Revising the 1987 Constitution could put an end to communist insurgencies in the Philippines

Issues regarding communist insurgencies in the Philippines are once again the talk of the town as the country prepares to elect its next chief executive. The current administration has been aggressive in addressing problems associated extreme leftist groups and their armed counterparts. Definitely, the next head of government would inherit these successes as the military gains momentum to proactively respond to such challenges. However, the next administration cannot afford to rest on its laurels as the varied realities of the Philippine society and the economy are changing in both predictable and volatile ways.

When taking a look at Philippine history, one will find that guerilla warfare and socialist-inspired movements were never strangers to Filipinos across the archipelago. The Hukbalahap, which were an organized group that vehemently opposed Imperial Japan during the Pacific War, were adept in committing “ambuscades” even after the Commonwealth years came to an end with after the Philippines was granted independence by the United States. It was during the Magsaysay years when the Hukbalahap issue came to a conclusion. Roughly a couple of decades later, the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) obtained dangerous firearms and had the ability to raise an army of thousands of armed personnel which threatened the internal stability of the country. Nevertheless, the Philippines persisted in its attempts at addressing the threats of communism.

Taking a look at these two situations, there is a common denominator underlying why such movements gained ground in the Philippines, and this lone reason connects one predicament to another. This common denominator is poverty. This issue is most visible in the geographically-isolated areas of the archipelago where farmers engage in subsistence-based agriculture and till farmlands of limited productivity, thus further lowering down their earning potential. It is also exacerbated by graft and corruption, which leads to further degradation and decay of communities in the country’s rural areas. As a result, these places become susceptible to communist propaganda and turn into ideal breeding grounds for civil disorder. For a man who has nothing to lose and everything to gain, the promise of a utopian society is difficult to resist.

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However, world history has shown that socialism and totalitarianism had failed to uplift the lives of people living under such regimes. The National Socialists of Germany ended up seeing their nation divided by the four European powers. The Communists of the Soviet Union experienced the feebleness of their political economy for decades until the Red Banner was taken down from the Kremlin. Following the fall of communism, Soviet satellite states behind the Iron Curtain adopted free enterprise and transformed themselves into liberal democracies. The façade of an equal society faded and compelled Communist China to adopt economic policies that liberalized their markets, albeit packages as “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Even the great British luminary Winston Churchill denounced the lethal flaws of communism, quipping that there would be a shortage of sand in the Sahara if these communists are in charge. This quote even serves as a reminder to the Czechs in Prague about the failures and the abuses endured by the Czechoslovaks prior to the Velvet Revolution.

Friedrich Hayek, the renowned author of “The Road to Serfdom”, has been quick to note that socialist states have abandoned economic and political freedoms in various methods. With respect to the market, losing the ability to own land and capital destroys an individual’s capability to freely engage in economic activity. Furthermore, centralized government planning creates big governments that end up curtailing personal freedoms, which give birth to a totalitarian system that overrides the rule of law through tyranny. Unfortunately, a highly centralized government system is what these communists salivate over, while disabling the uplifting nature of the market. Everybody becomes equally poor, powerless, and miserable.

In the Philippine setting, the highly-restrictive 1987 Constitution that constrains free enterprise makes capitalism work less efficiently and becomes less effective at lifting families out of poverty. Foreign investors are hesitant to create businesses in the Philippines and, instead, pour financial resources into other more attractive locations in Southeast Asia. The protectionist policies of the current constitution makes the Philippines a laggard when it comes to attracting foreign direct investment. The lack of competition makes monopolistic and oligopolistic companies complacent and at liberty to deliver substandard services to the Filipino people. It creates an unhealthy market where mutual abuse exists between producers and consumers. To make matters worse, the CPP-NPA engages in actions that make these investors lose confidence thus perpetuating economic hardship in far-flung areas that need these employment opportunities the most.

Thus, the challenge for the next administration is to reform the constitution that will liberalize the market, while wisely strengthening the government’s powers to uphold the rule of law and encourage competition. If the next set of leaders aim to end these insurgencies for good, creating an environment that lets families break away from intergenerational poverty by becoming participants in free enterprise with the least amount of government intervention becomes a prerequisite. Making every Filipino household financially secure is a national imperative that ought to be pursued relentlessly. When every Filipino buyer of goods and services enjoys strong purchasing power, the economy grows and the financial market becomes bullish, creating more chances for the marginalized sectors of the society to escape the dehumanizing pangs of poverty. With a vibrant consumer-based economy, the every Filipino has the potential to participate in wealth creation.

Creating a wealthy Philippines requires a healthy market composed of rich producers and rich consumers. Through wealth accumulation in the free market, there will be an abundance of financial resources that can be utilized to directly confront and address such acts of terrorism committed by these various extremist groups. An insurgency-resilient country cannot be built overnight, but progress along these lines will necessarily be backed by a solid economy. When such a formidable nation is formed, these communist insurgencies increasingly become irrelevant and are set on the road to dissolution.

9 Replies to “Revising the 1987 Constitution could put an end to communist insurgencies in the Philippines”

  1. The Philippines have to decide whether they want to be/have a “make” economy (production) or a knowledge economy or a combo of both.
    Secondly, what you write is – in theory – correct but reality is always different. To have/get a thriving economy, a country needs a wide/broad middle class.
    Thirdly, there is no “rich” country that has no poverty among its population.

    “A believer of freedom, capitalism, and conservative brand of politics.”
    That latter part is very contradictive of the former/first part. Ah well. You are probably against all modern ideas re: SSM, abortion, divorce c.s.

  2. If mere revision of the constitution will help solve the poverty problem, I guess most poor countries would by now have solved their insurgency problem a long time ago. A poor country is guaranteed to have discontent and resentments that contributes to insurgency problem.

    But that is not to say that tinkering the constitution will not help. I think it does, however, there are priorities that must be addressed to more or less facilitate whatever positive changes we expect to happened.

    For one, the corruption problem needs to be confronted with drastic measures to really lessen if not completely stopped it. And that is easier said than done. To do that, we have to stop electing dishonest people in public office. We also have to strictly apply the law, changed it if necessary, to punish those who commit graft and corruption. If death penalty is needed to solve the problem, so be it.

    Next is the state of affairs of the infrastructure in the country. How’s our mass transit, roads, bridges, communication facilities, and other physical structures that facilitates business activity? Are we ready to accommodate the requirements needed by foreign corporations or businesses to operate effectively and productively in the country?

    Of course, policies and programs of government should go hand in hand with those mentioned. I maybe wrong here, but I think most Filipinos have no idea what the political parties really represent in terms of economic development in relation to long term planning and organization that would ultimately contribute to improvement and advancement of everyone. All parties are pro-poor whose members are more or less millionaires. All of them hates the same thing (communists) and all evince they’re the reason why communism continue to exist. Political families remains to be the staple diet in politics. Regardless, whether such and such families are renowned for their moral turpitude and dishonesty, voters continue to patronize them.

    So, you see, before going to the constitution for correction, there are a lot things that needs changing that could help alter the country’s lot for good if we just do something about it. ?

    1. That’s also the problem. The oligarchs mostly controls the game and that 1987 Constitution benefits them, of course they won’t allow such revisions that will get them in disadvantage position.

  3. We dont really need to end communism..communism is already dead.
    now these terrorists in the mountains, thats another story.
    If they break the law, then the law should very well break them in return.

  4. yes, it s the fault of late Santa Cory Kurakot sa halos lahat ng Government Owned controlled corporation of Apo lakay Marcos Masagana99 Philippines, where she released communist chairman Joma Sison party of late Marcial Bonifacio aka Ninoy Aquino Madbomber of Plaza Miranda and co founder of the communist party of the Philippines

    1. yes, to revised it to Parliamentary System where the wealth of the Government owned controlled corporations will be distributed fairly to its Poor member constituents of the Yellowtard Oligarchs Hacienda luisita mendiola massacred farmers tenants, that will be converted into landowner farmers of the Hacienda luisita ,you are not worth dying for Marcial bonifacio aka ninoy aquino co founder of the Joma Sison communist party of the PHilippines.

  5. It would take a monumental effort to make changes to it. I’d rather have a new constitution which dissolves the old one and the new constitution should be able to represent each and everyone that lives in 2021 onwards but for as long as there are people lobbying for favors this could end up the same way as with the current constitution. Old oligarchs will simply be replaced by new ones and it’s never going to end. When businesses have the government by the balls, they can’t do anything but pander to it, else they lose the support.

    Insurgencies can only end either peacefully through proper addressing of grievances or through bloody skirmishes in which if they are gone, then they are gone. Both ways have been tried but for some reason, we’re not winning at all. Looks like there’s probably someone or a group of people that is benefiting from this and for as long as there’s a factor like that, I doubt this would end no matter how many times we revise the constitution.

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