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Statement on President Bongbong Marcos Jr.’s Appointment of Cabinet Members to NTF-ELCAC

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Friends of the Filipino People in Struggle (FFPS) strongly condemns the recent move by President Bongbong Marcos Jr. to appoint 17 of his cabinet officers as so-called “Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security (CORDS)” for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). 

These CORDS appointments don’t actually support so-called “development” or “security” of the regions in the Philippines. As part of the whole-of-nation approach, these appointments only serve to implement a smokescreen of a non-military approach in rhetoric, while in reality still intensifying the militaristic approach to the armed conflict. 

The whole-of-nation approach was already implemented under the US-Duterte regime with executive order No. 70 in December 2018, creating the so-called National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). It became an important weapon of the reactionary US-Duterte government to wage war against its own people and commit the massive number of human rights violations and killings for which it is internationally known.

state terrorism through whole-of-nation approach

Under the whole-of-nation approach, all aspects of the state are geared towards becoming an instrument in its “war against terror” and integrated under the NTF-ELCAC’s, and thus the military’s, decision-making. As such, the whole of the government and civilian bureaucracy is subsumed under the goal of defeating “the enemy” by militaristic means. 

Moreover, the militaristic approach of the reactionary government completely neglects to address the root causes of the armed conflict in the country. It aims only for a “peace of the grave”, in which all dissent has been wiped out by a military victory, but it fails to heed the genuine aspirations of the Filipino people. As such, it is doomed to fail and will only inspire more resistance against its state fascism. Because for as long as the root problems of the Filipino people are not addressed, there will always be resistance.

As such, we have to view the current CORDS appointments as just another part of the state fascistic approach of the US-backed Marcos-Duterte regime against all forms of dissent. We must view them not as part of a “war against terror”, but of a war against the Filipino people and their aspirations for genuine social change and national liberation from US imperialism. This recent move likely comes as a desperate measure of trying to fulfil the deadline posed by the US on crushing the revolutionary movement. 

Let us stand in militant solidarity

Because of the relentless state terrorism, it is even more necessary for us as friends and allies of the Filipino people to urgently ramp up international support. We must stand in militant solidarity with the Filipino people’s fight, in all its forms, for their democratic rights and for national liberation, extending our unwavering support to their just and necessary struggle.

Lastly, we would like to comment on the ridiculous and baseless claim of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that the NPA supposedly only has one remaining active guerrilla front. This contradicts not only the AFP’s own propaganda and the intensified militarization in several provinces of the Philippines, but is also clearly proven wrong by the numerous successful actions done by the revolutionary army and the deep support and love of the Filipino masses it receives. And as Friends of the Filipino People, we vow to continue our work of solidarity towards a genuine and lasting peace in the Philippines.