Yesterday, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte made headlines for slamming an alleged group of EU representatives holding a protest in favour of returning to the old lax drug laws in the country. The EU, both at an official and unofficial level, has threatened to withdraw funds from Philippines over President Duterte’s push to eliminate the drug and associated crime problem from his country. Duterte remains highly popular in Philippines as a result of his campaign.
Duterte blasted the so-called EU delegation saying,
“You think that we are a bunch of morons here. Because we can have the diplomatic channel cut tomorrow. You leave my country in 24 hours. All. All of you!”
“We are past colonisation stage. We will be excluded in the UN? You son of a bitch. Go ahead. You are interfering in our affairs because we are poor. You give money and then you start to orchestrate what things should be done”.
While the EU was quick to distance itself from the group of rogue delegates who did not represent the Brussels body in anything approaching an official capacity, veteran Philippine diplomat Rigoberto Tiglao has exposed something even more dangerous about the delegation.
While the delegation purported to all be compromised of EU officials, there was one man among the crowd who represented the notorious American organisation USAid, a state-run body which typically falsely characterises itself as an NGO. USAId earned an infamous reputation in Russia during the 1990s, when the group helped funnel millions of Dollars into political and business interests that took a pro-US line. The group was further accused of aiding the CIA in the open meddling conducted by Washington in the 1996 Russian Presidential election.
Since 2012, USAid has been banned in Russia, but the organisation continues to agitate for regime change against anti-colonial, sovereignty minded governments around the world.
Tiglao writes the following about the delegation,
“What is worrying though—over which our government should file a diplomatic protest—is that one of the seven supposedly “European” parliamentarians protesting the alleged killings by the Duterte administration, is actually an American government official, Thomas O. Melia, assistant administrator for Europe and Asia of the US government’s Agency for International Development. Is it now US official policy to destabilize this government through allegations of human rights violations?
We have lost all sense of nationalism and integrity as an independent people if we are not angry at the PDI’s front page. It insults our country on three levels.
Firstly, we should be mad at such a brazen interference in our domestic affairs. We are a sovereign country with our own Constitution, our own body of laws. What right do these Europeans have to meddle in our affairs, when we obviously still have the rule of law.
Have they meddled over the US invasion of Iraq; over the hundreds of Muslims kidnapped by the US and tortured in their Guantanamo fortress, many kept nearly a decade without charges; over alleged genocide of the Rohingya in Burma; or even over the ruthless police brutality in their continent, in Catalonia?”
He went on to describe many of these NGOs as “mostly small-time but noisy NGO activists in their countries”.
Below is a photograph of the “protest” with the USAId official Thomas O. Melia, circled in red.
A further photo of the disingenuous delegation shows the “protesters” standing behind a banner of the Akbayan organisation. Akbayan is widely understood as little more than an arm of the Liberal Party of Philippines, which has been working to oust President Duterte from office, ever since his election.
This hammers home the grim reality that an American organisation with known ties to the CIA and other ‘deep state’ bodies in Washington, is actively working with agitation minded groups in Philippines, to meddle in the domestic political affairs of Manila’s democracy. While the US continues to accuse Russia of meddling in the 2016 American Presidential election, in spite of uncovering no evidence, in Philippines the US itself has been continually attempting to undermine, destabilise and delegitimise the administration of Rodrigo Duterte.
One of the reasons the US continues to meddle in Philippine democracy is due to President Duterte’s geo-political pivot away from a post-colonial United States and towards both China and Russia, in a policy which looks to assert the independence of Manila in all foreign policy making matters.
During a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, the Chinese leadership hailed the Duterte era as a “golden period” in relations between the two countries.
Duterte has also spoken with President Putin in Moscow about creating new security and economic avenues between Manila and a Russian government which continues to seek business opportunities among the ASEAN countries.
Now that Russia and Syria have both shown that ISIS colluding with US special forces and the US proxy militia SDF in the Middle East, many statements linking ISIS activity on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao (Duterte’s birthplace) to an attempt by dark forces within the Washington regime to further destabilise Philppines by funding radical terrorist groups, takes on a newly worrying character. Indeed, Duterte had pledged to bring peace to the Moro (Philippine Muslim) communities of the south who for decades have been engage in a struggle against Manila. It is clear that some foreign force has funded ISIS linked terrorists in Philippines in order to attempt and throw Duterte’s peace process into disarray.
Because Duterte’s domestic opposition is so wildly unpopular in Philippines and is seen as exacerbating a poor economic situation as well as either ignoring the drug problem or otherwise taking bribes from drug lords, there is little that Washington can do in Philippines other than inject foreign money into the country in order to foment a would-be “colour revolution” against the legitimate leader of Philippines. The opposition communists once spoke of direct knowledge of CIA meddling in Philippines, a claim which can only be viewed as more serious in light of the unwelcome presence of USAid in Manila.
Far from being a “dictator” as the US and EU often alleges, Duterte has championed popular democracy and frequently speaks directly with many Philippine citizens including members of various small but vocal opposition groups. Furthermore, Duterte is committed to the existing Constitutional order which only allows for a single 6 year presidential term.
However, in light of the fact that Duterte is facing an uphill battle to implement his program, due to foreign meddling, he should perhaps consider the options I discussed in a previous Duran piece.
“In 1986, the new President of Philippines, Corazon “Cory” Aquino abolished the 1973 Constitution of Ferdinand Marcos and proclaimed a Revolutionary Government. This allowed Aquino time to re-draft a new set of national laws and a new constitution while also removing certain members of the previous regime from power.
According to what Aquino called ‘Proclamation No. 3’, she acquired both executive and legislative powers during the period of Revolutionary Government.
Recently, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has touted the idea of pursuing a similar form of revolutionary government, although he stopped short of saying that he intends to implement such reforms at this time….
Duterte later described Cory Aquino’s failure to fully purge government posts of former officials as a “golden opportunity missed”.
While Duterte stated that he “isn’t into” such things, the fact that Duterte mentioned that he has considered a Revolutionary Government, is indicative of the reality that many of Duterte’s supporters who stand at around 90% of the Philippines population, would be inclined to want Duterte to lead such a revolutionary government.
It is not difficult to see why. Duterte’s policies and his style of government are indeed revolutionary. Duterte has presented Philippines with a political program which calls for vast changes to the way the country is run.The President has proposed federalism as a peaceful means to quill local discontents, he has pledged a more equitable distribution of the country’s wealth and resources and he has pledged to tackle the problems of high crime and terrorism that are inexorably linked to the dangerous drug problems in Philippines.
Philippines is in need of the kind of economic boom that Vietnam experienced in the 1990s and into the 2000s as well as that which China experienced during the reforms of Deng Xiaoping. The central location of Philippines in Asia, its good climate, its young workforce and English literacy are all things that economists have pointed to which would indicate that Philippines should be a booming economy.
The biggest factors holding Philippines back are the crime problems related to drug trafficking and drug use. By cleansing Philippines of this problem, serious investment would more readily flow in and the country could get back to work in a crime free, healthy and productive environment.
In order for Duterte to execute his revolutionary aims for justice, prosperity and a more healthy society, he cannot afford to be held back by legislators who refuse to cooperate with the will of the people that has been expressed by the large support that President Duterte still enjoys. This is especially true since Presidents of Philippines are limited to a single six year term.
If Duterte wants to fully implement his revolutionary policies, it is only fitting that he should at least temporarily lead a revolutionary government. The precedent set by Cory Aquino is there. Proclamation No. 3 was put into place as recently as 1986. What has transpired in the subsequent decades in Philippines has not been such a sacred success story that such a provision cannot be exercised again.
The changes that Rodrigo Duterte seeks to make in Philippines are no less revolutionary than that which transpired in 1986 at the end of the Marcos era. Duterte owes it to his supporters and to his nation to lead a Revolutionary Government that can truly set Philippines on course to be a safe, prosperous and healthy Asian economic power that it has always had the potential to be.
If Duterte succumbs to the power of his opponents, future generations will look at the Duterte Presidency as another “golden opportunity lost”. Duterte has the chance to seize the opportunity and win even more support for doing so. The only other viable option which exists before the nation is for Duterte’s opponents to stop trying to strangle the country’s political system with legal deadlock and accept that the people have spoken in favour of Duterte and that the popular will should not be hindered due to the egotism of the old political guard.
A brighter future for Philippines is at President Duterte’s fingertips. In the opposite direction stands a permanent political deadlock that does nothing but undermine Duterte’s mandate from the people”.
If a nuclear superpower like Russia took the step to ban USAid, one can extrapolate how much more dangerous such a group is to a smaller country like Philippines. Cuba has also been frequently harassed by USAid, thus demonstrating a specific penchant of the group the invoke a neo-colonial attitude among free countries that were once controlled by Washington.
It is imperative that President Duterte secures his position so that he can do what Filipinos elected him to do. Desperate times certainly call for unique measures. This is all the more reason that Duterte’s revolutionary policies mandate the presence of a revolutionary government in order to allow the President to maintain the peace, safety, prosperity and security of the people of Philippines as well as the sovereignty of the state.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.