THIS November 30 we celebrate the day of a true Filipino revolutionary: Andres Bonifacio. His dream was for the Filipino people to be free from the exploitation of Spanish colonizers. It succeeded. We are already liberated from their hands.
On the other hand, President Rodrigo Duterte claims that he is also a revolutionary, a socialist even, and has declared that through him, “change is coming.” Change in the form of freedom from oligarchs and traditional politicians which have long disempowered our people in poverty.
For the past weeks, the camp of Duterte and his supporters have been taking steps to install a “revolutionary government.” This will give him absolute power to effectively take power away from the oligarchs and end narco-politics.
However, the true agenda of “RevGov” lies not in sincerely solving Philippines’ ills but rather in paving way for charter change and federalism. The charter change aims to forward economic changes which will remove limitations on foreign ownership in the interest of capital- a long-standing effort of foreign capitalists and corporations since the previous regimes.
This will only fortify the hold of imperialist powers on our country as we follow an economic model which will most benefit transnational monopolies. Federalism then aims to forward political changes which only strengthen existing political dynasties and support warlord rule in the different provinces which have had a history of violating human rights of their people.
These changes will only forward what’s best for a new set of oligarchs through their consolidation of power. These are not in the interest of actual national development that will benefit the masses. It is a grave insult that this is being branded as a “revolutionary government” when it sets aside drastic political and economic reforms which will directly give the power to the people.
We concede that a change is needed with the 1987 Constitution as the current democracy is, at its core, elite democracy. But it is not the change sold to us by Duterte that will put an end to contractualization, lack of jobs and basic social services such as housing, education, and health. It is not truly revolutionary in the sense that it does not directly empower the masses and address the systemic ills encouraged by the corporations and imperialist superpowers Duterte’s regime serves.
The youth had been part of revolutions that fought against colonial rule, against the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and has always been a crucial player in the persisting march towards a more egalitarian society. We will not allow that the revolution is used in the name of further exploitation and oppression. We oppose Duterte’s “revolutionary government” which is nothing but a political banner, an illusory promise covering deep-seated inequalities and class conflicts.
Freedom will not come from Duterte or any other elitist. It can and will only come from the power of the people, led by the working class, in their unity and struggle.