By Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant
Will Duterte scrap all military agreements with the US? It is difficult or even impossible to believe that Duterte would scrap all military agreements with the US, including the Mutual Defense Treaty, Mutual Logistics and Support Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.
It still remains to be seen whether he would stick to the termination of the VFA all the way.
Just by giving the US a notice of terminating VFA, he has aroused quite a number of pro-US military officers to talk against him and curse him for prejudicing hundreds of projects under the VFA. Some of these officers have been talking about a coup. Quite a number of them are assets of the US Defense Intelligence Agency and Central Intelligence Agency and are loyal to their pocketbooks rather than to the Filipino people.
It would be laudable if Duterte would scrap all the military agreements with the US. For him to do so and counter any coup threat from pro-US military officers, he would need to invoke national sovereignty and at the same time complement this with highly patriotic and progressive social, economic and political reforms to get solid support from the people as in Cuba, Vietnam and Venezuela.
Thus, he would be able to get the support of the truly patriotic military officers and the enlisted personnel in the military whose families would be benefited by such reforms, especially land reform and national industrialization.
With the said reforms, he can make a lasting peace with the revolutionary movement. Instead of wasting public funds for heavy military expenditures and corruption, he would be able to redirect the resources to industrial development and rural development.
Scrapping all the military agreements with the US would truly assert national sovereignty and territorial integrity. But this must be complemented by national industrialization and genuine land reform in order to ensure the support of the Filipino people and their revolutionary movement.
If Duterte is capable of asserting national sovereignty against US imperialism, he should also be able to assert the same against Chinese imperialism and demand its withdrawal from the artificial and militarized islands built in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea and demand from China compliance with international law, especially the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the decision of the International Arbitral Tribunal in favor of the Philippines against China.
He can make diplomatic demands and strengthen alliance with the ASEAN countries which are aggrieved by the aggressive extraterritorial claims of China and with the overwhelming majority of states in the world, including the US without going into unequal treaties with it. Otherwise, the scrapping of the military agreements with the US would be considered as merely favoring Chinese imperialism and the surrender of the West Philippine Sea to China.
If Duterte would adopt all the necessary measures to assert and exercise national sovereignty against both US and Chinese imperialism, then he would deserve commendation as the president fundamentally different from and superior to all his predecessors in terms of patriotism.The problem is that the line of least resistance for him is to remain a puppet of imperialism and tyrant to his own people. ###