For over half a century The Philippines has been under siege by the far-left terrorists of the New People’s Army (NPA), a group affiliated with the exiled Communist Party of The Philippines whose leader resides in The Netherlands. While President Rodrigo Duterte had agreed to peace talks with the NPA on the condition that its political leader Jose Maria Sison meets him face to face before being allowed to safely return to exile, Sison has changed his tune, rejecting peace talks and instead vowing to work for and celebrate Duterte’s ouster.
The far-left ringleader stated,
“So long as he heads the GRP (Government of The Republic of The Philippines), the Filipino people, especially the oppressed and exploited, cannot expect any benefit from negotiating with the Duterte regime”.
Duterte responded by saying,
“I have no problem with that, so we can continue with the war. Anyway we have been there for 50 years, what’s the big deal about adding another 30 years. That’s okay, as long as Filipinos know that is what is happening. If you want to overthrow governments, fine. If you want to talk, come here. If you don’t want to, then don’t”.
Duterte has made it clear that while he welcomes peace talks with insurgent groups, he will nevertheless continue to wage a defensive war on all groups which threaten the peace and political integrity of The Philippines. It was this attitude of merciless resistance to terrorism which saw the Daesh (aka ISIS) aligned Maute group defeated in May of 2017 when The Philippine armed forces liberated the once Daesh occupied city of Marawi. While Duterte was criticised by his Liberal opponents for implementing martial aw throughout the southern island of Mindanao, his decisive action helped to end what could have been a more protracted Daesh insurgency on the model now familiar to Middle East observers.
At the same time, Duterte has pledged to work with moderate Moro (Philippine Muslim) groups including the rivals Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MIFL) to reach a final settlement for autonomy in the Moro regions in the format of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). The BBL would itself serve as a basis for further federal autonomy for Mindanao as part of the President’s plan to transform The Philippines into a federal republic.
In respect of Philippine Communists, one should be cautious before comparing them to successful and peaceful leftist governments in the region. In 2018, the most successful political party in the world today is the Communist Party of China. The key to the party’s success has been its ability to modernise with the times while retaining its core values. Also key to its success is a firm structural discipline and a sense of loyalty to the rule of law and order among its members. As a result, China under Communist rule is set to overtake the United States as the world’s biggest economy. In many areas, China has already long been on top.
While the Communist Party of China has brought prosperity and security to China, in spite of claiming to be of the same ideology, the Communist Party of The Philippines is a very different beast indeed. In the Philippines, the Communist Party is not interested in Chinese style order, instead it is interested only in power. In its quest for power, it has not only abandoned its principles, but has done so in the most vulgar way possible. While the Communist Party of China is a genuinely collective organisation that has helped elevate the condition of the people, the Communist Party of The Philippines behaves like a greedy dethroned monarch desperate for a return to power, or for that matter a spoiled Kuwaiti business oligarch who derives a sick pleasure from abusing all around him.
China realises this all too well which is why Beijing disowned Filipino Communists in the 1980s and in the present day has given President Duterte the most overt stamp of approval that any Chinese government has given to any Philippine leader.
A perfect example of the regressive attitude in the Communist Party of The Philippines is a wilfully obstructionist lawsuit filed by those connected with the Communists in an attempt to stop President Duterte’s six month closure of Boracay island due to environmental concerns, as illegal building works and un-managed waste problems have led to a near ecological disaster on the once pristine tourist hub.
In this sense, well-known friends of the Communist party are using their “power” to fight for the oligarchs of Boracay who represent the most piratical elements of black-market capitalism that one could imagine. In China, illegal buildings and black markets are tackled in a tough manner by its own ruling communist party, but in The Philippines, the Communists are willing to attach themselves to any pirate/mafia/oligarch clan in a quest for power which in reality only results in playing the role of an obstructionist to President Duterte’s actually progressive policies. In this sense, the reds and the yellows have formed a perfect de-facto alliance based on retarding the growth of the Philippines at any cost, in a vainglorious attempt to make Duterte look weak, while ordinary people ultimately pay the price.
Making matters all the more puzzling for those who base their political analysis on party political stereotypes, while the Liberal Party of The Philippines (the yellows) have long had what many call too close of a relationship with the Roman Catholic Church in The Philippines, now the Church and its Liberal allies find themselves in-league with a hard-line Communist party, united in their hatred of President Duterte.
While Daesh, the NPA, the Liberals and the Roman Catholic Church are separate entities who often disagree on much between one another, they now form a de-facto coalition in which international liberal governments and so-called NGOs have joined in a concerted attempt to try and oust the legitimately elected President of The Philippines. When one realises that all of Duterte’s enemies also have had both historic links and in many cases present ties to heavily armed and deeply violent narcotics mafias, one realises the full extent of the viciousness Duterte has to face in his attempt to improve the economic, social and cultural conditions of the people.
In this sense, many of President Duterte’s enemies are also the enemies of peace, stability, economic progress and pragmatic/stable political rule in The Philippines. Duterte has famously stated that he does not care for personal loyalty so long as all Filipinos work to support their country. Today however, it would appear that those working against Duterte are the same who have proved that their loyalty to the country does not extend beyond their own personal, sectarian and material interests.
If a man can be judged by the viciousness of his enemies, Duterte must be doing many things right. A majority of Filipino voters agreed in 2016 and recent polls have shown that they continue to do so.