BAYAN Canada Statement on the occasion of Duterte’s State of the Nation Address
Two years of Duterte rule more than ever reaffirm the dictum that the people and the people alone, with their collective strength, will carve out their own history and achieve the fundamental change towards a truly free and democratic, just and peaceful society.
The US-Duterte regime is not serious about talking, much less making, peace. It is hellbent on effecting the surrender, if not destruction of the revolutionary forces led by the Communist Party of the Philippines. This is why Duterte upon the advise of his generals has once more cancelled the peace talks even as the peace panels of the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines had signed a coordinated unilateral ceasefire agreement for the duration of the coming peace talks.
US imperialism is the criminal mastermind after all behind the cancellation of the peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The scheduled talks have been “postponed” so that the “people can be consulted” first before signing the agreements. But so-called consultations are meant to confuse the people and lead them into localized peace talks in line with the scheme to not hold the talks in a foreign neutral venue, eliminate the third-party facilitator (the Norwegian government) and do the negotiations in the Philippines under the complete control of the regime and its armed minions.
Within the framework of Oplan Pacific Eagle, the regime carries out its counterinsurgency Oplan Kapayapaan, bolstering the Human Security Act, giving more powers to the police and the armed forces, targetting whole communities in countryside and city, eliminating pro-people mass leaders and activists. This is why Philippine army contingents continue to set up camp in villages, occupy schoolhouses and community health centres while conducting air strikes and ground attacks in an “all-out” military suppression and encirclement campaign especially in hinterland areas all over Mindanao. Martial law remains in Mindanao even as the stage is being set for martial law nationwide.
The Duterte regime has no intention of addressing the roots of the civil war that has been raging for close to five decades now. It caters to every whim and accedes to every imposition of its US master even as it opens its doors wide and sells out the nation’s sovereignty to China. While facilitating superprofit extraction for the transnational corporations, and reaping huge benefits for its big landlord, big business and bureaucrat capitalist cohorts, it keeps the greater mass of the population mired in poverty and destitution. Inflation is at a 4.6 percent high with the real value of the peso dropping to a low of 86 centavos. As of April 2018, 4.13 million Filipinos are unemployed and 6.9 million underemployed.
Whether in the form of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law that has only led to the skyrocketing of prices of food and other basic necessities, or the deregulation of the oil industry, or trade liberalization and privatization of essential services, or foreign corporate mining practices, the end result has been suffering and misery for the toiling people, plunder of the nation’s resources and destruction of the environment.
Duterte’s campaign promise to end labour export, migration and the separation of families will forever remain empty. In 2017 alone, it was estimated that 5,460 Filipinos were leaving the country daily. Despite the impact of the crises in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait on the welfare of overseas Filipino workers, there was no deployment ban set by the government. It even set talks with China and Russia as alternative destinations of OFWs. Also due to the anti-poor and anti-people TRAIN LAW, OFWS are directly affected especially by the increase of fees collected for basic documents required for their work abroad.
The proposed shift in the draft constitution towards federalism is designed to give dictatorial powers to the president, extend the terms of elected officials, weaken the rights of the people, remove prohibitions to foreign military bases, and sell out the Philippines’ national economy and patrimony to foreigners. It is the worst attempt to change the 1987 Constitution in favor of fascist dictatorial and imperialist rule in the country.
Bayan Canada therefore calls on all democratic, freedom and peace-loving Filipinos and Filipino-Canadians to come together in a broad coalition and unite with our kababayans in the Philippines and overseas in opposing the move to another dictatorship. The Filipino people demand a just and lasting peace by resolving the root problems of foreign domination and control over all spheres of Philippine life, landlessness and landgrabbing in the countryside, as well as chronic unemployment, low wages, lack of job security and the many problems besetting the workers, peasants and other basic sectors.
No to charter change and dictatorship.
End the oppressive and exploitative rule of the US-Duterte regime!
Onward with the struggle for genuine freedom and democracy!
Fight for a just and liberating peace!