For a better tomorrow amidst existing conflicts
Notes after President Rodrigo Duterte's
State of the Nation Address
last July 24, 2015
To paraphrase Mr. Magaling's words, that it seems how everyone is living in a society that is beyond the possibilities of today's condition. Basically, with all the aspirations to carry forward, they are trying to live in the impossible; but, since those who carry are also limited to society's convention and its orders, then lies its limitations to its own possibilities.
If one is still trying to demand the impossible, especially in an order who thinks these aspirations hinders their continuity, then perhaps it is actually wishing to change what is possible by taking the impossible from the corner and making it possible: by any means even going beyond the parameters of legality.
And that is what currently happening nowadays in the Philippines.
With the recent events surrounding the present Duterte administration, it seems that the atmosphere of hope has becoming impossible both in statement and in action: that with Martial Law extending its duration and possibly extending all over the country, as well as other unjust policies favouring the interests of the few, it seems that change is becoming a mere word at all if not a counterreaction to an existing reaction.
For in spite of his populism, it is becoming more obvious that President Duterte continues to lay the foundations for authoritarian rule under US imperialist tutelage like his predecessors. Sorry for the thought but in spite of his promise for a non-aligned foreign policy or even his anti-American sentiment, everyone knows how the Military, being American-trained and armed will always cling to the thought that their Americanism prevails than those of their leader.
And to think that he, being completely intoxicated with authoritarian-like powers, Duterte is mistaken in thinking that he can suppress both the Filipino and Bangsamoro people in their resistance to the oppression and exploitation by the ruling oligarchy and their US imperialist masters. Be it contractualisation, growing debts brought about by demands for infrastructure, and martial law with its growing militarisation and aerial bombings against Filipinos, Moros, and Lumads alike.
For sure apologists would oppose this note, but the obviousness brought about by his actions meant that he is seriously adhering in maintaining the present order- but given his populism he has to accommodate the people, particularly the left with some piecemeal reforms and a semblance of willingness to adapt their views.
However, with the recent events such as Martial Law in Mindanao and its intensified militarisation, what more of low intensity actions against the left, then the so-called "leftist" president is succeeding only in stoking the broad masses of the Filipino and Bangsamoro people to unite, wage mass struggles and conduct acts of resistance. Be it from Marawi, Davao, to those of Metro Manila, the people who are facing crises are awakened and willing to take the idea of change in their hands.
And the concerned cannot blame these people who converged near Batasang Pambansa all for being radical in their assertions what more of their actions. With the incidents brought upon by a continuity of low-intensity conflict, it makes an atmosphere of peace and development be impossible especially in the countryside-that since the enemy fire first, do they have no right to resist? Of course not! They can't just sit down and do nothing To think that the Lumad's settlements been militarised and nowadays subjected to martial rule, will they agree in his statement especially after letting them to "go home" instead of asserting their calls to end militarisation in their communities? Of generalising the Lumads as rebellious after being aligned to the revolutionaries and its view of justice against despotic landords, large-scale miners, and its attack dogs in uniform?
After all, these scenarios also shows that the temporary alliance between the Left and President Duterte has indeed reached its boiling, breaking point rather. When the latter, in his press conference recently, officially ended the peace negotiations between the government and the Left with awful repercussions. For all his anti-US posturing (particularly the desire for bringing back the Balangiga bells after decades as war booty during the Philippine-American war), Duterte has had no concrete steps to remove US military forces from the country. Instead, he now coyly seeks US support for martial law in the guise of fighting terrorism.
And besides the United States, Duterte had to deal with the Chinese. Stuffed with $24 billion of Chinese loans for infrastructure projects, he has practically surrendered the country’s rights. Not a whimper from him while China has transformed the Spratly islands into their military fortress.
And to think that his regime is trying to equate itself with development, his economic team rather continues its cherished neoliberal policies that keeps the economy dependent on foreign investments and loans, favor rich oligarchs, and hit the poor the hardest. Also contrary to his statements, that he has not junked contractualization, failed to freely distribute land to farmers, and now wishes to impose new and harsher taxes.
But on second thought, some of Duterte's statements during the address be like indeed trying to be as radical as possible as the Left like his appeals for industrialisation, utilisation of natural resources for domestic use, or even continuing the agrarian reform program under Mariano; but, to think that he is cornered by a camarilla of militarists and compradores alike, will his so-called "radical" ideas succeed? Remember: most of his projects are through high-interest loans that has to be paid for decades, what more that with the negotiations suspended, the agreement on Socio-Exonomic Reforms (that may also support most of Duterte's goals) be end just papers! So much for the neoliberal and militarist men that made this low intensity conflict made!
Anyway, despite all the bullshits, Duterte's desire for a better tomorrow should be realised, but to support his statement, the peoples message is simple: for a realisation of social and economic reforms, for a genuine just and lasting peace! Meanwhile, particular concessions like conditional free tuition for students of state universities and colleges giving free homes to homeless Kadamay members, among others, were achieved not because of the benevolence of Duterte but were the results of hard-won mass struggles by different sectors for their democratic rights.
He may babble against the "National Democratic" Left time and again, but if one may ask: isn't that these "National Democratic" left who seriously lead the demand what he actually wanted for? Of Peace, Land, Bread, Social Justice and Sovereignty?
Again, he needs not to depend on his neoliberal-militarist camarilla- there's the people concerned who are willing to help him.
Or is this person idealise that scenario?