by Luis G. Jalandoni, Chief International Representative
National Democratic Front of the Philippines, 7 February 2016
The struggle of the Filipino people, like that of the Palestinian people and other struggling peoples, has a long history of resistance against foreign and domestic oppressors and exploiters. The Filipino people waged more than 200 revolts of varying scale during more than three centuries of Spanish colonial rule. An outstanding revolt lasted for 85 years in the island of Bohol, from 1744 to 1829.
In 1896, the Filipino revolutionaries waged an armed independence struggle. The forces of the declining Spanish colonial power were defeated. The Philippine Republic was proclaimed in 1898, the first of its kind in Asia.
But US imperialism, pretending to protect the Philippine Republic, imposed its colonial rule. The Filipino revolutionaries waged a war of independence against the US invasion. From 1899 to 1913, 1.5 million Filipinos lost their lives, as US imperialism brutally imposed its colonial rule. Most of the atrocities committed by US forces in Vietnam were perpetrated in the Philippine American War: various forms of water cure, food blockades, reconcentrations and massacres.
The Reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines
In 1965, young proletarian revolutionaries led by Comrade Jose Ma. Sison criticized the major errors of the old Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). They launched the First Great Rectification Movement which led to the reestablishment of the CPP on December 26, 1968, the founding of the New People’s Army (NPA) on March 29, 1969 and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on April 24, 1973. The CPP declared its being guided by Marxism, Leninism and Mao-Zedong Thought.
The reestablished Party ignited the revolutionary mass movement. In 1970, the First Quarter Storm broke out. Every week huge demonstrations of 50,000 to 100,000 people took place. The entire nation was politicalized. All over the country, the people learned that imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism are the basic problems of the people. Demonstrators sang songs praising the NPA. Manila and the other cities were aflame.
In the countryside, the peasant armed struggle burst out as the land frontier was exhausted due to massive landgrabbing by greedy landlords and corrupt politicians. The peasants welcomed the NPA. When martial law was declared in 1972, thousands of youth went to the countryside. Many joined the NPA. In the 1960s and early 1970s, revolutionary organizations were formed.
In the revolutionary mass movement in the cities and countryside, the role of the revolutionary party has been and still is essential.
The mass movement grew stronger, especially after the dictatorship killed opposition leader Benigno Aquino in 1983. In February 1986, the mass movement overthrew the dictator. At the same time there was a military rebellion.
The Second Great Rectification Movement
From 1985 to 1991, however, the growth of the revolutionary movement was stalled by major errors of a renegade group in the Party leadership. These errors caused serious losses in mass base. The CPP leadership therefore launched the Second Great Rectification Movement (SGRM) in 1992. It was mainly an educational movement to identify, repudiate and rectify the errors of urban insurrectionism, premature big formations of the NPA and anti-infiltration hysteria.
The rectification movement was embraced by the overwhelming majority of the Party members and revolutionary masses. It has won numerous victories, recovered lost mass base and expanded and consolidated. The winning line is intensifying the guerrilla warfare on the basis of an ever widening and deepening mass base.
Current Situation of the Philippine Revolutionary Struggle
Forty seven years since the reestablishment of the CPP, the people’s war it is waging has grown stronger.
There are now has more than 110 guerrilla fronts in 71 out of a total 81 provinces. Organs of political power are established in thousands of villages as well as in some towns and cities.
Seventy five percent of the population live and work in the countryside. Their main aspiration is genuine land reform. The CPP responds to this aspiration by carrying out the minimum and maximum land reform programs benefiting millions of peasants and farm workers.
The minimum land reform program consists of lowering the land rent paid to landlords, elimination or reduction of usury and raising farmworkers’ wages. It includes setting up of sideline occupations and building simple cooperatives.
In some areas, where the peasant associations are very consolidated and the NPA is sufficiently strong, the maximum program of land confiscation and free distribution of land to the tillers is implemented. These land reform programs are strengthened with revolutionary education, literacy and numeracy programs, health and cultural programs.
Organs of political power are built, based on the organizations of workers, peasants, youth, women, children and cultural activists. These comprise the rising revolutionary government of workers and peasants based in the wide countryside.
In Mindanao, southern Philippines, the NPA has expanded to 46 guerrilla fronts in five regions. In 2015, it has launched more than 500 tactical offensives. In other part of the country, NPA offensives are also carried out, although on a lesser scale.
In the urban areas, a vibrant legal democratic movement continues to grow in strength, arousing, mobilizing and organizing the workers, youth, women, urban poor, professionals, religious and other sectors to militantly take up people’s issues.
As the global and Philippine economic crisis worsens with the neoliberal policies of the reactionary government and the US, the legal democratic movement intensifies its actions against the US-Aquino regime.
Policies of privatization, deregulation, liberalization and denationalization have deepened the exploitation of the people and are driving to wage militant resistance.
With the elections coming up in May, the progressive parties in the Makabayan (Patriotic) Bloc are increasing their activities to promote patriotic and progressive candidates, expose the puppetry and corruption of the reactionaries, and engage in parliamentary struggle for the benefit of the people. The CPP, however, does not participate in the bourgeois elections. But it considers how the elections can benefit the people, how it may affect the civil war and the peace negotiations. It recognizes the positive role of patriotic groups and individuals in the parliamentary field.
Armed Struggle is the Main Form of Struggle
The revolutionary movement stresses the revolutionary armed struggle as the main form of struggle. The legal mass movement is an important complement to the revolutionary armed struggle. It includes the struggle for human rights, the parliamentary struggle, and the peace negotiations. All these forms of struggle are undertaken to advance the overall struggle for national and social liberation.
The perspective is to advance the people’s war so it can effectively move from the current strategic defensive stage to the strategic stalemate, and then further to the strategic offensive and nationwide victory. Then the socialist construction and revolution shall immediately be launched.
Adherence to International Humanitarian Law and Peace Negotiations
The CPP, NPA and NDFP have declared their adherence to the Geneva Conventions and Protocols. They are cooperating with the International Legal Advisory Team (ILAT) composed of more than a dozen international jurists, to help in matters of human rights, international humanitarian law and peace negotiations.
In peace negotiations with the reactionary government, the NDFP has forged more than ten agreements since 1992. The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992, the framework agreement, stipulates the principles of parity, reciprocity and non-capitulation, no surrender. The Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees of 1995 provides for safety and immunity for all participants in the peace negotiations from both parties. The Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of 1998 makes the Geneva Conventions part of the framework of the peace talks.
The Aquino regime, however, refuses to recognize and implement the past binding agreements and has sabotaged the peace talks. It refuses to hold talks with the NDFP. It only wants prolonged ceasefire and surrender.
From the very beginning, the revolutionary movement has been committed to international solidarity. It develops cooperative relations with revolutionary, anti-imperialist and progressive parties, movements and organizations. It fosters mutual sharing, learning from each other’s experience, including positive and negative lessons, to come up with practical programs and activities of mutual benefit. It seeks international solidarity support and at the same time contributes to building a strong anti-imperialist and socialist movement in the world. #