MR. Duterte is taking us, as I have written in previous columns, to an entirely new governing path. While he has not set aside 100 percent of the governing templates of previous administrations, there has been a total break in the all-important area of foreign policy. Pivot to China and Russia and “ separation” from the United States, the extent of which has yet to be demarcated by DU30.
When you “separate” from the US, the coverage is not just the North American axis of the US/Canada. It covers a broader territory and includes much of the Western democracies– about the whole area within the European Union .
What Mr. Duterte has made very clear is this: What he wants is not a mere advocacy of being “ friend to all and enemy to none” but actually a pivot to China and Russia .
The disentanglement from the Western democracies is in sync with some of his key economic pronouncements. Mr. Duterte wants to restore the primacy of manufacturing. To do that, he wants a resurrection of factories and assembly plants– the glorious return of steel, chemicals, garments and rubber. Just in case emissions from these factories would have a problem meeting the standards of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, Mr. Duterte would rather jettison the accord than impose a constraint on his plan to jumpstart the manufacturing sector .
When you factor in the small amount of national emissions generated by the Philippines yearly, Mr. Duterte has a point. D30 would rather defy the Western democracies behind the climate change accord than place a hurdle on the revival of factories and assembly plants.
Agriculture–and this is much lauded by small farmers like myself–is to give utmost focus on small farmers (those engaged in growing the basic crops such as rice and corn and sugar) and small- and medium-scale agricultural undertakings (the small animal raisers).
The heart of this plan is another revival–this time the supervised food production programs which master plan was written by a management and organization genius, the late Rafael Salas. The supervised food production program crafted by Salas et al involved funding from the credit mainstream, technical support from agricultural extension workers, the guarantee of sustained irrigation in the case of rice, and links to the market.
Should DU30 push through with the revival now, the funding part of the supervised food production programs would go against current practice. Today, farmers, no matter how small and marginalized, do not get any preferential treatment from the credit mainstream. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ window for cheap agricultural credit has long been shuttered. Small farmers either borrow from usurers or do not borrow at all because they are treated like dirt by the banks and other formal lending institutions.
DU30 said his government is about protecting the small and defying conventions and orthodoxies. This gives small farmers like myself great hope that his intended grand plan would indeed be carried out.
The political component of his orthodoxy-shattering administration is the ongoing effort to create a new national political party, tentatively called Kilusang Pagbabago. It is a very serious effort. For all intents and purposes, the cohabitation with the PDP-Laban is temporary. After the KP shall have been formally organized, a break with the PDP-Laban would follow.
As designed, the KP would be different from the current mainstream parties. It would have a bedrock doctrine, Dutertismo, and it would spell out the grand ideological themes of the party. It would be anywhere from left to left-of-center, patterned after the EU’s left-of-center parties. Or this ambitious formulation–after Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarismo.
Mr. Duterte can cut the KP from the cloth of Bolivarismo, with minor tweaking and adjustments. China’s Communist Party, despite DU30’s pivot to China, cannot be a role model because it is a fluid, unstable model that is essentially capitalism without many of the basic tenets of free enterprise. The KP will have a constitution and by-laws that would be radically distinct from those of the mainstream political parties that have dominated Philippine politics from the early days of the Republic.
The KP is a party whose time has come.
The formal organization of the KP will usher in the kind of ideological debates which, unfortunately, we have never had in Philippine politics. There will be a true contrast of ideas–Dutertismo versus the known ideas of political parties such as the Liberal Party, the Nationalista Party and the PDP-Laban. The political party with the most defined ideas is the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, but it is too minor to take on a big role in the debates.
The debates and clash of ideas (not the clash of personalities that we have now) will enrich many things. The “ moribund” political parties that D30 detests will be forced to shape up in terms of ideology and indoctrination–or perish.
Finally, instead of the usual personality-based politics we will truly have thousands of thoughts contending and hundreds of ideas blooming.