Presidential Failure of Total War From Marcos to Duterte

The original is Marcos. He declared total war vs the NPA in 1972 as he violently imposed his one-man rule. After 14 years the NPA learned much about guerrilla warfare and grassroots organizing, and it grew, while Marcos had to flee to Hawaii.

Cory, in her famous speech, unsheathed the sword of war, her version of total war. FVR continued the Oplan under another name but tried his best at ending the insurgency via peace talks, resulting in some notable achievements like crafting the Hague, JASIG and CAHRIHL documents.

Estrada also declared total war vs the NPA, vs the Moros. He was impeached. Arroyo and BSAquino did the same with their own oplans, setting out to end the people’s war before they leave office. They did leave the Palace, after 9 and 6 years, respectively, without achieving their targets.

Then Duterte came along, His peace talks achieved something not realized by the previous administrations: coming out with a draft of CASER and a ceasefire document which both GRP and NDFP initialed a few months ago. Then Duterte called off the peace talks, declared his peace talks counterpart terrorists, and announced his declaration of an all-out war. A better option that would be beneficial to the people would have been to build on the initialed CASER and other drafts and proceed with the talks. Unfortunately for the country, Duterte has not learned the lessons of the failure of the total war declarations of the series of administrations. But Duterte may still see the light of day if the people continue the clamor for peace,

One recalls a song by Pete Seeger.