As the Bamboos Sway: Martial Law & Peace Talk Curb: Diversionary and Admission of Fear and Failure


President Rodrigo ‘Digong’ Duterte’s martial law and Peace Talk cancellation divert attention from his failure to fulfill his promise to win his war against the drug lords, graft and corruption, and criminality in the Philippines. They are also, especially the cancellation of peace talks, an admission that he could not push for genuine land reform and industrialization in the country, much less alleviate the downtrodden situation of the marginalized Filipinos. They also reveal his fear against the landlords and bureaucrat capitalists who have more control over the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) than he and which is influenced largely by the United States Armed Forces through the Balikatan and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Despite his braggadocio stance, Digong is fearful that more and more Filipinos, including within his 16 million voters, are realizing that he has not fulfilled his promises during his campaign trail – that in six months, he would have eradicated the drug menace, graft and corruption, and criminality in the Philippines. Over 8,000 poor suspected drug users had been reported to have been executed in extra judicial killing manner during his watch while known drug lords had been set free. Oligarchs still abound with him having Marcos, the father of all oligarchs, buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. With the peso sliding further down, crime is on the rise.

The declaration of martial law in Mindanao is an over-reaction to the military situation in Marawi City. With it and the looming martial law over the whole country is gripping the people to a bogeyman situation where the fear of terrorism is covering the fact of Digong’s failures.

Moreover, the cancellation of peace talks buries his promise of genuine land reform and industrialization to oblivion. The last meeting was supposed to be the meat of the peace talks where the programs toward economic and social reforms should have been outlined. Since land reform would be inimical to the landlords and industrialization would be inimical to the bureaucrat-capitalists, Digong’s capitulation shows that he could not fight them head on. In this course, he blames the National Democratic Front (NDFP), the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) with its armed New People’s Army (NPA) for scuttling the talks for not rescinding the order for the NPA to step up their attacks against the government forces. He does not consider that it was his defense secretary said that in the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, he included the NPA as targets of the military.

Furthermore, his martial law declaration is a total disregard of his promise during his campaign that there will be no martial law during his term because it is “useless”. He, however, fears the bellicose elements in his AFP. Due to his rants against the United States which exerts influence on the AFP and has imperial economic interests in the Philippines and due to his aligning himself to China and Russia, one could feel the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) pushing the buttons for a coup if Digong does not behave.

So, so much for a strongman president for the people of the Philippines. As he was described as a “butangero” by Jose Maria Sison, consultant to the peace talks, Digong’s brave pronouncements against US imperialism, drug lords, and oligarchs are empty saber rattlings in front of awed listeners during glorified drinking sessions around sari-sari stores.

With him caught between not able to fulfill his promises and fear of those who control the socio-economic stronghold in the country, he lashes instead at the people who had promised to serve during his campaign. The bombing in Marawi had already ruined the city to where those who had been displaced will have nowhere to return to. He had not supported Gina Lopez as Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and had replaced her with a former general. Thus, the environmental destruction will continue to displace more indigenous people and deprive them of economic resource and safety. Most of his cabinet members are now former generals which give a strong shade of a military junta.

There is no more talks of land reform and industrialization, the keys to the economic and social upliftment of the Philippines. There is now only bombing and all-out war. Digong does not have a concrete plan for the better future of the Philippines.

President Rodrigo ‘Digong’ will just flail along, might not even finish his term, as the people will rise up against his regime or a coup is stage to topple him.

His growing unpopularity will be his demise as Mayor President of the


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