TSIKAHAN WITH TITO JO ON THE SONA
Answers of Jose Maria Sison to the Questions of the Host Anghelo Godino
1.What is the real state of the nation?
JMS: Since the last time he delivered the SONA after successfully rigging the 2019 midterm elections in order to create his supermajorities in both houses of Congress, Duterte has not only maintained but raised to a new and higher level his successes at being tyrant, traitor, mass murderer , plunderer and as a con man.
Duterte has achieved a new peak of success by taking advantage of the lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He has been able to rechannel public funds in the hundreds of billions of pesos to himself and his cronies, bankrupted the economy and his own government and sank these into deeper bankruptcy. He has been able to railroad the enactment of his law of state terrorism and is now hell-bent on using it to silence his critics and the opposition and proceed with his scheme of making a full-blown fascist dictatorship.
Duterte should celebrate his success at letting COVID-19 enter and spread in the Philippines through more than 500,000 Chinese and casino players for more than two months before providing the military solution instead of the medical solution to the contagion. He should also congratulate himself for failing to stop the contagion and for failing to fulfil his promises of providing food and cash assistance to the millions of people whom he has locked out of their means of livelihood. Greatest success of his is blaming the people as “pasaway” (undisciplined) and making them culpable for his own ruffian and plundering kind of rule and their own misery as his victims.
2. Early this January, cronies of Duterte had this campaign called “The Duterte Legacy” where it showed numbers and figures on progress under his term. For example, families lifted out from poverty, classrooms were made, etc. What is your take on this?
JMS: No amount of fake news and false numbers and figures can cover up the facts against the Duterte regime. The people are outraged by the aggravation of mass unemployment and poverty and the horrendous crimes of the Duterte tyranny. It is a regime of greed and terror. It is characterized by senseless death, destruction, despoliation and deception. At the rate he is going in using state terrorism against the people and bankrupting the economy and his own regime, there is no way that Duterte can extricate himself from the damning verdict of history on his colossal crimes.
The Duterte legacy is a criminal record of treason and selling out the national sovereignty and national patrimony to US and Chinese imperialism, tyranny and state terrorism against the people, mass murder of 30,000 poor people to make supreme the Duterte drug syndicate and flood the country with more illegal drugs, an all-out war to preserve the oligarchy of the big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists, the biggest plunder in the quickest time to bankrupt the economy and the government, the absolution of his biggest plundering predecessors and current accomplices in corruption, the highest priority given to military overspending and corruption at the expense of public health, education and other social services and the proven falsity of promises of being “Left” and “socialist”, bringing about peace, ending endo and improving the lot of the workers, land reform and independent foreign policy.
3. Also I know for sure we will also be hearing a lot from Duterte on his SONA about the revolutionary CPP, NDFP, and NPA. Why do you think Duterte is putting all the blame on these groups instead of focusing on solving COVID-19 and providing social care?
JMS: The more Duterte attacks the revolutionary forces of the people, the CPP, NPA and NDFP, the more he unwittingly stresses the justness of the revolutionary cause of the people’s struggle for national and social liberation and the more he exposes the traitorous, tyrannical, murderous, plundering and deceptive character of his counterrevolutionary regime. Duterte keeps on attacking the revolutionary forces and labelling them as terrorists in order to rationalize his policy and law of state terrorism against all social activists, critics and opposition to his regime. He is using red-tagging to silence the just demands, criticisms and protests of the people. He is hell-bent on using the law of state terrorism to arrest, torture, murder and dispossess all the people he considers as opposed to his regime.
4. What can the Filipino activists here in Europe do to help the kasamas in the Philippines?
JMS: The Filipino activists should do everything within their individual and organized capabilities to expose the crimes of the Duterte regime, express support for the Filipino people in the motherland to oust this evil regime, send any possible moral and concrete support to the people most in need through partner organizations in the Philippines and seek the widest possible support from host peoples and migrants from other countries.
It is not too difficult to further expand the support of overseas Filipinos and further gain international support because the Duterte regime has become notorious for the mass murder of poor people and other grave human rights violations. In fact, complaints have been submitted to the International Criminal Court for investigation of the regime for human rights violations and crimes against humanity.
5. In Europe it is very easy to get caught up in many petit bourgeois comforts—what can we do to stay connected with the struggle in the Philippines and help our kasamas?
JMS: Overseas Filipinos work hard to earn their subsistence and save some amount to help their close relatives in the Philippines. They do not have much time and means to enjoy the high standard of living in Europe. It is the duty and task of the organized social activists to arouse, organize and mobilize their compatriots.
Arousing means learning the conditions and need of compatriots abroad and then informing and educating them about the Philippine situation and why they have been compelled to seek jobs abroad through meetings, publications, audio-visuals and cultural activities that are both enlightening and entertaining. Organizing means recruiting more members for the various types of patriotic and democratic Filipino organizations at the level of countries, cities and neighborhoods. Mobilizing means holding campaigns and activities that uphold and promote the rights and interests of the overseas Filipinos and their relatives and friends in the Philippines.
6. How do the youth and migrant struggle align with the overall struggle?
JMS: Except for the very few Filipinos who are on scholarship grants or who are children of wealthy families or who are well paid as professionals, company executives or diplomatic officials, the Filipino youth are themselves migrant workers or belong to migrant worker families who work hard for their subsistence and small savings. On the basis of class affinity, the youth and the migrant workers can be easily aligned in their struggle. Even the few Filipinos who are better off than the rest of the overseas Filipinos can be approached and won over on the the basis of patriotism and enlightened concern for the suffering of the Filipino people in an unjust ruling system and under a regime as evil as the Duterte regime.
7. Do you think Duterte has ever done good with his term?
JMS: The crimes of Duterte against the entire Filipino people are so grave that these are unpardonable and far outweigh any claim that he has done any good in whatever regard. It is a matter of fact that the worst of criminals can be terribly unkind to other people but can also be kind to their own families or girlfriends, their criminal accomplices, cronies and pet animals. But such kindness cannot offset the grave crimes.
Before and in the early weeks of his presidency, Duterte pretended to be a “Left” and “socialist” friend of the revolutionary movement and that he wanted peace. But he was making a pretense and doing an act of deception. He released a few political prisoners only to put aside his promise to release all political prisoners and then he ordered the arrest of the few released political prisoners when he could not make the NDFP capitulate in the peace negotiations. He appointed a few progressives to his cabinet and he had them kicked out by his agents in Congress when he could not obtain the capitulation of the revolutionary movement. Duterte can be a deceptive enemy as well as a barefaced monster.
8. If Duterte gets ousted, what actions can we take to ensure systemic change? Like with Marcos’ ouster and Cory Aquino who ended up still serving the ruling classes, how do we ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen with Duterte and whoever succeeds him?
JMS: The Duterte tyranny can be ousted from power by a broad united front of anti-fascist forces just like the Marcos fascist dictatorship was overthrown in 1986. It would be better to have a president who follows the 1987 Constitution and assume the presidency as constitutional successor than a proven tyrant who is now in a hurry to constitutionalize and legalize what is unconstitutional and illegal in Duterte’s law of state terrorism and impose a full-blown fascist dictatorship on the people.
As in 1986 the revolutionary movement or the NPA in particular does not yet have the regular mobile forces in the form of army battalions and divisions to seize political power in Manila and other cities and overthrow the Duterte regime and entire ruling system. Thus, the quickest possible ouster of Duterte is through a combination of gigantic mass actions and the withdrawal of support from him by the anti-Duterte forces within the reactionary armed forces as in 1986.
It is still better to have a regime that tries to respect civil and political rights than a regime that is blatantly traitorous, tyrannical, murderous,plundering and deceptive. It is never a good choice to perpetuate in power a fascist dictator or tyrant like Marcos or Duterte just because it is not yet possible for the NPA to knock out or compel the surrender of enemy forces in Manila. The anti-fascist struggle in unity with the entire people will serve to strengthen the revolutionary movement but will not yet bring about the regular mobile forces to take the lead in seizing political power from all the reactionaries.
So long as the NPA does not yet have the regular mobile forces to knock out the strategic political and military holdouts of the ruling system, the revolutionary movement keeps on building the people’s democratic government in the countryside. In an all-round way, all revolutionary forces are strengthening themselves nationwide while the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system rots with the alternation of fascist and pseudo-democratic regimes because of the ever worsening crisis and internal contradictions among the rival factions of the reactionary classes.
The way to total victory of the people’s democratic revolution is to keep on building the strength and alliance of the workers and peasants, winning over the middle forces and taking advantage of the splits among the reactionaries. In case the Duterte regime and its successors manage to perpetuate themselves in power, the people will continue to suffer escalating conditions of oppression and exploitation and will tend to rely on the armed revolution for the overthrow not only the fascist regime but the entire rotten ruling system.
9. How can the Anti-Terror Law pave the way for Duterte’s term extension and/or Charter Change? What can we do to expose and stop this?
JMS: Duterte can use his law of state terrorism to silence or neutralize all opposition to it and to ensure that his super-majority in the Supreme Court will declare it as constitutional and lawful. It is difficult and unwise to depend completely on the Supreme Court because most justices are appointees of the Duterte gang and has been used to dismiss all the plunder cases against the big plunderers allied to Duterte. They are corrupt like most members of Congress.
But without having to wait for a Supreme Court in his favor, Duterte can move fast enough to constitutionalize and legalize what is unconstitutional and illegal in his state terrorism law under the 1987 Constitution. He can railroad charter change and rig the plebiscite for its ratification to render moot and academic the petitions filed by the most respected constitutional experts against the state terrorism law.
The charter amendments have been cooked in advance, mostly in secrecy. And there is now a campaign to drum up the semblance of support for charter change from the local officials under the manipulation of DILG secretary General Año who is a key figure in the civilian-military junta that Duterte has already created in the form of National Task Force-ELCAC and the Anti-Terrorism Council.
10.The Duterte administration is pushing for parliamentarism: can this be a window of opportunity for a genuine change or will this be a mere concentration of power?
JMS: Marcos used the pretext of opting for parliamentarism as pretext for charter change in order to pave the way for autocratic transitory provisions which allowed him to take executive actions to impose fascist dictatorship on the people. Duterte is using the same pretext of parliamentarism in connection with federalism.
The real purpose of charter change under Duterte is to centralize power in the hands of a fascist dictator instead of decentralizing it to the federated states and parliamentarism can be nothing more than a talking shop among political agents of the fascist dictator like the Interim Batasang Pambansa of Marcos.
11. It has been a pleasure Tito to have another episode of Tsikahan with you! Do you have a message to our viewers before we go?
JMS: I thank you and all our listeners for participating in this webinar. I hope that this webinar has served to clarify issues concerning the Philippines and Filipino people and to encourage them to do whatever they can to enable and support the Filipino people to fight and win in the struggle for national liberation and democracy. In the days and months to come, you must closely watch the developments in the Philippines and join the campaigns and activities launched by Anakbayan Europa, Migrante Europe and other patriotic and democratic organizations of Filipinos in Europe. Mabuhay kayo! Mabuhay tayong lahat! Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!