Towards the abyss

With the BBL for all intents and purposes dead, there is no easy solution in sight. The only thing that is clear is that the government has no choice but to go back to square one and work to achieve a political settlement, no matter now difficult that may be. 

The problem is that, despite the lessons of Marawi, the Duterte crew does not realize it has a problem, and is convinced that there is nothing that more firepower, martial law, and more drunken boasts about “smashing the enemy” will not solve. With their policy disarray in so many areas, from foreign affairs to economic strategy to poverty alleviation, the Duterte gang is set to accomplish no mean feat: outstrip the previous Aquino administration in incompetent governance. 

But then, this is not unexpected since this president came to power with only one clear policy: to indiscriminately kill off thousands of people suspected of drug use.  

With his deadly mix of incompetence, policy fiascos, and authoritarian ambitions, Duterte may yet preside over the collapse of the democratic republic and, along with it, the dismemberment of the Philippine nation-state.

To some, that may come across as divine retribution for a citizenry that foolishly voted a mass murderer to power. To those who are not theologically inclined, however, it underlines the urgency of citizen action to avert our country’s spiralling descent into the abyss. –


Walden Bello made the only recorded resignation on principle from Congress in March 2015 owing to his refusal to countenance the policies of the Aquino III administration.  Currently professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Binghamton, he is the author or co-author of 20 books on the Philippines, Asia, and global political economy.