On the commemoration of the 32nd anniversary of the Edsa Uprising
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Mindanao (NDFP-Mindanao) joins the nation in remembering the heroism of the Filipino people in the EDSA uprising, which, 32 years ago, was one of the great results of a two-decade struggle, both non-armed and armed, that fought against and strove to topple the US-Marcos regime. People from various classes and sectors, particularly workers, professionals, the religious and the youth and students, massed up along the main thoroughfare of the nation’s capital to express their denunciation and disgust against years of the US-Marcos regime’s fascist dictatorial rule.
Although clearly the transition from Marcos to Cory was merely a change in leadership and did not altogether eradicated the semifeudal, semicolonial social system of the country, it is, on one hand, important to acknowledge the sheer collective capacity of a people, united under the aim of restoring real democracy, to be able to kick-out a fascist dictator of twenty years from power. It was, on the other, a dress rehearsal for future people’s protests that will surge alongside the people’s armed revolution in order to once and for all liberate the nation from the dictatorship of the ruling classes of landlords, big comprador bourgeoisie and US imperialism, and end the oppression and exploitation of semicolonialism and semifeudalism.
Only into its second year in power, the US-Duterte regime has already displayed a degree of fascism comparable if not worse than that of Marcos. Duterte, in the past couple of years, imposed policies of death and destruction by way of his major three wars: Oplan Tokhang, Oplan Kapayapaan, and the war against the Moro people by imposing martial law in Mindanao.
With Oplan Tokhang now fully operational and restored in the hands of the PNP, the country can only expect no less than the further escalation of extrajudicial killings perpetrated by both police operatives and state-sponsored death squads. Tokhang has already taken the lives of more than 13,000, and at this point, the level of brazenness and impunity will even go much higher and more widespread.
Duterte’s case before the International Criminal Court, should it seriously push through and become a full blown trial, will be an opportunity for the relatives of the hundreds of victims of Tokhang and extrajudicial killings to seek for justice. It can also serve as one of the platforms for the Filipino people to encourage the international community to help by means of amplifying their condemnation as well against the fascism of the US-Duterte regime.
While the impact of the ICC is yet to unfold, it is imperative for the local people’s movement led by the church people, professionals, progressive groups, students, the middle sector, workers and peasants against extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations to strengthen and broaden itself. This is to lay the foundation in the country for any international support to pour in.
In the Mindanao countryside, Duterte’s Oplan Kapayapaan (OPK) is the brutal encirclement and suppression campaign of the regime aimed at suppressing the masses and defeating the revolutionary movement. It has launched series of focus and sustained combat operations in the island’s hinterlands. These brutal military operations have ensnared thousands of masses in situations replete with harassment, bombings, shelling and other vile manifestations of state terrorism. As a result, hundreds of thousands have fled their villages, farms and other sources of livelihood, and suffer dire conditions in evacuation areas.
OPK’s terror also extends to towns and cities where leaders and members of legitimate mass organizations fall prey to the Duterte regime’s crackdown, which employ surveillance, illegal arrests, political killings, filing of trumped up charges, psychological warfare and other forms of Marconian tactics.
The AFP has also unleashed psywar operations and schemes and employed manufactured scenarios designed to be able to circulate propaganda — ‘fake news’ — aimed at vilifying and slandering the revolutionary movement and its leaders. In a desperate effort to justify Duterte’s “terrorist” tag, the AFP has gone berserk, directing their local thugs to commit the most grisly of murders and falsely pin the act on the NPA. This perfidious scheme was employed in the Southern, NorthEastern and Far Southern regions in Mindanao, in the AFP’s desperate attempt to use and deceive the masses into going against the revolutionary movement. While it may have affected a few people, it will never be able to destroy the credibility of the CPP-NPA-NDFP that has been buttressed by its own rectification movement.
In the meantime, Duterte’s war against the Bangsamoro continues to escalate in Mindanao as the extended martial law goes halfway into the first quarter of the year. Outside of a still devastated Marawi City, the AFP, on one hand, continues to run after Bangsamoro groups, both legitimate and armed, that continue to assert the Moro people’ genuine right to self-determination. On the other, Duterte keeps the Moro at bay with promises of more political and economic power once his own version of the BBL is approved and “federalism” – which is nothing but his dictatorship — is enshrined.
The NDFP – Mindanao calls upon the Filipino people to renew their commitment to a genuine form of people power that serves the interest of the masses, not of any faction or US imperialism, that will thwart anew the looming fascist-dictatorship of the US-Duterte regime. As this regime imposes more and more taxes on the people and drowns the country in billions of dollars in debt for its ambitious ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure frenzy, the people must launch bigger and more militant protests against the US-Duterte clique, protests that are far wider and more frequent compared to that of the EDSA uprising.#
Ka Joaquin Jacinto, Spokesperson