THE National Democratic Front (NDF), the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), has called on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to abrogate the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
NDF chairman Jose Maria Sison is an ally of Duterte.
The group said Duterte can undo President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s “legacy of national humiliation for having served as a pawn in the US ‘Asia pivot’ strategy by allowing the US to restore its military bases and
maintain permanent presence of its warships, jet fighters, drones and interventionist troops.”
“Duterte’s rhetoric has raised high the people’s expectations for substantial and accelerated reforms. As an avowed opponent of US meddling, Duterte has the unique opportunity to end the 70 year chain of US puppet governments since the 1946 [Manuel] Roxas regime,” the NDF said through its international information office.
“To countervail Aquino’s puppetry, he must withdraw his stand to let the EDCA stand. He must immediately notify the US government of his intent to abrogate the EDCA, which was signed as an executive agreement
in April 2014. He must rescind the EDCA-sanctioned use of five AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] camps as US military bases and facilities,” it said.
The group also urged Duterte to “immediately send home US Ambassador [Philip] Goldberg for interference in Philippine internal affairs.”
Duterte, according to the NDF, can be the first Philippine President to pursue an independent foreign policy, one that is not beholden to and dependent on the US.
“Toward this, Duterte must condemn US war-mongering and US-China saber-rattling and oppose militarization of the territorial sea by the US and Chinese military forces. He must disallow the US military to use the Philippines as base for its interventionism. If he does, he is bound to be the Philippines’ first world-class President who stood for Philippine sovereignty and prevented the military build-up in the region,” it said.
“He must oppose the US demand to effect Charter change to remove the remaining restrictions against foreign ownership as requirement for Philippine integration into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, dubbed as the “dirtiest deal ever.”
Top NDF officials have been in close contact with Duterte, an ally of the New People’s Army especially in Davao.
The group said Duterte, to show his strong resolve to fight criminality, must go after the biggest criminals in the country, not just petty criminals.
“He can immediately carry out the arrest and swift prosecution of Benigno Aquino 3rd, [Budget Secretary] Florencio Abad and the biggest criminal perpetrators of the trillion-peso DAP [Disbursement Acceleration
Program] swindle and prevent them from leaving the country. He must follow-through with the prosecution of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and ensure that she is held criminally responsible for the anomalous ZTE broadband deal and other corruption cases, including fraud in the 2004 elections,” it added.
The NDF, however, noted that there will be no honeymoon with Duterte, who it said was a member of the “ruling political elite.”
“The revolutionary forces will continue to relentlessly advance the people’s armed resistance and democratic mass struggles. While open to cooperation and alliance, they must relentlessly criticize and oppose any and all anti-people and pro-imperialist policy and measure. There will be no honeymoon with the Duterte regime,” the group said.
It noted that the Davao City mayor has for the past four decades “served the system as a bureaucrat and implemented its laws and policies.”
“He has worked with foreign and local big capitalists, plantation owners and big landlords who expect returns under his regime. The masses of workers, peasants and farm workers in Davao City have long-suffered from the oppressive and exploitative conditions in the big plantations and export-oriented contract-growing businesses.
In his policy pronouncements, Duterte is yet to declare a clear deviation from the dominant neo-liberal economic thinking, which has brought about grave hardships to the Filipino people for more than three decades,” the NDF said.
“Duterte’s mettle is about to be tested. Will he walk his talk and take on the opportunity to stand up against US imperialism? Or will his bombast end up as empty rhetoric?” it added.