International Information Office
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Turin, Italy | 21 April 2018
Dear Comrades & Friends,
It gives us great pleasure to be with you this afternoon to discuss about our common experiences and struggles against state repression and our common aspirations for social liberation and democracy. We wish to thank and congratulate the Fronte Popolare for organizing this event, bringing together progressive and revolutionary organizations from Italy and beyond.
This meeting is made even more significant as we commemorate two anniversaries: Italy’s Liberation Day on 25 April; and the founding of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines on 24 April.
We celebrate the heroic fight and victory of the Italian people against fascism and Nazi Germany in World War 2, and commemorate the revolutionary legacy that this imparts to the current generation of Italian revolutionaries and communists. In Amsterdam today, comrades and friends are celebrating 45 years of heroic struggles of the Filipino people against successive repressive US-puppet regimes – from the fascist dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos of the 1970s to the current fascist regime of Rodrigo Duterte. This is an ongoing revolutionary struggle, as you know, aiming for the country’s total liberation from imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism, and feudal and semi-feudal exploitation.
This afternoon, we wish to draw your attention to the extremely alarming repression being experienced by the Filipino people on a daily basis, and their heroic struggle against this tyrannical rule.
The government of Rodrigo Duterte was elected into office in May 2016. It is the section of the local ruling classes that is presently favored by US imperialism to rule over the semi-feudal and semi-colonial society in the Philippines.
Duterte’s electoral campaign was able to take advantage of the widespread dissatisfaction of the masses against the ruling system. He attacked the failures of the outgoing US-Aquino government in curbing corruption and in providing a sense of security to the people. He basically ran on a peace and order platform, promised to eradicate the illegal drug trade within six months in office, and portrayed himself as a champion of the masses.
Also noteworthy is Duterte’s long history of cooperation and support for the armed revolutionary movement in southern Mindanao island. He publicly labeled himself as ‘leftist’ and ‘socialist’, and declared his affinity with his former university professor Jose Maria Sison, the founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Upon assuming power, he announced his offer of four cabinet posts to the CPP. The Party declined the offer and Duterte eventually appointed four leaders of the legal mass movement to his cabinet. He also announced the re-opening of peace negotiations between his government and the NDFP.
After just a couple of months however, Rodrigo Duterte had already exposed himself as a tyrannical chief executive of the semi-feudal and semi-colonial system. He is basically no different from previous reactionary US puppet rulers, and in some ways has proven himself much worse, especially in terms of brazen use of fascist terror and gross disregard for human rights.
The regime unleashed a wave of mass murder under its so-called war against drugs, with an estimated 13,000 killed in one year alone, surpassing the number of killings under the 14-year US-Marcos dictatorship. It carried out the brutal siege of Marawi City in Mindanao, which was pounded by US-directed aerial bombardment and heavy artillery, causing the massive destruction of people’s lives, homes and civilian infrastructure.
It carries out attacks against the toiling masses of peasants and workers, as well as against the Bangsamoro, Lumad, Cordillera and other national minorities. There are mounting cases of killings, massacres, illegal arrests and torture. The regime subjects civilian communities in the countryside to armed occupation, food blockades, military-imposed curfews and other forms of population and resource control, as well as drone surveillance, aerial bombings and shelling. Rural community schools and other socio-economic initiatives are tagged as communist projects and attacked by the military. Close to half a million people have already been displaced from their homes as a result of Duterte’s military operations.
Duterte is obsessed with imposing a military and police approach to suppress the mounting clamor for fundamental social change amid the seething socio-economic problems besetting the Filipino people. He has already made a complete turnaround from his earlier declaration of being a socialist and “the first Leftist president”. He has totally reneged on his promised sweeping reforms and uplifting the lives of the impoverished masses.
The Duterte regime is completely discredited for its failure to fulfill its promise of solving the illegal drug problem within the first six months. Worse, it has been exposed that his relatives (including son Paulo and son-in-law Carpio) and associates are themselves involved in the smuggling and distribution of illegal drugs.
The Filipino people abhor the Duterte regime for its false promises of reform and utter contempt of the toiling masses; for its subservience to the US imperialists after making false patriotic pretensions; for claiming to denounce corruption but using public funds to line the pockets of his loyalists and extend privileges to favored oligarchs; and for perpetrating a campaign of death and destruction in complete disregard of human rights.
The Filipino people, therefore, demand an end to the fascist, puppet and corrupt Duterte regime. The people have the sovereign right to resist and overthrow an oppressive and tyrannical regime. They are fully justified to exercise this right as they did in getting rid of the Marcos and Estrada regimes.
Demonstrations are being mounted more frequently including those of Lumad, Bangsamoro, Cordillera and other national minorities exposing military abuses. There is a growing peasant movement to occupy and cultivate idle lands. Mass struggles have been carried out by workers, homeless people, public transportation (jeepney) drivers, students and other sectors. Duterte’s plans and maneuvers to establish a fascist dictatorship have been met with increasing mass demonstrations over the past few months. These are dress rehearsals for bigger protest demonstrations to come.
The most telling blows against the entire reactionary state are being delivered by the armed revolutionary movement under the leadership of the CPP. For almost five decades now, it has made great strides and accumulated highly significant victories. It has outlasted all past puppet administrations which tried and failed to destroy it. In the past five years, it has steadily accumulated strength by seizing the initiative in frustrating the enemy’s war of suppression, especially in the Mindanao regions.
The national democratic mass movement has twice proven in the past that it can cause the overthrow of a reactionary regime by mounting demonstrations of hundreds of thousands or millions of people, and combining with various social and political forces to isolate the ruling reactionary clique and compel the military and police to withdraw support. By unleashing brutal attacks and gross violations of human rights, the Duterte regime is inciting the people to fight back, mount demonstrations and wage all forms of antifascist struggle.
The revolutionary forces are keenly aware that the removal of the Marcos (1986) and Estrada (2001) regimes did not amount to a social revolution but allowed the national democratic forces to expand and gain strength. Similarly, by waging anti-fascist, anti-feudal and anti-imperialist struggles against the US-Duterte regime, the revolutionary forces must be able to expand manifold their reach and membership.
The revolutionary forces will certainly outlast this fascist US puppet regime of Rodrigo Duterte. The seeds of the people’s democratic government have long been sown and are sprouting in the form of people’s committees in rural areas from the village level up to the municipal level. A growing number of these committees have been elected by people’s assemblies.
Outside of the Philippines, we continue to call on revolutionaries and solidarity activists all over the world to support the Filipino people’s struggle for national liberation, social justice and democracy.
Following are examples of specific actions that we can take up:
- Participate in fact-finding missions to the Philippines. Investigate and expose the atrocities of the Duterte regime against the oppressed and impoverished people.
- Interact and support the trade unions, labor associations, peasants organizations, agricultural workers’ unions, and the sectoral organizations of women, youth, human rights defenders, environmentalists, teachers, health care professionals and workers, scientists, etc.
- Demand the release of all political prisoners.
- Demand a stop to Duterte’s failed “drug war”.
- Demand the withdrawal of the “terrorist list” and a stop to red-baiting of activists and human rights defenders.
- Support grassroots programs on children’s education, health care, livelihood development, and the like.
- Support and participate in the International Peoples’ Tribunal that will indict the US and Duterte governments for their crimes against the Filipino people. This will be held in Brussels on 18-19 September 2018.
Join the Europe Network for Justice & Peace in the Philippines in order to coordinate our solidarity actions against the fascist US-Duterte regime and to support the people’s movement for national liberation and democracy in the Philippines.
- Organize solidarity visits to the Philippines, experience first-hand the social realities and engage in face-to-face interactions with the people’s movement.
Representatives of the NDFP and the people’s mass movement will always welcome invitations to meetings such as today, to speak about the social realities and the movement for national liberation and democracy in the Philippines.
Thank you very much!