I have long been thinking that the Philippines is on its way to becoming a Communist country.
This is unthinkable for many Filipinos who have been so used to the “democracy” being espoused by many politicians and as influenced by the USA.
After all, Philippine culture—albeit Malay and then Spanish-rooted—has long been focused on American or what many refer to as Western culture and politics. So, the idea of the Philippines’ becoming Communist seems far-fetch.
But we have also to remember the origin of Duterte. Among all the presidents of the country–three were from Visayas (Osmeña, Roxas, Garcia), most from Luzon (from Aguinaldo to Aquino Jr.), and ONLY one from Mindanao—Duterte. And Mindanao is the only part of the Philippines that had not been colonialized nor occupied properly by Spain, US, nor Japan. So, Mindanao culture is fortified by that idea of independence, free from outside influence.
Meaning, Duterte’s mindset is never Western. Instead, it is rooted in clan mentality, authoritarianism, autonomy, and independence. To reiterate, Mindanao is the only part of the Philippines where both Spain and the USA failed to control and hold dominion over. And Mindanao’s political atmosphere aligns very well with China’s authoritarianism policies.
So, to understand where Duterte is taking the Philippines, one really needs to backtrack and read about the history of Philippine politics and geography, for that matter.
I am neither pro- nor anti- at this point, but I’m really interested to see what will happen after Duterte’s presidency, who will really succeed him, what form of government the country will consequently espouse, and if Philippines will ultimately no longer be a democratic but instead become a Communist one, how this will affect the Filipino people themselves.
And this is not impossible because, after all, there are still five communist countries in the world–North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, and, yes, China (People’s Republic of China). And Duterte’s inclination has never been a secret.
Most importantly, it is becoming very apparent that many Filipinos these days have never been mum about their submission to the current administration, using the now famous battlecry, “Sumunod na lang tayo sa gobyerno. Para naman yan sa ikaaayos at ikabubuti ng lahat.” And of all the presidents of the Philippines, only Duterte has been called “Tatay” (or Father), and this is obviously a sign that those who support him have indeed acknowledged submission to his autocracy and authoritarianism like diligent children to a very authoritative father.
Is this wrong? I don’t really know. Only the individual can really answer for himself. I am merely making sense of what is happening to the Philippines, based on my observations and quick readings on Philippines’ political history.
“I think we need to differentiate Communism from authoritarianism in this case, though both are present in China. We just have to be careful ascribing a monolithic power to the concept of Communism (right-wingers use that to demonize the ideology, after all). Communism in its purest form is about common ownership of property and the means of production, and the dissolution of class and state). Think of cooperatives on a mass scale.
“Authoritarianism advocates obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom.
Both get mixed (see: China, USSR, and North Korea) because creating a Communist society requires a revolution as per Marx, and revolutions are messy. Revolutions need to be organized, and this results in a central authority as a stabilizing force to impose a Communist society. And that’s where the contradictions start.
“Communism remains an ideal, though. But its softer version (Socialism, where the means of production and distribution are owned/regulated by the community/nation) seems to be one that’s more doable today.”—Adrian Arcega