The Duterte regime weaponized the laws to demobilize the opposition and suppress dissent
The leadership under President Rodrigo Roa Duterte reiterated its dedication to achieving a more secure, stable, just, and prosperous future for the people of the Philippines.
To turn this vision into reality, the Duterte Administration introduced the National Security Policy in April 2017, covering the period from 2017 to 2022, titled “For Change and Well-Being of the Filipino People.”
Subsequently, the NSP served as the foundation and blueprint for the creation of the National Security Strategy, which essentially translates the principles outlined in the NSP into actionable policies.
This NSS marks a significant milestone as it represents the Philippines’ inaugural official document of its kind.
It adheres to the overarching principle established in the NSP, which underscores the close connection between national security and economic development, recognizing them as mutually supportive concepts.
Just like the NSP, the NSS centers around the broad objective of instigating meaningful and enduring socioeconomic and political transformations with the ultimate goal of building a stronger nation and enhancing the well-being of the majority of the Filipino populace.
The NSS delineates the strategies and approaches to achieve these objectives.
To achieve the national security vision as outlined in the National Security Policy, the goal is to establish a secure and stable Philippines where citizens can fully realize their potential through the promotion of social justice, harmony, political stability, effective environmental management, and economic progress.
The National Security Strategy functions as a framework that incorporates the key security policies, objectives, responsibilities, and action plans, serving as a roadmap to fulfill the national security vision. Its primary objective is to enhance the coordination, synchronization, and coherence of government functions to enhance efficiency and optimize the use of limited government resources.
Moreover, the NSS plays a vital role in articulating the national interest, communicating the State’s intentions, and garnering public support for government policies and initiatives.
In particular, obtaining Congress’s support is essential for the NSS’s success, including the enactment of necessary legislation related to national security and allocation of the required fiscal resources.enerate
The NSS consists of seven components.
In Chapter One, the concept of national security is introduced, alongside the comprehensive national security framework, where the NSP and NSS are depicted as integral elements.
Moving on to Chapter Two, an overview of the present strategic landscape is presented.
It emphasizes the nation’s security priorities in the face of various internal and external threats and challenges that require attention.
Chapter Three delves into the national security framework, emphasizing the fundamental values and national interests that underlie the NSS.
It commences with the definition of national security as “the condition in which the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation, the well-being of its people, its core values, way of life, and the protection and enhancement of the State and its institutions are safeguarded.”
Chapter Four introduces two key elements that will play a vital role in ensuring the successful and sustained implementation of the strategy.
The first element emphasizes the comprehensive and collaborative use of the various instruments of national power, including political and legal, diplomatic, informational, intelligence, economic, military, and law enforcement tools.
This component aims to foster a holistic approach to addressing both current and future threats.
The second element focuses on wealth creation and resource generation through intensified investment in human capital development, the enactment of national security legislation, adequate funding for national security initiatives, and the development of strategic industries.
The achievement of the 12-point national security agenda largely depends on the effective execution of the strategic plans outlined in Chapter Five.
These plans aim to enhance our defenses, capabilities, technologies, processes, partnerships, and resource management.
A total 109 strategic plans were identified after a thorough analysis of various threats, challenges, and opportunities that align with the nation’s strengths and potentials.
The success of these strategic plans hinges on the efficiency and cohesion of the national security sector.
In this regard, the National Security Strategy is committed to revitalizing and streamlining the existing national security structure to ensure better command and control, as well as a more cost-effective utilization of government resources and manpower.
A crucial aspect of this effort involves the revitalization of organizational structures within the National Security Council, its Secretariat, the Cabinet Cluster on Security, Justice, and Peace, and the National Intelligence Board and the National Intelligence Committee.
While all these seemed rational and consistent with national interest, President Duterte used the military and the police forces as instrument of repression and oppression.
He appointed military and police officers to plum posts and sinecures, and by his pronouncements prodded the security forces to exterminate the enemies of the state resulting in impunity, allegations of abuse.
Duterte’s perceived enemies were the drug users/pushers, common criminals and the political opposition.
The regime weaponized the laws to demobilize the opposition and suppress dissent.
Moreover, under Duterte, the Philippines distanced itself from its traditional ally the United States, but seemingly yielding closer to China even as the latter took a more aggressive stance in the South China Sea dispute, particularly in the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte did not spare any opportunity to diminish the Hague Tribunal’s South China Sea Ruling.
In the end, during the Duterte administration, national security policy was weaponized against our own people and our own sovereignty.
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