Thursday, July 13, 2017

CPP/CNL-NDF: The 2nd State of the Nation Address: Hope for Meaningful Change?

Christians for National Liberation propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 12): The 2nd State of the Nation Address: Hope for Meaningful Change?

Renmin Malaya, Spokesperson
CNL National Executive Committee

12 July 2017

Rodrigo Roa-Duterte began his bid for the presidency by impressing the electorate with his pro-poor and nationalist rhetoric, on the promise of meaningful change for our people, the first self-proclaimed Leftist and Socialist President of the country. But one year on, we are still waiting for results on this, but it looks he has entirely forgotten his promises. Prior to his assumption to the Presidency a year ago, a broad array of people’s organizations, cause-oriented groups, institutions and concerned individuals convened in a National People’s Summit and adopted a 15-point “People’s Agenda for Nationalist and Progressive Change,” including short-term proposals for the President’s first 100 days in office, which he himself accepted.

The comprehensive agenda, was in direct response to the President’s promise of meaningful change for our people. It was a way to constructively engage his administration in realizing much needed reforms in five critical areas: The National Economy, Progressive Social Policy, Peace and Human Rights, Foreign Policy &National Sovereignty, Governance and Democracy.

 Among the key reforms pushed were those pertaining to agrarian reform, national industrialization and economic sovereignty, relief for the workers by ending labor contractualization, an independent foreign policy, the resumption of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), campaign against corruption, a pro-people social policy especially in relation to health, education, housing and social protection. However, after a year of his administration, the country still finds itself far from realizing the aspiration for meaningful change.

 On the resumption of Peace Talks – on this agenda his administration has made great strides in resuming the peace process with the NDFP. Pres. Duterte’s action of resuming the talks based on previously signed agreements, releasing key NDFP leaders and consultants for the talks, and appointing a number of NDFP nominees to his cabinet and other high posts, have done well to establish confidence and goodwill on both sides.This resulted in unprecedented accomplishments in the effort to forge substantial agreements on social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and the cessation of hostilities and disposition of forces. A most important development in the talks for example is the agreement in principle on free land distribution for poor farmers. However, his failure to release more than 300 remaining political prisoners and its insistence on a bilateral ceasefire as a requirement for the talks to prosper has scuttle the peace talk and prevented it to prosper.

Unfortunately, the pro-US militarist clique LEA in his cabinet, led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, and AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año, has constantly tried to sabotage the talks by insisting on an indefinite ceasefire even without substantial reforms,as the AFP carries out an all-out war policy against the NPA. This was evident in the collapse of the 5th round of talks, including the declaration of Martial Law while the President was in Russia.

It is on this context that we the Christians for National Liberation – CNL condemn and can boldly say that the present administration has become more fascist with his declaration of Martial Law. It just proves that his government has been a hindrance to pursue the promised meaningful change, by listening to his pro-US militarist consultants in his cabinet. If there is any accomplishment that President Duterte can rightly claim his own, is the death of more than 8,000 suspected drug users and pushers at the hands of the police, its assets and police-backed vigilante death squads. This was his campaign promise, and he is doing it with flair. In addition to the political killings of farmer leaders and activists, arrested and detained for trumped up charges.

Worse, with the declaration of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao and possibly the whole country, he is threatening to bring the people back to the Marcosian days of martial rule. The human rights situation in the country became a catastrophe as the ongoing Marawi crisis: children dying at the evacuation center due to sickness and the thousands of families still at the evacuation center, has been his major cause of worry for the past few weeks, as he himself admitted in recent speeches. In addition to the Marawi crisis, the on-going aerial bombings that created Moro communities to evacuate in Maguindanao, Matanao Davao Sur, Pres. Roxas and North Cotabato displacing thousands of families, damaged schools, students and teachers displaced. Recently the Salugpungan Lumad schools who just formally opened classes, had been attacked by the military and its paramilitary group Alamara disrupting classes prompting the teachers and students to air their grievances to the concerned government agencies, at the urban center but classes continued at the campsite. Few days after, the ALCADEV school in Surigao was also threatened by military planes flying just above their community and military forces that encamped near the campus, led the residents again to evacuate.

Despite allegations he has caused the death of many Filipinos in the incessant drug war, still majority seem to like his iron fist, where obedience to the law is not optional.The unbelievable frequency and impunity by which these extrajudicial killings (i.e. summary executions at the hands of state security forces) are committed have become the hallmark of his “war on drugs.” It is targeted mainly at the poor, who neither have the clout nor the resources to defend themselves from such an onslaught by the very government that is supposed to protect their rights.

Pres. Duterte’s launching full-scale assault on the Filipino people through its anti-people and neoliberal economic policies, which aggravate the existing social inequalities and the intergenerational oppressive system is very disturbing. He finally shed off his progressive and leftist posturing, proving himself to be another lapdog of imperialist US and local ruling elites, just like his predecessors. By retracting his promise of genuine social change and radical social transformation, President Duterte has finally revealed its true character—that it is not for the democratic interests of the Filipino people, but for the corporate interests of the privileged ruling class it chose to serve.

To date thousands of workers, as a result of Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) Department Order (DO) 174 which solidifies contractualization of labor and further condones the neoliberal attack on workers, remain contractual and continue to live below the national daily minimum wage despite Duterte’s promise of ending contractualization. Thousands of students remain barred from accessing education, or remain tangled in the tedious bureaucratic processes in availing piecemeal discounts on tuition fee, although recently CHED announced several state universities offering free scholarships for medical students ONLY. The question is why NOT for students taking agriculture, education and engineering?

Thousands of farmers remain bound to feudal relations and usurious debts, despite the victorious struggle of the MARBAI agrarian reform beneficiaries who were able to take back their land. Lastly, the peace talks, which was supposedly a great leap for the government in attaining long and just peace, faltered completely when Duterte suspended the fifth round of peace negotiation upon the insinuation of his warmongers in the cabinet. The peace talks further suffered a setback when Duterte’s dedication to restoring peace in Marawi led to martial law in the entire Mindanao.

The false hopes for genuine social change promised by the Pres. Duterte did not, in any way, impede the struggle of the Filipino people for social justice and peace. The guarded optimism of the Christians for National Liberation and all revolutionary and progressive Filipinos has taught the oppressed that genuine social change cannot be monopolized by a single power. We cannot rest all our hopes on a popular political figure who continuously fails to identify himself with the toiling Filipinos. The inequalities and injustices rooted in neoliberal economic policies, his unclear stand or posturing against US imperialism, his indecisive stance on the peace talks, and his frightening reliance on militaristic solutions to our country’s problems. We the Christians for National Liberation –CNL give our salute to the unwavering revolutionary spirit of all patriotic Filipinos who continue to advance the national democratic struggle for radical social transformation, and for a just and lasting peace.

End Contractualization of Workers!
Genuine Land Reform Now!
Free Education for All!
End State Fascism !
Resume the PEACE Talks!

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