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Re: A nation’s odyssey toward a popular dictatorship
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2017, 10:31:30 PM »
With only 220,000 frontline troops, the AFP is one of the smallest standing armies in Southeast Asia and one of the most underequipped, having relied for so many years on hand-me-down weaponry from the United States. It has had its hands full battling several major insurgencies. Given its current strength, plus the fact that insurgencies demand principally political, not military solutions, the best it has been able to do is battle these insurgent movements to a stalemate, not eliminate them. Its failure over the last month to retake Marawi City from what some say are scarcely more than a hundred Muslim irregular fighters has drawn attention to its woeful fighting capabilities, with incidents like friendly fire from Philippine Air Force planes killing Philippine Army troops drawing universal dismay.

Even as the army is being outfought by Maute irregulars in Marawi, its commander in chief has added a massive new task, which is to perform police functions in a whole region, in preparation for exercising police functions nationwide in his design to establish a nation-wide dictatorial regime. Duterte, say some analysts, has provided a gift to the Communist New People's Army and the different insurgent Muslim groups by releasing AFP units now containing them to assume police functions regionally. This will simply encourage these groups to assume more offensive operations, leading to more AFP casualties.

The surest way to demoralize the military is to overextend it by pushing it to assume political and police functions for which it is ill-equipped. A politicized military that exercises police powers is a plague on the people, but it also stirs discontent and rebellion in its ranks, as happened during the Marcos dictatorship. Duterte fancies himself a general, but he may actually be unintentionally sowing the ground for future coup d'etat's. Like Marcos, he thinks he is riding the tiger, and like him, he may well end up inside it.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: A nation’s odyssey toward a popular dictatorship
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2017, 10:32:23 PM »
The challenge to democracy

To the worried partisans of an endangered democracy, however, the choice between a presidential dictatorship and a military dictatorship is no choice at all. As Duterte’s reign enters its second year, they are faced with a tall order: how to make democracy, human rights, and due process attractive again to a skeptical population. It would be suicidal to allow themselves to be led by personalities associated with the old, discredited EDSA order. The Vice President, Leni Robredo, is a person of undoubted integrity but one devoid of the capacity for effective leadership, being mainly a creation of the Liberal Party capitalizing on the reformist image of her deceased husband. Once seen as a reformist force, the Liberals are damaged goods owing to their opportunism and cowardice, while the vocal Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who wears his burning ambition on his sleeve, has even less credibility than the Liberals.

But beyond personalities, democrats must present a vision and a program that speak to the aspirations of the vast majority of impoverished and marginalized Filipinos and convince them that democratic competition is a more effective means of realizing their hopes than authoritarian rule. Only a party and program of the left can provide this leadership, but with the dominant sections of the left itself having been enmeshed in compromising, corrupt alliances with different factions of the elite, reinvigoration of the democratic alternative will demand a thoroughgoing reform of the left. Crisis, however, can spell opportunity, and Filipino progressives would do well to ponder the words of the great Italian opponent of fascism, Antonio Gramsci, at a not dissimilar moment in his nation’s history: “Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” – Rappler.com


Walden Bello, currently an international adjunct professor at the State University of New York, made the only recorded resignation-on-principle from the Philippine Congress. He is the author or co-author of 20 books on the Philippines, Asian economies, international political economy, and other topics.



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