, exploitative and rotten ruling classes in society, now chiefly represented by Duterte.
The NPA is waging armed struggle which is deeply rooted and rely mainly on the support of the masses. It adheres by its own strict rules of discipline as well as in accordance with international humanitarian laws. NPA commanders and Red fighters are regularly reminded not to take even a strand of thread or needle from the masses, to always be polite in speech and action, to respect women at all times, not to damage crops and farmlands and to treat prisoners-of-war humanely.
In stark contrast, Duterte has ordered the mercenary AFP to “shoot NPA women in the vagina” and said that he will defend the military “even if they raped NPA women five times”, “bomb Lumad communities”, “cut the heads of the NPA” and even publicly condoned and encouraged the land-grabbing of ancestral domains by mining and agri-business companies.
The NPA voluntarily exercises iron discipline and is dedicated to defending and protecting the lives, interests and welfare of the masses. Its enemies are the mercenary armed forces, police, paramilitaries and other auxiliary armed groups of the AFP that engage in counter-revolutionary terrorism against the people.
#Duterterrorism, on the other hand, aims to crush and silence all of the regime’s political opposition in its desperation to cling to power at all costs and concentrate all corruption spoils for himself and his military mafia.
Through the ATA, Duterte seeks to suppress and repress the growing protest and dissent of the people, like his idol Marcos did when he declared martial law. Unfortunately for Duterte, he is bound to suffer the same fate as his fallen fascist idol. Instead of intimidating and scaring the people, the ATA had instead resulted in the growth in strength and numbers of the anti-Duterte broad united front.
It has driven different democratic sectors and parties together to launch all forms of resistance against #Duterterrorism. It had only succeeded in rousing more people to defy and fight #Duterterrorism and wage armed and non-armed resistance. Rampant human rights violations and worsening repression and tyranny have only served to bring more people closer to the armed revolution, to support and participate in the revolutionary struggle for national and social liberation. ###