The social and economic conditions of the Filipino people continue to deteriorate unabatedly under the Duterte regime as a result of its burdensome policies. Their daily individual effort to survive is always a losing struggle. The Duterte regime throws them mere crumbs to scrounge on, while giving the big oligarchs all opportunity to amass wealth.
The prevailing conditions behoove the revolutionary forces to give attention to the urgent clamor of the broad masses for immediate and long-term solutions to their grievances, in order to forge their strength in millions and effectively advance their rights and well-being.
Millions of Filipinos are indignant over grossly intolerable conditions of joblessness, homelessness, low income, high prices, lack of basic utilities and social services, insufficient government subsidies, breakdown of public infrastructure, land grabbing and rural dislocation and other calamitous effects of the Duterte regime’s anti-poor policies. The number of people living in poverty continues to rise.
In the cities and town centers, the toiling masses suffer daily from lack of clean water, high electricity prices, dilapidated public transportation system and traffic, and rising costs of education, fuel and communications. These utilities have all been subjected to privatization and are being operated primarily to generate profits. Hundreds of thousands of urban homeless people are under threat of eviction from their shanties in the name of environmental cleanup even as destructive land reclamation is being carried out to satiate big business hunger for real estate.
Land-use conversion is being pushed vigorously to pave the way for the construction of dams, mining operations, tourism and energy and infrastructure projects, as well as for the expansion of plantations. This is coupled with further import liberalization of rice and other agricultural commodities which threaten local production and rural livelihood.
Unemployment continues to run high as job-creation dip to two-decade lows, resulting from years of declining domestic productivity. Everyday, thousands are compelled to go overseas to seek low-paying contractual employment.
The Duterte regime has become an unbearable burden on the Filipino people. It has fleeced the people with onerous taxes. It has acted incapable, inutile and indifferent to the demands of the people for measures to stem the decline of their standards of living.
Hundreds of billions of pesos of public money are pocketed by corrupt public officials through bribery and cuts and pork barrel allocations, siphoned to favored private businesses in the form of government projects and contracts, and squandered in large wasteful military purchases and operations. It is the super-rich oligarchs who aggrandize their wealth. They wallow in luxury and wasteful living in stark contrast to the hunger and extreme want of majority of the people.
In the face of the people’s seething discontent, the Duterte regime has implemented such measures as the so-called universal health care, conditional cash transfer, “land reform,” housing projects and other “welfare” programs. These are mere public stunts and palliatives which aim to obscure and perpetuate privatization and cutbacks in social spending, deregulation, rampant land conversion and other grievous neoliberal policies.
The Dutertes—consummate bureaucrat capitalists—and their allies, wish to perpetuate their power and privilege. The regime has declared all sorts of war to foment fascist zealotry and give the military and police vast powers to the detriment of democratic rights. Through despotic exercise of state power and violence, it has suppressed all forms of just opposition and stifle the people’s grievances.
Amid grave social and economic conditions in the country and callousness of the Duterte regime, the Filipino people have no other recourse but to collectively raise their voices and assert their demands. They must wield strength in numbers.
To advance the people’s democratic struggles, the Party calls on all activists to go deep among the masses in order to transform the people’s indignation into mass action. They must pay close attention to the most urgent concerns, attitude and aspirations of the people.
They must untiringly carry out one campaign after another to rouse and mobilize the masses with the aim of addressing and resolving the big and small problems that daily beset them. Regularly mount assemblies to discuss issues and give the people an opportunity to air their opinion. In the ongoing election campaign, make the candidates face the people with their demands.
Activists must take every opportunity to conduct propaganda, whether in small group discussion, leaflet distribution, or in soapbox speeches in street corners or aboard buses or jeeps. Transform communities, factories, workplaces, schools and so on into hubs of mass activism.
They must also be good in agitation and in rousing the people to take action in order to hold the reactionary government responsible for imposing burdensome taxes, preventing just wage increases, excessing borrowing of loans, sell-out of the country’s patrimony and other anti-poor measures under the neoliberal policy regime. They must further raise the people’s consciousness by exposing the regime’s subservience to imperialist financial and commercial interests.
The masses must be emboldened to assert their social and economic rights, as well as their democratic rights, in the face of heightened state suppressionana. They must expose the link between the rise of fascism with the social crisis, and the desperation of the ruling Duterte clique to prevent the people from rising up with clenched fists. The need for waging national democratic struggle must be made exceedingly clear.
They must help overcome the forces of disunity and disorganization and diligently work to build all forms of mass organization to represent the people’s interests and demands. Build local and national alliances on the basis of common sectoral and class issues, and mobilize the people in town-wide, province-wide, region-wide and nationwide demonstrations.
The prevailing situation favors the Party’s rapid growth. Party cadres must be able to effectively lead the practical work of activists by becoming models of indefatigable propaganda and organizing work among the masses. They should assiduously conduct ideological studies, assess, sum-up and always raise the level of practice. The advanced mass activists must be recruited promptly into the Party. We must build thousands of new Party branches, and strengthen and expand the existing ones.
By conducting persevering propaganda and organizing work, and by being attentive to the level of the people’s consciousness, the Party and all revolutionary forces can effectively rouse the masses to mount increasingly large mass actions. Considering how conditions in the country are like dry tinder, one spark can start a wildfire of mass resistance.
While strengthening the struggles for the people’s economic rights and well-being, they should also guard against reformism, economism, sectoralism and other tendencies which stymie the people’s revolutionary consciousness. The day to day struggles of the people must be linked to, be supportive of and help strengthen the people’s war.
[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the