The Filipino youth and people must thank President Rodrigo Duterte for his raving and rambling State of the Nation Address (SONA) speech and for gatecrashing the SONA protest outside Congress last Monday. By dishing up the same old empty promises, petty insults, undisguised threats, and cheap theatrics, Duterte only further exposed himself to be the anti-people, fascist, dictator-wannabe that he is.

On the day of his SONA, we the Filipino youth marched with tens of thousands of workers, peasants, urban poor, lumads, and other sectors to strongly demand the immediate lifting of martial law in Mindanao. But obsessed with killings and brute force, Duterte in his speech only had praise for the military and police and incited them to commit even more human rights abuses with impunity.

We expressed our indignation over the US-Duterte regime’s fascist attacks against the people in the form of its genocidal war on drugs that has led to the deaths of 12,000 people, a disastrous anti-terror war that reduced Marawi to rubbles, and the all-out war against the communist revolutionary movement and the consequent surge of human rights violations under Duterte.

But true to form, a big part of Duterte’s SONA took to hurling abuses at the revolutionary movement for resisting military abuses and defying his wish for them to surrender without tackling genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization. He has no regard for socio-economic reforms as the solution to the roots of armed conflict and criminality, so fixated is the mad president with blood and violence.

In his SONA, Duterte’s adherence to neoliberal economic programs was on full display: from his silence on the workers’ demands to junk contractualization, his full support for the burdensome K-12 program, and the imposition of new and harsher taxes. In the vain hopes of duping the Moro people, he once more dangled a reformed Bangsamoro Basic Law without letting up persecution of the Moros in the guise of anti-terrorism.

Straight from giving his rambling, militarist, and patently anti-people SONA, President Duterte made a surprise and uninvited appearance at the people’s SONA protest outside Congress. But rather than presenting anything substantial, Duterte practically turned the rally stage into a bully pulpit in an attempt to defend martial law, justify his failed promises, and hurl insults against the ranks of rain-drenched protesters.

Duterte styled himself an indignant father demanding from his disobedient children respect, which for the president is of course nothing less than silently putting up with verbal abuse and profanity. His audience, which included victims of the war on drugs and Lumad and workers from Mindanao suffering from Duterte’s martial law, had to endure perversely twisted lecturing from a foulmouthed madman.

Accusing the mass of protesters of instigating an ambush against him, Duterte echoed the tired fascist black propaganda that the legal mass movement is one and the same with the underground revolutionary movement waging armed struggle in the countryside. Duterte thought he could turn the rally stage into a populist media spectacle to threaten all those who do not bow to him.

But Duterte’s anti-climactic disruption of the protest rally only stoked the people’s anger all the more. Fully unveiled as a vain despot, jeered at by thousands, and his effigy smashed by angry youth, the street thug of a president hastily retreated to his palace and threatened to bomb Lumad schools. After rattling a series of tirades against the Left, the next night Duterte again spewed a mouthful about shooting down protesters.

In truth, Duterte can only exercise force against those who are powerless. But he is a coward in the face of militarists, big oligarchs, China and US imperialism. Bribed with $24-billion worth of Chinese loans, he has surrendered the country’s sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea. Fearing a coup from the US-sponsored Armed Forces of the Philippines, he allowed US officials to direct military operations in Marawi and maintained US military presence in the country.

In conclusion, the SONA only further demonstrated Duterte’s role not only as the chief representative of the oligarchic ruling classes. Duterte also showed himself to the country’s biggest bully and mad president, the “Troll-in-Chief” himself who deserves no iota of respect. The emperor’s new clothes are revealed. Bound to follow the footsteps of his idol, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Duterte will face the Filipino youth and people’s hatred and resistance in his remaining years in power.

Resist the anti-people and fascist rule of the US-Duterte regime!
Down with US imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism!
Forward the struggle for national democracy with a socialist perspective!

 

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