The 3rd SONA of Duterte from Joma’s standpoint

Jul. 25, 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte during his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Joint Session of the 17th Congress at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives Complex in Constitution Hills, Quezon City on July 23, 2018. Also in the photo are Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. (Malacañang photo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – For Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, the Chief Political Consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the 3rd State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte delivered on Monday, July 23 was a complete disappointment as it failed to portray the genuine sentiments of the Filipino people and the real situation of the country.

In a statement, Sison presented 10 points where he squarely presented his view on the major issues raised during Duterte’s SONA.

From the continuing war against drugs to the imposition of martial law in Mindanao and the half-baked fight against graft and corruption, Sison said Duterte was a complete disappointment in relation to the legitimate demands of the people.

Hereunder are the points raised by Sison:

1. Duterte expresses contempt for international and Philippine human rights advocates denigrating them as misdirected for protesting the arrest of suspected drug users and pushers without judicial warrant and the mass murder of suspects with impunity. True to form as a tyrant, he stubbornly declared that the war will not be sidelined and will be as relentless and chilling as from the beginning. He promotes the worst criminality by turning police officers into kidnappers and murderers and corrupting them with rewards of cash and promotions in rank.

2. He declares grandiloquently that justice will catch up with those who steal government funds. But why are his closest allies the biggest plunderers, like the Marcoses, Arroyos, and Estradas? Corruption is now rampant from the level of the Office of the President and his Cabinet down to lower levels. The ease of doing business, without vetting or without proper public bidding, has been abused for the purpose of graft and corruption. His friends have been caught stealing public funds and mostly they go scotfree and when removed from office they are reassigned to other lucrative positions.

3. He sheds crocodile tears over the destruction of lives and properties in Marawi City. It was he who ordered the devastation of Marawi City and refused to heed the advice of the Sultan and leading families of the city to negotiate with the Maute group and Abu Sayaff group. He used the siege of Marawi to proclaim Mindanao-wide martial law in order to attack other Bangsamoro, Lumad and Christian communities and grab the land for foreign and oligarchic interests in mining, plantations, and logging. Now, he makes a new false promise to to develop Mindanao with public funds which have not at all flowed for the urgent and adequate reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi City.

4. He states that he would continue to assert and pursue an independent foreign policy. But he has retained all the treaties, agreements and arrangements that allow the US to dominate the Philippines economically, politically, militarily and culturally. And he is in fact traitorously selling out the sovereign rights of the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea to China and plunging the Philippines into a debt trap with overpriced infrastructure projects. He has not dared to file a diplomatic protest against Chinese encroachment on and militarization of the West Philippine Sea with the use of artificial islands.

5. He does not say much about solving the problems of underdevelopment, mass poverty, unemployment, soaring prices of basic commodities and services. He merely repeats a series of generalized promises, like looking after the welfare of OFWs and seeking pertinent agreements with their host countries, abolishing contractualization and establishing the Coconut Farmers Trust Fund and adopting a land use policy, which is most likely to favor corporate and bureaucrat land grabbers at the expense of the indigenous people and the peasant masses.

Sison said it is the patriotic and progressive forces and the broad masses of the people uniting and rallying against the tyrannical, traitorous and corrupt Duterte that present the true state of the nation.

Their presentation of the true state of the nation includes the following:

1. The economic and social crisis has worsened. While so-called economic growth benefits foreign corporations and the local exploiting classes, the people suffer from rising prices of basic goods and services, depreciation of the peso, increased unemployment, reduced incomes and lack of job security and deprivation of land.

2. The main objective of such operational plans as Oplan Tokhang, Double Barrel, Tambay, and Kapayapaan is to unleash mass murder and mass intimidation and to lay the ground for a fascist dictatorship.

3. The problem of illegal drugs has become more rampant because Duterte himself has become the supreme drug lord by protecting his own close relatives and associates who are involved in illegal drug smuggling and distribution.

4. Criminality is aggravated by Duterte who turned the police and military into his criminal instruments for extrajudicial killings and assuring them of impunity and rewarding them with cash and promotion in rank.

5. The Duterte regime is founded on an alliance with the biggest plunderers like the Marcoses, Arroyos, and Estradas. Corruption now reeks from the level of the office of the president down to lower levels.

6. Duterte continues as a puppet of the US but is committing further treason by selling out to China the sovereign rights of the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea in exchange for overpriced infrastructure projects and plunging the country into a Chinese debt trap. By turning the Philippines into a debt vassal of China, Duterte is betraying the national sovereignty and giving away the natural resources to China.

7. Duterte makes no mention of Proclamation 360 in the SONA. This terminated the GRP peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines last November 23, 2017. He does not want to address the roots of the armed conflict through comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms in order to lay the basis for a just and lasting peace. It is deliberately escalating the armed conflict in order to scapegoat the revolutionaries for his vile scheme of establishing a fascist dictatorship.

8. Duterte is obsessed with establishing a fascist dictatorship under the pretext of changing the unitary form of government to a federal one. The objective of Duterte is to concentrate executive, legislative and judicial powers in his hands. By establishing his fascist dictatorship, he and the regional dynasties and warlords of his choice would have the utmost freedom to oppress and exploit the people.

9. Duterte adds to his list of police targets rice hoarders in view of the soaring prices of this basic food commodity. But he is in cahoots with the rice importers at the expense of the Philippine rice farmers and food sovereignty.

10. Duterte does not take full responsibility for shifting the tax burden to the people from the corporations and the wealthy and thus raising the prices of basic goods and services through excise taxes. And he boasts of his scheme to raise expenditures for the military and police, for all sorts of counterproductive and anti-industrial programs and projects and for the creation of many more offices at the regional and lower levels of the federal form of government that he wishes to set up. (

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