Positive significance of Duterte’s avowal to uphold an independent foreign policy

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) appreciates the positive significance of the pronouncement by GRP President Duterte yesterday that he will pursue an independent foreign policy and insist on “sovereign equality, non-interference and commitment to peaceful settlements.”

The Filipino people welcomes Duterte’s avowal to uphold an independent foreign policy which came a few days after denouncing US meddling in the Philippines and recalling the history of US crimes in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao, during US colonization of the country.

Duterte has the distinction of being the first GRP president to set himself squarely opposed to US and foreign meddling in the internal affairs of the Philippines. While formally stated in the constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, the principle of an independent foreign policy has never been promoted nor practiced by the successive puppet presidents from Roxas to Aquino.

The CPP and all revolutionary forces urge GRP President Duterte to put to concrete practice his declared policy of promoting an independent foreign policy. The CPP sees positive implications if such an avowal is actively pursued and translated into specific and concrete policies.

GRP President Duterte can work together with the patriotic forces to rouse the Filipino people from the stupor of colonial mentality and undo close to a century of US brainwashing. It is fine that he has helped set light on the dark history of US brutalities in the Philippines by recalling the Bud Dajo massacre of 1906, a photograph of which he presented before the ASEAN. He did so to castigate the US for its hypocrisy in using human rights to meddle in Philippine affairs, particularly in his anti-drug war, which has fast become a campaign of police and vigilante killings targeting mostly small users and street peddlers.

Indeed the Filipino people must recall the barbarities that the US unleashed in the 1899-1913 war of aggression and colonization across the entire country. Duterte can help by highlighting as well how US colonial forces carried out massacres, torture, razing of entire barrios and forced concentration of peoples in the “kill and burn” campaign to suppress the Filipino people’s armed and mass resistance.

It is estimated that 1.5 million Filipinos were killed and died in the course of the US war to colonize the Philippines. Not one American official has been made to answer for the numerous heinous war crimes of the US colonial forces, not even Gen. Jacob Smith, who ordered the killing of all male over ten years old in the campaign to turn Samar into a “howling wilderness.” Duterte must raise the demand for the US to return the Balangiga bells, which the US military took as war booty from Samar in 1903.

Duterte can work with the people’s patriotic forces to generate an educational and cultural campaign to bring forth a renaissance of Filipino nationalism, similar to the educational campaign launched by the eminent nationalist Claro M. Recto in the late 1950s.

In line with an independent foreign policy, Duterte must also declare and pursue a policy of non-alignment by ending dependence on US military aid as well as doctrinal affiliation with US counter insurgency ideology. As an advocate of national independence, he can push the Philippine armed forces to undergo progressive and anti imperialist re-education to counter US influence and control, as is being done by the anti-imperialist governments of Bolivia and Venezuela.

He can furthermore take lead in the revival of an international non aligned movement (NAM) akin to that initiated by Indonesia’s Sukarno in the 1960s. As a country hosting US military bases, the Philippines was never part of the NAM countries and would not benefit from it.

Duterte, however, can stand on moral highground and lead such a movement by making the country fully compliant with the principles of non-alignment by: (a) dismantling of all US military facilities; (b) causing the withdrawal of all US troops, warships, jet-fighters, drones and other war materiél stationed in the Philippines; and (c) rescinding the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and other unequal military treaties.

Duterte can serve to restore a bit of national dignity by ordering the transfer of US navy officer Scott Pemberton, convicted of raping and murdering Jennifer Laude, from his detention center in a US controlled compound inside Camp Aguinaldo to a prison under the authority of the Philippine government.

The Duterte government can also initiate a multicountry declaration calling for the pull-out of all US warships and Chinese military vessels in the South China Sea to effect the demilitarization of that international trade route.

An independent foreign policy can also have profound effect in the field of economic policy. The Duterte government can forge economic ties with all countries regardless of their alignments. As a country tied to the US and dependent on US-aligned institutions such as the IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank, economic opportunities beyond the US-dominated economic world were long closed to the Philippines.

With an independent foreign policy, the Philippines can assert its national prerogative to forge trade agreements with countries such as Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, Russia, North Korea and China who can offer the country crude oil and other resources at much lower prices, as well as scientific advancements, in mutually beneficial economic agreements.

The Duterte government can also pursue a policy of ending dependence on, without cutting ties with, the IMF and IMF-affiliated banks and financial institututions; and promoting ties with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Thus, the Philippines can put itself in a position where it can take advantage of choosing better terms for capital infusion in the form of loans. Such international standing can be taken advantaged of countries by consolidating themselves in an international non-aligned movement.

By promoting an independent foreign policy and asserting mutuality and equality, the Philippines can further promote its ties with China without becoming its lackey. Fully aware of the oversupply of uninvestable capital and unsold capital goods (such as steel) in China, the Duterte government can offer to open joint infrastructure projects that will allow China to expand its investments but with clear terms protecting Philippine patrimony from unmitigated plunder and oppressive interest rates on loans.

An independent foreign policy must also translate into a clear economic program that promotes economic independence and the capacity of the country to stand on its own legs, while engaging in trade and allowing foreign investments that are necessary, e.g. developing steel and machine building industries, and advantageous, e.g. transfer of technology, to the domestic economy. The Duterte government must reject blind economic liberalization, such as those being pushed by the US through the GATT, WTO, APEC and TPP, as well as by China through the RCEP.

Duterte’s avowal of an independent foreign policy bodes well for peace negotiations with the NDFP. The principle upholding an independent and peaceful foreign policy is among the key items in the 12-point program of the NDFP. Such policy congruence between the Duterte regime and the NDFP program can serve as one of the solid starting points in forging agreements on socio-economic and political reforms.

Learn more:
Terminate all unequal relations with the United States and other foreign entities
Adopt an active, independent and peaceful foreign policy

Oppose the hero’s burial for fascist dictator Marcos

The CPP condemns the plan of the Duterte regime to give the former fascist dictator Ferdinand Marcos a hero’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

By claiming Marcos deserves to be buried with other former soldiers, Duterte is helping perpetuate the historical lies surrounding Marcos’ bogus medals and phoney Maharlika guerrilla unit. By further ordering that Marcos be accorded military honours befitting a former head of state, Duterte is virtually deleting Marcos’ bloody record as a military despot and the fascist violence, human rights violation, corruption and economic hardships he made the Filipino people suffer through 14 years of dictatorship.

The Filipino people hold all post-Marcos regimes equally culpable for the political restoration of the Marcos family—Imelda and their children, who all took part in the machinations of the Marcos dictatorship. According a hero’s burial to the dead dictator will complete the Marcoses’ political restoration and will complete the whitewash of all the crimes they perpetrated against the people.

Duterte is bull-headed with his decision to give Marcos a hero’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. He is determined to squander the historical lessons treasured by the Filipino people. They are being politically disarmed from preventing the rise to power of future dictators. Many fear this will be self-serving as Duterte bandies threats to declare martial law if he doesn’t get his way in the frenzied “war against drugs.”

By flaunting his ties and alliance with the Marcos family, Duterte is helping the Marcosian scheme to revise history and make the younger generations overlook the colossal plunder and sale of the country’s patrimony, his debt-borrowing debt spree, his legacy of gross cronyism, his family’s ostentatious lifestyle built upon the poverty of the people, and his martial law’s massacre of freedom and democracy.

Duterte’s decision on the Marcos burial displays extreme insensitivity to the sensibilities of thousands of victims, families and survivors of martial law barbarities. He insults the memory of thousands of patriotic Filipinos from all walks of life who gave up their lives at the prime of their youth to fight for the dictatorship’s overthrow.

Riding on surveys claims of high approval ratings, Duterte taunts the people to protest as much as they want in the streets. He reveals his indifference to people’s demands.

The CPP supports the people’s protests against the Duterte regime’s plan to give a hero’s burial to Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The revolutionary forces continue to stand against the political restoration of the Marcoses and demand that they be made to pay for all the crimes against the Filipino people.

No more cooperation with Duterte’s undemocratic and anti-people “drug war”

The anti-drug war of the Duterte regime has rapidly spiralled into a frenzied campaign of extra-judicial killings and vigilante murders perpetrated by the police and by police-linked criminal syndicates. Nearly 1,000 people have been killed in just a little more than one month. The rights of tens upon thousands of people are being violated as the criminal justice system is upturned.

Police officials have brazenly carried out summary killings against suspected drug peddlers and users. Hundreds have been killed while “resisting arrest” or while under custody and detention, in police cars as well as in jails.

Duterte’s “drug war” has clearly become anti-people and anti-democratic. Human rights are being violated with impunity by police personnel, emboldened by Duterte’s assurances of “I got your back” and his public declarations of contempt against human rights.

The Duterte regime has unleashed unmitigated violence and threats of violence against the people, mostly victims and people at the lowest rungs of the criminal syndicate ladder. In contrast, the suspected big drug lords and their protectors are afforded courtesy calls to Malacañang, accommodations in Camp Crame’s guest house and preliminary investigations by the NBI. The worst that they have been made to undergo is to suffer the lectures of the PNP chief.

What was before the burden of the accuser to prove someone’s guilt is now the burden of the accused to prove his innocence. Duterte has come up with one list after another of so-called protectors, narco-politicians and judges without proof nor clear basis for accusations of their involvement in drugs. He could not even tell the people how the lists were drawn. It is a mystery even to the chief intelligence officer and head of the PNP.

Duterte has become so full of himself and intoxicated with the vast power he is not used to handle that he thinks he can get away with upturning the criminal judicial system and denouncing people for defending human rights. He dishes out threats of imposing martial law. He has made himself a laughing stock among legal circles. He, however, is not laughing and threatens anyone who chooses to stand in his way.

Duterte’s “drug war” is bound to fail because it does not address the socio-economic roots of the problem. It has been proven in history that no amount of killing will succeed in putting an end to the drug menace. After ten years of the “anti-drug war” in Mexico, and with almost 80,000 people killed, the intensity of the drug problem remains the same if not worse. In Thailand, around 3,000 people were killed from 2003 to 2005, at least half of whom were later proved to be not involved in drugs. The drug problem has become worse.

The “drug war” is set to spiral into a war among the criminal drug syndicates, between one narco-politician against another, using the resources of the state and to further entrench themselves in the reactionary state. The “drug war” is also fast becoming one of the facets of the factional struggle within the reactionary ruling classes, for control of resources, territories, police and military units.

Duterte’s war is set to unleash more violence and counter-violence, political maneuverings as well as media contests between rival criminal syndicates as represented by their politicians and police protectors.

In all likelihood, many of the summary and vigilante killings are being carried out by the criminal syndicates who use the “anti-drug war” as camouflage for waging all-out war against their rivals and their rival protectors in the police, bureaucracy and judiciary or to rub-out their own men. It would be no surprise that the information made public by Duterte about police protectors, narco-politicians and judges were fed to him by rival criminal syndicates.

All democratic forces must unite and demand justice and an end to the madness of police and vigilante killings. They must unite to defend human rights. At the same time, the people should amplify their urgent clamor for jobs and land to improve their economic condition, make them productive and draw them away from social misery and desperation, in order to, thus, end the conditions for the proliferation of drugs.

In line with standing orders, the New People’s Army (NPA) will continue to intensify its operations to arrest and disarm drug trade operators and protectors. However, these will no longer be considered as cooperative with the Duterte regime’s undemocratic and anti-people “war on drugs.” As before, the NPA will continue to exercise due process in dealing with suspects, such as those PNP officers presently in custody in Compostela Valley and Surigao del Sur.

The CPP calls on the people to struggle against the rampant problem of drug addiction, as they wage revolutionary struggle to overthrow the system that perpetuates it as well as other forms of oppression. The most effective way of waging war against drugs is by rousing the people and mobilizing them to become active participants in social revolution.

The rampant problem of drug addiction among the people should be addressed in the economic as well as political and cultural fields. In thousands of barangays and clusters of several where the revolutionary forces hold sway and exercise governmental authority, drug addiction has been virtually wiped out through mass struggles.

In the base areas of the NDFP, the active participation of the youth and other sectors in revolutionary political, cultural, economic, military and social affairs, have drawn them away from the culture of individualism, self-indulgence and escapism. Here, drug abuse and drug addiction can no longer take root.

On Duterte’s ultimatum over NPA use of CDX landmine

The CPP rejects the new ultimatum set by GRP President Duterte demanding an end to the NPA’s use of CDX landmines with a threat of ending peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

(Also see the statement “Expand use of command-detonated explosives in tactical offensives” released today by the CPP »“)

By setting such an ultimatum, after having yet to fulfill his own promise to release NDFP consultants and political prisoners, smacks of a poorly-crafted deflectionary tactic, with the aim of blaming the revolutionary forces for the repeated postponement of peace talks.

Apparently, GRP President Duterte’s mindset is becoming more and more militarized as he hops from one military camp to the next. As he surrounds himself daily with US-trained military officers and soldiers, it appears that he is more and more obsessed with ending the armed revolution through suppression. He is increasingly drawn away from the people and their urgent concerns over lack of jobs, low wages, landlessness, spiralling prices and growing desperation.

He is showing himself to be more and more cantankerous, inventing one reason after another to attack the CPP and NPA instead of finding ways to push forward peace negotiations. He is daily becoming more bellicose issuing threats of intensifying war, apparently oblivious over the failure of the AFP to stop the growth of the NPA in Mindanao and the rest of the country despite having deployed increasing number of troops against the NPA since 2011 under Oplan Bayanihan.

He issues one sensational but completely empty statement after another such as recruiting one million soldiers. He has resorted to personally bashing the revolutionaries without effect but to satisfy the base humor of his bestial AFP troops and their zealot officers.

The CPP reiterates its support for peace negotiations. It urges GRP President Duterte to fullfill his promise to release all NDFP consultants in order to have them lend their expertise in scheduled negotiations and discussions on socio-economic reforms and political and constitutional reforms.

The CPP urges the Duterte regime to fulfill its promise and immediately order the release of all 22 NDFP consultants and around 550 political prisoners by withdrawing all the trumped-up charges against them. If he does so, the GRP president will succeed in boosting a hundredfold the confidence of the revolutionary foces that he is indeed a man of honor. He would also succeed in proving that his government is indeed different from the past regime which only used peace negotiations in the vain attempt to cause the surrender of the NPA.

The CPP and all revolutionary forces are ever ready to work with the Duterte regime to actively pursue talks to resolve the roots of the armed conflict through negotiations. The CPP, however, is not one to back down from threats of war by Duterte. Waging people’s war has always been the path to strengthen the revolution and accumulate victories.