You can’t fin­ish us off, Si­son tells Duterte

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - NEWS - By Nikko Di­zon @NikkoDi­zonINQ

Pres­i­dent Duterte “is out of his mind and out of touch with re­al­ity” if he thinks he can fin­ish off the com­mu­nist in­sur­gency in the next five years of his sixyear term, Jose Ma. Si­son, Com­mu­nist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder, said on Sun­day.

Si­son re­minded Mr. Duterte that the armed rev­o­lu­tion was rooted in the masses’ fight for so­cial jus­tice, which could not be solved overnight, es­pe­cially with the ex­ist­ing so­cial or­der.

“He (the Pres­i­dent) can­not fin­ish off in five years an armed rev­o­lu­tion­ary move­ment deeply rooted among the toil­ing masses of work­ers and peas­ants, who are fight­ing for na­tional and so­cial lib­er­a­tion against the big and land­lords rep­re­sented now by him,” Si­son told the In­quirer in an on­line chat.

De­spite the gov­ern­ment’s pro­nounce­ments that it has steadily weak­ened the com­mu­nist in­sur­gency, the “rev­o­lu­tion­ary forces” for the past five decades con­tinue to “grow in strength and spread na­tion­wide,” Si­son said.

“The rank-and-file of the rev­o­lu­tion­ary forces in the Philippines are highly prin­ci­pled and sharp to know the evil scheme of the US-Duterte regime to com­bine mar­tial rule and ‘Tokhang’ meth­ods of mass com­pradors mur­der, and are ready to fight th­ese ef­fec­tively,” he said.

‘Crazed by power’

Si­son ac­cused Mr. Duterte of be­ing “crazed by power and Fen­tanyl.”

The 72-year-old Pres­i­dent has ad­mit­ted to tak­ing the pow­er­ful pain re­liever, as pre­scribed by his doc­tor, for some of his ail­ments.

“In the few months or years ahead, the Duterte regime is the one in dan­ger of be­ing over­thrown by the peo­ple if it does not change its ex­tremely bru­tal and ma­li­cious ways.

“Duterte should start to shake in his boots the mo­ment he sees a broad united front build­ing up against his rule and fas­cist acts,” Si­son said.

Si­son said Mr. Duterte “merely pre­tended to be left­ist and so­cial­ist,” a po­si­tion taken by the for­mer’s col­leagues in the CPP, its armed wing, the New Peo­ple’s Army (NPA) and the Na­tional Demo­cratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Ron­ald “Bato” dela Rosa said on Sat­ur­day that the Pres­i­dent had given him the or­der to “wipe out” com­mu­nist rebels af­ter the gov­ern­ment had fin­ished off the Is­lamic State-in­spired Maute-Abu Sayyaf coali­tion in Marawi City.

In his sec­ond State of the Na­tion Ad­dress last week, Mr. Duterte an­nounced that he was aban­don­ing peace ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Left and that the gov­ern­ment would fo­cus on the NPA once the Marawi siege was over.

Sup­port for all-out war

Peace and con­flict stud­ies ex­pert Den­nis Quilala said sup­port was ex­pected for the all­out war against the com­mu­nist rebels be­cause the Pres­i­dent “has pre­pared the pub­lic for this.”

How­ever, Quilala ex­pressed deep con­cern for the peo­ple who would be dis­placed by the fight­ing.

“The peo­ple who will be dis­placed need to pre­pare as well,” he said.

Quilala, a Univer­sity of the Philippines pro­fes­sor, said Mr. Duterte’s plan would “def­i­nitely put pres­sure on the CPPNPA-NDFP.”

He said the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion could even be suc­cess­ful if lo­cal gov­ern­ment units (LGUs) would co­op­er­ate with the ef­fort to ad­dress the com­mu­nist in­sur­gency, the long­est-run­ning in Asia.

“It’s also dif­fi­cult [for the na­tional gov­ern­ment] if they (LGUs) also pay rev­o­lu­tion­ary taxes or pay [the NPA] so that they could cam­paign in their ar­eas,” Quilala said, re­fer­ring to the “per­mit to cam­paign” im­posed by the rebels dur­ing elec­tion sea­son.

He said that “at best, (the in­sur­gency) will be weak­ened” with such a com­bined ef­fort be­tween the na­tional and lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

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