Sunday, 5 June 2016

Is change truly coming?

Is change truly coming?

This person's view on Duterte and his coming administration

Is change truly coming? Or another consolidation of same old interests?

These are the first observations this writer and others concerned about the incoming administration of Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte.

Known for his foul mouthed statements, womanising, and the "Davao Death Squad" attributed to him. Duterte's populism appealed to various sectors, particularly from the rural areas who perhaps knew that a man like Duterte means a man of action if not a man that empowers the depressed regions, enough to undermine the earlier traits attributed to him.

And perhaps, alongside popular angst towards the present Aquino regime, and the yearness to end corruption and various forms of injustices, people voted personages like Duterte that as if a panacea for social ills and a need for immediate action towards these problems be it crime, peace and order, and various socio-economic issues the common Filipino complains about.

However, with the popular acclaim towards the "punisher", so is the system trying to adjust if not continuously reluctant on the incoming president's views behind the need for "social change", and currently, in seeing system's reluctance to the incoming president's stances, which smacks of a left-populist, and offering cabinet seats to those of personages related to the left, has brought about further important events in the Philippine political scene.

And speaking of the system, mostly from its right-wing and some "centrists" involved, these sectors are justifying their reluctance and even opposition, and mostly are driven by their rabid anti-leftist sentiment, that, as in past administrations, a basis for their actions against both the legal and the underground movement since 1986. The clique even asserts compradore and landlord interests, with the former and its neoliberal-oriented policies, and the latter abhorring agrarian reforms, both desperately trying to consolidate the semifeudal-semicolonial order that the incoming administration wanted to dismantle.
And the fact that Duterte has been trying to present himself as a left-populist in a manner of Hugo Chavez through his fireside chats, of appointing left-wing personages in various government departments such as in Agrarian Reform, Social Welfare, Labour, and perhaps other departments, the system's reluctance and opposition rather exposes its stubbornness with its apologetics insisting the left's "irrelevance" as it favours "continuity" of semifeudal-semicolonial policies and its neoliberal-fascist perspective.
Or perhaps seeing others who are "once leftists" expressing themselves as "leftists" in case of Mike Defensor, who was once a student leader turned member of the Arroyo cabinet and a staunch neoliberal. There are also members of the Liberal Party who end joining Duterte's PDP-Laban out of political survival, even one of LP's coalition partners, the Social-Democratic Akbayan even joined in the PDP-Laban led majority (and perhaps created criticism as such).

But on the other hand, the incoming administration did smack of right-wing view. Knowing that his cabinet also appointed those from past regimes such as from Ramos and Arroyo. His statement favouring burial of the late Dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the National Cemetery at Taguig created an ire of criticism from Martial Law victims, so was his statement opposing active labour fronts that perhaps favours neoliberal interests. His statement assailing journalists for being "paid hacks" did expressed criticism from journalists and media practitioners knowing that his words also smacks of a call for further extrajudicial actions same as the earlier towards labor leaders.
But his anti-crime stance, as well as his misogynistic statements, rather made he still in the limelight with all the controversies related to it. The former, with the controversial "Davao Death Squad" attributed to him and its string of deaths, and the latter, in case of a latest issue about his catcalling towards women- that even the left-wing women's group Gabriela expressed criticism. 

But all and all, it may deem surprising if not strange to some people in hearing Duterte being won from the presidential elections, be it because of his stances involving peace and developent or perhaps his tough guy moves during his stint in Davao City. His foul-mouthed statements and perhaps the extralegal acts done by the "Davao Death Squad" may still create an ire to the people knowing that it made he "unstatesman-like" being the head of state representing his nation in the international community, yet, that same people may have appreciated what likely to be called as the "Davao example" as it invokes peace, order, and even a semblance of development and efficiency in case of relief and rescue efforts. 
The "Davao example" may have been an example of "Change" as his supporters insisted knowing that the town smacks of order and stability, but to others, it may smack of fascism especially after those of extrajudicial killings that may threaten innocents yet mistakenly identified by authorities as culprits for various crimes particularly drug-related cases in the archipelago. His misogynism may still create an ire from concerned women's groups especially knowing that his city has a code that empowers women if not trying to put an end sexual harassments, or his "Anti-Crime Stance" becoming a lazy excuse for others to sate their bloodlust and various forms of vendetta. And as for Left, whom the system detested since the start, Duterte may have appealed to the left for "reconciliation" through a renewed peace negotiations which was stalled few years ago by the outgoing Aquino administration besides the appointment of left-wing personalities in the departments earlier stated and even his foreign policy which smacks of "non-alignment" and contrary to past administration's pro-American policy.
And all of these perhaps made this writer thinks that Duterte's view smacks of political syncretism, of "beyond left-right" politics that appeased various sectors of the society. He may reminds of a Latin American Caudillo or even Indonesia's Soekarno with his Nasakom policy geared against Neoliberal interests. Such moves may still remain controversial to others given what is stated above.

Meantime, the patriotic and progressive forces may still continue its actions against the system through the outgoing Aquino regime while at the same time welcomes Duterte with the latter's willingness to set peace negotiations with the underground left, as well as its promise to release political prisoners, and even the appointment of left-wing personalities in his cabinet.
With the intensification of actions against the Aquino regime and its neoliberal policies, such as the recent occupation of the Department of Education by the youth groups against the K12 program, of calls to prosecute Aquino, Abad, and his clique for the controversial "Pork Barrel" and the "Disbursement Acceleration Program" scams, of calls for defending Philippine Sovereignty against American and Chinese intrusion, with the former over its economic and military policies and the latter with its occupation of disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Such actions have taken extra efforts to expose the Aquino regime as corrupt, as an American puppet, as well as a defender of landed interests given its stubbornness not to distribute Hacienda Luisita to the peasants, as well as its policies that favours interests than those of the people, hence, intensifies people's hatred.

With the political and economic crises worsening on the outgoing Aquino administration, and perhaps the promise of the incoming Duterte administration of bringing changes amidst controversies surrounding him, the people, on alert, may continue watching the system's moves, especially that the president-elect is also represents the system. True that there are stances that seemed helpful to uplift the people, be it the appointment of the left in the cabinet or the need for overhauling the state apparatus in pursuit of "socio-economic changes".

But again, he represents the system that needs to be overhauled or even dismantled, and the system, if remains rotten as in the past centuries, will always be a basis for massive criticism and the head of state be liable for such actions be it his statements or his policies.

So again, is Change truly coming? Or another consolidation of vested interests? Hope the people may answer this question.

Thank you.