Monday, May 30, 2016

Leyte battalion moved to Mindanao

From the Manila Bulletin (May 30): Leyte battalion moved to Mindanao

The 802nd Infantry Brigade here announced the relocation of its 19th Infantry Battalion (IB) to Mindanao. This was confirmed by Brigade Commander Col. Francisco F. Mendoza Jr. who said that the battalion was officially transferred to North Cotabato last Sunday, May 29.

The relocation was in compliance of a directive from higher headquarters for army units in Luzon and Visayas to augment forces in Mindanao to address the spate of kidnappings perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf bandit/terrorist group. “They needed additional forces to address these (kidnapping) cases,” said Mendoza.

The 802IB covers the provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte and Biliran. It has two battalions under its command, that is, the 19th and 78th Infantry Brigades (IB).

On the other hand, the 801st and 803rd IBs have jurisdiction over the whole Samar Island. The choice of which battalion to send to Mindanao was based on tactical consideration.

“(Higher command) directed the Philippine Army (PA)’s 19th IB to be deployed (to Mindanao) primarily based on the status of the peace and order situation in (Eastern Visayas),” Mendoza explained. “Comparing Leyte and Samar, mas manageable ang situation natin dito sa Leyte.” Southern Leyte and Biliran have already been declared insurgency-free while Leyte is scheduled for such declaration at the end of this year.

With the 19th IB’s departure from the province, this will leave the 78th IB to secure Leyte, Southern Leyte and Biliran provinces.

The good news is that it will be complemented by the 83rd Division Recon Company which just arrived from Mindanao and will take over the camp vacated by the 19th IB in Aguiting, neighboring Kananga town.

Abu Sayyaf seen as threat to Duterte-Misuari meet in Sulu

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (May 30): Abu Sayyaf seen as threat to Duterte-Misuari meet in Sulu
Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte calls for a press conference on Wednesday evening until Thursday dawn and vows to hit hard against police officials involved in the illegal drug trade following an incident in a concert in Pasay City that left 5 people dead. KARLOS MANLUPIG/INQUIRER MINDANAO
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte. KARLOS MANLUPIG/INQUIRER MINDANAO
It will be a security nightmare if President-elect Rodrigo Duterte insists on meeting with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Nur Misuari in his lair in Indanan, Sulu.

Habib Mudjahab Hashim, chair of the Moro National Liberation Front’s Islamic Command Council (MNLF-ICC), told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that it would not be safe for Duterte to visit the MNLF’s founding chair “because going to Misuari’s hideout, in going up, we have to go through the Abu Sayyaf territory.”

“There is no guarantee the Abu Sayyaf will not sabotage the meeting,” Hashim said.

Duterte earlier said he would like to meet up with Misuari to clarify a misunderstanding with an MNLF delegation that tried to see him on May 16, during his first public appearance after the election.

 The MNLF earlier said that some people around Duterte blocked their request to meet with him.

“You said you were snubbed, but believe me, I don’t do that. I was there for 21 hours,” Duterte said.

Col. Rolando Bautista, whom Duterte earlier named as his chief of the Presidential Security Group, said if the incoming president would push through with his plan, “all security issues” should be considered.

Bautista said he would have to coordinate all security aspects with the intelligence communities under the military’s Western Mindanao Command.


Misuari has been in hiding after he was accused of leading the hostilities in Zamboanga in 2013 that left about 200 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

But unlike his offer of general amnesty for communists and other political prisoners, Duterte said he was still thinking of how to handle the MNLF, saying that his priority was to talk to Misuari.

Duterte, a close friend of Misuari’s, said that he was thinking about asking Misuari and his men to surrender. “I will talk to him,” Duterte said.

He added he would raise with Misuari the problem with the bandit group Abu Sayyaf.

Duterte and the MNLF have a long history of good relations with the city allowing the group to freely conduct protests and even join in the parades and different festivities in the city.

The MNLF once held a big protest questioning the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Davao City days before the hostilities erupted in Zamboanga City.

Supt. Junpikar Sittin of the Jolo Police Station said they already had a security plan for Duterte’s visit.

“It’s a plan prepared by the Sulu Provincial Police together with our counterparts, the military,” he said.

According to Supt. Wilfredo Cayat, Sulu police chief, the province, and Jolo in particular, is safe for Duterte.

Hashim said some of the MNLF officials were suggesting that Duterte meet with Misuari in a a place like Jolo “where everything is accessible.”

“He can come down using a helicopter or move from one place to another in a short distance,” Hashim said.

Misuari’s lair, Hashim said, can be reached by four-wheel vehicles, but would take about three to four hours of land travel.

‘Duterte must cross Abu turf to meet with Misuari’

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (May 31): ‘Duterte must cross Abu turf to meet with Misuari’

It will be a security nightmare if President-elect Rodrigo  Duterte insists on meeting with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Nur Misuari in the latter’s hideout in Indanan, Sulu.

Habib Mudjahab Hashim, chair of the MNLF’s Islamic Command Council, told the Inquirer it was not safe for Duterte to visit the MNLF’s founding chair “because going to Misuari’s hideout, in going up we have to go through Abu Sayyaf territory.”

There is no guarantee the Abu Sayyaf will not sabotage the meeting,” Hashim said.
Duterte earlier said he wanted to visit Misuari and settle a misunderstanding involving an MNLF delegation that went to Davao City to see him after the election but failed to get an audience.

The MNLF delegation claimed some people around Duterte blocked their attempt to meet with the next president.

“You said you were snubbed, but believe me I don’t do that. I was there for 21 hours,” Duterte said, after he heard the delegation had left.

Col. Rolando Bautista, whom Duterte had named as the next chief of the  Presidential Security Group, said that if the president-elect pushes through with his plan to visit Misuari, “all security issues” should be considered.

Misuari has been in hiding since he was accused of leading the siege of Zamboanga City in 2013 that left some 200 people dead and hundreds of  thousands displaced from their homes.

Unlike the rapport he has exhibited with the communist rebels, offering them amnesty and pardons, Duterte said he was still thinking about how to handle the MNLF, and his priority was to talk to Misuari.

Duterte, who knows Misuari well, said he was thinking about asking him to surrender. “I will talk to him,” he said.

He said he also needed to talk to Misuari about the Abu Sayyaf`.

Peace consultant in AgSur peacefully buried

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 30): Peace consultant in AgSur peacefully buried

Family and friends of the late Josefina Bajade, a peace consultant and retired provincial social welfare and development officer (PSWDO) who was killed recently by the New People’s Army (NPAs) were gathered at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur to attend her final interment and burial.

Governor Santiago Cane delivered his message in a eulogy expressing that no words of comfort would describe the sorrow felt by the bereaved family whose dearly departed died violently in pursuit of peace.

He recollected the interventions of the late Josefina Bajade or Nic-Nic as a full-blooded social worker and as a peace process negotiator.

Cane further underscored that Nic-Nic is an epitome of a woman with courage who steadfastly stood amidst life threatening situations for fighting to bringforth lefties in the folds of the government.

Also, all other co-workers and direct family members have enunciated late Josefina's utmost extent of boldness to take, even in struggle and risking life, in order to advance negotiated peace.

For the hundreds of people who attended her funeral, they considered her brutal death as a huge loss of the province.

While the necrological mass was ongoing at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, supporters and friends of the late Josefina Bajade also brought with them placards with statements against the NPAs and praying for justice be served to her.

After the mass, an indignation rally was held going to San Lorenzo Ruiz Memorial Garden where she was buried.

Tagalog News: IP groups sa Agusan del Sur kinondena ang mga rebeldeng NPA sa karumal-dumal na pagpatay sa mga inosenteng sibilyan

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 30): Tagalog News: IP groups sa Agusan del Sur kinondena ang mga rebeldeng NPA sa karumal-dumal na pagpatay sa mga inosenteng sibilyan

Mariing kinondena ng mga indigenous peoples (IPs) sa probinsya ng Agusan del Sur ang mga miyembro ng New People’s Army (NPA) na pumapatay umano ng mga inosenteng sibilyan, lalung-lalo na ang pagpatay sa kinikilalang peace negotiator na si Josefina Bajade ng nasabing probinsya.

Ayon kay Datu Batan-on II, pinuno ng San Francisco Tribal Leaders Cultural Association Incorporated, nanghihinayang anya siya at nang kanyang mga kasamahang IP leaders sa pagkamatay ni Josefina Bajade o Nanay Nic-Nic na walang-awang pinatay at nilinlang ng mga kasapi ng mga rebeldeng NPAs kamakailan lang sa Compostella Valley

Anya, isang ina ng mga lumad ang turing nila kay Nanay Nic-Nic na naging tapat sa tungkulin sa ilang taong panenerbisyo nito. Inaakyat umano ni Nanay Nic-Nic ang bundok para lang matugonan ang kinakailangang tulong ng mga lumad at naging mabuting facilitator sa mga miyembro ng NPA na gustong sumuko at magbagong-buhay at matulongang makapag-aral ang kanilang mga anak.

“Hindi napo kami makakahanap ng kagaya ni Nanay Nic-Nic na magaling talaga sa kanyang trabaho. Para na siyang ina sa aming mga lumad pati na rin sa mga beneficiaries ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program o 4Ps,” mungkahi ni Datu Batan-on.

Napag-alaman din na magpupulong-pulong ang lahat ng mga IP leaders sa probinsya at paplanuhin kung ano pa ang maaari nilang gawin o ibahagi sa pamilya ni Nanay Nic-Nic upang makamit ang hustisyang nararapat sa kanya.

Ayon naman sa dating miyembro ng NPA na si Julieto Canoy alyas Ka Boom na ang pagkamatay ni Josefina Bajade ay talagang kagagawan ng mga rebeldeng grupo na sila ring salarin sa pagkamatay ni Loreto, Agusan del Sur mayor Dario Otaza ilang buwan palang ang nakakalipas.

Pinaaalalahanan din ni Ka Boom ang lahat, lalung-lalo na ang mga miyembro ng media na iwasang magbigay suporta sa rebeldeng grupo sa anumang paraan dahil umano may dala itong pahamak sa kanilang buhay at kapamilya sa panahong matigil ang kanilang pagbigay ng suporta at kapag wala na silang silbi para sa mga NPAs.

Rebel returnees, skilled workers receive Kabuhayan starter kits

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 30): Rebel returnees, skilled workers receive Kabuhayan starter kits 

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in partnership with the 53rd Infantry (MATAPAT) Battalion, Philippine Army on Thursday distributed P871,000 worth of livelihood assistance under its Kabuhayan Starter Kit (KSK) project.

In a simple ceremony held at Barangay Tiguha, this municipality, identified rebel returnees and skilled workers in the municipalities of Lapuyan and San Miguel received the starter kits which would go a long way to improve their lives.

“Dako kaayo ang akong kalipay ning gihimo sa DOLE ug Philippine Army nga pag-apod-apod sa mga starter kits dinhi sa atong barangay. Kini nga kalihokan tataw nga nagpadayag sa dakong pagpakabana sa atong gobyerno dinhi kanato. Sa pagkatinuod, gibalik sa gobyerno ang buhis nga atong gibayad kanila pinaagi sa ilang dalaygon nga programa alang sa panginabuhian,” Punong Barangay Felicito Setit declared(I am very grateful that the DOLE and PA conducted the distribution of starter kits in our barangay. This activity clearly demonstrates the deep concern of the government for us. Indeed, the government has returned the taxes we paid  thru this laudable livelihood program).

Vice Mayor Joel Sulong said Lapuyan and San Miguel are very lucky since the beneficiaries can now have their own livelihood to uplift their economic status.

“Ang inyong dugay nga gipangandoy nga makabaton ug kaugalingon nga livelihood activity maangkon na ninyo tungod kay gihatud dinhi mismo sa DOLE ug Philippine Army ang mga starter kits sa atong tugkaran. Magpadayon ang inyong panginabuhi gamit ang mga starter kits, makasuporta ug makapa-eskwela namo sa inyong mga anak ug tungod niini masinati  nato ang kalinaw sa atong dapit,” Sulong challeng(Your long time dream of having a livelihood activity can now be fulfilled because DOLE and PA personally delivered the starter kits at our doorsteps.  Your livelihood carries on using the starter kits, you can support and send your children to school. With this, we can experience peace in our place.)

DOLE chief Camilo Encila, Jr. said the KSK project is designed not only to create self employment but also to augment the income of the informal sector of our society especially the farmers.

“With this project, Encila said, I am optimistic that your dream of improving your life will be fulfilled,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Virgilio Hamos, Jr., commanding officer of the 53rd IB lauded DOLE for launching the KSK project saying that it is in line with the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan’s approach to win the hearts and minds of the people.

“The project is an effective strategy of bringing the government closer to the people. “I hope that by cultivating the partnership that we already have with DOLE, we will bring peace in the remote communities,” Hamos opined.

Hamos appealed to the beneficiaries to be responsible in taking care of the starter kits and to use it properly because these would be a great help to augment their family income.

701st Infantry Brigade conducts 1st Indigenous People Youth Leadership Summit

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 30): 701st Infantry Brigade conducts 1st Indigenous People Youth Leadership Summit

The 701st Infantry (KAGITINGAN) Brigade together with the Department of  Health (DOH), Department of Education, National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Davao Oriental Local Government Unit conducted the 1st Indigenous People Youth Leadership Summit (IP YLS 2016) last May 24-27, 2016 at Lambajon Central Elementary School, Brgy. Lambajon, Baganga, Davao Oriental.

The IP YLS 2016 with the theme: “Winning Peace for a Champion Province” was participated by the 10 municipalities of  Davao Oriental, Mati City, three municipalities coming from Compostela Valley province and municipality of Lingig, Surigao del Sur composed of 185  IP youth participants, 25 facilitators from the Youth For Peace Movement Davao Oriental (YFPMDO) and personnel from the 67th Infantry Battalion that serves as mentors (Ate and Kuya) all throughout the duration of the 4-day activity.

The activity was designed to develop the youth personal leadership, enhanced their knowledge and awareness in societal development and team building activities thru obstacle courses and Action Plan making which was reinforced by the different lecturers and subject matter experts from the DOH, DepEd, NCIP, PDEA and the Philippine Army.

Furthermore, the YFPMDO build up the talents and skills of the IP youth participants through the COOLTURA night wherein IP youth participants showcased their acting, dancing and singing skills thru Mandaya Culture and Traditions.

A new set of officers was also established for the first batch of  IP YLS in order to sustain the plans and projects in the future, thus making them part of the different activities that the IP community has to offer.

It can be recalled that Davao Oriental province is rich in Culture and Tradition and diversified environment where the heartland of Mandaya tribes is situated.

Colonel Bienvenido R Datuin Jr , Commander of the 701st Brigade in his message, said, “We are thankful to have an activity like this for the first time in Davao Oriental showcasing the richness of culture and traditions of  Mandaya Tribe and our youth that will serves as the catalyst of change, the powerful force and sector to reckon with-our IP youth.” (CMO, 701st INFANTRY (KAGITINGAN) BRIGADE)

CIVILIANS FLEE AS CLASHES IN LANAO CONTINUE: 2 soldiers killed, 10 wounded

From the Manila Times (May 30): CIVILIANS FLEE AS CLASHES IN LANAO CONTINUE: 2 soldiers killed, 10 wounded

Two soldiers were killed and at least 10 others were wounded as renewed clashes continue in the hinterland of Butig, Lanao del Sur between government forces and local jihadists supporting the international terrorist group Islamic State (IS).

The offensive was launched after the militants moved back into territory that the military secured during deadly clashes in February, the military said.

At least 1,517 individuals, consisting of 252 families, took refuge at the house of their relatives in the nearby towns of Butig, including this city, according to Maharlanny Alonto, head of Lanao del Sur provincial social welfare and development office.

She said affected as of Sunday were the villages of Coloyan, Samer, Bayabao, Poctan, Raya Timbab, Sandab and Ragayan.The displaced families were given relief assistance, she added.

On Monday, government forces incessantly pounded the lair of the jihadists. Ground troops were supported by artillery fire and aerial bombardment of OV-10 aircrafts from the Philippine Air Force.

Lanao del Sur police chief, Senior Supt. Rustom Duran, said police forces backed the military operation by assuring that “no other armed group could provide support to the local terrorists and to ensure that none of its members could escape from the ongoing firefight.”

Col. Roseller Murillo, commander of Marawi city-based Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, said the fresh operation was merely “law enforcement” against the criminals.

The police and military did not provide other details pertaining the operation.

The IS Ranao (Lanao), previously known as Khilafah Islamiyah Movement (KIM), claimed responsibility for the first attack on May 26 in Dilabayan village saying that “two six-by-six trucks of taghut (tyrants) forces were ambushed and humiliated.”

The group alleged that they staged the ambush after the government forces bombed their site on May 25.

The jihadists also said they shut down three tanks, one of which was hit by a landmine.

Authorities denied the claim. They said 20 members of the local terrorist group (LTG) were killed.

Various sources on Monday, however, confirmed only eight people died from the side of the jihadists.

The LTG, also known as Maute Group (avoiding the name of notorious IS or ISIS), was said to have been weaken two months ago after their camp was captured by the military. The camp was turned over later in March to the local government unit of Butig.

Last month, the militants abducted six sawmill workers and decapitated two of the hostages – Salvador Hanobas alias Tado and Makol Hanobas alias Macky – they accused of spying for the government. The process of beheading was mimicked from the IS in Syria and Iraq as shown to their propaganda videos.

Earlier this month, the group also claimed responsibility in the toppling down Tower 25 of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) saying that they aimed to “control the National Power Corporation” that continuously use resources owned by Muslims in Mindanao, referring to Lake Lanao which produced 60 percent power to Mindanao Grid for decades.

There were also reports from intelligence authorities that IS Ranao has begun this month the “migration” of local and foreign jihadists to Butig, where the group has purported the established “Islamic caliphate state” and where they can engaged in fighting for jihad or holy war.

The military has been battling other jihadists’ groups in Sulu, Basilan and Maguindanao, all provinces belonging to the troubled Muslim autonomous region in Southern Philippines.

Philippine Left facing a Duterte-CPP Coalition Government?, plus Duterte, a socio-political outcome

From Links: The International Journal of Socialist Renewal (May 30): Philippine Left facing a Duterte-CPP Coalition Government?, plus Duterte, a socio-political outcome

On coming to power, newly elected Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte (left) originally offered cabinet posts to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), headed by Jose Maria Sison (right). The move only intensified debate on the  Left surrounding Duterte's rise and what it means for politics in the Philippines. As part of bring this debates to an international audience Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is publishing below a May 15 CPP Central Committee resolution outlining its position - "Prospects under a Duterte presidency" -, along with some introductory comments by Reihana Mohideen from the Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM). We are also publishing an update version of article by Sarah Raymundo, vice-chairperson of the Philippine Anti-Imperialist Studies: "Duterte, a socio-political outcome".

Prospects under a Duterte presidency

Introduction by Reihana Mohideen

May 30, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- An extremely interesting and challenging political situation has opened up for the Philippine Left.  Plans are underway by the newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte to establish a government with CPP participation and move forward with peace talks to resolve the five-decade long armed struggle conducted by the New Peoples Army. The May 9 national elections saw the former mayor of Davao City, Rodrigo Duterte, elected as president. Duterte is considered to be a political maverick and an outsider to the traditional oligarchy that has ruled the Philippines since the ‘Edsa revolution’ that overthrew the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. Duterte is a former student of the CPP founding Chair Jose Maria Sison and is a long-time ally of the CPP-NPA, since he became a local official in the Davao City government, in the late 1980s.

The CPP has proposed a list of candidates to head up four key ministries: labor, social welfare, agrarian reform, as well as energy and the environment (combined in one department). Key leaders of the CPP-National Democratic Front, who have been living in self-declared exile in the Netherlands, have now returned to Manila to negotiate the arrangements. Jose Maria Sison is expected to return to the Philippines after Duterte formally assumes the presidency. Duterte has declared that he will set in place security arrangements for Sison’s safety. He has also promised to release imprisoned CPP leaders, including leaders of the New Peoples Army.

The CPP has called for the establishment of a ‘government of national unity, peace and development’ and the CPP Central Committee has issued a statement outlining its position. The statement analyses the Duterte presidency as a continuation of elite rule in the Philippines and is seemingly contradictory, given the CPP’s agreement to participate in and form a coalition government with Duterte: “The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and all revolutionary forces take stock of the significance of the rise of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as chief political representative of the ruling classes and head of the reactionary client-state and its consequences in advancing the national democratic revolution through people’s war”. The statement outlines the program for such a government of ‘national unity’, which is against neoliberalism and based on the historic demands of the mass movement: “Duterte must repudiate the neoliberal thrusts of liberalization, privatization, deregulation and denationalization of the previous regimes. Advancing land reform and national industrialization will generate jobs and end the need for such palliatives as the conditional cash transfer (4Ps) that only perpetuate the people’s poverty and smokescreen the deterioration of public social services. … The Duterte regime must heed the demand of workers and employees for a national minimum wage and the abolition of the regionalization of wages. He must end contractualization and take back his earlier statements against unions and workers rights. Without their unions, workers have nothing to defend themselves against attacks on wages.”

See full statement is published below.

The CPP analysis of the class-character of the Duterte presidency is in line with the position of PLM.

See PLM analysis prior to the elections here.

Joma Sison has also indicated that he is open to unity with Left forces outside the CPP: “Past differences can be overcome by current resolutions which are good and forward-looking toward a better and brighter social system”. The newspaper report quoting Sison refers to the “rejectionists” forces, specifically the forces led by Felimon ‘Popoy’ Lagman, who disagreed with the CPP military strategy of ‘protracted people war’, which led to a split with the Manila Rizal Regional Committee declaring ‘autonomy’ from the party in 1993. Popoy Lagman was brutally assassinated in 2001, the first leader of the left to be killed under the regime of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, by unidentified goons of the military.

Partido Lakas ng Masa-PLM Chair Sonny Melencio has welcomed Sison’s statement: “This is a welcome statement from CPP founding chair Jose Ma. Sison. … I have long believed that the RA-RJ divide, which happened 23 years ago, that is a very long time in politics, can be overcome by political unity, not so much by ideological homogeneity. Ideological unity can be a process of discussion and clarification as the class struggle unfolds. On the government of national unity, its objectives of peace and development can only be founded on the interests of and justice for the masses. This is where the unity of the Left and progressive forces is crucial – it is to ensure that such a program can be achieved and implemented, whichever direction the political storm surges during the coming administration.” (RA are the ‘reaffirmists’ of the strategy of protracted peoples war; RJ are the ‘rejectionists’ of the strategy of protracted peoples war.) PLM was instrumental in forging a unity ticket of seven senate candidates, including Neri Colmenares of the Makabayan bloc (aligned with the CPP) and Walden Bello, former leader of Akbayan in Congress. Both Colmenares and Bello attended and spoke at various gatherings and assemblies of PLM and its allied organisations.

The CPP statement is not so much addressed to Duterte, as to the masses who support Duterte. The statement presents a program for how a Duterte regime can genuinely advance people’s aspirations for change. In this sense, this is also a program that can scrape away the layers of posturing that Duterte has projected in his campaign. If the CPP confronts a Duterte regime that fails or refuses to heed this program, then it will be better to turn its call for a government of national unity, into a broad popular movement that mobilizes the masses and fights for a national program against neoliberal-elite rule.

Reihana Mohideen is a member of the PLM's national council.

* * *

By Central Committee, Communist Party of the Philippines

May 15, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from National Democratic Front of the Philippines -- The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and all revolutionary forces take stock of the significance of the rise of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as chief political representative of the ruling classes and head of the reactionary client-state and its consequences in advancing the national democratic revolution through people’s war.

I. Significance of Duterte’s election as president

The election of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as next president of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) is a resounding rejection of Aquino’s claims of “good governance”, “inclusive growth” and “tuwid na daan.” He routed the ruling regime’s fund-rich and politically-favored candidate Mar Roxas.

Duterte strongly attacked the Aquino regime and presented himself as an anti-thesis of the oligarchic and cacique rule, keenly aware of the Filipino people’s profound hatred for the Aquino regime and its six years of corruption, mendacity, puppetry and wholesale failure to address the needs of the Filipino people.

By drawing broad support, large crowds and social media drumbeating, Duterte succeeded in preempting the plans of the US-Aquino regime to use the automated counting system to steal the elections from him. Still, there are strong indications that election results were manipulated to boost Roxas’ votes, favor Aquino’s vice-presidential and senatorial candidates, as well as to prevent progressive partylist groups from gaining more seats in parliament.

With election-related assassinations, vote-buying, use of public funds, party-switching, automated fraud and so on, the recent reactionary elections is as dirty and rotten than before, contrary to insistent claims that elections were democratic, clean and credible.

Duterte’s rise to the presidency is a reflection of the deepening and aggravating crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system. He was able to draw broad support from the people because he presented himself as sympathetic to their discontent and deep desire to put an end to the oppressive and rotten ruling system.

Duterte’s election also reflects the deepening factional strife among the ruling classes. He polarized the political elite with his cuss-filled bluster.

In running his election campaign, he relied on the strength of contributions by big business and political groups, kingmakers, religious sects, military cliques and other interest groups in his presidential campaign kitty, in exchange for economic and political favors come payback time. He spent billions to fund his media and advertising campaign, as well as his technology-supported social media campaign.

Duterte and his allies advocate federalism criticizing scant national attention and resources, slow delivery of services and failure to develop the local economies. Such a proposal is a reflection of the demand of the ruling classes to further divvy up the country’s resources among the ruling elite.

Certain sections of the political elite support Duterte in the hope of pushing his anti-crime crusade to justify the establishment of a police state. They seek the imposition of more draconian measures to suppress workers’ democratic rights and people’s human rights to more effectively carry out the exploitation and plunder of the country’s human and natural resources.

With Duterte set to become GRP president, for the first time, the Philippine client-state is to be headed by one who is not completely beholden to the US imperialists. Duterte has railed against the US and the US CIA for whisking away its agent Michael Meiring who accidentally exploded the improvised bomb he was preparing inside a Davao hotel during the height of the 2003 US terror bombings in Mindanao. He has opposed the use of the Davao airport as a base for US drone operations and has spoken disfavorably against the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Duterte has slammed the current US and Australian ambassadors for political meddling after recently making comments about his tasteless rape joke.

On the other hand, the rest of the political elite are largely pro-US and favor US dominance and military presence. The CIA and US military and its local agents continue to hold sway over most aspects of the ruling state, especially the AFP. Duterte himself is appointing pro-US and pro-IMF/WB officials to head his economic team. The US also continues to hold dominant sway in the Philippine congress, the Supreme Court, the GRP economic policy and finance agencies, media and cultural organizations.

If Duterte seriously and vigorously pursues his promise to eradicate criminality, especially widespread drug trade within three to six months, he will likely drive a wedge deep into the ranks of military and police generals and bureaucrat capitalists who are protectors, operators and associates of criminal syndicates.

He has bared his intention of declaring a ceasefire as one of his first acts as president in order to boost peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), as well as with various groups representing the Moro people. He has been shown respect and has even flaunted his friendship with the revolutionary forces to the chagrin of the militarists who seek only the suppression of the people’s resistance.

Duterte has styled himself a maverick, an anti-establishment politico and a “socialist” and claims he will be the country’s first “Left president.” Duterte’s avowal of being a socialist, his anti-US fulminations, openness to develop relations with China and enthusiasm for peace negotiations with the revolutionary forces will not sit well among the more rabid defenders of US military intervention, hegemonism and counterinsurgency dogma.

II. Prospects of accelerated peace negotiations with the Duterte regime

After 15 years of stalled NDFP-GRP peace negotiations, the Filipino people are highly desirous of progress in efforts to attain a negotiated political settlement of the long-running civil war.

Certain progressive aspects in Duterte’s discourse, his recognition of both the political legitimacy and armed political strength of the revolutionary movement and his history of cooperation with the revolutionary forces in Mindanao, make possible the acceleration of peace negotiations.

The CPP and revolutionary forces welcomes Duterte’s plan to seriously pursue the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations as well as his plan to visit The Netherlands in order to personally meet NDFP senior political consultant Prof. Jose Ma. Sison and the Utrecht-based NDFP peace panel.

The CPP fully supports the NDFP proposal, put forward by Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, to pursue NDFP-GRP peace negotiations under the Duterte government with the aim of forging an agreement to establish a government of national unity, peace and development.

Duterte and Prof. Sison can forge a plan for accelerated peace negotiations with the aim of forging comprehensive agreements addressing the substantive issues in a matter of a few months. The CPP and NPA are open to consider proposals for a mutual ceasefire during the definite period of peace negotiations.

The revolutionary forces expect Duterte to recognize and uphold all standing agreements signed by the NDFP and the GRP over the past 20 years, including The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 which has served as framework and anchor of the negotiations; the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG); the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) of 1998; and so on.

Necessarily, among the first measures that need to be carried out by the Duterte regime to boost peace negotiations would be the release all detained NDFP consultants and facilitation of their travel to a neutral territory where negotiations can be conducted. They were treacherously arrested in violation of earlier agreements and made to suffer unjust prolonged imprisonment.

III. Challenge for significant reforms under Duterte

Duterte’s rhetoric has raised high the people’s expectations for substantial and accelerated reforms.

As an avowed opponent of US meddling, Duterte has the unique opportunity to end the 70 year chain of US puppet governments since the 1946 Roxas regime.

He can undo Aquino’s legacy of national humiliation for having served as a pawn in the US “Asia pivot” strategy by allowing the US to restore its military bases and maintain permanent presence of its warships, jetfighters, drones and interventionist troops.

To countervail Aquino’s puppetry, he must withdraw his stand to let the EDCA stand. He must immediately notifiy the US government of his intent to abrogate the EDCA which was signed as an executive agreement in April 2014. He must rescind the EDCA-sanctioned use of five AFP camps as US military bases and facilities.

He can serve the US notice to end the unequal Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) and the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) as well as the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951, the parent agreement and source of all military iniquities.

He can immediately send home US Ambassador Goldberg for interference in Philippine internal affairs.

Duterte can be the first Philippine president to pursue an independent foreign policy, one that is not beholden to and dependent on the US. Towards this, Duterte must condemn US war-mongering and US-China saber-rattling and oppose militarization of the territorial sea by the US and Chinese military forces. He must disallow the US military to use the Philippines as base for its interventionism. If he does, he is bound to be the Philippines’ first world-class president who stood for Philippine sovereignty and prevented the military buildup in the region.

He must oppose the US demand to effect charter change to remove the remaining restrictions against foreign ownership as requirement for Philippine integration into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, dubbed as the “dirtiest deal ever”.

Corollarily, he can pursue a policy of developing mutually-beneficial economic and trade relations with China with an aim of ending economic and trade dependence on the US. He can pursue a policy of engaging China in bilateral talks to peacefully resolve the South China Sea conflict and oppose US military presence in the area. He can take advantage of the availability of low-interest funds from China’s Asian International Infrastructure Bank (AIIB) to support the development of local industry and manufacturing.

Duterte can choose to forge agreements with oil producing countries such as Venezuela, Russia or Iran for state centralized procurement of cheap oil which has been a non-option so far because of the US-defined Philippine foreign policy.

As an ardent anti-crime and anti-corruption advocate, the challenge is for Duterte to prioritize the biggest criminals. The small-fry criminals will disappear without their big fish protectors and sharks up high in the bureaucracy and military and police organization.

He can immediately carry out the arrest and swift prosecution of Benigno Aquino III, Florencio Abad and the biggest criminal perpetrators of the trillion-peso DAP swindle and prevent them from leaving the country. He must follow-through with the prosecution of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and ensure that she is held criminally responsible for the anomalous ZTE broadband deal and other corruption cases, including fraud in the 2004 elections.

The biggest drug lords and criminal syndicates continue to expand their operations under the protection of the top generals of the AFP and PNP. To address the widespread drug trade, Duterte will have to risk subjecting the top echelons of the military and police to a major shakedown to weed out, charge and punish the criminals. Street-level drug pushers and users must be rehabilitated through employment and by establishing centers for medical and psychological rehabilitation from drug abuse.

Duterte has rightly declared his plan to prioritize agriculture, education and health. He must immediately address the urgent needs of the toiling masses of workers and peasants.

To develop agriculture, Duterte is challenged to heed the clamor for genuine land reform which is both an urgent economic and social justice measure. Genuine land reform is the free distribution of land to the peasant tillers and producers. The fake land reform of the past 30 years was a burdensome real estate transaction where peasants were made to pay for the land that they have already earned through years of feudal exactions.

Duterte must cancel all unpaid amortization as well as absorb loans where land titles were collateralized under the prenda system. He can work with peasant organizations to effect genuine land distribution of Hacienda Luisita, as well as Hacienda Dolores and many other feudal land holdings. He can put an immediate stop to the widespread land-use conversion of farmlands and privatization of public lands that have resulted widespread eviction of peasants and national minorities from their lands.

As an economic policy, genuine land reform can unleash the productive potentials of the peasant masses as land owners and expand the local market for manufactured commodities.

A correlated national industrialization policy must be geared, among others, towards the mechanization of agriculture in order to boost food production and processing to ensure sufficient supply of low-priced rice, poultry, meat and vegetables. Irrigation facilities must be expanded and funded for the free use of the peasant producers.

Duterte has declared he is not much of an economist and said he will listen to the experts. Unfortunately, the supposed experts he is set to appoint are technocrats and big businessmen who excel at neoliberal economic policies and serve foreign big capitalists, and not at promoting domestic economic growth and production. They advocate the economics of “attracting foreign investments” and “easing restrictions” as sought by the US and foreign big capitalists.

In framing economic policies, Duterte should listen first to the workers and peasants, rather than big business and technocrats who advocate the same failed economic policy of more than half a century. This is decisive. Failure to do so will, in the end, prove his regime to have been simply part of the neoliberal continuum.

To aim for rapid Philippine independent economic modernization with balanced and integrated development of heavy, medium and light industries, Duterte must repudiate the neoliberal thrusts of liberalization, privatization, deregulation and denationalization of the previous regimes. Advancing land reform and national industrialization will generate jobs and end the need for such palliatives as the conditional cash transfer (4Ps) that only perpetuate the people’s poverty and smokescreen the deterioration of public social services.

The Duterte regime must heed the demand of workers and employees for a national minimum wage and the abolition of the regionalization of wages. He must end contractualization and take back his earlier statements against unions and workers rights. Without their unions, workers have nothing to defend themselves against attacks on wages.

In education, Duterte is challenged to scrap the K-12 program which generalizes technical and vocational education to produce cheap contractual labor for export and for export-oriented semi-manufacturing. He must reverse the policy of state abandonment of education and uphold state policy of providing free education for all.

He can push for the integration of education with independent economic modernization through the promotion of research and development in the fields of agricultural production, energy generation, manufacturing, computer technology, new materials and others. To leave a lasting legacy of patriotism, he must gear education to a patriotic cultural renewal by rewriting history from the point of view of the Filipino people instead of its colonial subjugators.

In public health, Duterte is challenged to revoke the policy of privatization of public hospitals and uphold the state policy of providing free public health care for all. He can end the Philhealth milking cow system of private health insurance and instead ensure that everyone is given access to free health care.

He must deliver the basic social services demanded by the people and recast the national budget to allot sufficient funds for education, health, housing and such.

Furthermore, Duterte must cancel Aquino’s highly questionable PPP contracts, including the MRT Cavite extension, which gives the Ayalas, Cojuangcos, Consunjis, Pangilinans and other big bourgeois compradors undue advantage in using state funds and state-guaranteed loans and government assured profits.

In the field of human rights, Duterte must effect the release from prison of close to six hundred political prisoners who continue to suffer from detention, mostly peasants and workers, who are facing trumped-up charges. Duterte can effect their release from prison as a boost to his government’s effort to uphold human rights and as a turn back on his endorsement of vigilante killings.

He must pave the way for the return of the Lumad evacuees by ordering the pull-out of the operating troops of the AFP from their schools, communities and land and allow the people to re-open their community-run schools. He must heed the demand for justice of the Lumad people and recognize their all-encompassing rights as a national minority people, as well as those of other minority groups.

He must undertake steps to punish all violators of human rights of the past thirty years. He must put a stop to extra-judicial killings. He must heed the demand to put an end to the US-instigated Oplan Bayanihan “counterinsurgency” operations and militarization of the countryside.

IV. Challenges to the Filipino people and the revolutionary movement

While engaging the Duterte regime in peace negotiations and possible alliance in order to advance the national and democratic aspirations of the Filipino people, the revolutionary forces will continue to relentlessly advance the people’s armed resistance and democratic mass struggles. While open to cooperation and alliance, they must relentlessly criticize and oppose any and all anti-people and pro-imperialist policy and measure. There will be no honeymoon with the Duterte regime.

While incoming GRP President Duterte has displayed progressive aspects, the revolutionary forces are also aware that he is mainly a part of the ruling class political elite.

For the past four decades, he has served the system as a bureaucrat and implemented its laws and policies. He has worked with foreign and local big capitalists, plantation owners and big landlords who expect returns under his regime. The masses of workers, peasants and farm workers in Davao City have long-suffered from the oppressive and exploitative conditions in the big plantations and export-oriented contract-growing businesses.

In his policy pronouncements, Duterte has yet to declare a clear deviation from the dominant neoliberal economic thinking which has brought about grave hardships to the Filipino people for more than three decades.

Indeed, world history has seen the rise of anti-US leaders in US-dominated countries under certain conditions. In recent years, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez (1999-2013) and Bolivia’s Evo Morales (2006-present) have stood militantly to defend their country’s right to self-determination.

Their anti-imperialism allowed their government to free large amounts of resources such as land and oil from foreign control and accrue these to the people in the form of increasing state subsidies for education and public health. On the other hand, while clearly benefiting from their government’s anti-imperialism and increasing resources for the delivery of social and economic services, the broad masses of workers and peasants continued to suffer from oppression and exploitation because foreign big capitalists and landlords remained dominant in other fields of the economy and state power.

The worsening conditions of the semicolonial and semifeudal system, the deepening factional strife among the ruling classes, the prolonged recession of the US and the rise of China as a competing imperialist power are among the prevailing conditions where we find the rise of political maverick Rodrigo Duterte as GRP president.

The Filipino people and their revolutionary forces keenly look forward to the possibility of forging an alliance with the Duterte regime within a framework for national unity, peace and development. Duterte’s mettle is about to be tested. Will he walk his talk and take on the opportunity to stand up against US imperialism? Or will his bombast end up as empty rhetoric?

Duterte must heed the people’s mounting clamor for land, jobs, wage increases, free education, public health and housing, reduction in the price of commodities, defense of Philippine sovereignty against US intervention, defense of national patrimony and economic progress and modernization, an end to corruption and crime in the bureaucracy, military and the police.

If he fails or refuses to heed the people’s clamor, he is bound to end up a mere historical anomaly and suffer the same fate as the Estrada regime.

The Filipino people are ever ready to intensify the people’s war to advance the revolution and mass struggles to amplify their democratic demands.

The New People’s Army must continue to carry out the tasks set forth by the CPP Central Committee to intensify the people’s war by launching more frequent tactical offensives and seizing more arms from the enemy.

Armed with a strategic and historical point-of-view, the Filipino proletariat and people know fully well that only a people’s democratic revolution can decisively and thoroughly end imperialist and local big bourgeois comprador and landlord rule by overthrowing its armed state.

By intensifying their struggles, the Filipino people are bound to attain more and more victories in the years to come. The people’s war is set to press forward under the Duterte regime.

Duterte, a socio-political outcome

By Sarah Raymundo

May 30, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As early as the night of May 7, the presidential race no longer seemed an unintelligible, aimless exercise. Not for Rodrigo Duterte’s supporters and those who witnessed their huge numbers. Of course the “decent” ones complained, “how stupid, how crass, how unintelligent, how strange! You must not vote for him.” These expressions came with a strong warning about the end of the world with Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang. But such advice was no longer theirs to give. But they weren’t just tripping. They were sowing fear to give the Liberal Party and its Daang Matuwid a way out of the unspeakable horrors it inflicted upon the majority.

Still a puzzle?

Duterte’s miting de avance speech made it clear that nobody is supposed to be left in peace. His rage was far bigger than the biggest that I have mustered for a rotten system that has been heavily guarded by the Aquino regime for six years. It seemed that way to me. His demeanor was an intrusion that had me retreating into silence. It was a kind of situation that compelled me to say something friendly and compassionate as though someone was dying right before my very eyes.

Almost three months ago, I met an old Lumad woman in Valencia, Bukidnon selling woven bands made of native leaves. I bought as many as my surplus money can afford to bring home and give away. In the car, as I was inspecting them one by one, I realized that almost 3/4 of the bands bear the name “Duterte.”

Not a single band ever reached Manila. It was a conscious effort on my part. But the Duterte bands facilitated my interaction with farmers, young and old, and habal-habal drivers I mingled with in that area. They believed in him unreservedly. And at that point, the sociologist in me noted the significance of the inexplicable.

Something new?

Is change really coming? From how the ruling elite and US Imperialism have conceded to a Duterte victory, it seems that Duterte and the Duterte vote (which was supposed to be for change) have taken in a modification, quite different from their initial projection, what with the release of his 8-point economic program for the Philippines. The so-called Duterte vote needs clarification. It is less the actual votes or the act of voting for Duterte than the Duterte camp’s efforts at constructing and disseminating what Digong “stands for.”

Nothing is new in terms of the mechanisms that brought about a Duterte win. But what about Duterte, the “oppositional force”? Duterte, the “real deal”? Duterte who challenged the dominance of the Aquino regime’s Matuwid Na Daan?

The Duterte campaign was one of the most grounded and smart of all political advertisements in the Post-Marcos era. It began with the drama of an able Mayor, whose folksy and unconventional approach to leadership was strange to Manila’s pundits, declaring that he would not run for president despite calls from PDP-Laban party to do so, then finally agreeing before the deadline for candidate substitution.

For the laboring poor, who live in a chronic state of emergency, Digong’s projected attributes as a strong man with a soft spot for the protesting poor of Mindanao may have been all too familiar yet fresh at the same time. Familiar in the sense that acts of solidarity in places too far from Manila’s elites and elite wannabes are unmistakably folksy and characterized by blunt banter, of which Digong is an expert. Needless to say, he often goes too far. Digong was and perhaps remains to be a fresh option. It is the kind of fresh that combines hazard and idiosyncrasy.After all, the fatal state of affairs under the Aquino regime can have many people believe that we might be able to live with both things—hazard and idiosyncrasy—simultaneously.

The more progressive believers and political gamblers wanted that image projected by the Digong campaign team in Malacañang so bad. Doesn’t the selling of ‘the image’ nowhere more pertinent than in politics? But does this mean that people have been duped yet again? Is this a suggestion that Digong voters merely fell for the Duterte ad campaign? Are they stupid? No.

It means that at this socio-political juncture, where neoliberal solutions are not working to solve the crisis of the global capitalist system, a client state of the US such as the GPH needs a binding figure who might be able to tame the red zones that blaze with communist fire in Mindanao. The state needs a head whose maverick ways might clinch gains for US interests in Mindanao by having that peace talks with the Bangsamoro, once and for all, snap into place.

After all, Duterte is not for a ruleless system. Those who crave order are likely to be attracted to the kind of social order that Digong has established in Davao. With the pork barrel scam, DAP, Mamasapano, EDCA, Jennifer Laude, West Philippine Sea Conflict, MRT-LRT crisis, Yolanda, SAF44, Mary Jane, Kentex, Kidapawan, the Duterte campaign has been able to present Mayor Digong as the most capable figure to break the catastrophic spell of things brought to the nation by the US Aquino regime. “Spell” because it is with utter deception that the state leads us all into thinking that the consequences of its neoliberal policies are catastrophes that befall a nation. They are, in truth, class offensives inflicted upon the people by a filipino elite entangled with US imperialism, which has enabled it to hijack the local state apparatus.

Of course, Duterte is neither the culmination of Philippine politics nor a mutant. For how can anything new emerge out of an unchanged system? To understand Duterte, and the victory of his party and supporters, it is necessary to view the phenomenon as a sociopolitical outcome.

Regime change and new buzzwords for governance cohere with national-statist models that maintain neoliberal systems. Clearly, regime change in this context is a necessary modification in governance to maintain the role of the state in defining sociopolitical decisions to be made for society. The mode of economic activity, which largely defines people’s social lives, is a function of sociopolitical decisions made by certain people who are in control of the state. These people belong to a social class whose interests have long been legitimized by all existing social institutions that comprise the state.

A newly-elected set of national leaders are the new guardians legitimized by free elections. The neoliberal socioeconomic mode rests on the reinforcement of “democracy” framed within free elections and free market policies. It is a democracy that is absolutely shaped by the objective existence of the monopoly of property and political power since its establishment by US imperialism in the post-war period. Thus, when we talk about the ruling class, we are invariably talking about that class of Filipino families who collaborated with Spanish colonialism and US imperialism. The local elite’s partnership with the latter continues, and it is what makes plutocractic power, or the economic elite’s control over politics and economic objectivity.

The partnership between US imperialism and the local ruling elite makes Philippine society an economic objectivity. It exists to consolidate the imperialist control over Philippine economy through free elections of local elites to seats of power. Free election provides protection not only to local elite’s property but more importantly, to the imperial interest for profit accumulation through plunder of resources and exploitation of labor.

The consequential left, the national economy, and Duterte

The reference to the consequential left pertains to my particular bias to an analysis of social and political forces in Philippine society. It is an analysis that departs from “center-left coalitions” a group that easily bleeds into the “democratic left” and its post-something theory of the economy and politics. These leftist groupings are focused on NGO work and/or reformism through parliamentary struggle.

The “work within” mode of changing Philippine society has first and foremost abandoned the class struggle for assimilation into the political establishment. With this shift in political engagement, the Left that holds fast to class struggle through agrarian revolution, mass base building and armed revolution is deemed as outmoded and terroristic. I was not exempted from this US imperialist-sponsored propaganda, which was quite strong especially in the 90s.

But digging deeper into the national democratic movement toward socialism has been about seeing the peasant struggle made up of landless farmers and farmworkers in haciendas and agribusiness in a progressive trajectory. It is a movement where sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives of desaparecidos and slain human rights defenders become themselves staunch human rights defenders and activist leaders.

It is a movement where public school teachers unionize for salaries and benefits and stand up against a curriculum that is completely detached from genuine national development (read: K-12). It is a movement where the most advanced of our youth is able to articulate how education has a necessary dimension beyond the training of young people for work. They go beyond the correct analysis that the educational system is a mechanism for the ideological legitimacy of states. They dare in the struggle for national liberation, the people’s war.

Meanwhile, the state remains to be an agency either for the monopoly of wealth of a few elite families or the redistribution of resources to the basic sectors of society. At this point, the state has to deal with the market. Neoliberal economics (which really is an ideology rather than a scientific study of the economy), has succeeded in universalizing the market as an entity. When in actuality, the market is a partial entity that relevantly relates to the interests of banks and multinational corporations. But the basic question about the hegemony of the market is not an economic but a political question. The question of maintaining neoliberal policies amidst crisis is not for the free market to answer but ultimately, for state policies to resolve.

Will Duterte heed the call for comprehensive social and economic reforms? Because only by doing so can he prove his sincerity about negotiating peace with revolutionary islamic and communist forces. Will Duterte change the rules in economic regulations and get rid of the fatal policies oriented toward the global market? In his eventual directing at defining economic and social activities, will Duterte establish new parameters for intervention?

This is how the consequential left views the state as a lever for progressive reforms. Yet it understands, too, the historical process that links third world formations to their imperialist masters. This process has established neoliberal statism, a political-economic order renewed through electoral politics.

In other words, the consolidation of a politics attuned to the interests of capitalist world economy is founded on US imperialist style of exporting democracy to what it identifies as “authoritarian/dictatorial regimes” or in the electoral process. Will Duterte embrace the bankrupt neoliberal doctrine and have the whole nation sink deeper into crisis in order to gain points from international banks and multinational corporations? The latter will easily win him the support of the local military who follows from its real commander-in-chief, the US State Department.

The price of integration into “world class global politics” is high. But not as noble as the people’s clamor for change. Against the partial and unofficial tally, the media-hype over Digong’s presumptive presidency, and even his eventual confirmation as president of the republic on June 30: Not so fast! A “Duterte win” has yet to unfold.

The author is a member of the faculty of the Center for International Studies, University of the Philippines-Diliman. She is the vice-chairperson of the Philippine Anti-Imperialist Studies (PAIS) and the Chairperson of the Philippines-Venezuela Bolivarian Friendship Association. Her regular column, Blood Rush, where an earlier version of this article first appeared, is at

Wounded soldier recognized for act of valor

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 30): Wounded soldier recognized for act of valor

The Army’s 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City, Samar recently recognized one of its soldiers for an act of valor.

Private First Class Michael Cagata was bestowed the Wounded Personnel Medal (WPM) in May 16 by Maj. Gen. Jet Velarmino, commanding general of the 8th ID, while in confinement at the Camp Lukban Hospital located within the compound of the army headquarters.

Pfc Cagata together with other government troops were part of the security detail of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) personnel delivering the voting counting machines (VCMs) to the different towns in Northern Samar when they were ambushed in May 7 in Brgy. Anito, Gamay town by alleged members of the New People’s Army.

The ambush incident, marked with the use of improvised landmines, left one soldier dead.

The medalled soldier is with the 20th Infantry Battalion based in Catubig, Northern Samar.

MGen. Velarmino praised the soldiers for their election duty to ensure a peaceful election while lamenting the incident.

Efforts intensified to rescue Davao Oriental police

From the Philippine Star (May 30): Efforts intensified to rescue Davao Oriental police

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are intensifying efforts to rescue the Davao Oriental chief of police who was kidnapped by suspected members of the New People's Army (NPA) during a dangerous attack Sunday evening at the Gov. Generoso Police Station.

In a phone interview with Davao Oriental Police Director Superintendent Harry Espela, he said there were some 50 men carrying high-powered firearms around 7 p.m. at the Gov. Generoso (Sigaboy) Police Station in Davao Oriental on May 29.

"Their motive has yet to be determined but we are hand-in-hand with the army in finding our fellow Chief Inspector Arnold Ongachen," Espela said.

Ongachen, police chief of the Gov. Generoso Police Station, was the only one of the 14 on-duty officers who was captured by fleeing rebels who were then onboard three pick-up trucks and one elf truck.

Residents who witnessed the harassment revealed to authorities that the rebels initiated their attack with a call to the police officers who were inside the station, saying, "Armas lang among kinahanglan, kabalo mi nga naa moy pamilya ulian tanan (We know you have your families waiting for you at home, we only need your firearms)".

A firefight, however, ensued between the two opposing groups. It lasted for about two hours after the Gov. Generoso police allegedly ran out of ammunition.

 Outgoing Municipal Mayor Vicente Orencio, in an interview earlier today, said that it was the first "rebel attack" in his area since he was elected in the position in 2007.

"Nahutdan sila ug bala mao nag surrender na lang, dayun gikuha sa NPA ilang station commander para siguro makaikyas ug dali-dali (The policemen surrendered because they ran out of bullets. The NPAs took their station commander so they could escape)."

 PO3 John Rey Cinco and a civilian, who sustained gunshot wounds from the attack, were brought to a hospital in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

Six armalite rifles and some food supplies were taken by the NPAs before they sped off towards the southern part of the municipality to Barangay Luzon.

They also chanted, "Mabuhay ang NPA!" through their megaphones upon leaving.

 Espelo denied rumors that there were no missing officers after the attack. "We are focusing on our hot pursuit operation to locate where the rebels took Ongachen," he said.

Troops from the 28th Infantry Battalion and the local police are leading the pursuit operations that started just hours after the incident took place.

Other forces are conducting tight security on checkpoints installed all over the province.

The AFP also alerted navy ships in the area to conduct naval patrol and dispatched two helicopters to conduct air surveillance.

As of 2:47 p.m. today, the authorities recovered three get-away vehicles with bloodstains at least 25 kilometers away from the area of the firefight.

Elements from the Regional Public Safety Battallion (RPSB) were sent for reinforcement.

Duterte needs 2 military divisions, 3,000 policemen in fight vs crime

From the Manila Bulleti  (May 30): Duterte needs 2 military divisions, 3,000 policemen in fight vs crime

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will need a formidable force of two military divisions and 3,000 policemen in his fight against criminality, and the preservation of “the security of the nation.”

This was pointed by Duterte Saturday night in a press conference at the Hotel Elena here, although he refused to reveal what particular operations or missions he would use the joint military and police force.

“I would need two divisions and 3,000 policemen. I have a task for them to do,” said Duterte.

He added: “I have to improve the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP (Philippine National Police). Paano ko gamitin yan, sa akin muna (How I will use the force, that’s for me to know for the meantime).”

Duterte also underscored that his plan to add more might to the AFP and PNP was not meant to antagonize any other nation. “I do not expect a war with anybody.”

But he did say this much: “It has something to do with the security of the nation.”

In the same press conference, Duterte acknowledged that he the country was already in a “crisis in the war against drugs” and that this was what he will be contending with.

He also said that he has taken notice of the rash of crackdowns and arrests of major illegal drug activities in the country.

“I’m happy to hear that there are so many areas and provinces and cities (where crackdowns have been made). I’m telling the police, they should not wait for me for me until I became president,” Duterte said.

He even asked some of the media members present of other reports about the PNP’s fight against illegal drugs in the rest of the country.”

“Ilan na ba ang namatay (How many have been killed)?” Duterte inquired.

When told that there were eight illegal drugs suspects, who have been recently eliminated by the police, the man they call “The Punisher” shot back: “Di nadagdagan (There was no addition to the list)?”

Duterte likewise addressed the scuttlebutt among the police that he was mad that the PNP has not been maximizing the intelligence fund being given to its agencies.

He had particularly lashed out at the PNP Pasay, and even the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), for the “failure of intelligence” when these agencies were not able to prevent the entry of illegal drugs into the venue of a concert in Pasay City last May 21 that resulted in the death of five concert goers allegedly on drug overdose.

As a result of the tongue-lashing he gave these agencies, Duterte said he received reports that the PNP would soon be presenting an accounting of how its agencies have been using intelligence funds.

“They took it to mean na nagagalit ako kasi hindi nagagamit yung intelligence fund,” he said.

Duterte explained that what he was irked about was how the intelligence funds are being used.

“If I see your intelligence fund na one-fourth pa lang nauubos because you’re using them sparingly and you’re too frugal, hindi ka nagtatrabaho,” he averred.

He maintained that he would rather have law enforcement agencies exhausting their entire intelligence fund allocations for the year, that would be accompanied by results.
“Yung resulta ninyo, ipakita ninyo. Kung saan ninyo winaldas yung (Your results, show them and how you spent your) intelligence fund,” Duterte said.

Duterte had also pledged that he deal with the bandit group Abu Sayyaf once he takes his oath as the country’s 16th president on June 30.

However, he also refused to divulge any of his plans on how to contain the bandit group which has already beheaded Canadian John Ridsdell last month.

Ridsdel, 68, was kidnapped along with three other foreigners and a Filipina from a resort in Samal Island, which is located just across the Davao Gulf, last September.

39 killed in military’s ‘2nd wave’ of operations vs. Maute Group in Lanao Sur

From GMA News (May 30): 39 killed in military’s ‘2nd wave’ of operations vs. Maute Group in Lanao Sur

BUTIG, Lanao del Sur - A military official said more than 30 members of the Maute Group have been killed in continuous bombardment of the bandits' lair since early last week.

Col. Roseller Murillo, commander of the Army's 103rd Infantry Brigade, said the operations against the local terror group last May 24 after the military received information that its members have regrouped in their lair in Butig.

"The second wave of military operations was hatched after the Maute group regrouped in Butig town and staged terrorist activities," Murillo said.

He said two soldiers and 37 members of the local terror group have been killed in the operations.

He said that among the slain suspects was Wowwie Mimbantas, a son of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front leader Aleem Mimbantas.

Murillo said they have been bombarding the group's lair with OV-10 bombers and 81mm mortars since Sunday.

The shelling and airstrike continued as of Monday morning, he added.

After nearly two weeks of operations in February, the military claimed gaining control of the Maute Group's lair in Butig town.

More than a month later, the group kidnapped six sawmill workers in Butig town and beheaded two of the victims.

The group has also claimed responsibility in the bombing of transmission towers of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines in Lanao del Sur.

China angry after Indonesia detains fishing boat

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (May 30): China angry after Indonesia detains fishing boat

Beijing insisted Monday a Chinese boat detained close to Indonesian islands had been fishing legally, in a fresh flare-up of tensions between the countries in the South China Sea.

The Indonesian navy seized the Chinese boat in waters near the Natuna Islands on Friday for allegedly fishing illegally, the military said.

The boat was towed to shore and eight Chinese crew members have been detained.

Jakarta and Beijing have clashed before over the islands on the southwestern fringe of the disputed South China Sea, where China is also at loggerheads with several other countries because of its overlapping claims.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying insisted the detained vessel had been operating legally.

“The Chinese fishermen were conducting normal fishing operations in the relevant waters,” she told a press briefing.

“We have made stern representations with Indonesia concerning this matter.”

Achmad Taufiqoerrochman, the commander of Indonesia’s Western Fleet, said the vessel — the Gui Bei Yu — was “strongly suspected” of having carried out illegal fishing because of the catch that was found onboard.

The military said the boat was detained in Indonesia’s “exclusive economic zone”, waters where a state has sole rights to exploit resources.

The boat’s detention shows Indonesia “will enforce the law against boats that commit violations in Indonesia’s jurisdiction”, it added.

The most serious recent row between Jakarta and Beijing happened in March when Chinese coastguards rammed a Chinese boat detained near the Natunas and helped it escape as the Indonesians towed the vessel to shore.

Jakarta responded furiously, lodging a protest and summoning China’s top envoy in Indonesia.

Indonesia does not have overlapping territorial claims in the sea with China, unlike other nations, but it objects to Beijing’s claims as they overlap with the exclusive economic zone around the Natunas.

An increasing number of foreign trawlers have been detained in Indonesian waters after Jakarta in 2014 launched a tough crackdown on illegal fishing.

The clampdown involves sinking foreign boats caught fishing without a permit after impounding the boats and removing the crews.

IN NEG. OR.: Cops act vs. shift in NPA target

From the Visayan Daily Star (May 30): IN NEG. OR.: Cops act vs. shift in NPA target

The Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office has intensified its intelligence operations following the reported shifting of the rebel group's activities in the province.

Reports from a very reliable source stated that the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front will shift its offensive attacks on selected targets in the province, particularly the bayanihan centers and municipal police stations, acting provincial director, Senior Supt. Harris Fama, said.

Fama together with Supt. Elmer Decena, commander of the Provincial Public Safety Company, yesterday visited selected police stations in southern Negros Oriental, including Dumaguete City, to inspect and assess the capability of the police force.

Fama said all chiefs of police have been directed to conduct random checkpoints to prevent and obstruct the entry of suspicious persons in their areas of responsibility, a government press release said.

NORPPO information officer, Senior Police Officer 1 Edilberto Barabas Euraoba III, said part of the operation includes information dissemination to communities, on the plans of the NPA.

Euraoba said simulation exercises on camp defense plans were checked, with the supervision of umpires, who acted as critiques.

Fama reminded the different sectors of the community to be vigilant and report immediately any suspicious activities they notice and monitor.

Progress and development will be hampered if people will not participate in suppressing criminal activities and atrocities, he added.

1 soldier killed, 2 injured, in clash with NPA fighters

From the Visayan Daily Star (May 30): 1 soldier killed, 2 injured, in clash with NPA fighters

Renewed armed clashes between government troopers and suspected New People's Army rebels claimed the life of another Army soldier and casued injuries to two others, while three suspected rebels were captured Saturday in Brgy. Mabini, Escalante City, Negros Occidental.

2Lt. Ma. Revekka Knothess Roperos, 303rd Infantry Brigade Public Information Officer, yesterday said the 30 NPA rebels encountered by a platoon-sized unit of the 62nd Infantry Battalion Alpha Company are believed to responsible for the deaths of two agrarian reform beneficiaries on May 22 in Brgy. General Luna, Sagay City.

The encounter, which lasted for about 20 minutes, claimed the life of Sgt. Isidro Padilla, 35, of Brgy. Ma-ao, Bago City, and caused injuries to two other members of the 62IB Alpha Company.

The fleeing rebels left behind a rifle grenade, ammunition for a M-203 grenade launcher, assorted personal belongings, and food at the encounter site recovered by pursuing Army soldiers, Roperos said.

Citing reports of civilians, Roperos added that many rebels were also reported injured.

Supt. Leonardo Borromeo, Escalante City police officer-in-charge, confirmed yesterday that three suspected NPA rebels, who were found and arrested at the encounter site, were turned over to them by the Philippine Army.

“We will ensure that justice is served upon those lawless elements,” Lt. Col. Arnel Cabugon, 62IB commander, said, apparently referring to the killing of two civilians during a raid at bunker houses of the agrarian reform beneficaries in Sagay City, last week.

In an unexpected twist of events, Senior Supt. William Señoron, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, said yesterday that the Philippine Army is no longer interested to press charges for homicide against the three arrested rebel suspects.

This will pave the way for the release of the arrested suspects as soon as possible, after the lapse of the reglamentary period of detention today, Señoron added.

The Regional Public Safety Battalion 18 and the Negros Occidental Police Public Safety Company are joining the 62IB in the pursuit operations against the fleeing rebels.

Within this month alone, four members of the 62IB have died in ambush, liquidation and encounters with NPA rebels in Toboso and Escalante City.

Col. Francisco Delfin, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said he has already alerted the Army medical team to assist those wounded NPA members, who may seek medical assistance.

Cabugon said the encounter was an offshoot of their pursuit operations, in tandem with the PNP, against those responsible for the killing of two civilians.

The NPA Roselyn Pelle Command had claimed responsibility for the raid of what it claimed to be a military detachment in Brgy. General Luna, Sagay City, and the killing of two Special Cafgu Active Auxilliary men, that was debunked by the police and the military.