In 2018, the worsening crisis of the semifeudal and semicolonial system is sure to sharpen the contradictions between the ruling classes, the people’s resistance to imperialist neoliberal policies and increasing fascism of the US-Duterte regime, and further intensification of the armed revolutionary movement. Due to the unprecedented killings and repression by its fascist soldiers, police, paramilitaries and death squads, Duterte’s isolation will worsen this year.
On the first days of 2018 alone, the ruling classes were already up in uproar due to Duterte and his minions’ naked ambition to extend their terms through charter change and push for federalism. Even now, the political opposition is already drumming up the possibility of a “no-el” or no elections on 2019, a scenario that is sure to divide the bureaucrats’ ranks. Like his idol dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Duterte will change the constitution for the sole reason of monopolizing political power. He can appropriate for himself the power to create laws, similar to what Marcos did during the ÒtransitionÓ to a parliamentary system. As for now, Duterte seems to be following legal processes, but his maneuvers increasing ride roughshod over his own institutions. He has already railroaded the worst laws and schemes in congress and senate, which he keeps in line through patronage and threats.
Prior to this, infighting broke out in the military after officials squabbled over an anomalous contract worth $16 billion. No grandiose gesture of firing corrupt officials can hide the stench and rottenness of the regime.
To counteract the peopleÕs widespread resistance, Duterte is sure to intensify his wars of suppression against all sectors and organizations who are against his fascist ambitions. Also on the first days of 2018, his lawyers filed the petition to list the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as “terrorist organizations.” This measure targets not only revolutionary forces but moreso the open democratic movement and legal opposition whom he can arbitrarily harass by accussing them of giving financial and material aid to the NPA. In reality, his reign of terror extends throughout the entire country.
In the midst of all of these, prices of goods and services have successively increased due to neoliberal policies of deregulation and privatization. These will increase further due to new taxes which took effect on January 1 as a result of the TRAIN which was passed last December. No amount of deceit by the regime’s economists can cover up the fact that prices will rise due to increased costs of transportation and other operational costs in importation and production of local businesses. Prices of basic goods are sure to shoot up this year compared to last year. The people are aware that this is to offset the state’s lost revenues as it gives tax exemptions to the country’s richest families and their corporations, as well as to fund its counterproductive expenditures and pay off its debts.
The tax reform is carried out alongside the opening of social services to foreign and private capital that is also sure to drive up its costs, as well a the pro-foreign and pro-bourgeois comprador Build-Build-Build program that is aimed to layout infrastructure for foreign capital.
Contrary to what Duterte would like to believe, no amount of economic growth spurned by neoliberal policies can save his regime. Only foreign multinational companies and their bureaucrat-capitalist cohorts will benefit from such growth. Such schemes will only aggravate the backwardness of the economy and widespread poverty among the people. Duterte has completely stopped mentioning his campaign promises of ending contractualization, distribution of land, free irrigation and the like.
Thus, objective conditions are rife for the overthrow of the criminal, corrupt, puppet and oppressive regime. Duterte’s foolish ambition to monopolize political power and the people’s money for corruption, as well as his countermanding of his numerous promises, will serve to spur the people to resist and overthrow his regime. Duterte’s camp is inherently weak. This is further aggravated by Duterte’s gangster, deceitful and criminal methods. This was apparent with the failure of his grandiose scheme for fascist reign, his “revolutionary government,” to take off the ground due to the lack of support from the people, parts of the ruling classes and even from the military.
In this light, the revolutionary forces should lead in launching campaigns, both armed and unarmed, to deal strong blows to weaken and eventually overthrow the regime. Mass movements defending the livelihood and welfare of the people should be strengthened alongside the resistance against the regime’s fascist measures and triple wars of suppression. The regime’s disregard for the people’s welfare while defending the imperialist interests and those of the ruling classes should be thoroughly exposed and opposed.
Duterte’s overthrow is the most important task at present for the revolutionary forces. It is crucial to the rapid strengthening and growth of the revolutionary forces in order to defend the people against the regime’s relentless attacks. The revolutionary forces should take advantage of the cracks among the ruling classes. They should ally with other sectors and groups to create the widest anti-Duterte alliance, including groups with existing sharp contradictions with the revolutionary movement. While these contradictions will not be swept aside, it is imperative that the sharpest blows should be aimed at the semifeudal and semicolonial system’s representative, the US-Duterte regime.