Open Letter to President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte
May 30, 2016
MAYOR RODRIGO R. DUTERTE
President-Elect of the Republic of the Philippines
City Hall, Davao City
Dear President-Elect Duterte :
We congratulate you on today’s occasion of your being proclaimed by Congress as the duly-elected President of the Republic of the Philippines, as a result of the May 9, 2016, general election.
Your electoral victory reflects the hope of many Filipino voters that you will fulfill your main campaign promise of stopping crime and corruption within 3 to 6 months. We do not believe in miracles, and we do not expect you to easily fulfill this election promise. However, we will support every lawful effort of your administration to deliver this central campaign promise of yours.
In this connection, we hope that your administration will immediately deliver on some major problem areas --- such as by finally ending the Abu Sayyaf and other kidnap/extortion syndicates which even use religious or political/ideological pretexts to terrorize people ; by dismantling private armies of political warlords and crime lords ; by neutralizing illegal drug manufacturers, smugglers and dealers ; and by vigorously prosecuting corrupt officials and corporate cheats and scammers (starting with the plunderers who have already been exposed in congressional and Securities and Exchange Commission investigations).
We would like to believe that your electoral victory is also a result of the people’s widespread disaffection with the present and past administrations' privatization and profit dereguiation policies which have only further fattened the business oligarchy at the expense of consumers and the general public. It is time to end these policies (particularly the “public-private partnership” schemes which only favor the oligarchy), and rebuild a strong state sector of the economy which should suit your claimed socialist orientation.
As you know, socialist orientation means strengthening the state sector of the economy and ensuring effective and profitable operations to generate funds for social services, plus instituting policies which prioritize the people's welfare over private profit. The waterworks, irrigation, electricity (including hydropower and geothermal plants), railways, expressways, ports and other vital sectors pioneered by the government should be returned to government control within your term as president.
We hope that you will also immediately end the policy of extending sovereign guarantees for foreign loans of private investors, which has only brought staggering losses to government coffers in past cases of private business fold-ups and scams. Aware as you are of how taipans and other members of the oligarchy are thumbing their noses at government campaigns to attract investments –- as they siphon off billions of dollars in profits from our country to build malls in China, to buy skyscrapers and brandy and whisky factories in Europe, and to invest in waterworks and real estate projects in the ASEAN region –- your administration should also immediately institute controls on capital outflows and profit repatriations.
As you are well aware, this is a time of growing uncertainty and widespread impoverishment of the working people who continue to endure a continuing decline in their prospects --- less hopeful about finding a good job, or retiring in dignity. Workers are looking forward to the immediate realization of your promise to end contractualization as well as the exploitative system of “labor-only” contracting.
Considering the deepening economic crisis, we further hope that your administration will immediately find ways to provide jobs for the millions of unemployed through nationwide public infrastructure programs ; as well as provide wider health, education and other social services (including food subsidies) for the poverty-stricken majority of our population. All these could be funded if your administration will only declare a moratorium on the payment of foreign debts, and undertake an audit to determine those odious or graft-ridden foreign debts which need to be repudiated.
Your administration would face severe trials on many pending issues, and we would like to suggest the following regarding some of the major ones :
1. On the South China Sea --- Pursue the arbitral case under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and rely primarily upon the ASEAN to put pressure on China to respect the exclusive economic zones of the Philippines and of other ASEAN countries. Be wary of trade dealings with China, considering that allowing more financial benefits for China would only translate to China's greater capacity to grab, develop and militarize reefs and shoals within the exclusive economic zone of our country.
2. Review the draft “Bangsamoro Basic Law” to protect the interests of Lumads/highlanders, Christians, and even of other Muslim ethnic groups not belonging to the MILF. Particularly review the very controversial provisions on a distinct civil service for the Bangsamoro ; the independence of Shari'a courts from the Supreme Court's administrative supervision ; and the concept of “Bangsamoro waters” and of “Zones of Joint Cooperation”, as these will also impact upon any plan to shift to a federal system.
3. Pursue an early political settlement of the maoist insurgency through negotiations, starting with an immediate ceasefire agreement and the release of political prisoners and detainees. Institute a “Truth Commission” similar to that established in South Africa after the fall of the apartheid regime, where past crimes by both sides during the period of rebellion should be revealed without fear of prosecution. This should finally address the issue of the “desaparecidos” of the past 4 decades, and allow the exhumation of the remains of missing victims of past government campaigns of repression, as well as of missing victims of maoist “revolutionary justice” and internal purges. All these missing victims deserve decent burials, and their families deserve relief from anguished waiting. A “Truth Commission” should also be able to reveal the truth about the infamous Plaza Miranda bombing of August 21, 1971, which precipitated the declaration of martial law ; and the role of then maoist China and of local rightist politicians in fragmenting the Philippine Left and fomenting the maoist rebellion here in 1968-69. Historical clarity is vital to reconciliation.
4. Resist calls for the liberalization (in favor of foreign capital) of the economic provisions of the Constitution. Review the “Negative List” of investment areas for foreign capital, to protect Filipino entrepreneurs. Oppose World Bank-IMF-ADB-WTO dictation over our national economic policies.
5. Abrogate the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) of August 1951, the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) of February 1998, and the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) of April 2014, which do not enhance our security from external agression, but derogate our national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
You have characterized yourself as a socialist, and we would like to believe that your abhorrence of pomp and frills in public office stems from your socialist orientation. We hope that as your administration progresses, you will also help advance human rights and give legitimacy and appeal to the concept of socialism.
We are sure that you have a deep sense of history, and we hope that before your term ends in 2022, you would have laid the grounds for, among others : widespread manufacturing industries in the employment field, robust mass participation in a pluralist political field, a strong state sector (controlling basic industries and utilities, and the manufacture of vote-counting and other sensitive IT hardware) in the economic field, a jury system in a reformed judiciary, much reduced poverty in the social field, and a widespread culture of secularism that detests religious interference in government affairs.
The Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP-1930), as a party of the Filipino working masses striving for national democracy and socialism through peaceful, parliamentary and other legal forms of struggle, is confident that with a government that is oriented towards socialism, our people is capable of building a prosperous country of peace, national freedom, democracy and social justice.
With all the best wishes,
ATTY. ANTONIO E. PARIS