EO 70 is a thin veil to conceal Duterte’s brutal war

MalacaƱang yesterday announced Duterte’s issuance of Executive Order No. 70 forming the National Task Force which he will head with the declared aim of ending the armed revolution through the “whole-of-nation” approach and “delivery of basic services” to supposedly “address the root causes” of the armed conflict.

It is a actually a thin veil to dress the brutal war being mounted by the AFP with political embellishments and seek to justify the worsening forms of abuses being perpetrated by the AFP and PNP against the people.

It declares the “whole-of-nation” doctrine to conjure the illusion that the relentless military offensives by the AFP is supported by the entire people. In reality, Duterte and the AFP are isolated from the people and utterly hated for the widespread killings, abductions, torture and other crimes perpetrated by the military and police, as well as for aggravating their social conditions through taxes, excessive loans, high prices, depressed wages, corruption and promoting shabu smuggling and trade.

The support which Duterte and the AFP claim to have is pure fantasy. It is merely manufactured through the use of coercion and armed threats, feeding media with disinformation and buying and manipulating so-called public opinion surveys.

With EO 70, the AFP will have the entire national and local bureaucracy under its command and weaponized as a tool in its counterinsurgency. This is the one of the key reasons why various agencies of Duterte’s government are being filled with ex-military officials. Also, why the AFP is meddling in the elections to have its agents sit in congress and local governments.

With EO 70, Duterte also targets the legal democratic forces and all opposition by stepping up further the practice of slapping activists and political rivals with one legal case after another, however baseless and patently trumped up.

Duterte’s EO 70 must be exposed in order to reveal its true fascist aims. It is actually a mere rehash of Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan and its so-called “whole-of-government” approach, which in turn, was derived from the US Department of State’s Counterinsurgency Guide of 2009.

As the previous counterinsurgency programs, Duterte’s EO70 will fail miserably because it does not really address the roots of the people’s armed resistance but merely pretends to do so. In fact, instead of addressing the basic aspiration of land, Duterte wants to take away the lands of the Lumads and national minorities and hand these over to multinational corporations to plunder for minerals or expand their oil palm plantations.

By waging a brutal war of suppression, Duterte is succeeding only in rousing the Filipino people to further intensify their revolutionary armed resistance. Indeed, more and more wants to join and support the New People’s Army because Duterte is shutting all avenues for democratic expression.