The unrelenting violation of human rights by the fascist US-Duterte regime will intensify the further advance of armed revolution

Statement | December 10, 2018

The National Democratic Front-North Eastern Mindanao Region (NDFP-NEMR), joins the people and the defenders of human rights in commemorating the 70th year of the International Human Rights Day this December 10, 2018.

We extend our warmest salute for your constant struggle to uphold the sacredness of human rights against oppression and exploitation.

The Philippine government was one of the signatories of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 which instituted the value of the rights of all peoples. But the Philippine government has become the number one violator of human rights in all aspects. The US-Duterte regime has even surpassed its predecessor regimes in perpetrating grave human rights violations against the people, committing Hitler-like brutality to realize his ambition for dictatorial rule.

Through the US-Duterte regime’s mercenary and reactionary AFP/PNP, a brutal campaign of repression is implemented against the struggles of the people who resist his devastating programs and policies. Oplan Tokhang, Oplan Tambay, martial law, total war under Oplan Kapayapaan and many more authorized the countless killings, torture, arrests, threats and repression of the people. These are actions of a fascist and terrorist state.

In NEMR since 2016 to the present, more than 20 have become victims of extra judicial killings and more than 10 frustrated killings were committed by the AFP/PNP. Moreover, almost 300 victims have been charged with trumped-up criminal cases, while more than 50 have been jailed as political prisoners. These are all part of the US-Duterte regime’s attempts to destroy the people’s legitimate and progressive organizations that persist and fight his repressive moves.

The sustained military operations in areas targeted for imperialist plantations, mines and infrastructure has resulted to massive evacuations affecting thousands of Lumad and peasant families. Meanwhile, there have been several cases of bombings by AFP troops in areas near communities and farms.

Here in our region, almost 200,000 hectares of land are targeted for banana, oil palm, rubber and others. While almost 600,000 hectares of land have been given to operating mines and to others ready to operate. Most of these are owned by foreign capitalists in connivance with the big comprador bourgeoisie and land lords, driving away countless farmers and Lumad from their homes and livelihoods. At present, these plantations and mines are being protected by 8 battalions of AFP and PNP; 5,000- 6,000 members of SCAA and CAA and 10 paramilitary groups.

In the reactionary government’s desperation to destroy the revolutionary movement, it has invented countless forced surrenders of civilians as NPA members and Milisya ng Bayan and coercing them to join the CAFGU. The AFP/PNP force the establishment of CAA detachments in communities. Barangay and municipal officials are threatened to craft resolutions to show that residents allow the establishment of detachment. Oplan Lakbay Hukay is another scenario peddled recently by the AFP/PNP, the digging up of skeletons to use for propaganda and to tarnish the NPA’s prestige.

Another significant case against the US-Duterte regime is its sell-out of the Philippines to China and the US. Duterte has not made a move against China’s occupation of the islands of the West Philippine Sea within Philippine territory. This violates the national sovereignty of the Philippines. This signifies his servility to foreign capitalists whose sole interest is the plunder our natural resources.

Martial law and the violation of human rights are the instruments of a fascist, puppet and reactionary regime to preserve the oppressive and exploitative system. It will result in serious economic and political crises which will lead to widespread poverty and hunger of the Filipino people. It will intensify the further advance of armed revolution.

Thus, the people are called upon to bravely struggle, uphold your rights and just demands and join the people’s war to achieve total victory of the People’s Democratic Revolution. Persist in demanding for the resumption of peace talks to solve the root causes of armed struggle in the country.

Ka Maria Malaya
Spokesperson
NDFP-NEMR

jms_office

Duterte’s creeping coup against the 1987 Constitution is calculated to climax in 2019

Statement by Prof. Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
December 10, 2018

On this International Human Rights Day, it is fitting and proper to reflect on the Duterte regime’s vicious human rights violations in its drive to impose a fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people. Thus, the appropriate and effective courses of action can be defined for upholding, defending and promoting human rights.

The tyrant Duterte, his ruling clique and their armed minions in the AFP and PNP have been carrying out a creeping coup against the 1987 Constitution of the reactionary government since he assumed office in 2016. He has steered the coup through a number of phases. These are calculated to speed up and reach climax in 2019.

1) Duterte surreptitiously began his all-out war against the revolutionary movement by extending Oplan Bayanihan until the end of 2016 and then declared his own Oplan Kapayapaan in January 2017 while he used as decoy his short-lived pretense of peace negotiations with the NDFP.

2) He implemented his scheme to turn the military and police into his private armies by promoting his favorite officers in the AFP and PNP and corrupting more officers with incentives in cash and promotions for listing and killing suspects with impunity.

3) He projected the image of a strong man with iron fist and drummed up his ability to kill people by unleashing Oplan Tokhang to kill thousands of drug suspects, declaring martial law in Mindanao and destroying Marawi City for the purpose of mass intimidation.

4) He used turncoatism and the pork barrel to take control of Congress and also used Arroyo’s and his appointees in the Supreme Court to effect the release of the biggest plunderers, thereby paying his political debts to them and keeping them as mates in a cabal of corruption.

5) He deliberately terminated the peace negotiations with the NDFP in order to scapegoat the CPP and NPA as the pretext for de facto martial law nationwide and terrorist acts of suppression and making threats of formally proclaiming martial law nationwide or a “revolutionary government”.

6) He has steadily pushed the preparations for charter change to a bogus kind of federalism by which he can concentrate powers in his hands and handpick his regional and provincial agents from among the dynasties nd warlords.

7) He has attacked the Catholic Church from time to time in order to test how far people can react to him, cursing the God and religious beliefs of the Catholic masses, causing the murder of a number of priests and threatening to kill all bishops for being critical of him and being supposedly useless.

8) He has escalated his all-out war against the revolutionary movement in Mindanao and nationwide and has in fact imposed a de facto martial law on the entire nation in preparation for fixing the results of the 2019 elections.

9) He has engaged in plunder of public funds and taken over controlling shares in private contracts with the state and even in the illegal drug trade and casino gambling under the pretext of collecting money for the benefit of ordinary soldiers and for the forthcoming elections.

10) He has boasted of being able to maintain US support and at the same time of enjoying the support of China in terms of protection from any possible coup as well as in terms of securing loans and infrastructure projects in exchange for his treasonous sell-out of the sovereign rights of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.

The Duterte ruling clique keeps on harping on the threats of terrorism and destabilization plots in order to use these as cover and pretext for the coup that Duterte himself is masterminding against the 1987 Constitution and the Filipino people.

It is the duty of the entire Filipino people to stand up, fight and frustrate Duterte’s scheme to grab absolute power as a fascist dictator a la Marcos under the guise of establishing a federal system of government. He is already culpable for the many grave crimes that he, his ruling clique and their armed minions have committed.

It is necessary for all patriotic and democratic forces and the rest of the people to unite in a broad united front and mass movement to oust the Duterte regime as soon as possible. The change can be achieved under any of the effective processes of the 1987 Constitution. The most effective is for the millions of people to take to the streets and encourage the patriotic sections of the AFP and PNP to start the withdrawal of support from the brutal and corrupt tyrant. ###

Duterte has gone into a waiver of Philippine sovereign rights but China demands explicit surrender of these rights

Statement by Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
December 8, 2018

Justice Carpio is overoptimistic and wrong that China will accept a mere service contract to give up China’s baseless claims over the West Philippine Sea and recognize the sovereign rights of the Philippines in accordance with the UNCLOS and the legal victory of the Philippines before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in July, 2016.

Former Solicitor General Hilbay is correct that the Duterte regime has already treasonously and stupidly made a waiver of Philippine sovereign rights by falling silent on these and putting these at par with the false claims of China in the MOU on the joint China-Philippine joint exploration and development of the oil and gas resources under the West Philippines Sea.

But China itself is not yet satisfied with the mere waiver by implication of the Duterte regime’s falling silent on the Philippines’ sovereign rights and putting these at par with the false claims of China. China wants an explicit and categorical surrender of Philippine sovereign rights to China.

Thus, China is using as leverage Duterte’s own inane obsession with getting high interest loans worth USD 9 to 24 billion for some 29 overpriced infrastructure projects. After more than two years since Duterte’s trip to China in October 2016, China has started no more than two infrastructure projects worth far less than USD 1 billion.

Even at this stage, Duterte cannot be sure that he can benefit from his false and stupid calculation that the burdensome and exploitative Chinese loans will buoy up his regime and the Philippine economy.

Even if the Chinese pledge of USD 9 to 24 billion loans were realized, these would further deteriorate the Philippine economy in conjunction with the accumulated loans from the traditional lenders whose interest rates are now rising rapidly in line with the US-initiated policy of quantitative tightening.

The Duterte regime is already moving into the second half of its 6-year term. These are lameduck years for Duterte amid the rising mass movement for his ouster, the bankruptcy of the reactionary government, stinking corruption of the bureaucracy and the military and a growing split between pro-US and pro-Duterte factions within the AFP and PNP.

The isolation and detestation of Duterte by the broad masses of the people are the result of the tyranny and brutality of the regime, rampant corruption, the rising unemployment and dwindling incomes, the mounting tax burden and soaring prices of basic goods and services, the treasonous sell-out to China and other major causes.

Related news:
PHL-China oil deal may resolve maritime dispute —Carpio

Accelerating trend towards martial law nationwide and full-blown fascist dictatorship of Duterte

Statement by Prof. Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
November 28, 2018

In view of certain recent acts of the tyrant Duterte, he is accelerating the realization of his scheme to declare martial law nationwide and impose a full-blown fascist dictatorship on the people.

Duterte is closing all doors to peace negotiations. He has caused OPAPP Secretary Dureza to resign in order to put OPAPP under total military control in line with Duterte’s policy of militarizing his cabinet. He is giving way to the demands of the military.

The military want to control OPAPP to prevent serious GRP peace negotiations with the NDFP by imposing the precondition of surrender on the NPA. .They also want to place the billlions of pesos of OPAPP and Pamana funds under the control of the military. The issue of corruption against Dureza’s undersecretaries is a mere pretext because the Office of the President itself is the stinking center of corruption.

The military officers and some mayors have become notorious for pocketing privately E-CLIP funds for fake surrenderers. Now, they want to take over the PAMANA under OPAPP. The racket in PAMANA is also in the invention of fake beneficiaries and in favoring political favorites among local officials.

In a flagrant expression of lawlessness and barbarism or even madness, Duterte has announced the formation of death squads with the license to kill just anyone who is suspected of being or still becoming NPA. He has specified as targets of the death squads any istambay (idler), any critic, any activist or just anyone whom the death squads suspect or think of becoming or being NPA.

He wants Oplan Kapayapaan to compete with Oplan Tokhang in murdering thousands of people. He is obviously becoming desperate because Oplan Kapayapaan has failed to defeat the NPA in the guerrilla fronts. Not a single guerrilla front has been destroyed even in Mindanao where he has concentrated 75 of his total of 98 maneuver battalions under conditions of martial law.

Now, the NPA is increasingly carrying out tactical counteroffensives in the countryside of Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon. But the NPA is not yet fielding commando teams to urban areas in consideration of the CPP policy that the character the urban mass struggle is legal and defensive.

It is only Duterte who has conjured the illusion that the urban areas are already swarming with “sparrow units” in urban areas in order to have the pretext for forming his death squads to threaten and use against his urban-based legal opponents.

Duterte has gone out of his mind. As Catholic Bishop David has observed, he is mentally sick. He needs psychiatric help and should be removed from his position.###

Unite the people to resist Duterte’s heightened tyrannical rule

CPP Information Bureau

Rodrigo Duterte is obsessed with his strongman ambitions. He is set on establishing himself as a fascist despot. His resort to tyranical methods has heightened since having unravelled as a camp-follower of the US imperialists. He has become ever more brazen and unapologetic in carrying out repressive policies and measures.

He has escalated the campaign of extrajudicial killings against street peddlers and users of shabu. He expresses satisfaction over news that more than a hundred have been killed by his police in three days. He has publicly applauded the murderous rampage of his police force and has repeated his vow to save them from punishment, stoking greater public indignation after police were caught on camera manhandling a 17-year old boy prior to his fatal shooting. There is widespread clamor for justice for all the victims of Duterte’s anti-people “war against drugs.”

This escalation of police killings comes at the heels of the discovery of a P6.4 billion shipment of shabu from China at a warehouse of the Bureau of Customs. The involvement of Duterte scion Paolo and his Davao gang of businessmen cum drug smugglers has also been exposed. Duterte has defended his appointee at the BOC despite (or perhaps because of) the drug smuggling.

Duterte is himself rousing widespread public suspicion that his “war against drugs” is nothing but a smokescreen for a major turf war among major drug syndicates, and that he has been using the police to provide favor and protection for one syndicate against another or that he himself a drug kingpin. Employing trusted and tested police officers, he liquidated the Parojinogs of Ozamiz City, long known for controlling the illegal drug trade in large parts of Mindanao and elsewhere.

He has likewise used his war against drugs as a blanket tool against his political rivals. He brandishes his thick book of dossiers of supposed drug personalities which not even the police chief can cite a basis for. He has arbitrarily included and excluded people and has used the list to armtwist rivals with threats of killings showcasing the Parojinogs and Albuerras in order to force them to accede to his political and criminal agenda.

The brutality of Duterte’s “war against drugs” is matched only by the brutality of his all-out war against the revolutionary forces under Oplan Kapayapaan, his imposition of martial law and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao and the anti-Moro war and siege of Marawi. In the countryside, the military rules and respects no rights or freedom. Killings of peasants and national minorities run unabated. It has relentlessly carried out aerial bombings, shellings and strafings of civilian communities. Almost a million people have forcibly evacuated.

Duterte has used his congressional supermajority to earn approval and extension of his Mindanao martial law. He has also rammed through his new tax laws and is seeking rapid approval of his 2018 budget. With complete or nearly complete control of congress, Duterte aims to push for charter change to enshrine the neoliberal policies of liberalization, privatization and deregulation and realize his ambition of completely monopolizing power under the guise of establishing a federal government.

Duterte wants everyone to remain silent and blindly accept his planned infrastructure binge with all its burdensome debt deals and commissions. He has repeatedly threatened the Supreme Court against issuing TROs and had his political allies file an impeachment case against the chief justice. Threats of impeachment have also been dished out against other officials who have not been cooperative with the Duterte regime such as Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

Duterte has completely abandoned his cordial relations with the national democratic movement having failed to entice the people’s revolutionary forces to silence their guns in a protracted ceasefire prior to substantively addressing the roots of the civil war. His congressional swines have voted to reject the appointment of social activist Judy Taguiwalo as social welfare secretary, signaling his termination of earlier efforts to explore a possible alliance with the Left. He has repeatedly declared he no longer wants peace negotiations with the NDFP.

The Duterte regime has carried out policies that favor foreign big capitalists, bourgeois compradors, big landlords, bureaucrat capitalists and the fascist military and polace. It plans to impose additional tax burdens and pursues a debt-driven infrastructure program which are bound to be detrimental to the people’s welfare. It has waged wars of death and destruction against the people, especially against the peasants, the Moro and national minority peoples, the workers and the urban poor.

As a result, the Duterte regime has become increasingly politically isolated from the people and has resorted to more and more tyrannical measures to perpetuate itself in power. No amount of media and social media manipulation and news and public opinion fakery can withstand the assertion of the truth concerning the concrete conditions of the oppressed and exploited people.

It is the task of the Party and revolutionary forces to unite all sectors in a broad people’s alliance, provide it core strength and leadership in the struggle against the US-Duterte regime’s tyrannical, criminal and corrupt rule. Indeed, many of the Duterte regime’s victims are now rising from the depths of fear and raising their voices against his regime.

The mass organizations and alliances must unite and mobilize the people in greater numbers by intensifying the mass struggles of peasants, workers, students, the urban poor, the women, the Moro and minority peoples, the church people, teachers, the migrant workers and their families and other democratic sectors and groups. They must carry out mass struggles and campaigns along anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and anti-fascist lines.

They must give attention to waging a propaganda offensive against Duterte’s demagoguery. They must encourage, unleash the initiative and give full swing to their members and their mass base to confront and confute Duterte and his band of paid trolls in all forms of media. They can do so by carrying out regular educational discussions among their members and the masses in the factories, communities, schools, offices and so on.

The broadest possible online network of activists, propagandists and members of the national democratic mass organizations must be built.

Under the direction of the Party, the New People’s Army (NPA) must continue to seize nationwide initiative, carry out more and more tactical offensives, increase the number of its weapons and arm a rapidly increasing number of new Red fighters.

Every successful tactical offensive of the NPA helps shatter the climate of shock, awe and fear imposed by the regime’s brutal war and, in turn, instills fear on the drug-crazed Duterte. The victories of the NPA inspire the Filipino and Moro people to wage mass struggles and armed resistance against the US-Duterte regime.

Duterte Kills Peace Talks, Blames Revolutionaries for Martial Law

By Professor Jose Maria Sison | Published in TeleSUR » 21 July 2017

“After 7000 to 12,000 extrajudicial killings of poor drug addicts and low level pushers, he has failed to solve the problem of illegal drugs”
— Professor Jose Maria Sison.

By his own public declarations and expressions of admiration for the fascist dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte has long been obsessed with his scheme to establish his own iron-fisted rule through martial law and extrajudicial killings by way of asserting “strong man” leadership and intimidating the opposition and the people under the pretext of solving not only the problem of illegal drugs but also far graver social, economic and political problems of the US-dominated ruling system of big compradors and landlords. At last, he has declared the end of peace negotiations with the NDFP. The revolutionary forces and people have no choice but to fight back and intensify the people’s war along the general line of people’s democratic revolution.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte inspects firearms together with Eduardo Ano, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, during his visit at the military camp in Marawi city, southern Philippines July 20, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Duterte is not daunted by failures in his use of brute force. After 7000 to 12,000 extrajudicial killings of poor drug addicts and low level pushers, he has failed to solve the problem of illegal drugs within the first three to six months of being in office. He has also used up six months of extending his bloody campaign and has aroused suspicions that he has acted against certain drug lords only to favor those who keep the business thriving. He has directed the bombing of Marawi and victimized the people far more than the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups could. But he wants to prolong the Mindanao-wide martial law proclamation up to the end of 2017. And he calculates that he can make martial rule nationwide by continuing to blame and target the revolutionary movement of the people as “terrorists”.

After pretending for a while to seek a negotiated peace between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP, representing the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and sixteen other revolutionary organizations), he is flagrantly hell-bent on making the armed revolutionary movement the scapegoat and pretext for the proclamation of martial law on the scale of the island of Mindanao and eventually nationwide. Since the time he assumed the presidency, Duterte has launched offensives against the New People’s Army (NPA) and has always threatened to scuttle the peace negotiations whenever the NPA takes defensive or counter-offensive actions even in the absence of a ceasefire.

He has obscured the barbarities being committed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and paramilitary forces (including private security agencies and vigilante groups) that have been acting under his orders in the name of the extended Oplan Bayanihan, Oplan Kapayapaan and the all-out war policy signaled by Duterte’s termination of the peace negotiations on February 4 and spelled out by his defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana on February 7, 2017. The atrocities include aerial bombings and artillery fire, abductions, torture, destruction of lives and property, occupation of community buildings and forced evacuations and evictions. These are documented by human rights organizations and presented to the Joint Monitoring Committee of the GRP and NDFP.

Duterte has completely ignored the proposals of the NDFP to have an alliance for realizing national independence, democratic rights, economic development through national industrialization and genuine land reform, social justice, a patriotic and scientific culture and independent foreign policy and to accelerate the peace negotiations on the substantive issues on social, economic, political and constitutional reforms, to make a bilateral ceasefire agreement after approval of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) and to co-found the Federal Republic of the Philippines on patriotic and democratic grounds defined by a the Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms (CASER).

That Duterte has been insincere and not really been interested in the progress and ultimate success of the peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP is well proven by false promises that he has never had the intention of fulfilling. Even before he assumed his presidential office, he promised on May 16, 2016 that he would amnesty and release all political prisoners in compliance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). But he released on bail only 19 political consultants of NDFP, which also falls short of complying with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

Despite the breach of promise, the NDFP continued to hope that all the political prisoners would be released in conjunction with the mutually agreed plan to accelerate the peace negotiations, to forge and approve the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) and make an interim bilateral ceasefire agreement. To stimulate the peace negotiations, the NDFP agreed with the GRP to issue reciprocal unilateral ceasefire declarations that lasted more than five months, from August 28, 2016 to February 10, 2017.

But Duterte himself kept on saying publicly that he never had any intention of releasing all the political prisoners but wished to keep them as his trump card until the successful end of the peace negotiations. Worse, despite the unilateral ceasefire declarations which lasted for more than five months, the GRP unleashed armed offensives against the revolutionary movement under the name of Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan and then under that of Oplan Kapayapaan. Since February 4, Duterte has caused the declaration of the all-out war policy against the NPA and the people and has never withdrawn it before and after his Mindanao-wide martial law proclamation on May 23, 2017.

Every round of formal talks has been used by the GRP to cut down the hope for the release of the political prisoners in accordance with CARHRIHL and to put at the top of the agenda the GRP demand for bilateral ceasefire at the expense of negotiations on CASER, despite the repeated reminders of the NDFP to the GRP that substantive negotiations and agreements must come ahead of any protracted and indefinite kind of ceasefire. At one point, in back channel talks last March 11, the NDFP agreed with GRP to issue reciprocal and simultaneous unilateral ceasefire declarations. But the GRP backed out of agreement despite Duterte’s approval on March 11.

The Hague Joint Declaration and the Joint Agreement on the Sequence, Formation and Operationalization of the Reciprocal Working Committees have set forth the sequence of the items in the substantive agenda: respect for human rights and international humanitarian law (the subject of a comprehensive agreement approved by the GRP and NDFP principals since 1998), social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and the end of hostilities and disposition of forces. The aim of sequencing properly the items is to address the roots of the armed conflict and lay the basis of a just and lasting peace.

For sincerely adhering to the agreements with the GRP and for refusing to surrender and pacify the revolutionary movement of the people under the guise of a premature prolonged and indefinite bilateral ceasefire, the NDFP is now being demagogically accused by the Duterte government of insincerity in the peace negotiations, being relentlessly blamed for the continuing revolutionary armed conflict, being targeted by propaganda aimed at preparing the public mind for the proclamation of martial law nationwide and using the CPP, NPA and the NDFP as scapegoat.

Coldbloodedly, Duterte intends to rule the Philippines with a combination of martial rule, the use of the mass murder methods of Oplans Tokhang and Double Barrel and the bombing and shelling of entire communities as already seen in Marawi and in the territory of the people’s democratic government and the NPA in the course of the extended Oplan Bayanihan, Oplan Kapayapaan and the all out war policy issued last February 5 against the revolutionary movement.

Even without the license of martial law, the Duterte regime has become culpable for at least 10,000 extrajudicial killings, already outstripping in one year the 3500 victims of murder under the 14-year Marcos fascist regime presented in the US court system. With the license of martial law, we can expect a far bigger catastrophe of extrajudicial killings and other atrocities from the AFP, PNP and paramilitary forces.

The Duterte regime has thoroughly exposed itself as an instrument of US imperialism, a creature of a certain overreaching group of big compradors and landlords and a bloody accomplice of pro-US military and police officers. Thus, the revolutionary movement has started to refer to the Duterte regime as a puppet of US imperialism. The chief objective of Duterte is to destroy the revolutionary movement of the people through deception and brute force and not to build national unity and peace on the basis of social, economic, political and constitutional reforms.

He daydreams about establishing a fascist dictatorship far stronger than that of Marcos. He is oblivious of the fact that his so-called high popularity rating has been bought by excessive amounts of money and has nowhere to go but down in the face of failures and promises proven false. The revolutionary forces and the people can avail of the strategy and tactics of the broad united front and armed struggle in order to pursue the people’s democratic revolution with a socialist perspective.

Peace Negotiations Between Duterte Regime and Revolutionary Forces Head for the Rocks

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
Source: TelesurTV.Net

Despite Duterte’s avowal of trying to develop an independent foreign policy, pro-U.S. die-hards have their way in sabotaging peace negotiations.

By all major indications, the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) headed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the revolutionary forces represented by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) are heading for the rocks, despite the strong clamor for these negotiations by the public and a broad range of peace advocates and despite the patient and efficient third party role of the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) as facilitator.

For more than a year, since May 16, 2016, Duterte has not fulfilled his promise to release more than 400 NDFP-listed political prisoners through general amnesty or the prosecutors’ withdrawal of the false charges of common crimes against them. The promise to release all political prisoners encouraged the NDFP to agree to an acceleration of the peace negotiations on social, economic, political and constitutional reforms in order to address the roots of the now 48 years of civil war between the GRP and NDFP.

But after four rounds of formal talks (two in Oslo in 2016, one in Rome in January 2017 and one in Noordwijk, Netherlands in April 2017), the GRP has steadily backed out of its promise to release all political prisoners and Duterte himself has publicly expressed regrets for having released from prison a mere 19 of them in August last year. These are NDFP political consultants who are protected by the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and should never have been arrested and imprisoned at all. Worst, President Duterte has twice threatened (in February and May 2017) these consultants with rearrest and shoot-to-kill orders while they were engaged in the peace negotiations abroad.

In the course of the four rounds of formal talks, the GRP negotiating panel has given the highest priority to discussions on a prolonged and indefinite bilateral ceasefire in a vain effort to obtain quickly the capitulation and pacification of the revolutionary forces and the people. The GRP has blatantly shown diminishing interest in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and in the sequenced forging of comprehensive agreements on social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and on the end of hostilities and disposition of forces.

Duterte retains in his cabinet rabid exponents of U.S.-instigated neoliberal economic policy, like Director General Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic Development Authority, Secretary Carlos Dominguez III of the Finance Department and Secretary Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management. He has allowed his “supermajority” in Congress to remove Gina Lopez from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources because of her opposition to the plundering and polluting operations of mining companies.

Duterte has shown a lack of sustained interest in genuine land reform and national industrialization proposed by the NDFP. He has demagogically used the slogan of change only to stick to the status quo and further entrench the interests of the United States and other foreign monopolies and the oligarchy of big compradors and landlords. He prefers continuing the export of raw materials, semi-manufactures, and cheap labor and taking onerous foreign loans to sustain import-dependent consumption and infrastructure building and to cover the ever growing chronic trade deficit and balance of payments.

The NDFP has offered to co-found the Federal Republic of the Philippines with the GRP, provided there are guarantees for political and economic sovereignty, people’s democracy, respect for human rights, development, social justice, patriotic culture and independent foreign policy against foreign dominance, dynasticism, warlordism and other forms of local reaction. But the Duterte regime appears convinced that it alone can proceed to establish an authoritarian regime or even a fascist rule by capitalizing on its supposed “iron hand” success against illegal drugs and by shifting now to an “anti-terrorist” campaign that paves the way for a Marcos-type nationwide martial law, adoption of a new constitution and its ratification by local assemblies run by barangay captains to be appointed by Duterte and controlled by his Kilusang Pagbabago (Movement for Change).

Despite Duterte’s avowal of trying to develop an independent foreign policy in a multipolar world, by approaching China and Russia and reducing the overwhelming U.S. hegemony over the Philippines, pro-U.S. and reactionary die-hards like defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana, national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon and armed forces chief of staff Eduardo Año have their way in perpetuating U.S. dominance over the Philippine military and in sabotaging GRP-NDFP peace negotiations by waging an all-out war policy under Oplan Kapayapaan against the revolutionary forces and people since February 2017 after deviously continuing Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan.

Lorenzana, Esperon and Año are hell-bent on escalating offensive campaigns against the New People’s Army and other revolutionary forces and using the peace negotiations to obtain the capitulation and pacification of these forces under the guise of a prolonged and indefinite bilateral ceasefire agreement, which puts aside substantive negotiations and comprehensive agreements on social, economic and constitutional reforms. Such ceasefire agreement is supposed to be coupled with socio-economic dole outs from the GRP and foreign entities and prevent the basic socio-economic reforms demanded by the people.

The so-called security cluster in the Duterte cabinet has Duterte practically on the cusp of its hands on national security issues. Longtime Washington resident Defense Secretary Lorenzana has been able to put U.S. military forces at play in the air and ground surveillance and bombing of Marawi City, resulting in indiscriminate mass destruction of civilian lives and property and the displacement of more than 300,000 people in Marawi and nearby areas. The irony in the Marawi tragedy is that U.S. military intervention has been justified at the highest level of the Duterte regime by the special operations of the CIA-directed and Islamic state (Daesh)-affiliated Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups.

Duterte himself has become insecure, despite his current obeisance to the United States and his own security cluster. He himself has acknowledged that he faces threats of assassination or coup. It seems to be beneficial to Duterte that the United States and his own security cluster are egging him on to include the revolutionary forces led by the Communist Party of the Philippines as among the “terrorist” targets of the reactionary state to rationalize a Mindanao-wide and then nationwide proclamation of martial law. But this will make Duterte even more vulnerable to a “soft” coup by the pro-U.S. retired and active generals around him or to a popular broad united front against his regime. When he becomes more of a liability than an asset to the United States, even the pro-U.S. officials around him are likely to turn against him and cooperate with anti-Duterte forces within and outside of the reactionary armed forces and police.

A newly-elected president in the Philippines usually obtains in his first year of office a high popularity and trust rating from the mercenary opinion poll survey firms. Subsequently, his reputation deteriorates as his promises remain unfulfilled, problems are aggravated and projects fall short of targets and are afflicted by corruption, The Duterte regime is already reeking with corruption even before it can fulfill its promise of punishing the big crooks in the previous Aquino regime. However, Duterte is now most liable for gross human rights violations for the thousands of extra-judicial killings in his Oplan Tokhang against illegal drugs and for the indiscriminate bombings and artillery fire on communities in his all-out war policy against the revolutionary forces and in his campaign against the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups in Marawi and other Bangsamoro groups elsewhere.

The socio-economic and political conditions in the Philippines and in the world are not favorable for the Duterte regime to abandon peace negotiations with the NDFP and to pursue authoritarian ambitions. Having a growth rate of the gross domestic product at around 7 per cent or even higher is not a true measure economic and social development. It merely obscures in vain how the exploiting classes appropriate for themselves the social wealth created by the working people. Poverty is widespread because of extreme forms of exploitation in an underdeveloped economy. Mass unemployment is actually rising, incomes of the working people are plunging and taxes and prices of basic commodities are soaring. The use of authoritarianism and state terrorism will only serve to inflame further the Filipino people’s resistance.

The Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines have publicly expressed their readiness to fight and defeat the all-out war policy of the Duterte regime. At the same time, they are still willing to pursue the peace negotiations with the GRP even under conditions of the severest fighting in the civil war in order to rouse and rally the people along the patriotic and progressive line, explore further how to serve the interest of the people and forge the comprehensive agreements for a just and lasting peace against the oppressive and exploitative forces of foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.

recent..