ECQ or Lockdown is a Fascist Instrument of Duterte’s Martial Law!

The Father Nilo Valerio Unit (FNVU), the Christians for National Liberation here in Northern Luzon (CNL-NL), vehemently denounces the AFP-PNP offensive operations that ensued to an armed encounter between a unit of the Alfredo Cesar Command (ACC), NPA-Ilocos Sur, and elements of the fascist 81st IB in Patiacan, Quirino, Ilocos Sur last April 21, 2020. The ACC-NPA unit was in the area to conduct information drives and mass health campaigns among the peasant masses to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Red Fighters were about to go back to their camp when the anti-people 81st IB forces were approaching. To protect themselves and most importantly for the inhabitants’ safety, the ACC-NPA Red Fighters carried out active defense maneuvers against the attacking enemy, and retreated safely.

Last April 25, autocrat Duterte announced boastfully “I might declare Martial Law throughout the country to wipe out the NPA during my term, if the NPA continue to kill my soldiers” from his AFP-PNP fascist forces whom he ordered in the guise of preventing the spread of the Covid-19 plague. The truth is tyrant Duterte has already declared a de facto Martial Law throughout the country on December 4, 2018 when he signed Executive Order 70, known as the “Whole-of-Nation Approach”. Thus, the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) or lockdown, which tyrant Duterte has enforced since a month ago, is not, in fact, for the anti-people PNP and AFP forces to stop the Covid-19 pandemic, but has become in reality a fascist instrument of Duterte’s Martial Law. Duterte’s ECQ or lockdown is his disguised tool to impose and advance outright fascism against the Filipino people by means of his mercenary AFP-PNP offensive military campaigns, dubbed “Oplan Kapanatagan”. This is the context and reason why the recent armed encounter in Patiacan, Quirino in the province of Ilocos Sur and the various armed clashes between the AFP-PNP and NPA units have happened in various parts of the country this month and during the past month. These armed fights have not been initiated by the NPA as the People’s Army strictly have followed the unilateral ceasefire declaration of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to avoid and stop launching offensive military action against the armed units and forces of the AFP-PNP-CAFGU but always to be alert and in active defense against any enemy attacks. It is very clear that the various armed classes have all been due to the AFP and PNP callous counter-insurgency operations that have evidently violated tyrant Duterte’s bogus unilateral ceasefire. And in the pretext of stopping the Covid-19 plague, the fascist army and police have built their detachments inside the barangays as they freely come and go in several barrios and municipalities, while they impose the oppressive ECQ/lockdown, arrogantly telling the masses to just stay inside their houses.

Up to the present, series of AFP and PNP combat, psywar and intelligence operations continue to happen in almost all the provinces here in Northern Luzon. These have resulted to various human rights violations such as intimidations, harassments, slanderous propaganda, vilifications, red-tagging, illegal arrests and detentions, trumped-up charges and extra-judicial killings by state forces. The most recent heinous crimes of autocrat Duterte and his pro-US imperialist AFP-PNP commanders were the ruthless massacres of defenseless Comrades Julius “Ka Goyo” Marquez, Ennabel “Ka Leah” Balunos and Ma. Finela “Ka Ricky” Mejia in Namatican, Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur at 10 PM on February 13; and of unarmed Comrades Julius “Ka Nars” Soriano Giron, Dr. Ma Lourdes “Ka Mori” Denero Tangco, and Arvie Alarcon Reyes inside a residential house in Hamada Subdivision, Barangay Queen of Peace, Baguio City at 3:30 AM on March 13. Such heinous butcheries are added cases to Duterte’s numerous crimes against humanity.

After more than a month, the Filipino people have realized that tyrant Duterte’s ECQ/lockdown does not and will never prevent the spread of the Covid-19 nor treat the people infected by the pandemic. Their concrete experiences have given them enough lessons that because of the ECQ/lockdown, the industrial workers, the numerous semi-proletariat (who include the urban poor, street-based communities, vendors, drivers, construction workers, odd job seekers, sales employees in malls and department stores, service employees, janitors, other informal employees, seasonal farm workers, etc), the peasants, fisherfolks, and the sectors of women, youth and national minorities – who compose 90% of the Philippine population – have been without work and income, unable to buy food, medicines and other daily needs of their families. Particularly for the peasants and the lowly national minorities in the barangays and municipalities of every province here in Northern Luzon, while lockdown is enforced on populace by the military and police, the peasants’ agricultural production activities, the selling of their farm products and the buying of food supplies for consumption of their families have been very much limited due to curfew, checkpoints, curtailment of movement, restricted transport and even food blockade especially in barangays suspected as NPA influenced. Consequently, the lack of food supplies is very prevalent in many barangays and municipalities of the provinces of Northern Luzon. The meagre relief and amount from the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), distributed by the LGUs, has not stopped and will never solve the widespread lack of food supplies among the people. And not all former 4Ps recipients have been given amelioration cards. In urban areas, very few workers and the semi-proletariat have received financial help from the DOLE Assistance Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP). Thus, hunger and suffering goes on among the toiling masses in the entire Philippines.

Tyrant Duterte’s lockdown serves not only as one of the fascist instruments of his Martial Law and his fascist AFP-PNP forces against the masses but also as a whitewash for his criminal responsibilities of neglecting the socio-economic conditions of the Filipino people and the health needs of our nation. The autocrat USDR’s de facto Martial law, which preserves by means of fascism the existing semi-colonial and semi-feudal system, exacerbates all the more social unrest, widespread hunger and poverty that has been, is and will be hitting hard the toiling Filipino masses. Because of Duterte’s fascism – which is implemented by the reactionary AFP-PNP as the defense of the economic and political interests of the big landlords, the big comprador bourgeoisie and the bureaucrat capitalists who are all dictated by US imperialism – the Philippine government has not supported and will never be able to respond to the Filipino people’s demand for genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization.

As regards the present health situation of our nation in the struggle against the Covid-19 pandemic, there is an enormous increase of Covid-19 cases and deaths during the past 50 days from 111 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 8 deaths last March 18 to 7,777 people infected and 511 dead (including 29 health personnel in the front line) as of yesterday, April 27. And tyrant Duterte’s fascism and his “modified” lockdown will surely worsen the continuing increase of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the coming months because of the USDR’s criminal negligence of the health of our country. In particular, Duterte’s criminal negligence for the spread of the Covid-19 began when he allowed 500,000 tourists from mainland China with 14,000 from Wuhan City to visit the Philippines. And while other countries announced travel ban beginning last January, it was only last March 15 that autocrat Duterte proclaimed lockdown for the NCR and March 17 for the whole of Luzon. Furthermore, the tyrant USDR utterly neglected the need of enough medical supplies for both the private and public hospitals, especially the lack of Personal Protection Equipments (PPEs) for those health personnel in the front line, and the immense shortage of testing kits. And while other countries have already been in full swing doing widespread Covid-19 mass testing as early last March, Covid-19 mass testing has not yet begun in the Philippines. Thus, the DOH does not know yet the exact extent of the spread of the Covid-19 and how fast the infection has swelled because Covid-19 mass testing has yet to be done. Another criminal responsibility of the tyrant regime is Duterte’s neglect of providing enough funds for the prevention and treatment of the Covid-19 pandemic. Why? Because Duterte has allotted billions for his fascist AFP-PNP forces and for their combat, civil-military/psywar and intelligence operations all over the country. And instead of following the examples of 25 countries that have been allowed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to suspend payments of their foreign debts for 6 months, autocrat Duterte has allocated around P450 billion for debt payments for 2020 in order to service more than $82 billion in the country’s total external debt. And instead of suspending for a year the debt payments, which could be enough in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, autocrat Duterte is hell-bent to continue his “Build, Build, Build” projects and to begin the construction of a wide CCTV monitoring system for the entire Philippines, which is a joint project of the GRP and the People’s Republic of China (PRC), whose contract has been awarded to the PRC’s International Telecommunication Construction Corporation, and which upon completion would be connected to an Intelligent Command, Control and Communication Center (IC4). All such projects have to be exposed and opposed because they are absolutely against Philippine sovereignty, patrimony and security.

It behooves, therefore, for the entire revolutionary movement to call on all Filipinos to be united and condemn the AFP-PNP-CAFGU counter-insurgency operations and the oppressive lockdown of the Duterte regime. But not only to condemn. All peace-loving citizens, democratic forces and Christians are called to oust tyrant Duterte to be replaced by one whose heart is really for the Filipino people. And let us heed the urgent call of the CPP “for a humanitarian united front of all democratic forces to help mobilize all possible resources in order to extend the broadest support for people’s actions” that would urgently, comprehensively and sufficiently address the Covid-19 pandemic.

Broaden and strengthen the people’s resistance against tyranny!

Build a strong humanitarian united front to systematically and adequately address the Covid-19 pandemic!

Oust the tyrant US-Duterte regime!

ECQ or Lockdown is a Fascist Instrument of Duterte’s Martial Law!