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US-Duterte Regime

A SAMPLING: 10 strategic areas of China encroachment in PH

in Countercurrent

Below is a sampler list indicative of what (or how much) the US-Duterte regime has so far achieved as an imperialist puppet and bureaucrat capitalist. All the following demand thoroughgoing investigation, disclosures of what (and how much) rationalizations are behind his avidly welcoming China’s potential stranglehold of the country.

1. China military basing in WPS

With Duterte’s tolerance of China incursions into Philippine maritime areas, the latter is getting bolder in claiming portions of Philippine patrimony. Reports now point to the possibility that in crafting a Code of Conduct for all Asian claimants in the West Philippine Sea, China would likely insist on formalizing its claim and military basing in the Spratly islands and Panatag Shoal where it seems intent on setting up similar installations. Duterte has said they will not oppose China if they do that.

2. In Philippine rivers, mountains, IP ancestral lands

On top of earlier logging and mining concessions by US corporations that originally destroyed vast virgin forests and mountains in the Philippines, China is entering Sierra Madre via Kaliwa River dam project and Cordillera via Chico River Irrigation project. The projects include clearing parts of the forested mountains where the said rivers to be dammed are located. Deals with China include bringing their workers, steel, equipment and other construction requirements.

3. In Philippine telecommunications

In July 2019, Duterte granted a China-funded local telecommunication startup, Mislatel now Dito, a license to operate as the country’s third major telecommunications player. This, after Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy’s Mislatel signed a $5.4-billion investment deal with China Telecom to fund his company’s expansion in the Philippines.

With Duterte’s go-signal, the AFP changed its tune to signify openness to the deal for the said China-backed telecommunications, Dito Telecommunity Corp, to install its system, towers, and facilities within military bases in the country. Initially, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana warned this will endanger the Filipinos’ privacy, security and a vital industry that should have been firmly under Philippine control.

4. In power industry

The State Grid Corporation of China, the second largest firm in the world in 2018, owns 40 percent of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). The Chinese firm is majority owner as the other owners, Filipino taipans Henry Sy and Robert Coyuito, each owns 30 percent. The Duterte government says the Filipinos are in control of the corporation, but reports said the Chinese are the ones maintaining and have operational control.

Privately owned NGCP is in charge of operating, maintaining and developing the Philippines’ state-owned power grid, an interconnected system that transmits gigawatts of power at thousand volts from power generators to consumers. NGCP holds the 50-year franchise and 25-year concession contract to operate and maintain the country’s transmission system. Their franchise began in 2009.

The NGCP went to Chinese owners in 2008 under former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Having a monopoly of this strategic utility, the NGCP profits immensely from power transmission.

5. In oil exploration and drilling

Other countries ruled also by tyrants try to strike a balance between getting more out of their oil first for themselves and second for their population. In the Philippines, the would-be gains would first be cornered by China. One of the 29 deals Duterte signed with China during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Manila in November 2018 was the joint oil and gas exploration deal. Officials of the Duterte regime including National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon approved the 60-40 sharing agreement. Before 2019 ended, China and Duterte governments have signed the terms of reference and formed as well as convened the joint committee comprised of representatives from China and PH.

Filipinos from various walks of life condemn the deal saying it has all the makings of a lopsided agreement. Even if 60-40 sounds in favor of the Philippines, Filipinos have little to no safeguard against probable 100% control by China of the entire operation, considering it will lead the exploration and drilling activities, using its manpower and equipment.

6. Trade imbalance favors China

Duterte and Communications chief Sec. Martin Andanar boasted that with their friendly ties with China, it is now a major trading partner. But data show this trade partnership is lopsided and in favor of China. Philippine imports from China rose to US$22 billion in 2018, while its exports to China were worth only US$8.8 billion.

7. Filipinos losing its waters and marine resources to China

On its Spratlys military bases, China has installed surface-to-air missile systems in three artificial islands: the Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross), Zamora Reef (Subi Reef), and Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef). These islands have become no-go zones for Filipinos because of Chinese military intimidation. Also, these installations have killed precious corals and the marine life around them.

China continues to bar Filipino fishers from Panatag Shoal and they are getting bolder at claiming ownership of it. Chinese Coastguard patrols the area, driving away passing ships including puny boats of Filipino fishers. The fishers have complained that for the longest time, they have been the “frontline casualties” of Chinese incursions.

Reclamation projects for China-funded infrastructure have also started to deprive many Filipinos of their homes and livelihood. There is a long-standing plan to reclaim at least 2,700 hectares of south Manila Bay for the P550 billion ($10 billion) Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA) in Cavite, 35 kilometers from Manila. Its proponent is the Cavite provincial government under a joint venture with China state-owned Chinese Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) and local partner Lucio Tan-led MacroAsia Corp. Once awarded to the joint venture, the Chinese partner will effectively control the SPIA, reports said.

In another development, local fishers reported as of October 2019 that heavy equipment were being used to dump debris on a fishpond connected to Manila Bay and adjacent to the public cemetery in Bacoor City. No information has been posted on whether it is a public works project or a private construction activity. A Senate hearing previously unearthed a proposed 420-hectare Bacoor Reclamation Project covering the area. Faced with fishers’ protests, Environment Department officials committed to cancel the project as it is also detrimental to the Supreme Court writ of mandamus to rehabilitate Manila Bay.

8. China-driven ‘Golden age’ of gambling in PH

Under Duterte government, the gambling industry enters a ‘golden age.’ Overall revenues quadrupled to $4.1 billion during the first three years of his presidency and the key driver is the boom in POGOs (Philippine offshore gaming operations). After China banned these gaming centers the operators have flocked to the Philippines and set up shops with Mandarin-speaking workers. In August 2019 a furor broke out about POGOs particularly on issues of undocumented Chinese workers, China’s request to curb the spread of Chinese-operated POGOs, and the US and the AFP warning against potential security threats with the gaming centers locating near Philippine (and US) military camps.
The Duterte administration has defended the POGOs, citing the revenues and tourism it brings in. Plans were then made to corral the gaming operators into “POGO islands,” to be built in Fuga island in Cagayan province and in Grande and Chiquita islands in Subic Bay.
POGO employs up to a hundred thousand workers, mostly Chinese. Members of the ruling class take differing positions on the POGO issue, driven by “security” concerns, “patriotic” concerns, and most likely also division of spoils. But they act nearly the same in not minding the deleterious impact on the masses of the construction of POGOs, or the working conditions of both the Chinese and Filipino workers who need to look out and guard against being played off against each other.

9. China’s ‘debt-trap diplomacy’

Some US officials unblushingly criticize China’s predatory loan deals used to expand influence globally. As if their banks and corporations aren’t doing the same, they warn countries and former colonies against China’s “debt-trap diplomacy,” its use of “opaque contracts and corrupt deals that mire nations in debt and undercut their sovereignty.”
They have a point, true, but it’s not coming from the goodness of their hearts but from self-interest and insecurity. China has embraced capitalism even if they still call themselves ‘communist’. Its President Xi Jinping is more assertive overseas and tightening controls at home—pretty much like what every other advanced capitalist country in the world is doing today. China no longer deals only with countries the US or the west have left out or considered “rogue states”. Now it is the most significant rival to the US, with which western capitalist countries have to compete more forcefully to maintain their old spheres of influence.
What the US puppet Duterte has been misrepresenting as independent foreign policy is his tactic of selling out not just to US but also to today’s cash-rich China. His administration craves funders for “Build, Build, Build” and China obligingly wants to integrate this program into its Belt and Road Initiative. The latter is a China spending/lending spree of up to $1 trillion in 17 countries in three continents. It traces the ancient path of Silk Road as it seeks to redirect the flow of trade and people traffic around China.
In the Philippines the China-funded infrastructure projects pose a double threat: 1) to the people hit by dislocation or forced landgrab of their communities and livelihood; and 2) to all Filipinos who will bear the added debt burden, and will have to cough up higher user-pay fees to use the infrastructure. Compounding the second is the threat pointed out by Justice Antonio Carpio: “In case of default by the Philippines in repayment of the loan, China can seize, to satisfy any arbitral award in favor of China, ‘patrimonial assets and assets dedicated to commercial use’ of the Philippine Government… including the oil and gas in the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea, and the gas fields in the Reed Bank.”

10. Drugs

In the Senate hearings last September about the police and military generals’ involvement in the drug trade, it was confirmed that Duterte’s top police officers were involved in criminal activities. In a statement, the CPP said it shows the so-called war on drugs is a big hoax foisted on the people.

The Senate hearings resulted in the untimely resignation of Police Chief Oscar Albayalde. Implicated in the issue of “recycling” drugs that were press-released to have been impounded by authorities, Albayalde left his position with full perks and retirement benefits intact.

This is not the first revelation of police and military involvement in the drug trade. Time and again, the “narco-lists” and witch-hunts or ‘cleanup’ of rival drug trade syndicates including their protectors in government positions have led to killings and arrests, including the alleged involvement of opposition Senator Leila de Lima in drug syndicates. Aside from using the drug war to desensitize the people to killings and sideline the opposition, the police and military have lately tried to use the tokhang-style joint operations against unarmed activists.

On this, the CPP says: “Duterte, who is publicly known to be friends with big Chinese druglords, has made himself the overlord of the illegal drug trade in the country by using the police and his police-controlled vigilantes to make every syndicate kneel to his power. He has assigned loyal officers in the AFP to control large-scale smuggling through the Bureau of Customs. Under Duterte, the illegal trade in shabu, cocaine, ecstasy and fentanyl has reached new levels.”

Crime and politics meld in the PNP, as well as in the AFP, adds the CPP, as it points to how the police and military have repeatedly proved to be “a battleground of rival political cliques and criminal syndicates in the illegal drug trade, jueteng and other forms of illegal gambling, prostitution, human trafficking and others.” The police and military officers’ loyalty to one or another rival criminal network, and at the same time, to one politician or another rival dynasty or party, is the thread that connects the spate of killings even of politicians already in jail or under police protection.

Treasonous Duterte

The Filipino people need to deliver an important message to the Duterte administration. His regime is the actual terrorist and persona non grata. His rule is giving rise to monstrous problems for Filipinos, endangering them now and in the future. What his regime is doing to the people, the country, and environment spurs the people’s wrath and calls for justice.

Under Duterte, the Philippines continues to be in an economic stranglehold of foreign capital and US-sponsored neoliberal economic policies. The country remains a backward neocolony—with the vast poor in dire strait. Add to US and allied superpowers’ established stakes in the country’s economy, government and military, China is also establishing footholds via debts, investments and illegal occupation.

Duterte has turned to China to add to his bureaucrat loot, and paved the way to increased US presence to prop up the puppet government and secure investments. The U.S. military aid to the Philippines amounting to $193.5 million in 2018 alone (9.77 trillion PHP) has helped fund state-orchestrated attacks on the Filipino people.

But Duterte’s war against revolutionaries is only further exposing him and the AFP and police for cowardice. They conduct focused and synchronized armed operations against unarmed and legitimate progressive groups, shrinking the democratic space they claim to defend as they weaponize the civilian bureaucracy against critics.

Like any other puppet president, Duterte cannot brook ouster moves, public protests and opposition. An untimely exit from Malacañang will cut his loot, clip the wings of his clique and small dynasty of local politicians, and open him to prosecution for his crimes. So, he is turning more fascist as his term’s end nears.

Duterte and his ilk seriously need to be taught lessons in history. They cry to get a taste of what the Filipino people do to tyrants. It is high time he gets booted out by the people. His rampage deserves no less. ###

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More Military Men in the US-Duterte Regime

in Countercurrent
by Leon Castro

The US-Duterte regime may be the most militarized bureaucracy in the country’s history.

Among all the presidents since the 1986 ouster of the Marcos dictatorship, Rodrigo Duterte has appointed the most number of former soldiers and police officers to top and key positions in his government — a move in line with its unraveling character as a repressive and tyrannical regime. Not even former chief martial law implementer and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Fidel Ramos had as many ex-military and police officers at any given time in his six-year term as president.

Duterte initially tried to mask his militarist nature by bandying his past links with the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) in his youth and with the New People’s Army (NPA)in Davao City and elsewhere in Mindanao when he was mayor.  In his first year as president, however, he populated his regime with ex-AFP and Philippine National Police brass, many of whom had been assigned in Davao and served during his murderous reign in that southern city.

As mayor Duterte, the police, the military and the notorious paramilitary group Alsa Masa were jointly accused by human rights groups to be responsible for the more than a thousand extrajudicial killings in Davao City. (He was later repeatedly accused of having had a hand in the killing of his erstwhile friend, Alsa Masa leader Juan Porras “Jun” Pala.)

What happened in Davao City then is ominously similar to what is now happening throughout the country, with Duterte’s so-called war on drugs, tagged as Oplan Double Barrel /Tokhang and the counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.

To date, Duterte has 60 former military and police officers in powerful and juicy posts across the bureaucracy.  And he will appoint current AFP chief Eduardo Año, he has said, as secretary of interior and local government once the latter retires in October. By surrounding himself with proven military and police bloodhounds, Duterte is also protecting himself from other rightist political cliques such as the putschist Magdalo group led by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

In less than a year and a half, the US-Duterte regime has completely unraveled as a tyrannical militarist regime. On May 10 he facetiously said he was ready to form a junta with the appointment of retired former AFP chief Gen. Roy Cimatu to replace the maverick Gina Lopez as environment and natural resources secretary.


Peace saboteurs

Duterte’s security cluster appointees showed no qualms in admitting they had deliberately sabotaged the GRP-NDFP formal peace negotiations.  Defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana, national security adviser Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and the notorious human rights violator, AFP chief Eduardo Año, have been responsible for the current “total-war” policy against the NPA as well as the ongoing militarization of indigenous and peasant communities through Oplan Kapayapaan.

Lorenzana, Esperon and Año directly contravened efforts to advance the peace process with the NDFP by ordering its troops to attack NPA camps and civilian communities during the six-month unilateral ceasefire from August 2016 to February 2017. They also have caused the killing, abduction, and illegal arrest of activists, most notably peasant leaders, and indigenous peoples.

Last January 20, when the NDFP and the GRP were negotiating in Rome on free land distribution to peasants, 39th IBPA troopers attacked a NPA camp in Makilala, North Cotabato that nearly succeeded in derailing the talks pronto.

In a press briefing, NDFP negotiating panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili said there appeared to be a deliberate and systematic sabotage of the ongoing formal peace talks in that city. “What is happening is similar to what happened in 2005 to 2006 where many activists were killed, presided by the very same people (Esperon and Año),” Agcaoili said.

Before capitalists in Makati last August 24, Lorenzana admitted it was he who convinced President Duterte to stop peace negotiations with the NDFP. He said he was against any peace process “that is clearly stacked against the government and favorable only to the CPP-NPA-NDF.” The Marcosian martial law relic added that the terms of the Comprehensive Agreement for Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) being discussed by the NDFP and GRP peace panels were “completely unacceptable.”

Lorenzana, Esperon and Año also staged the failed attempt to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon last May 23 in Marawi City.  When the operation failed, they persuaded Duterte to declare martial law over the entire Mindanao.  Martial law spawned the greatest military and humanitarian disaster in his year-old government, with nearly half-a-million internally displaced persons.  Without provocation Lorenzana declared that the NPA was among the targets of the martial law declaration.  Along with Esperon and Ano, he plotted the cancellation of the scheduled fifth round of the NDFP-GRP talks by pressuring the GRP negotiators to insist that the CPP recall its defensive order to step up military offensives against the rampaging AFP troops.


Human rights violators

Other recent Duterte appointments were equally notorious human rights violators as AFP officers.

New national irrigation administrator Ricardo Visaya was the main implementer, as AFP chief, of the Aquino regime’s Oplan Bayanihan that resulted in the extrajudicial killing of many peasants and indigenous peoples. He was army ground commander during the November 2004 Hacienda Luisita Massacre in Tarlac, likewise the commander of troops in Central Luzon and Metro Manila involved in rights violations during Arroyo’s reign of terror under the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya. Among his known victims in Central Luzon were Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo, two farmers who were abducted and tortured. In Metro Manila, Visaya’s stint was marked by military encampments in urban poor communities in 2006-2007, in time for the 2007 elections.

Former AFP chief Emmanuel Bautista, Duterte’s current executive director on security, justice and peace cluster, was the self-proclaimed brains behind the Aquino regime’s Oplan Bayanihan.  Human rights group Karapatan recorded 229 victims of extrajudicial killings, 26 enforced disappearances, 700 illegally arrested and detained, and over 46,000 victims of forced evacuations under the insidious counterinsurgency plan.

Presumptive interior and local government secretary and current AFP chief Año was accused of masterminding the abduction and disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos on April 28, 2007. Año was also said to be responsible for the killing spree against the Lumad and the illegal arrest and filing of trumped-up charges against activists, among other atrocities, when he was the commanding officer of the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division in Mindanao.

Meanwhile, Cimatu, current environment and natural resources secretary, headed the AFP Southern Command when civilians who came to be known as the “Basilan 72” were arrested based on wrongful accusations that they were Abu Sayyaf members. During his brief stint as AFP chief (May to September 2002), Cimatu led the implementation of the bloody counterinsurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya. He was also accused of accumulating ill-gotten wealth from the conversion of military funds during the Gloria Arroyo regime, for which the Department of Justice filed plunder cases against him and other high-ranking AFP officials in 2011. The case, though later dismissed, demonstrated how rampant was corruption within the military, implicating no less than its top officers.

Many other former AFP and PNP officers who are now high-ranking officials of the Duterte government faced complaints of human rights violations during their military and police careers.


Juicy civilian positions

A February 24 to March 6, 2011 Pulse Asia survey showed that 48.9 percent of Filipinos believed that the military was the most corrupt government agency in the country. The survey was conducted at the height of the congressional hearings on the military’s “pasalubong” and “pabaon” controversy involving the former AFP comptroller, retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, and the alleged corruption involving former high-ranking military officials, per the testimonies of former AFP budget officer, retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa, and former state auditor Heidi Mendoza.

In November that year, Newsbreak journalists Glenda Gloria, Aries Rufo, and Gemma Bagayaua-Mendoza published the book The Enemy Within that narrated massive corruption in the military, such as the fraudulent conversion of its budget to allow for tens of millions of pesos to be given as gifts to  both incoming (pasalubong) and outgoing top commanders (pabaon).  AFP corruption is still believed to be rampant from top to bottom to this day.  Duterte’s appointment of an inordinate number of ex-military officers to juicy directorships and trusteeships in Government-Owned and Controlled-Corporations (GOCCs) can only be likened to letting insatiable foxes guard the chicken coop.

Apologists claim former military and police officers have the competencies to be managers and policy directors of the government’s money-making agencies.  Thus, Duterte named former coup plotter Nicanor Faeldon to the Bureau of Customs commissioner, and other ex-military officers as directors and trustees of the Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC), PNOC-Exploration Corp., Government Service Insurance System, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), Phillippine Sugar Corp. and others. However, there is no shortage of qualified civilian experts who can be appointed to these clearly civilian offices.


Appointee Designation Agency
Roberto Lastimoso chair Philippine National Railways
Miguel dela Cruz Abaya director Development Bank of the Philippines
Delfin Lorenzana secretary Department of National Defense (DND)
Francisco Villaroman director Clark Development Corp. (CDC)
Alex Monteagudo director general National Intelligence Coordination Agency
Hermogenes Esperon Jr. director general National Security Council (NSC)
Roy Cimatu secretary Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Benjamin Defensor director CDC
Ricardo David undersecretary DND
Emmanuel Bautista executive director Office of the Executive Director on Security, Justice and Peace Cluster
Ricardo Visaya administrator National Irrigation Administration
Jason Aquino administrator National Food Authority
Nicanor Faeldon commissioner Bureau of Customs
Danilo Lim chair Metropolitan Manila Development Authority
Eduardo “Red” Kapunan ambassador to Myanmar
Catalino Cuy officer in charge and undersecretary for peace and order Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)
Nestor Quinsay Jr. assistant secretary DILG
Arthur Tabaquero undersecretary Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs
Rufino Lopez deputy director general NSC
Cardozo Luna undersecretary DND
Eduardo del Rosario undersecretary for civil, veterans and retiree affairs DND
Raymundo Elefante — undersecretary for finance and materiel DND
Cesar Yano undersecretary for defense operations DND
Ricardo Jalad Administrator and executive director, respectively Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council
Marciano Paynor Jr. undersecretary Office of the President (OP)
Ernesto Carolina administrator Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO)
Raul Caballes deputy administrator PVAO
Rodolfo Demosthenes Santillan deputy administrator for operations OCD
Jonathan Martir government arsenal director DND
Anselmo Simeon Pinili special envoy on transnational crime OP
Allan Guisihan executive director Philippine Center on Transnational Crime
Dickson Hermoso assistant secretary for peace and security affairs Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Edgar Galvante assistant secretary Land Transportation Office
Isidro Lapeña director general Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)
Jesus Fajardo deputy director general for administration PDEA
Jaime Morente commissioner Bureau of Immigration
Eduardo Gongona national director Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
Jose Jorge Corpuz chair Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)
Alexander Balutan general manager PCSO
Reynaldo Berroya administrator Light Rail Transit Authority
Rodolfo J. Garcia general manager Metro Rail Transit 3
Reuben Lista president and CEO Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC)
Oscar Rabena director PNOC-Exploration Corp.
Bruce Concepcion director PNOC
Adolf Borje director PNOC
Alan Luga trustee Government Service Insurance System
Ferdinand Golez director Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA)
Romeo Poquiz director BCDA
Raul Urgello director Philippine Sugar Corp.
Abraham Bagasin director John Hay Management Corp. (JHMC)
Reynald Mapagu director North Luzon Railway Corp.
Michael Mellijor Tulen director Philippine National Railways
Roberto Estioko president National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP)
Rolando Jungco executive vice president NDCP
Jessie Cardona technical assistant Office of the Executive Secretary-AntiTerrorism Council-Program Management Center
Jim Sydiongco director general Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)
Manuel Antonio Tamayo deputy director general CAAP
Eduardo Davalan director JHMC
Eduardo Año incoming secretary DILG
Eduardo del Rosario head Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC)


US stooges

It is no secret the AFP implements US-designed counterinsurgency plans such as Oplan Bantay Laya I and II, Oplan Bayanihan and the current Oplan Kapayapaan.  In fact, the 2006 US Quadrennial Defense Review called the AFP its “surrogate army”, a long-term junior partner of the US Armed Forces. Among the major influences in the development of US counterinsurgency strategy were the Philippine-American War of 1901 and the Huk pacification campaign during the 1950s.

Illustration from Cartoons and Philippine Politics

US’s counterinsurgency operations in the Philippines are most rabidly implemented by high ranking officers who are trained by the US Armed Forces in its School of the Americas in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. They are taught how to wage low-intensity conflicts that aim to drain the waters where the fish swim. This usually means attacking civilian communities perceived to be supportive of the NPA. In turn, this leads to countless human rights violations.

Top AFP generals, many of whom are now posing as civil servants in the US-Duterte regime are experts in the US counterinsurgency “whole-of-nation” concept. The program, a US Army magazine says, is the approach adopted for the AFP’s Internal and Security Plan with the “advice and assistance of the Joint Special Operations Task Force (of the US Armed Forces).”

“Although authored by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the plan encompasses a whole-of-nation approach, with a focus on coordinating all efforts under the broad direction of a national internal-security strategy,” explains the article, written by a Col. Fran Beaudette of the Special Warfare Magazine published in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Based on assessments of who among them are able to carry out US-designed and directed counterinsurgency plans, officers are promoted to generals.

Duterte feigned ignorance when US military presence was revealed immediately after the Marawi crisis broke out last May. In a press conference in Cagayan de Oro last June 11, Duterte acknowledged it was the defense department that decided to seek help from the US armed forces. “I am not aware of that until they arrived. When I declared martial law, I gave the power to the defense department,” he said,  gesturing at defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana then standing beside him. He had tapped Lorenzana as martial law administrator shortly after he declared martial law in the entire Mindanao  on May 23, 2017.

Despite his rhetorics, it has become clear that Duterte is a US puppet who wreaks havoc on the Filipino people not only through the AFP but also through the former AFP officers in the civilian bureaucracy. “All of them, most of them, nag-schooling sa America. So, talaga, ang siyentimiyento nito, pro-American. Pro-American talaga ang mga sundalo natin. That I cannot deny,” Duterte said. (All of them, most of them, were schooled in America. So, really, their sentiment is pro-American. Our soldiers are pro-American. That I cannot deny.)

Even in their current civilian capacities, these former generals are still known to champion US military interests in the Philippines. Lorenzana, Esperon and Año in fact were instrumental in pushing the servile Congress to vote overwhelmingly to extend martial law in Mindanao by five more months until the end of this year.

The true character of Duterte’s regime is now on open display with human rights violators, putschists, US-trained wardogs, and peace saboteurs teeming in his government.

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