The Duterte administration’s attempt at sowing fear to preempt today’s protest action dubbed as United People’s Action Against Tyranny is laughable.
First, there were reports of alleged bomb threats in Manila colleges and universities since yesterday. That the bomb threats allegedly came from the New People’s Army (NPA) makes it even more ludicrous. In a report, the NPA has denied any hand in yesterday’s bomb threats in Mapua University and University of Santo Tomas, saying “it does not engage in such acts which in any way threaten to harm civilians.”
Second, the Philippine National Police Spokesperson Chief Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr. has insinuated a possible infiltration of the Sept. 21 protest by members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and NPA.
The bomb threats and the PNP’s statement match President Duterte’s Sept. 11 declaration of an alleged destabilization plot against his administration.
Isn’t it hilarious that Duterte’s using the old tactics of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and he’s expecting the people to believe his antics?
Trying to scare people away from participating in a broad and peaceful demonstration on the 46th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law is not only a bad idea but also a foolish one.
Marching in the streets on Sept. 21 has become even more significant with the unholy alliance of Marcoses, Arroyo and Duterte, or MAD for short. The First Quarter Storm generation is enraged at how the heirs of the dictator have come back to power without any remorse and without accountability. Those who suffered under the nine-year rule of Arroyo are equally horrified by the rehabilitation of a former president hated for corruption, electoral fraud and human rights violations. Duterte’s coddling of Marcoses and Arroyo has intensified the growing resistance against his inept administration.
MAD alliance is formula for disaster. Duterte has continued the neoliberal “free market” economic policies initiated by Marcos and further intensified by Arroyo. Such neoliberal policies have stunted the economy and brought even more miseries for the Filipino people. Deregulation, for instance, resulted in oil price hikes and skyrocketing of water and electricity rates. Today, Duterte and House Speaker Arroyo are even more adamant in opening up the economy under the pretext of solving the rice problem and in burdening the ordinary people with more taxes while the rich are made to pay less via TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) 2.
The rising prices of basic commodities have rendered more and more people restless. Duterte, obviously, fears his further isolation from the people.
In suppressing dissent, Duterte mimics Marcos and Arroyo. He has imposed martial law in Mindanao. His counterinsurgency program bears similarities with the bloody counterinsurgency program of Arroyo — not distinguishing civilians from combatants as legitimate targets of neutralization.
Just recently, Duterte said “he’s confident the communist insurgency will end by 2019.” Like Marcos and Arroyo, Duterte dreams of crushing the agrarian revolution with militarist solution. Without addressing the roots of the armed conflict, Duterte will certainly fail.
Like his idols, Duterte also refuses to recognize the power of the people’s collective action. Malacañang has dismissed the International People’s Tribunal’s decision declaring Duterte guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes, among others, as a “sham.” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. is quoted as saying, “They appear to be a propaganda body of the international left; and, therefore, we set it aside as being a useless piece of propaganda against the government.”
The significance of the IPT’s verdict against Duterte cannot be ignored. It’s an act of resistance by the Filipino people. It’s a symbol of international solidarity among freedom-loving peoples.