The order yesterday by Duterte to form a National Task Force against the NPA comes after the earlier proposal of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to set up a task force to direct all efforts of government agencies to fight the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People’s Army (NPA).
This a rehash of the so-called “whole-of-government” approach initiated by the previous Aquino regime in line with the US counter-insurgency doctrine. It aims to mobilize and train efforts of all state agencies to deceive the people by pretending to address poverty with superficial programs. This will be combined with so-called “localized peace talks” combined with corruption-laden “integration programs.”
Duterte’s anti-NPA Task Force will also serve as a tool against the legal democratic opposition which the AFP call the “political infrastructure” of the CPP-NPA. It will surely aim at various organizations and political forces which the AFP has recently labeled as fronts or in conspiracy with the CPP.
Combined with the terrorist proscription case which charges scores of activists of being members of the CPP, as well as with the militarization of the bureaucracy, Duterte’s task force will put the entire state machinery to high gear under the regime’s effort to crackdown against all opposition.
As envisaged by the AFP, the Anti-NPA Task Force harks back to the 1950s McCarthyist Red-baiting and finger-pointing to justify the suppression against various democratic sectors. Duterte is merely using the CPP-NPA as scapegoat to justify the imposition of draconian measures against various forces who stand against his strongman rule.
The regime is now in survival mode. It is now primarily concerned with staving off and suppressing all opposition amid the rising clamor for Duterte’s ouster from power.
Duterte’s anti-NPA Task Force will, however, fail in weakening the NPA. On the contrary, with his strongman tactics, Duterte is succeeding only in pushing more and more people to join and support the New People’s Army.
The increasingly acute economic crisis resulting from increasing neoliberal policy drive, the worsening forms of oppression and exploitation, widespread military and police abuses, US armed intervention and support for the AFP, rise of narco-politics, crime and bureaucrat capitalist corruption under Duterte are all factors rousing the people to wage armed revolution.