IN his five years in office, President Duterte has changed the course of Philippine history, although his breakthroughs conceivably can still be reversed if there is no Duterte 2.0.
First, he has all but routed the communist insurgency. Duterte is the first president to undertake an all-out drive to end this scourge after 40 years, since Marcos’ in the early 1970s.
Except for Duterte, all the five presidents immediately preceding him shirked in fighting the communists either because they were plain naïve (as Corazon “Cory” Aquino was) or were political opportunists that they couldn’t risk losing the support of the Left and its many allies.
Cory even strengthened the communists, releasing, as soon as she grabbed power, its top leader and tactician par excellence, Jose Ma. Sison, whom Marcos had arrested in 1977. Cory even romanticized them as freedom fighters and undertook “peace talks” with them, which was nothing but the vast “democratic space” they used to expand their ranks. Cory got the Constitutional Commission she commanded to create the so-called party-list system, which the communists expertly maneuvered both to become major participants in Congress and to raise funds for their New People’s Army.
Never before has there been a broad “National Task Force to End Local Communist Conflict” that has fought the communists in all fields – from propaganda to economic development of communities organizing the insurgents’ victims to the battlefield.(more…)