On this occasion, we salute and applaud all Red commanders, fighters, political officers and members of the People’s Militia, local guerrilla and self-defense units who have rendered invaluable service to the masses of peasants, workers and the national minorities. They have effectively carried out their revolutionary tasks of defending the people’s welfare by delivering decisive blows against the fascist forces of the US-Duterte regime. They have taken significant strides to bring the people’s war to a new and higher level with the end in view of ushering in the victory of the national democratic revolution towards the country’s socialist future.
We also take this opportunity to express our profound gratitude to the masses, the weavers of the fabric of history, who have offered their good sons and daughters to take conscious and active part in the undertakings of the true army of the people, the NPA. We thank all our allies as well, who, throughout these years, despite the all-out vain effort by the ruling classes and its reactionary government to malign and crush the revolutionary movement, have not waivered in their support.
We render our highest red salute to all revolutionary martyrs who have lain down their lives for the people and for the victory of the people’s democratic revolution.
The NPA has remained true to its revolutionary tasks and responsibilities and has reaped numerous victories against enemy forces because of the absolute guidance of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its re-establishment this year. The founding of the NPA in 1969 was a bi-product of the re-birth of the CPP, which launched the First Rectification Movement in 1968 that repudiated the ideological, political and organizational errors of the old party under the revisionist leadership of the Lava-Taruc-Sumulong clique.
From a handful of comrades and fighters armed with a few rifles and hand guns in the 2nd district of Tarlac, the NPA began to expand, spanning the entire archipelago – from Luzon to Visayas to Mindanao. Correctly guided by the CPP through the 2nd rectification movement, the NPA was able to repudiate the right and left opportunist errors of the early 80’s and reaffirmed the basic principles under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
The Party currently mobilizes the entire structure of the NPA in an all-round way to overcome its conservative tendencies, and to fulfil the requirements necessary in pushing towards a more advanced phase of the people’s war.
The people suffer from worse forms of exploitation and oppression under the US-Duterte regime
The US-Duterte regime further deepens the semi-feudal and semi-colonial crisis by completing the implementation of neoliberal policies imposed by US imperialism. Duterte’s grand plan for the economy is to inundate the country with an infrastructure frenzy (Build, Build, Build) of roads, railways, bridges and other structures, whose actual implementation will be fueled by gigantic loans from China, Russia and the US. This will bury the country in insurmountable debt, which only serves to eternally trap us within the stranglehold of servility to US imperialist dictates.
Duterte will also open the country for the entry of more imperialist mining firms and capitalist plantations, which will further denude Mindanao’s remaining forest cover and rapidly deplete its mineral resources. Under Duterte’s “environmental policies,” stringent restrictions will be relaxed as more incentives and protection will be given to these imperialist companies, for them to continue ravaging the environment and rake in super profits from exploiting Mindanao workers and syphoning out non-renewable raw materials, to the detriment of future generations.
The country’s economy is made afloat by OFW remittances, but the level of remittances has gone down. The Duterte regime in the meantime continues with the policy of exporting human labor abroad even as overseas Filipino workers are being subjected to maltreatment and other despicable forms oppression in other countries, similar to what Joanna Demafeliz and Josie Lloren suffered in Kuwait that led to their tragic deaths.
The state of unemployment in the country is at its worst in years at 9%, or between 70,000 to 1.4 million out of work. This will further debilitate the labor sector unless thorough-going national industrialization is implemented. Labor policies imposed by the Duterte regime continue to deprive Filipino workers of job security, totally reneging on its promise to eradicate contractualization. More and more Filipino workers, especially those in Mindanao, are losing their trust of Duterte and are readying themselves to strongly oppose his anti-labor policies .
The US-Duterte regime seethes with fascism as it continues to employ militarism and other draconian measures to suppress any and all forms of opposition and dissent. Duterte seeks to wipe-out the NPA by end of 2018 through his AFP’s bloody Oplan Kapayapaan (OpKap), which employs a smattering of vile military and psywar tactics rehashed from the failed internal security plans of previous regimes.
In his desperation, he has issued Proclamation 347 that tags both the CPP and the NPA as “terrorists.” He has gone to lengths of almost sociopathic proportions as to offer “P25,000-P100,000 for every NPA fighter killed,” or exclaim the even more despicable “shoot a captured woman NPA in her private parts.”
Under the direction of the US-Duterte regime, the AFP/PNP has resorted to the psywar tactic of subterfuge, perfidy and black propaganda. AFP psywar experts employ orchestrating the murder of civilians, make it appear like it was executed by “terrorists,” and impute the crime on the NPA. Then, through their trolls, they poison both social and mainstream media with such fake news. For instance, AFP-sponsored bandit groups beheaded a CAA member in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, and in another incident, state agents murdered Datu Tiambong, a Mamanwa local chieftain, in Alegria, Surigao del Norte, both treacherous acts aimed at maligning the credibility of the NPA.
This also holds true with “fake surrenders,” with which the AFP uses, but in vain, to paint a portrait of a “weakening NPA.” But, the masses in Mindanao are well aware of the real nature of their own army, a people’s army that adheres to a strict code of discipline and fundamental rules that hold paramount the well-being of the masses and, without second thought, defend them whenever under attack.
OpKap has resulted in some of the gravest manifestations of human rights abuses in Mindanao since the US-Marcos dictatorship, which, from March 2017 to March 2018, has already victimized hundreds of thousands in the island. In particular, extra-judicial killings have snuffed out 127 mass leaders and activists in Mindanao.
Some of the more grisly crimes of the AFP in the past couple of years include: the torture and frustrated murder by setting on fire two young activists on December 6, 2017 by elements of the 71st IBPA in Maco, Compostela Valley; the massacre of eight Lumad villagers in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato on December 3, 2017 by elements of the 33rd and 27th IB; the murder of 19-year old Lumad student Obillo Bay-ao by CAFGU elements on September 5, 2017 in Talaingod, Davao del Norte; and the shooting of a pregnant woman by elements of the 8th IBPA in Bukidnon on July 2016.
The AFP also deploys its attack helicopters, fighter jets and combat-capable drones to conduct bomb runs as well as its 105 mm cannons to launch artillery attacks on areas near or on hinterland Lumad and peasant villages. For instance, the nearly five hour aerial bombing and artillery attack on May 25, 2017 against several barangays in President Roxas, North Cotabato and Damulog, Bukidnon combined with ground operations of the 39th and 72nd IBPA; almost incessant bombings and shelling on areas in close proximity to Lumad schools and communities in the hinterlands of Lianga, Surigao del Sur and Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte; and, the attack of drones with combat capabilities on farms and hinterland communities of peasants and Lumad in several towns in Surigao del Norte.
Drones are being used by AFP units to assist them to either survey the area for their targets or to launch via remote control “rockets” to decimate whatever they consider their “enemy target,” which include civilian communities.
The extension of the implementation of martial law in Mindanao has left leaders and members of open and legitimate mass organizations to brutal attacks by the reactionary state, which employs the filing of trumped up charges, warrantless arrests, imprisonment and torture, surveillance and profiling of targeted individuals, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and other means of psywar and intimidation. The AFP also uses its “recruitment” activities in schools and colleges as a cover to conduct surveillance on students whom they suspect to be “recruiting for the NPA.”
The Duterte regime recently filed a case against more or less 600 individuals whom it claims to be members of the CPP, NPA and NDFP and aims to officially declare the CPP and the NPAas “terrorists.” This is a virtual hit list of the AFP’s targets for arrest, persecution or political assassinations, as many of the names, more than half of which are from Mindanao, include those from legal organizations, human rights workers and activists, prominent individuals and leaves space for those whom they wish to add later. This is also farcical because it also include names of people who are long dead and even some are elements who are now in cahoots with the AFP.
The regime’s Oplan Tokhang/Double barrel has not only been used to capture and kill small-time drug users and peddlers but also to arrest and even murder political activists. Duterte recently revealed his “true colors” when drug charges against drug lords Peter Lim and Peter Co and self-confessed drug kingpin Kerwin Espinosa were dropped by the courts on mere technicality. These big time drug dealers are in fact close buddies of Duterte.
After the five-month brutal siege of Marawi City, no clear and significant rehabilitation effort that serves the needs of the Bangsamoro who evacuated from the city is underway; Bangsamoro civilian leaders/representatives of the people who were deprived of their homes and livelihood have not been consulted by the Task Force Bangon Marawi. Marawi residents now reside in make-shift tents located in the outskirts of the city.
The US-Duterte regime remains unrelenting in its war against the Bangsamoro and continues to intensify it even after the Marawi seige and as it extends martial law in the island. On one hand, it engages in direct attacks against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF); continuing its bombing/shelling on Moro communities such as the S.K. Pendatun incident, which has resulted in the evacuation of a number of Moro communities.
While on the other, it continues to contain the MILF and the BIAF by dangling the enactment of the BBL into law, as well as the federal form of government as an assurance that the Bangsamaoro will have a “share” in the state’s power. However, the enactment of the BBL into law remains far from being realized and creates a more volatile condition for the rekindling of an even bigger Moro armed resistance against the reactionary government.
The intensified war against the Bangsamoro is part of the Asia-pivot design of US imperialism to buttress its hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region, where China is also increasing its hold. The US Armed Forces has launched Operation Pacific Eagle–Philippines, an all-out US counter-insurgency operation in the country which replaces Operation Enduring Freedom. This gives full license to US military forces to directly operate against “terrorists,” establish new military bases with more than 6,000 heactares of land in Marawi City granted to them as military reservation, and use all their deadly hi-tech weaponry against the people of Mindanao. This will also serve as a launch pad for its war against China and North Korea, and establish its claim over the South China Sea.
The NPA in Mindanao continues to surge in an all-round way
Despite the all-out attacks of the US-Duterte regime, the NPA is making headway in 46 guerrilla fronts in Mindanao, where its units are operating in more than 2,500 barrios in over 200 municipalities in 20 provinces in the island. In these areas, hundreds of thousands are directly organized, while tens of thousands are covered by the people’s revolutionary government at the barrio level, and a few at municipal levels.
In the first quarter of the year alone, the combined strength of all NPA units in the five regions of Mindanao have launched a relatively significant number of tactical offensives against enemy troops, which have been inflicted with more casualties.
NPA units are hard at work cooperating alongside revolutionary masses in launching agrarian revolution. Thousands have benefitted from its minimum program of agrarian reform, which include reduction in the rent of land, farm animals and tools and in the levels of usury, while striving to increase wage rates of farm workers, as well as the level of productivity in the base areas. NPA units also provide social services, such as medical services, and conduct revolutionary cultural campaigns which help raise the level of consciousness among the organized masses.
Under the absolute leadership of the CPP, the NPA is imbued with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as its ideological guide. Contrary to the claim that it has veered away from its principles, the NPA is strict in the implementation of its basic education, which is a collection of basic courses under the Pambansang Demokratikong Paaralan (PADEPA). It has made sure that members of the NPA who qualify for Party membership undergo the Basic Party Course (BPC) and the Intermediate Party Course (IC), and for cadres, the Advanced Party Course (AC).
NPA units regularly take stock of statements and articles featured in Ang Bayan, the official national publication of the CPP. At the same time, Red fighters are encouraged to read articles that feature burning issues of the day and, if they are able, to read revolutionary classics to help them strengthen their resolve and sharpen their analytical skills, especially in the midst of ever changing social conditions.
Red fighters are steeled and guided by its 3 Main Rules of Discipline and 8 Points of Attention enshrined in the Basic Rules of the New People’s Army in all their political and military undertakings. For instance, the NPA has displayed utmost discipline in the proper handling of prisoners of war and hors d’combat, taking into account the strict adherence to the CARHRIHL, Protocols, the Geneva Conventions and other international laws that govern civil wars.
NPA platoons and companies in Mindanao are now spread all over their base areas, helping the masses to defend themselves from impending attacks of enemy forces, recovering those relatively disrupted by enemy troops and re-invigorating revolutionary mass organizations into launching agrarian revolution campaigns and participating in meaningful activities that help advance the people’s war.
Further strengthen our efforts to reap more victories
Thus, on the occasion of the 49th anniversary of the founding of the New People’s Army, the NDFP–Mindanao resoundingly applauds the accumulated victories in the past year, and calls upon all Red fighter units to redouble efforts in launching more and more tactical offensives against operating enemy troops, utilizing a wide array of tactics and technics in order to achieve our strategic revolutionary goals.
The NPA must also make it a point to pay more attention in the intensification agrarian revolution campaigns, mobilizing the masses in their hundreds of thousands in order to bring about significant victories, both in the minimum and even in the maximum program.
We encourage NPA units in Mindanao to mark their every political and military undertaking this year as a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the re-establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines. We must take this opportunity to sum-up, learn from past mistakes, and aim ever higher to fulfil the requirements to help usher the people’s war towards the strategic stalemate phase and bring the nation ever closer to its glorious socialist future.#
Long live the New People’s Army, the real people’s army!
Long live the Communist Party of the Philippines!
Long live the People’s Democratic Revolution with a Socialist Perspective!
Ka Joaquin Jacinto, Spokesperson
29 March 2018