By RANDY FELIX P. MALAYAO
It is now only a matter of time that President Rodrigo Duterte will eventually unfold himself and take a definite character.
In the latest developments, the Marawi siege and imposition of Martial Law have resulted to US imperialism’s reassertion of hold and retention of control and influence. This despite Duterte’s rhetorics against US imperialism.
The dreaded scenario is the possible imposition of a nationwide martial law that aims to suppress revolutionary and progressive forces, and the people’s cry for social change. There is a move by militarists to extend Martial Law beyond 60 days after July 22, 2017 and beyond Mindanao.
Martial rule is directed towards the revolutionary and progressive forces. The Department of National Defense (DND) itself has declared that Martial Law targets the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP-) and the New People’s Army (NPA). This would mean further derailing of the efforts to push the peace process.
Martial Law also means the further worsening of human rights situation. As of late, the “level the hills” policy has remained and has wrought havoc in the countryside. There has been no let-up in extrajudicial killings, harassment of farmers, Lumad, etc, among other violations.
Extra judicial killings of alleged drug offenders have dramatically rose to nearly 12,000. But the very law enforcers involved in drugs problem are themselves deeply involved in drug trade as recent developments show.
Duterte is also very quick at exonerating erring soldiers and police forces thereby condoning impunity. Police officers are emboldened by his assurances that they will not be prosecuted and will instead be rewarded for killing criminals!
The Oplan Kapayapaan, is the latest US-patterned counter-insurgency program. The bureaucracy, now manned by active and retired generals, is a virtual military junta.
Garrison state includes draconian measures which include the impending adoption of the death penalty, the reduction of age responsibility at 9 years old, the National ID system, ROTC, growing military budget and criminalization of agrarian cases, among others.
The revolutionary and progressive forces are fully aware that US imperialism and its economic, social and political base in the Philippines remain dominant and will use all their power and means to ensure that the country will remain a client-state of the US.
They are also fully aware that reactionary big comprador bourgeoisie, big land owners and their foreign big business partners behind Duterte seek to perpetuate the neoliberal policies that oppress the working class and Filipino people regardless of his assertion of national independence.
Whether or not Duterte will be able to withstand US pressure and remain in power, the revolutionary movement must be able to maintain its own political power.
Quo vadis Peace Talks
Upon installation on June 30, the Duterte announced peace talks with the NDFP and an independent foreign policy as its major policies.
Initially there is a high possibility that a peace agreement within the first two years of presidency would be forged. But this possibility is now eroding quite fast.
During the 5th Round, the GRP-NDFP peacetalks have been boycotted by the GRP Panel claiming left’s insincerity. It cited the CPP’s order to the NPA to intensify the tactical offensives. But the GRP was feigning knowledge that such CC directive was in response to Martial Law and the intensified GRP’s total war policy!
There is no doubt that peace talks should be advanced further. CASER and the CAPCR must be pursued. Violations of JASIG and CARHRIHL should be addressed. The ambivalent “urong-sulong” stance should be criticized.
Anti-fascist, anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggles remain the most effective way to overcome the rightist wind of the Duterte regime. The people should demand substantial reforms from the regime, push Duterte to rely on the people instead of the pro US militarists and neoliberalists.
The revolutionary and progressive forces must respond appropriately to the current crisis of the ruling political system and the seething ruling class rivalries.
Duterte can still seek the support of the national democratic forces and make peace with its revolutionary armed forces by agreeing to push the peace talks to successful conclusion.
Through the forging of CASER and CAPCR, Duterte can unite with the left and work together to advance the people’s aspirations for national freedom, democracy, social justice and socio-economic progress.
Agreements that can be forged through peace negotiations can serve as a framework of a united front against threats of subversion and intervention by the US imperialists and its coterie of loyalists among the Philippine ruling elite.
If Duterte chooses the status quo – that is, retaining the old semicolonial and semifeudal order – he would be no different from his predecessors, a lapdog of imperialists, big landlords and the big bourgeois comprador class. # nordis.net