Fight the US-Marcos II regime, and advance the people’s war!
By rigging the May 9 elections through pre-programmed vote-counting machines using hacked SD cards, the Marcos and Duterte faction of the ruling reactionary classes faked a “landslide” victory with an impossible 31.5 million votes. Ferdinand Jr, son and namesake of the detested former dictator Marcos, is set to be inaugurated today as president, and with Sara Duterte, daughter of tyrant Rodrigo, as vice president, will rule an illegitimate regime and govern over a system mired in crisis and seething social unrest.
Duterte’s legacy of fascist crimes and crisis
For six years, the Filipino people were made to suffer from relentless political repression and increasingly worse forms of exploitation and oppression.
Duterte employed the tricks of demagoguery to fool the people with his bogus “war on drugs” and “war on terror” and sham development with his so-called “golden age of infrastructure” in order to impose his tyrannical rule, terrorize the masses, centralize and monopolize bribe-taking and other forms of corruption, reward cronies with privileges and fat government contracts, cultivate loyalties within the military and police, and accumulate vast wealth and power and perpetuate their political dynasty.
Duterte buried the country deeper into the rut of a backward and non-industrial economy by further liberalizing policies on imports and favoring foreign investments with tax incentives, cheap workers’ wages and repeal of environmental regulations. Local production remains dependent on imported goods and foreign capital investments, and to a large extent is geared towards exports of semi-processed and locally assembled goods (electronic chips, automobile wiring, computer parts) and raw agricultural produce (mainly banana and pineapples).
Under Duterte, the backward and primarily agrarian characteristic of the Philippine economy deepened. It is more and more unable to provide the people with enough jobs or sources of livelihood. Majority of the people remain engaged in agricultural production. The official share of agriculture to national production (which nominally dropped from 10.4% to 9.6%) is made to appear small, but, in fact, does not count large numbers who are part of rural economy (seasonal farm workers, unpaid family members, rural odd jobbers, hunters, and so on). They also do not include the peasant masses displaced by widespread land grabbing by mining companies, plantations, infrastructure, energy, and tourism projects that do not create as much employment as it destroys. Manufacturing continues to stagnate at less than 20% share of the gross domestic product, failing to absorb the increasingly large army of unemployed and underemployed people. The number of Filipinos desperately leaving for overseas jobs continues to grow.
Duterte is set to leave a gargantuan ₱12.7 trillion public debt, more than twice the ₱5.9 trillion debt when he assumed office. The six-year borrowing spree failed to change the country’s downward economic course. Claims that large amounts of debt went to pandemic response are outright lies. In fact, most of the debt accumulated by Duterte ended in foreign-funded, mostly incomplete, “Build, Build, Build” construction projects in partnership with local big bourgeois compradors, actually accrued back to foreign contractors, steel and equipment manufacturers and filled the pockets of favored crony companies.
Annual debt payments under Duterte rose by more than 50% from ₱790 billion in 2016 to ₱1.2 trillion this year. These are being paid for by the Filipino people through more and more onerous taxes, cuts in social service spending and even more borrowing. The TRAIN Law was one of Duterte’s earliest measures. It will always be remembered with deep discontent for having caused grave hardships on the broad masses.
Over the past six years, people suffered from rising prices of almost all kinds of goods and services with inflation reaching multi-decade highs. Wages were repressed and reduced under Duterte. Worker’s minimum daily wages were barely increased and remained at levels far below living standards. Workers rights are brazenly being violated to prevent workers from building unions and impede them from bargaining for better wages, working conditions and terms of employment. Duterte perpetuated the widespread system of labor contractualization which subjects workers to intense forms of exploitation. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Filipino suffered from severe conditions of the public health system due to social spending cuts in previous years. Causing even more outrage was how Duterte and his minions used the Covid-19 pandemic to earn billions of pesos in anomalous purchasing deals. The Duterte regime is utterly condemnable for being inutile in the face of the people’s rapidly worsening economic conditions during the first half of 2022 amid rising prices and lack of employment.
To prevent the social volcano from erupting, Duterte employed state fascist terrorism at new levels of intensity and brazenness. It is estimated that no less than 30,000 people were killed by police and state-sponsored vigilantes in Duterte’s “war on drugs” campaign to control the illegal drug trade. Through Executive Order 70 (2017) which formed the National Task Force (NTF)-Elcac and the “Anti-Terrorism Law” of 2020, Duterte has targeted the broad legal, democratic, patriotic and progressive forces with a campaign of red-tagging, criminalization and lawfare, arrests and prolonged detention and extrajudicial killings.
Instigated by the US imperialists, Duterte made “counterinsurgency” the left, right and center of state policy and placed the civilian bureaucracy under the control of the military. He poured unprecedented amounts of funds to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the guise of “modernization” to acquire drones, jet fighters, bombs, artillery, rifles, and other war matériel from American defense companies. He raised the salaries of officers and men of the AFP above the legal salary grade to secure the AFP’s loyalty and debt of gratitude.
At great cost to the people over the past five years, the AFP has employed the desperate counter-guerrilla tactic of mounting sustained multi-battalion or brigade-sized military operations involving the mobilization of several hundred to around a thousand troops in a focus area in a desperate bid to encircle and engage units of the New People’s Army (NPA) in strategic battles. Battalions upon battalions of fascist troops were unleashed like hordes of rabid dogs. They carry out psywar and intelligence operations, hamletting of communities, night raids on civilian homes, interrogations against civilians, as well as aerial bombardment and shelling of farms and nearby mountains in a relentless campaign of state terror, suppression and pacification against the peasant masses and ethnic minority communities. These brutal attacks against civilians follow the foolish aim of “forcing the fish out of the water by drying up the ocean.” Military operations have been most intense and brutal in areas where there is mass resistance against the entry or expansion of big business operations.
Defense officials and officers of the AFP are fooling only themselves when they brag of having “dismantled” or “weakened” more than half of guerrilla fronts of the NPA. They spew incredible numbers of “NPA surrenders” that are several times the number of their estimates of NPA fighters. In fact, majority of NPA units have been able to surmount the enemy’s focused military operations by adopting the guerrilla tactic of shifting to trade space for time in order to frustrate the AFP’s encirclement campaign. These flexible guerrilla counter-measures of the NPA allow its units to preserve their forces, expand their areas of operation, further widen their mass base, and gain more positions to mount tactical offensives or counter-attacks against the enemy.
With finite resources, the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) can cover only a limited area, allowing NPA units to freely operate in larger areas beyond the scope of AFP operations. In areas that it can cover where they target civilians with intense fascist attacks, the reactionary forces can only succeed in further exposing the rotteness of the ruling system and instigate the people to resist and stoke their desire to join the NPA and take part in armed resistance.
Guided by the Party, the NPA has frustrated the Duterte regime’s declared objective of crushing the people’s armed resistance. Duterte himself has admitted failure when he said that the objective of defeating the NPA will be achieved in the next two years under Marcos. This declaration too will end in ignominy.
The Party and the NPA have withstood the enemy’s all-out attacks. Despite having suffered some losses in some parts at the outset of the AFP’s large military operations, the NPA remains strong and continues to enjoy the deep and wide support of the peasant masses. The aggravation of the socioeconomic crisis, and the worsening forms of oppression and exploitation against workers, peasants and other toiling people, are generating ever favorable conditions for waging people’s war and all forms of mass resistance. With the emergence of the illegitimate US-Marcos II regime, the moral highground of the people’s war and the revolutionary cause is raised even further.
Burgeoning authoritarianism and worsening crisis under Marcos II
Marcos Jr will assume power as the crisis of the ruling system rapidly worsens, aggravated by the Duterte regime’s all out liberalization, pervasive corruption, unmitigated borrowing and wasteful military and police overspending. Subservient to US imperialism and bowing to the Chinese monopoly capitalists, representing the interests of the ruling classes of big bourgeois compradors and big landlords, and himself a big bureaucrat capitalist, Marcos Jr is incapable of solving the problems of the ruling system. Marcos and his regime is now the most concentrated expression of the Filipino people’s basic problems of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
It is with certainty that the crisis of the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal system and the sufferings of the broad masses of the Filipino people will worsen further under the Marcos II regime. The crisis of the ruling political system will also continue to deepen in the face of internecine factional conflicts and rising mass unrest.
Overarching the domestic economic crisis is the protracted stagnation of the global capitalist system, marked by periodic recessions and slow recovery in the United States and other centers of capitalism, the economic slow down in China in recent years, the increasingly frequent bursting of big and small financial bubbles, massive public debt, weak demand for semi-manufactures from semicolonial countries, rising economic and trade competition, heightening armed conflicts and massive military spending to the detriment of public health and other social guarantees.
The IMF and World Bank disciples selected by Marcos Jr as his economic managers have nothing new to offer other than their perennial solution of enticing foreign investors and infrastructure building. For around four decades now, this has been the “solution” offered by these same set of technocrats, but which have brought the country deeper and deeper into economic backwardness. Economic “growth” is measured not by the well balanced growth of industry and agriculture, nor by improvements in the lives of the people, rather by how much money and resources are being made by foreign capitalists and siphoned back to their countries.
The “solution” of technocrats has always redounded to keeping wages low, providing tax incentives to foreign capitalists and removing regulations that protect national capitalists, resorting to foreign borrowing and ever increasing public debt, increasing trade deficits, balance of payment and fiscal crises, and raising taxes.
Like all preceding reactionary regimes, the incoming Marcos II regime is set to ignore the long-standing demand of the peasant masses for genuine land reform as solution to the problem of landlessness and rural unrest. The announcement by Marcos Jr that he will head the agriculture department portends greater suffering to the peasant masses, in the same way that they were oppressed under the Marcos dictatorship with the declaration of fake land reform (PD 27) and such programs as Masagana 99 and the coconut levy fund. It is highly likely that Marcos Jr will use his control of the agriculture department to seize control of the smuggling syndicates, accelerate the expansion of oil palm plantations in Mindanao, and pave the way for the entry of more big capitalist plantations dedicated to crops for export.
The first months under Marcos Jr is set to be marked by continuing spiraling of prices of fuel, food and other commodities, devaluation of the peso, loss of purchasing power and continuing joblessness and low wages, as the incoming regime has no plans to move away from the anti-poor and anti-people policies of the Duterte regime. Without substantial budget increases, the public health system remains unprepared to face a possible resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the assumption of Marcos Jr, the Marcos family will likely recover all the billions of dollars ill-gotten. The policy of not pursuing the cases of corruption and plunder against the Marcos estate has already been declared, assuring Imelda Marcos of a life of freedom and lavish living, likely for the rest of her life. Heavy pressure is being exerted on court justices to reverse previous judgements against the Marcoses. The ₱203 billion in unpaid taxes of the Marcos estate can simply be ordered written off or ignored. The Marcoses have remained unrepentant for all the crimes of plunder and corruption. The Marcos family aims to rewrite history to cover up the crimes of the dictatorship and establish an “alternative truth” that the dark days of martial law were “golden years” for the country. They now have the power to take back complete control of all their wealth and accumulate even more through bribe taking, cronyism, and pocketing their shares-of government and military contracts, just as Imelda took 10% of everything during the Marcos dictatorship.
The rise to power of the Marcos clique and the perpetuation of the Dutertes will continue to deepen the political and economic contention between the different factions of ruling classes. There is little and little room for sharing privileges among the different business interests as they race to grab their portion of the shrinking economic pie. Even now, some big businesses are being arm-twisted and pressed to cooperate with the incoming regime to surrender a bigger share of their profits, just as Duterte and previous regimes have done. There is also intense conflict between the Marcoses and Dutertes, especially as Marcos seeks to consolidate his own power within the military and police forces, and chip away at the loyalties cultivated by Duterte. As long as he can, Rodrigo Duterte will not allow Marcos Jr to cast his daughter Sara aside, as he did to Vice President Robredo for six years. The AFP’s formation of the Vice Presidential Security and Protection Group upon the request of Sara Duterte is a swipe against Marcos and indicates her deep distrust, especially after her publicly made request to be appointed to the Department of National Defense was rebuffed by Marcos Jr who, instead, appointed her to the relatively powerless Department of Education.
Marcos Jr is conjuring the illusion that it is upholding an “independent foreign policy” and that he can play off both the US and China against each other amid rising economic and military imperialist rivalries. Like Duterte, Marcos does not aim to uphold national sovereignty. In fact, he is servile to both sides and intends to surrender the country’s sovereign rights and make the country a battleground for the imperialist giants. On the one hand, Marcos wants the US to continue enjoying extra-territorial rights and maintain military facilities within AFP camps under the Mutual Defense Treaty, the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and other unequal military agreements, and follow US direction in waging an all-out war and acquiring US-supplied weapons against the armed revolutionary movement. On the other hand, he intends to allow China to continue maintaining its military facilities and overbearing presence in the West Philippine Sea, plundering the country’s marine and mineral resources, and undertaking large infrastructure projects that consume Chinese surplus capital and goods, and employ Chinese nationals.
The Marcos II regime is set on the path of authoritarian rule. Even now, there are clear threats to people’s freedoms and democratic rights, particularly their right to peaceably assemble, the right to free expression and freedom of the press. Marcos Jr and his officials have declared that they have no intention of resuming the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
Seeking to perpetuate the Duterte regime’s policy of suppression, military and police officials have heightened red-baiting and linking legal progressive and democratic forces to the revolutionary armed movement. The NTF-Elcac and the AFP are pushing for a ban on websites and suppression of media reporting in the guise of “anti-terrorism”, in addition to their earlier push to purge public school libraries of literature and books authored or related to the NDFP, the red-tagging of bookstores and attacks against people’s organizations. Despite failure of the AFP’s all-out military offensives to crush the armed revolution during the past five years, the Marcos II regime and its security and defense officials remain obsessed with waging all-out war in their wishful thinking of defeating the NPA.
Mired in poverty and hardship, the broad masses of the Filipino people are seething with intense outrage over their worsening socioeconomic conditions, as well as by the return of the detested Marcoses and perpetuation of the Dutertes through rigging of the May 9 elections. Under the Duterte tyranny and the incoming US-Marcos II regime, the basic problems of the Filipino people are laid bare as the root problems of the Filipino people as the crisis of the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal system become even more intense and subject the broad masses to worsening forms of oppression and exploitation. They are determined to rise up in numbers to fight for their democratic rights and urgent demands. They are militantly raising their clamor for revolutionary change.
Fight the US-Marcos II regime and advance the people’s war
The Party must take advantage of the economic and political crisis of the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal system in order to carry forward its general program of waging the people’s democratic revolution. Under the Party’s general program, uniting and mobilizing the Filipino people to fight the US-Marcos II regime has become one of the most urgent tasks of the Party and revolutionary forces, alongside with the main task of advancing the revolutionary armed struggle.
The task of fighting the US-Marcos II regime is congruent to, serves and will help accelerate the main task of waging revolutionary armed struggle; on the other hand, heightening the people’s revolutionary armed struggle raises their capability in fighting the Marcos II regime’s burgeoning authoritarian rule.
The Filipino people must be aroused, organized and mobilized against the illegitimate, anti-people, puppet and fascist US-Marcos II regime. A broad united front of all democratic, antifascist, anti-Marcos and anti-Duterte forces must be built. They are exposing the rigging of the May 9 elections and rejecting its results. The people must continue to recollect and repudiate the history of corruption, plunder and military and police abuses under the US-Marcos I dictatorship. Attempts to reverse the historical judgement of the people must be resisted. They must raise the demand for Imelda and the Marcoses, and their cohorts to pay for their crimes of corruption and plunder, and gross abuses of human rights including the thousands upon thousands of killings, massacres, torture, and political detention. At the same time, they must raise the people’s demand for Rodrigo Duterte and his military and police to be prosecuted and punished for the crimes against humanity and war crimes perpetrated in the past six years, for large-scale corruption and betrayal of the country’s sovereignty. The revolutionary people’s courts are available for Duterte to be prosecuted, tried and punished.
From the very outset of Marcos Jr assumption of state power, the Filipino people must fight all the oppressive policies and measures that he will impose on the people. They must expose and cast away all the false promises and illusions that will surely be conjured by Marcos Jr and his government to serve as smokescreen for all the premeditated plans to deceive, steal from and betray the people.
The broad masses of workers, peasants and toiling people, students, teachers, academics, professional, ordinary employees and other democratic sectors should be vigorously and untiringly aroused, organized and mobilized to carry forward their anti-imperialist, antifeudal and antifascist struggles. They should strengthen and multiply the number of their unions and mass organizations which are the basis of the strength of the broad united front against the US-Marcos II regime.
Democratic mass struggles must be waged in both the cities and countryside to carry forward the people’s urgent demands and national democratic aspirations. The struggles of workers, the urban semiproletariat, the students and youth, teachers, employees and other oppressed classes and sectors in the cities must be mounted and strengthened. These should also help bring attention to the socioeconomic conditions and state repression in the countryside. The struggles for wage and salary increases, for free education and free public health services, must be linked up with the struggles of the peasant masses and farm workers for genuine land reform, the lowering of land rent, raising farm wages, eliminating usury, and fair farmgate prices, against land grabbing by big commercial plantations, mining companies, and energy, ecotourism and infrastructure projects, and an end to all-out liberalization in the importation and unmitigated smuggling of rice, vegetables, meat and other agricultural products.
Rampant violations of human rights, military and police abuses and gross violations of international humanitarian law must be fully and promptly exposed and condemned. People’s organizations must raise their capability in exposing and reporting all incidents of killings, massacres and arbitrary arrests, prolonged political detention, especially in isolated areas in the countryside. They must bring all these to the attention of the general public, at the national and international levels.
In both the cities and countryside, the people must unite to struggle against spiralling prices of fuel and other basic commodities, against additional onerous taxes, further trade and investment liberalization, and other imperialist-imposed economic policies, and against the betrayal of the country’s sovereignty in terms of economic plunder by multinational corporations, Chinese territorial intrusion and US military intervention.
The broad united front of democratic, progressive and patriotic forces must expose and fight the US-instigated policy of counterinsurgency war on the pretext of the “US war on terror.” They must vigorously expose the role of the US imperialist government and its military advisers in killing peace negotiations, fomenting militarism, intensifying the war of suppression and employing the tactics of large-scale operations and aerial bombing, strafing and artillery shelling, in its push for the sale of weapons being produced by profit-hungry American defense companies and their subsidiaries. They must oppose the increasing role of the military through the NTF-Elcac in running the bureaucracy, directing the programs of various state agencies to serve its campaign of suppression, and in dictating state policy. Indoctrinated under the US counterinsurgency dogma, the fascist zealots in the AFP are carrying out armed suppression against all anti-imperialist forces in the Philippines, including the unarmed and legal democratic forces.
In line with the direction set by the Central Committee in its statement last March 29, the Party must continue to raise the fighting capability of the New People’s Army and the masses, and persevere along the path of protracted people’s war. In it, the Party set forth the tasks in order for the NPA to surmount the US-supported all-out counterrevolutionary war of the AFP and the tyrannical Duterte regime.
While the Party declares victory in frustrating Duterte and the AFP in their declared aim of crushing the Party and the armed revolution before the end of Duterte’s term, it is also ready to face the relentless attacks and intensified fascist offensives of the AFP under the Marcos II regime by waging extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare on an ever widening and deepening mass base.
All commands and units of the NPA must assess and take stock of their strength and the enemy’s situation. They must strive to maintain constant initiative by ensuring a sufficiently wide area of operation for shifting, concentration and dispersal, high level of military discipline, quick guerrilla movements to avoid and evade enemy encirclement, maintaining a balance between expansion and consolidation and between horizontal and vertical forces. They must strive to gain more points of initiative for mounting timely and tactical offensives with one hundred percent certain victory.
The NPA must continue to strengthen and expand its mass base of support of the peasant masses, relying mainly on the poor peasants and farm workers, winning over the middle peasants, neutralizing the rich peasants and taking advantage of the splits between the enlightened and despotic landlords in order to isolate the most reactionary sections of the landed gentry. The Party and the NPA must continue to arouse, organize and mobilize the peasant masses to wage antifeudal and antifascist struggles, build the organs of political power, and mobilize the masses to wage guerrilla warfare against the enemy.
The forces of the armed revolution stands on a moral highground, especially under the illegitimate regime of Marcos Jr and heightening restrictions and continuing attacks against people’s democratic rights. The brutal fascist attacks of Marcos’ military and police forces against the peasant masses are rousing them to fight back and wage armed resistance.
To carry forward the struggle against the US-Marcos II regime and further advance the people’s war, the Communist Party of the Philippines must strengthen itself comprehensively and raise its capability to lead the NPA and the broad range of class and political forces. All Party committees at all levels must carry forward untiringly the entire range of tasks in the ideological, political and organizational fields.
With full determination, the Party and the NPA are certain to accumulate even greater strength in the coming years under the Marcos II regime in order to defend the Filipino people and advance their national democratic cause.