imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Philippines: The Contradictions of the Duterte Regime

by Sonny Melencio Thursday, Jul. 28, 2016 at 4:10 AM

Based on a talk delivered at All Leaders Meeting of BMP-Sanlakas-PLM at Claret Parish Church on July 13, 2016.

1. The Duterte government is right now the most popular government since the Cory administration. (It cannot be compared though to the euphoria that greeted Cory Aquino’s installation to power through Edsa 1 uprising, which is in a different historical context and circumstance.) According to the Pulse Asia survey, President Duterte enjoys 91% trust rating. This means 9 out 10 Filipinos trust him; and practically no one (0.2%) rejects him, as the remaining 8% are the undecided.

2. The Duterte win in the May 9 elections was a sound rejection of the Daang Matuwid propaganda of the PNoy administration. The popularity of this regime is clearly borne out by the rejection of the masses of the Yellow administrations from the mother (Cory) to the son (Noynoy). It is a widely held view that the previous administrations failed in providing for the needs of the people, hence the slogan ‘Change is Coming’ under the Duterte electoral campaign has become a clarion call for many.

3. But the class character of the Duterte regime remains the same as ever with other regimes that ruled the country for decades. It is still a government of the elite, a government that represents the ruling class as against the exploited and oppressed classes in Philippine society. This analysis is echoed by the Communist Party of the Philippines even if it opens relations with the Duterte government. The CPP sees Duterte as “the chief political representative of the ruling classes and head of the reactionary client-state” in the country today.

4. Others in the Left have already claimed Duterte’s regime as a neofascist one. There are strong indications for this, but this characterization does not yet fit the rule of Duterte. The regime continues to rule under an elite liberal/bourgeois democratic order set up by the ruling classes after the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. Duterte’s strong-arm tactics (not to mention his authoritarian and gangster-type pronouncements) still has to traverse the rule and form of elite democracy under the so-called Edsa Republic (i.e., the regimes that come in succession after Edsa 1).

Class character of President Duterte

1. Let’s start with the class character of President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

2. Duterte did not come from a poor family. He’s a scion of the Duterte-Roa clan that has ruled Cebu and Davao for a long time. Duterte’s father was a former mayor of Danao, Cebu who became a governor of Davao after the family migrated to Mindanao. Duterte’s mother was from the political clan of Roas in Leyte. Duterte is also related to the political clans of the Duranos and Almendrases in Cebu.

3. But the local clans that Duterte represent can be seen as outsiders to the political clans that have ruled the country for decades, i.e., the oligarchy that monopolizes central power under what local clans called the Imperial Manila. So it is not surprising that these local clans have been leading a campaign to change the form of government from an overly-centralized set up to a federal state with almost equal powers to the national center. For the local clans, this is a demand to level the playing field for all the ruling classes, be they in Manila or in the province. As a provincial politician, Duterte has experienced decades of neglect and abuse by Imperial Manila.

4. Duterte’s circumstance and experience also differ from other trapos. He was a product of the First Quarter Storm and was involved with Kabataang Makabayan and other radical groups during his student days, with Jose Ma. Sison tutoring him on nationalist and radical politics. After Edsa 1, he became a provincial official (first an OIC and later mayor of Davao City), but he maintained his links and fostered a friendly relation with the CPP-NPA in his area.

5. This explains the ambivalent character of Duterte on national matters. He belongs to the ruling class, but he shares the views of nationalism and radical politics espoused by his peers and friends in the Left movement.

Contradictions of the Duterte regime

1. That’s just one of the contradictions of the President. But there are more that we have to take into account when we take stock of his entire government today.

2. The main forces in the Duterte Cabinet come from the political clans and supporters of the neoliberal economic regime, such as Secretary of Finance Sonny Dominguez; Secretary of Energy Alfonso Cusi; National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon; Secretary of Public Works & Highway, Mark Villar; and others. Many of them have served the governments of Fidel Ramos and Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo. Many are also in big mining businesses.

3. On the other hand, a good number of Left leaders have been appointed by the Duterte government in various cabinet or key positions, such as long-term labor leader Joel Maglunsod who’s now an undersecretary at the Department of Labor & Employment; peasant-leader Paeng Mariano who heads the Department of Agrarian Reform; activist professor Judy Taguiwalo who heads the Department of Social Welfare and Development; and woman-activist leader Liza Masa who heads the National Anti-Poverty Commission. We also have to mention nationalist economist Liling Briones who now heads the Department of Education and anti-mining advocate Gina Lopez who heads the Department of Energy and Natural Resources.

4. There’s a contradiction in maintaining and even extending the neoliberal policies of the government such as the PPP projects (public-private partnership), economic liberalization, deregulation, and the likes – while pronouncing a stand against contractualization, stopping the privatization of certain government hospitals, extending agrarian reform, criticizing the imperial powers of the United States and making anti-EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) pronouncements, and others. While similar duality exists in previous administrations, the Duterte regime advances a step forward by putting Left and progressive individuals in key positions (more than any other administration that we can remember) and by not blocking their initiatives so far (DENR Secretary Gina Lopez has ordered the closure of a number of mining companies; DAR head Paeng Mariano has started an aggressive land distribution campaign under his department; and so on).

5. However, one big bundle of contradictions with alarming implication is the War on Drugs launched by the Duterte government. This has led to a killing spree that targeted small-time drug pushers, users and petty drug lords. A few weeks after Duterte’s inauguration, the number of killings has reached more than 160 (it’s bordering on 400 at this time). The DDS (Davao Death Squad) tactics seems to cover the entire country today. What is chilling is that it’s the police force that’s been killing suspected drug traffickers in the communities (70% of killings according to ABS-CBN report).

6. At the other end of the spectrum is the public censure and exposure of PNP generals, local officials, and big-time drug lords (including foreigners) as drug coddlers and syndicate henchmen. This is the first time a Philippine president has pointed to top people in government and in the police force as heading the drug syndicates. However, while small-time pushers are wasted wantonly in the streets and in their homes during police operations, the big-time drug traffickers remain free.

7. Where will all these contradictory policies, pronouncements and actions of the Duterte government lead to? Pronouncements could be deceiving. To have an understanding on where these are leading, we need to know the main strategy being implemented by the Duterte government in all these issues.

Strategies of the Duterte government

1. Let us look at the War on Drugs campaign. What is the strategy of the Duterte government in this campaign?

2. What is being implemented is a ‘shock and awe’ strategy launched at the community level. This is meant to curtail the drug trade by cutting off its tentacles through executions of a vast number of drug pushers, users and traffickers in the community. But this strategy only exacerbates the problem even if it temporarily puts a stop to the community drug trade. One, the killings are aimed at the poor people and the poor neighborhood. Two, this has impelled a gangland-type of execution which has resulted in more killings, now perpetrated not only by the police but by drug syndicates and vigilante groups supporting the war rhetoric of the campaign. The drug spree in the community is now replaced by a killing spree that spares no one, as reports of occasional drug users and innocent victims being wasted in their homes are starting to come in.

3. There has been a clamor by many to shift the strategy towards going after the heads of the syndicates – the police forces, public officials and big-time drug lords in the country. This has not been successful at this stage.

4. However, this entire strategy of treating the drug trafficking problem as a police matter is bound to fail. This has been done in many countries and has produced very limited outcomes. And it is clear that the war on drugs cannot be implemented by a PNP which has become a key part of the problem. We need to thoroughly revamp the PNP and transform it from being a protector of the syndicate to a protector of the people. Or establish a community-based body that informs and mobilizes the people on the campaign against the drug menace.

5. But the war on drugs cannot be successful without initiating a war on poverty – i.e., a war that will eradicate poverty at its roots. Poverty underpins the proliferation of the drug trade especially at the community level. We are not only talking of hardened criminals in the drug trade, but families who have made small-time drug trafficking as a source of livelihood. In fact, small-time drug trafficking has replaced community jueteng game in most areas.

6. The war on poverty also connects with our campaign against neoliberalism, contractualization, land monopoly, environmental degradation and others. These are campaigns that find resonance in the government departments headed by progressives and Left leaders in the Duterte administration which we have better chances of engaging with in the pursuit of practical solutions.

Strategy on contractualization

1. Job contractualization that robs the working class of regular employment and basic benefits is a major issue that Duterte himself has vowed to eradicate during his rule. But what is the strategy of the Duterte government to do this?

2. A key part of this strategy involves putting genuine labor leaders at DOLE, like undersecretary Joel Maglunsod, who’s from the working class, a KMU leader, and therefore has the commitment and will to genuinely push for anti-contractualization policies using the resources and power of the labor agency.

3. However, the DOLE is not the agency that can get rid of contractualization in the industries. DOLE is infested by pro-capitalist dealers who have been operating under the premise that what is good for business is good for the workers. Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod himself stated that there are only two pro-labor heads in the agency so far (Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello is the other one, a presumed ally of KMU and other Left groups). The two are overwhelmed by pro-capitalist lawyers and dealers dominating the government agency.

4. The working class cannot also depend on laws, or on the legal and law-making institutions, to implement changes in the industrial front. The Philippine Senate and Congress and various instrumentalities of the government, including the Supreme Court, have been making laws and dispensing justice that only serve the interests of the capitalists, landlords and the elite in society. How can we account for the release of chief plunderer Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from hospital arrest, except to say that justice has been served as they say, although it’s the elite justice that has nothing to do with justice for the working class and the poor.

5. Therefore, the strategy against contractualization and other issues of the working class can only be based on the development of a strong working class movement that can deal blows against the perpetrators of these unjust system. The DOLE cannot do it but we need to bolster the efforts of the Left and progressive individuals at DOLE by mobilizing the workers in every industry.

6. It means that the main strategy that can advance and implement the changes that society needs cannot be based on the government or its corrupt, rotten and pro-elite agencies – it could only be outside the elite state. We need a strong working class movement that can push the government and its various agencies to implement the changes we need. And we need the unity of the working class and its various sectors and organizations to do this. This cannot be undertaken by any one group, however big and well-positioned in the government and in the political arena they think they are.

The future of the Duterte regime

1. We have characterized the Duterte regime before as a coalition of Right and Left forces in society, with the forces of the Right dominating the equation. It may be too soon to declare that Duterte himself will break the coalition in favor of the Right. At this stage, he seems to savor the situation where he can have the two forces, forever at loggerheads with each other, under his regime and supporting his various moves.

2. We do not have the illusion that the balance of forces between the Right and the Left in the Duterte government will be at par with each other (it’s going to break before it even reaches parity). The dominant forces today are still the Rightists, and the Left forces are bargaining with Duterte on a weak position, given that the mass struggle is still not on the upswing and working class unity is still a goal to be reached.

3. If we want to stamp out contractualization, it will need the mobilization of the workers through protest actions and strikes that will generate counter-reaction from the capitalists, including imposing lockouts and closures of workplaces. How the Duterte government responds to this situation may not be very clear now.

4. In this regard, I find it instructive to be always reminded of Karl Marx’s maxim that “it is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, rather [or ultimately] it is their being [class existence] that determines their consciousness.” Meaning, while Duterte may have been imbued with radical consciousness during his youth, his status as the chief political representative of the ruling classes today will be the main determinant on his development as president in the days to come.

5. Class interest will be the most prevailing factor as against conscious will. This has happened before in a number of countries where liberal governments tried to set up Right-Left coalition in the initial stages of their rule (see “The Duterte Phenomenon” where I compared the Right-Left coalition with Peron’s tact in Argentina, http://www.masa.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=401:the-duterte-phenomenon ). This has also happened in the Philippines when former president Cory Aquino replaced all the progressives in her cabinet after a series of Rightist-led coup d’etat against her administration.

6. The future of the Duterte government will be based on the class character, or the dominant class character, of the regime. Even in this bleak scenario, the defense and liberation of the working class remain in the hands of the class – in their mobilization, their struggle and their unity aimed at capturing political power and establishing a socialist society.

7. As a footnote (though this needs to be developed soon as a separate topic of discussion), the Left also has to formulate its strategy and tactics with regards to the Duterte regime. Given the strategic nature of the regime that is no different from any state dominated by the ruling classes, but with the presence of a number of Left and progressives in key areas of government, what is the apt and relevant tactics to pursue?

8. Tactics take into account the level of consciousness of the working class masses – where they are at, and how the movement can develop their consciousness towards becoming a revolutionary force. Lenin always believed that Left-wing positioning is not enough. The working class masses must go through a political experience that will show them the truth that there is no other way but to seize political power through their own actions.

9. At this stage, it is better to make use of the openings to broadly mobilize the working class masses while raising their level of consciousness to that of an insurgent force in society. #

Party of the Laboring Masses

Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM)

http://www.masa.ph/





Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy