“Oppressive lockdowns and widespread joblessness are causing grave hardships on the masses, stoking widespread anger, rousing them to fight back and inciting more and more people to join the armed resistance to fight and seek the ouster of the US-Duterte regime.”
By EMILY VITAL
MANILA – On the 52nd anniversary of the New People’s Army (NPA), the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) declared that President Rodrigo Duterte has failed to defeat the NPA despite large-scale military offensives.
In a statement sent to the media, the CPP’s Central Committee said the NPA “continues to persevere along the path of protracted people’s war enjoying deep and wide support of the peasant masses and the Filipino people.”
“The ever worsening socioeconomic conditions of the Filipino people remain ever favorable for waging extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare. By its corruption, anti-people policies and fascist suppression, the US-Duterte regime has aggravated the crisis of the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal system and has imposed more hardships and oppression on the broad masses of the Filipino people,” the statement read.
Semicolonial and semifeudal system refers to the agrarian, pre-industrial and backward economy. The Philippines does not have basic and heavy industries to develop its domestic economy, relying on imports and focusing on exports and foreign investments to spur growth.
Lockdown aggravating the crisis
The CPP said the economic crisis is aggravated by the Duterte administration’s failed response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Over the past year, the Duterte regime refused to mobilize state resources to put into place necessary public health measures such as mass testing and rapid contact tracing to manage the pandemic. It refused to ramp up the capacity of the public health system that has been debilitated by years of budget cuts. Instead, it took advantage of the health crisis to impose anti-democratic restrictions, railroad the Anti-Terror Law and further license the police and military to engage in mass murder with impunity,” the CPP said.
The revolutionary group said that Duterte, by relying on lockdowns to manage the spread of the pandemic, “caused the collapse of the Philippine economy leading to a severe crisis.”
It pointed out that while workers, the poor and small enterprises are burdened with the longest lockdown, big corporations continue to enjoy tax breaks, such as the Create Law, reducing corporate taxes from 30 percent to 25 percent.
The CPP warned that the country is bound to suffer a more severe economic crisis due to Duterte regime’s corruption, militarism and dependence on foreign loans.
“Oppressive lockdowns and widespread joblessness are causing grave hardships on the masses, stoking widespread anger, rousing them to fight back and inciting more and more people to join the armed resistance to fight and seek the ouster of the US-Duterte regime,” the CPP said.
The CPP noted that Duterte has intensified attacks against democratic and progressive forces “to pave the way for extending its dynasty of corruption, fascism and national treachery beyond 2022.”
The CPP said Duterte’s scheme to perpetuate his political dynasty and ruling clique in power involves charter change or outright declaration of martial law or a “revolutionary government,” which could mean a grab of absolute power. Another option, said the CPP, is to rig the 2022 presidential elections to have Duterte’s daughter or political minion elected, citing reports that the TIM partner of Smartmatic having been acquired by close ally Dennis Uy.
NPA expanding to new territories
Still, the CPP said that Duterte’s all-out offensives “are bound to fail.”
Just last week, the CPP congratulated the NPA in Bicol for its tactical offensives. NPA fighters seized 17 firearms, including a machine-gun and ten high-powered rifles after their raids against police combat troops last March 19 in Labo, Camarines Norte and against a landlord in Sipocot, Camarines Sur last Feb. 1.
In its anniversary statement last December 26, the CPP-Central Committee said that “NPA units are expanding to new territories or recovering old areas and forming new guerrilla fronts.” It commended “outstanding” experiences in guerrilla territory expansion in Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Negros and Eastern Visayas regions where the Armed Forces of the Philippines has deployed large number of troops since these were placed under “state of emergency” in 2018 under Duterte’s Memorandum Order 32.
The CPP declared that the steady expansion of the areas of operation of the NPA “renders large-scale AFP operations ineffective as the fascist troops fail to encircle and overpower the smaller NPA units.”
The CPP said that although “the enemy is superior militarily, it is inferior politically because the system it is defending is oppressive and exploitative, rotten and crisis-ridden that do not serve the interests of the broad masses.”