THE FILIPINO PEOPLE IN STRUGGLE DURING THE DUTERTE REGIME AND THEIR PERSPECTIVE BEYOND 2022 ELECTIONS
Speech by Jose Maria Sison, Chairperson Emeritus
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
April 23, 2023
Warmest greetings of peace and solidarity!
First of all, I wish to thank the Friends of the Filipino People in Struggle (FFPS/FRIENDS) for inviting me to speak at this conference with the theme, “Building Solidarity for the Filipino People
in Struggle” in order to celebrate the 1st anniversary of the revival of FRIENDS and the 49th anniversary of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and to strengthen international solidarity with the Filipino people in their revolutionary struggle for national and social liberation.
I appreciate that in your letter of invitation you acknowledge the Filipino people’s struggle against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism for the purpose of liberating themselves from the semi-colonial and semi-feudal ruling system that perpetuates landlessness, joblessness, exploitation of the toiling masses, widespread poverty and social insecurity. And you refer to the fact under the Duterte regime, the people have been viciously and brutally attacked through intensifying human rights violations, terrorist-tagging and widespread impunity in favor of foreign monopoly capitalism and the local reactionary classes of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists.
Indeed, in these trying times, international solidarity building and all round support is of utmost importance to the people’s struggle in the Philippines or in any other country where the people are oppressed and exploited. I welcome the experience-sharing among participants coming from struggles in various countries. This sharing is intended to deepen our understanding of the Filipino people’s revolutionary struggle and strengthen solidarity for the Filipino people and encourage them to contribute to the worldwide struggle of the people against imperialism and all reaction.
Let me proceed to discuss my assigned topic, “The Filipino People in struggle during the Duterte Regime and their perspective beyond 2022 elections”. I shall try to present to you the current national situation in the Philippines, especially the crisis of the ruling system; the forces of the counterrevolution; the forces of the revolution; and the way forward that the people and revolutionary forces are taking on the road of the new democratic revolution under the leadership of the working class.
I. The Worsening Crisis of the Ruling System
The semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system in the Philippines is in an ever worsening chronic socio-economic and political crisis because three monsters, imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism, are always sucking blood and sweat from the toiling masses of workers and peasants. All these monsters have been favored by the US-instigated policy of neoliberalism under the dogma of unbridled private greed of the monopoly bourgeoisie as the chief motive force for wealth creation in opposition to the truth that labor power creates wealth.
The basic lines of operation of the three monsters are as follows:
a. Imperialism keeps the country underdeveloped in order to take superprofits from the export of cheap raw materials, agricultural products and semi-manufactures, importing higher-priced manufactured and luxury products for the exploiting classes and providing the onerous loans to cover the perennial trade deficits.
b. Feudalism in the form of landlord-tenant relations is predominant in the countryside despite so many bogus land reform programs and development of a certain amount of semi-feudal relations. In the absence of national industrial development, bourgeois land reform programs have always retrogressed to the revival of traditional feudalism in old and new settlements.
c. Bureaucrat capitalism is what characterizes the highest officials of the reactionary state who use their offices to accumulate private wealth in the form of bureaucrat capital in bank deposits and urban property as well in big comprador enterprises and agricultural landholdings. The favorite methods of corruption by bureaucrat capitalists include the so-called pork barrel in infrastructure projects, cutting into private contracts, government purchases of equipment and the like.
In all the years that he is president, Duterte has followed the policy dictates of the US government, the multilateral financial institutions and foreign credit rating agencies, as well as the promptings of the local American Chamber of Commerce and their local big comprador partners. These are in line with expanding the interests of the US and other foreign big banks and corporations and local big bourgeois compradors, big landlords and the bureaucrat capitalists.
The economic policies adopted by subservient regimes have caused the Philippine economy to stagnate and remain underdeveloped, agrarian, semi-feudal and non-industrial. Production remains import-dependent, export-oriented and debt-burdened due to trade and budgetary deficits. Limited industrial production is low-value added and involves mainly the assembly of imported components or packaging. Agriculture remains largely small-scale employing hand tools and very limited use of machinery.
Under the Duterte regime, the ruling system has become even more rotten and unable to address the needs of the Filipino people who suffer from a high rate of unemployment, grossly low wages, loss of income, landlessness and land grabbing, rising prices, grave lack or inadequacy social services in education, health and public housing and other serious social ills. The regime has bankrupted the economy and has sunk into deeper into crisis.
In less than six years, the public debt doubled from ₱5.9 trillion in 2016 to more than ₱12 trillion last March, and is expected to rise further to ₱13.42 trillion by end of this year. Large-scale corruption, wasteful and anomalous infrastructure projects and military overspending have bankrupted the government, resulting in record levels of deficit spending reaching a high of ₱1.67 trillion last year.
The traitor Duterte regime has allowed the foreign monopoly firms and banks to tighten their control and expand their domination of the local economy through amendments of the Foreign Investments Act, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act and the Public Service Act which all circumvent and violate the categorical limits in the 1987 Constitution against full foreign ownership and operation of businesses. These laws will now allow the imperialists to fully own and operate enterprises in all fields of investments, except defense, certain public utilities such as distribution of electricity and water, and in smaller retail trade.
Duterte has signed the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Law that reduces corporate taxes by 5% (which equates to ₱600 billion in lost revenue over the next five years) as supposed incentive to attract more foreign investments. He has lifted the moratorium on open-pit mining and other mining operations which allows foreign mining firms to further plunder and extract mineral resources from the country’s mountains, rivers, land and sea. He has allowed the Chinese Coast Guard, militia and fishing fleets to take over the West Philippine Sea and drive away Filipino fishermen.
He has enacted the Rice Import Liberalization Law in order to flood the domestic market with imported state-subsidized rice and to harm the interest of rice farmers who have suffered from the low buying price of palay set by the government. Vegetable farmers and meat producers are also being subjected to unfair competition by rampant smuggling under the cover of all-out liberalization. Chinese industrial fishing in and around Philippine territorial waters have depleted the country’s marine resources making life difficult for Filipino fisherfolk.
He has expanded the business privileges of the foreign monopoly firms and has reduced their taxes. But under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, he has required the people to shoulder onerous excise taxes on commodities and services. It is at the expense of the poor consumers and working people that he seeks to cover the mounting debts and revenue losses due to tax cuts in favor of foreign and big comprador corporations. He and his subordinates are further concocting additional taxes on workers, peasants, the underpaid employees and other toiling people.
As bureaucrat capitalists, they use their power to accumulate ill-gotten wealth. Corruption continues to worsen in the form of kickbacks and bribes in exchange for government favors in state-related contracts and white elephant projects that are reminiscent of and comparable to the wasteful infrastructure spending under the 14-year Marcos dictatorship. Many of these graft-laden bridges, coastal roads and land reclamation are unnecessary and take away the source of living of peasants and fisherfolk.
The Filipino people have suffered greatly from Duterte’s overspending on the military and police for the purchase of overpriced surplus military equipment from the US, and to raise above standard the salaries of officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) in order to buy their loyalty. It is now a big problem for the finance officers of the reactionary government to raise the yearly amount of Php 800 billion to maintain the salary increases for uniformed personnel and upward adjustment of their pensions. And we do not yet speak about providing for military corruption under such accounts as the Anti-Terror Council, the National Task Force to Eliminate Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, Community Support Program and Barangay Development Program.
Due to military overspending and corruption, public education, public health and other social services have suffered from lack of funding and from drastic budgetary cuts. Consequently, students, their parents and teachers suffer from classroom and teacher shortages, slave-level salaries, and lack of infrastructure for distance learning and facilities for the safe reopening of in-person classes. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the gross shortage of doctors, nurses and medical workers in public hospitals and high costs of laboratory tests and treatment and brought to light the Pharmally racket and scandal in which Duterte, his mistress Honeylet and his valet Bong Go have rechanneled to their private pockets tens of billions of pesos from the national budget budget for the public health campaign against Covid-19.
Right now, the broad masses of he people, especially the workers and peasants, are overburdened by displacement from work and the rising prices of fuel, food and other basic commodities and utilities while big comprador companies rake in gargantuan profits. Under Duterte, the toiling masses have suffered from wage repression and wage cuts which can no longer cover the daily cost of living of the majority of Filipino families. The exploitation and oppression of workers are intensified through short-term job contracting, other flexible labor arrangements and outright dismissals.
Millions of jobless people are desperately cramped in large shanty towns in cities. In the countryside, rampant land-use conversion and land grabbing by big landlords, mining companies, infrastructure projects and expansion of plantations have forced the displacement of hundreds of thousands of peasants from their land. All in all, up to 70% of Filipinos precariously live on or below the poverty threshold, while 10% to 15% are in danger of falling into extreme penury and poverty.
It is preposterous that the Duterte regime and its followers still boast that the Bongbong Marcos-Duterte tandem and slate of crooks and butchers are so popular that they will win the 2022 elections. They can do so only through fraud and terrorism. The Filipino people abhor the Duterte regime for its treasonous, tyrannical, brutal and corrupt rule. They perceive and detest Marcos presidential candidate and Sara Duterte the vice presidential candidate as the combination of the worst of the political dynasties that have ruled the Philippines. The Duterte regime is extremely isolated.
But Duterte’s lust for power knows no bounds, especially because he wishes to avoid prosecution for his crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court, for crimes of plunder before the courts of his own state and for his crimes of counterrevolution before the people’s court. His scheme to use the Marcos-Duterte tandem to avoid criminal accountability has heightened contradictions among rival factions of the big comprador-landlord ruling class.
He is hell-bent on rigging the 2022 elections in favor of the Marcos-Duterte tandem and slate. And he is inclined to declare nationwide martial law supposedly to preempt the “disruption” of the electoral process and ensure a “seamless transition” to his chosen successors. But this will certainly incite widespread mass protests and cause further instability of the ruling system. Mass rallies being mobilized by the main political opposition party and the progressives forces continue to grow large, disprove the false claims of popular support for Duterte and his candidates and indicate the victory of the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem and slate.
But among the major factions of the ruling classes, there is also a trend to support a Robredo-Duterte tandem as a compromise for the presidential and vice presidential posts. The US imperialists have delayed in indicating their choice of candidates for such posts, although calculations are rife that the US wants the state terrorism and brutal counterrevolution to continue, with some softer gloves.
There is certainty or at least high probability that Duterte will rig the vote count and even declare martial law in the remainder of his term in May and June to declare martial law. But the huge mass rallies being mobilized by the opposition, the churches and the legal democratic forces can still dissuade or prevent him from committing electoral fraud and declaring martial law. But of course US imperialism and its Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency operatives and assets within the reactionary armed forces will provide the puppet Duterte with the most weighty advice.
Whatever the outcome of the May elections, the broad masses Filipino people are determined to continue with their struggles to assert, defend and promote their national and democratic rights and aspirations. They can rise up to overthrow the usurpers of political powers as swiftly as in 1986 after the Marcos fascist dictatorship rigged the elections or they must wage a relentless struggle for a longer period of time just to overthrow the usurpers. At any rate, they must contend with and resist state terrorism and the high degree of militarization of the reactionary state counterinsurgency state.
In any case, the Filipino people will have to deal with the consequences of the 2022 elections within the frame of the new democratic revolution through protracted people’s war in order to overthrow imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism, end the oppressive and exploitative semicolonial and semifeudal system, strengthen the people’s democratic government under the leadership of the proletariat and lay the foundation of a socialist society.
II. The Forces of the Armed Counterrevolution
Despite the attempts of the Duterte regime to sell out the sovereign rights of the Filipino people to China in the West Philippine Sea and to lure China to extend a loan of USD 24 billion for infrastructure projects, the US remains the dominant imperialist power in the Philippines and retains command and control over the puppet reactionary armed forces. It has used the reactionary state and its coercive apparatuses to impose imperialist and fascist power over the Filipino people. The puppet reactionary armed forces and police follow US “counterinsurgency” doctrine, despite its repeated failures and defeats elsewhere in the world.
The US provides military indoctrination, training, intelligence, military supplies by grants and credit sales within the frame of the Mutual Defense Treaty, the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, and its Operation Pacific Eagle – Philippines. US troops, military equipment and weapons are permanently stationed in AFP camps and elsewhere in the Philippines alongside China telecom towers. To enhance its command and control over the AFP, the US has conducted more than 1,300 bilateral military activities in the Philippines and docked their war ships at least 850 times over the past six years.
Under the direction, planning and funding of the US Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and openly known American military advisers in the US-RP Military Advisory Group, the Philippine reactionary state has brazenly adopted fascist policies, militarized the bureaucracy, suppressed civil liberties and human rights and unleashed brutal attacks, including abductions, torture, assassinations and massacres.
They have put counterinsurgency and anti-communist suppression in the center of state policy. They have enlarged the power of the military and police, under the so-called Anti-Terror Law of 2020. The bureaucracy has been reorganized to place civilian state agencies under the control of the Anti-Terrorism Council and National Task Force-Elcac. These constitute a civil-military junta that actually commands the entire government.
Violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the military and police have run rampant both in the cities and rural areas. Labor unionists, community organizers, youth and women activists, as well as human rights advocates, progressive religious leaders, teachers and health workers have been subjected to surveillance, red-tagging, harassments, arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings. The situation is even worse in the countryside. Gross and systematic violations of human rights rights by the military and police are under-reported by reactionary government agencies and corporate media.
The enemy forces erased all distinctions between combatants and civilians. It arbitrarily accuses people of being “communists” or “communist terrorists” and is using the Anti-Terror Law to justify gross and systematic violations of people’s rights and freedoms. They lay siege on communities by mobilizing large numbers of troops in night-time or early-morning raids on peasant homes and commit such atrocities as in the frequent killings of the Lumad in Mindanao, Oplan Sauron in Negros, the massacre of Tumandok minorities in Capiz and the Bloody Sunday mass killing of activists in Southern Tagalog. They occupy the barangay halls, schools and clinics, terrorise the people and deprive them of public services.
Entire villages or clusters of villages are placed under military rule, bringing about a climate of terror and hardships on the peasant masses. AFP detachments turn civilian structures into barracks, deploy perimeter guards to hamper people’s movements, set up checkpoints to control commerce (under the pretext of stopping the NPA’s food supplies), prevent them from going to their farms and the forest, and obstructing production on the false claim that the extra harvest will go the NPA.
The troops and police incessantly harass the peasant masses, arbitrarily accuse them of supporting the revolutionary movement, make them sign attendance sheets in meetings and make them pose on camera as “surrenderees”, subject them to surveillance, conduct night raids on their homes, force them to disaffiliate from their legal community organizations, abduct or arrest people on false charges and murder peasant leaders and activists.
Despite repeated claims that 24,000 NPA commanders and fighters have either surrendered or have been killed, that so many guerilla fronts have been broke up and that the total destruction of the NPA is imminent before the end of Duterte’s term, the AFP and PNP continue to increase its counterguerrilla combat forces and receive a bigger budget. There are now 166 combat battalions of Army, Air Force, Marines, Scout Rangers, PNP Special Action Forces and other military and police units deployed against the NPA, 21 more than the previous year. The AFP can deploy 5 to 6 battalions against “priority” or “focused” guerrilla subregional or front areas of the NPA, and deploy 2 to 3 in non-priority areas.
The AFP and PNP have established joint commands and operations. They have increased their joint deployment of combat troops against the NPA by building new units and battalions and redeploying forces from the Moro areas after the capitulation of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Nevertheless, the AFP has spent at least ₱900 million to set up a new division (the 11th ID) that is set to be deployed in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi under the operational control of the US military forces permanently operating in the area.
Almost 60% of enemy combat troops are concentrated in five of thirteen regions, namely, Southern Tagalog, Eastern Visayas, Southern Mindanao, Bicol and North Central Mindanao. There is a marked increase in the deployment of troops in Far South Mindanao, Negros, Southern Mindanao, Eastern Visayas, Cagayan Valley and Southern Tagalog. The AFP conducts large-scale and focused military operations, coordinate its various branches and make full use of the whole range of its arsenal against the guerrilla forces of the NPA. But at any given time, the AFP and the PNP cannot cover and control more than 10 per cent of the Philippine population and terrain despite huge military overspending.
Duterte’s budget for the military further increased to ₱221 billion this year from ₱217 billion last year. Despite questionable spending, the budget of the NTF-Elcac further increased to ₱17.5 billion (from ₱4.2 billion) although ₱10 billion is categorized as unallocated. Most of the public money being allocated for state terrorism is actually the object of massive corruption by the Duterte ruling cliques and a handful of military and police top brass, especially through overpriced payments for domestic and foreign supplies.
Even then, in the past six years, the AFP has received a total of $1.14 billion worth of military assistance in the form of Foreign Military Financing, military training programs and others. The Duterte regime has spent hundreds of billions of pesos to purchase attack and combat utility helicopters, jet fighters and attack aircraft, cannons and artillery systems, 500-lb and 250-lb bombs, rockets and missiles, drone systems, tanks, armored personnel carrier, electronic surveillance and communication equipment, rifles, ammunition and so on.
The US has provided GPS tracking systems, button-sized cameras to track guerrilla movement in forested areas, equipment for cellphone surveillance, and so on. It has trained AFP personnel to enhance their cyberwarfare capabilities in internal communication systems, real-time monitoring of the battlefield and improve command capability and mobilization of forces. It directs AFP to control the “information environment” through psyops and disinformation and to mount cyberattacks against the websites of the CPP and NDFP, and other patrioticc and progressive websites that are critical of the Duterte regime.
The AFP tries vainly to politically undermine the revolutionary movement by parading “surrenderees” and corpses and claiming that they were “deceived by promises of a better life,” by criminalizing revolutionary forces through lawfare, and making repeated fake news of receiving “information from civilians” against operating NPA units. It unleashes campaigns to glorify the AFP through tokenistic and palliative “livelihood” or “housing” projects and misrepresents infrastructure projects and social services of civilian agencies as those of the military.
But by far the atrocities inflicted by the reactionary armed forces and police on the people outstrip the hypocritical attempts to “win the hearts and and minds of the people. The coercive apparatuses of the reactionary state cannot be but instruments of the gross and systematic violation of human rights. The main drive of the Duterte regime is to destroy the revolutionary movement of the people and whip up fascist brutality, guarantees impunity and emboldens the violation of the people’s democratic rights and freedoms.
The evil purpose is to preserve the ruling system and serve the interests of US imperialism and the local exploiting classes. The reactionary state under Duterte has ruled through unbridled terror against the people, from the sham “war on drugs” to the counterrevolutionary war of military suppression. State forces have wantonly committed crimes against the people including the massacre of civilians, the abduction, torture and murder of activists, as well as unarmed revolutionaries and even peace consultants of the NDFP, aerial bombing and shelling of civilian communities and so on. The number of political prisoners who languish in jail for prolonged periods continue to rise despite the priority given by the regime to the murder of suspected revolutionaries.
III. The Revolutionary Forces of the People on the Way Forward
Let me now discuss the status of the revolutionary forces in the Philippines and shed light on the way forward that they have taken in the struggle for national and social liberation. I rely mainly on the publications issued by the CPP, NPA, NDFP and other revolutionary organizations of the Filipino people, by legal patriotic and progressive publications and by scholarly sources of information.
The Communist Party of the Philippines is the advanced detachment of the proletariat. It is guided by the theory of of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and applies it on the concrete practice of the Philippine revolution. It leads the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. It builds the Party branches and Party committees at all levels of the NPA and the revolutionary mass organizations and at all territorial levels nationwide. It has a general membership of more than 150,000.
The people’s democratic revolution has persevered for so long and has grown in strength. It is invincible because the Party keeps on raising the level of revolutionary consciousness and practice of Party cadres and members, commanders and fighters of the NPA and auxiliary forces, the activists of the revolutionary mass organizations, revolutionary alliances and the officers and personnel of the people’s democratic government.
The Party wields as main weapon the armed struggle waged by the NPA in order to smash the state power of the counterrevolutionary class and establish the organs of political power which now constitute the people’s democratic government. It also wields the national united front built by the National Democratic Front in order to win the active support of the Filipino people in their millions and prepare the higher levels of the people’s democratic government.
The national united front involves the basic alliance of the working class and the peasantry, winning over the petty and middle bourgeoisie and taking advantage of the splits among the reactionaries in order to isolate and destroy the power of the enemy, be it the worst reactionary faction in the civil war or the foreign aggressor in the war of national liberation.
The anti-feudal united front policy of the Party is important because it is at the foundation of the national united front main form of struggle being carried out by the NPA. It involves the Party relying mainly on the masses of peasants and farm workers, winning over the middle peasants, neutralizing the rich peasants, taking advantage of the contradictions between the enlightened and evil gentry and isolating and destroying the power of the local feudal tyrants.
The NPA has enjoyed the wide and deepgoing support of the peasants masses because they have been a decisive factor in the implementation of genuine land reform, from the minimum to the maximum program, and have courageously and have indefatigably defended the people against the feudal and semi-feudal tyrants and the fascist onslaughts of the AFP and PNP under the Duterte and previous regimes.
The NPA has thousands of Red commanders and fighters and is reinforced the people’s militia, consisting of the local guerrillas the self-defense of the revolutionary mass organizations. It aims to go through the probable stages of development in protracted people’s war which include the strategic defensive with the guerrilla warfare as the main form of warfare, the strategic stalemate with regular mobile warfare and the strategic offensive combining mobile warfare and positional warfare against the final holdouts of the AFP.
The NPA is now carrying out intensive and extensive guerrilla warfare on the flanks and rear of enemy forces to annihilate enemy units and seize their weapons. It launches back-to-back inter-front or inter-subregional tactical offensives in order to make the enemy bleed from a thousand cuts and to deliver periodic blows to its head; and special tactical offensives along the enemy’s main lines of transportation and communications. It mobilizes the militia units to maintain internal security, smash the enemy’s intelligence network, gather intelligence, draw a complete map of the enemy’s positions and help in the plan to deliver effective blows on the enemy.
It strives to disable the enemy’s communication system, target the enemy’s air assets and punish the fascist criminal bosses. It sabotages the capabilities of the enemy wherever possible and carries out punitive measures against vulnerable enemy units and elements in order to render justice to their victims and compel the enemy to go on the defensive wherever possible and reduce the number of enemy forces arrayed against the guerrilla fronts.
It avoids purely defensive actions, setbacks and losses. It forgoes convenience for security, like choosing to take the long and arduous route, rather than pass through a possible enemy ambush site. It observes strictly the policies and lessons learned to counter the enemy’s campaign of aerial bombing and strafing and artillery shelling; and deny the enemy any precise target. They render ineffective the enemy’s drones and other methods of electronic and ground surveillance by avoiding at all times and at all costs, giving the enemy any sign of one’s location (smoke, light and electronic signals.
The NPA strengthens itself politically and militarily. It has a clear plan to recruit thousands upon thousands of Red fighters from among the toiling masses of workers and peasants, especially the youth. It also recruit from the ranks of the petty bourgeois intelligentsia. Local Party branches and mass organizations, both in the rural areas and cities, have clear plans and methods for deploying their members to the NPA.
The NPA conducts politico-military training of its commanders and fighters to enable them to lead NPA units in both mass work and military work. Every NPA fighter follows the Three Main Rules of Discipline and Eight Points of Attention, as well as the specific policies and points of discipline to maintain the security of NPA units while encamped, in bivouac, in mass work or in mounting tactical offensives.
The NPA builds itself both vertically and horizontally, striking the correct balance between the two. It builds and integrates the three types of NPA formations in every guerrilla front, subregion and region: the NPA platoons for mass work (armed propaganda units); the guerrilla platoons to undersized company guerrilla units at the subregional and regional level that serve as centers-of-gravity of guerrilla warfare in their area, and which also bears the basic elements of mobile guerrilla warfare; and the local guerrilla militia units and self-defense militia units of mass organizations.
The NPA builds its armed strength and develops appropriate weapons to fight the enemy. It relies mainly on seizing rifles and other weapons from the enemy. It combines the use of high-powered weapons with indigenous or low-powered weapons, including home-made hand guns, as well as develops command-detonated and hand-held explosives or grenades from available materials. These weapons are made in large numbers for wide use among the Red fighters and militia units. The NPA trains to use its rifles or develop weapons against enemy aircraft.
Over the past six years, the NPA has successfully frustrated the enemy’s brutal and large-scale strategic offensives and its declarations of ending the armed revolution before the end of term of the US-Duterte regime. It has preserved its forces by persevering along the path of protracted people’s war and by resolutely advancing the Filipino people’s struggle for genuine national independence and democracy. We devote much time on the NPA in this presentation because it plays a decisive role in advancing the Philippine revolution. As Chairman Mao teaches us, without the people’s army, the people have nothing.
NPA units have successfully mastered the tactics of counter-encirclement through dispersal and quick movement of smaller units to penetrate through the gaps of enemy forces on the rough terrain of the countryside in order to strike at the weak points of the enemy on his flanks and rear. They have successfully compelled the enemy to overstretch his forces by expanding the NPA’s areas of operation to cover 6-10 towns while maintaining close leadership of the masses and mounting armed actions across the breadth of its territory.
Units of the NPA are strictly observing military discipline and security policies, and further developing guerrilla methods of secrecy in maneuvering and encampment, in order to render ineffective the enemy’s use of drones, satellite trackers, and electronic signals, combined with ground intelligence forces, for surveillance and target acquisition; and thus, deny the enemy of an opportunity to use their aerial assets to drop bombs and strafing.
In areas within the enemy’s focus and villages under military occupation, the NPA and the masses are successfully standing firm, parrying the enemy’s attacks, mounting counter-attacks and defending themselves. The masses are inspired by the slogan “Don’t be cowed into silence!” and are fighting back through armed and unarmed forms of resistance. They have driven away military detachments from their communities.
Directly or indirectly, they have refused the enemy’s orders to gather firewood and water, or buy for them supplies, or to render work in the enemy’s camp. They refuse to allow the enemy to secretly arrest anyone or interrogate them one by one. They paint slogans around their village condemning the presence and abuses of the enemy. Military detachments are torched or destroyed when the fascist troops leave even temporarily to carry out operations.
The NPA raises the level of cultural activity within its ranks and among the masses. Red fighters and commanders are taught and encouraged to express their experiences, the oppression and aspirations of the masses, contempt for the enemy and propagation of revolutionary ideas in various creative forms which in turn can help raise and strengthen the revolutionary will of their fellow fighters and the masses. The cultural influences of the ruling system that poison the minds of the youth are rejected and the national, scientific and mass culture is promoted.
The masses are the source of strength of the NPA. The NPA therefore always aims to strengthen the ties that bind it with the masses. It mobilizes the masses in their millions. It defends and supports the agrarian revolution. The mass struggles against all forms of feudal oppression are combined with their struggles against imperialism and fascism. The number of organized masses run in the millions and support the CPP, NPA, NDFP and the people’s democratic government.
The NPA and all revolutionary forces work hard to carry out widespread propaganda, agitation, mobilization of the masses. It must carry out all forms of propaganda to effectively reach the people in their areas of operation. It distributes actively and widely the Ang Bayan, other revolutionary publications, and statements of the CPP, NPA and NDFP at the national and regional levels to clarify the stand and views of the revolutionary movement on the outstanding issues confronting the country and people in the regions.
Local NPA units produce and distribute leaflets and local newsletters to present analysis of local issues and problems of the people to raise their consciousness and militancy to fight for their rights and interests. They always conduct social investigation and gather the facts on the pressing problems of the masses in their villages and towns. They can produce local radio or video programs. They can link up with the youth and the masses in their areas in various ways. They also exert efforts to work with media outfits to serve as platform for reaching out to the people.
Local militia units and mass organizations carry out propaganda in their villages and town centers. Among others, they can mount operations to paint slogans or paste posters on walls to express their grievances against military abuses in their areas or to raise their economic demands. Local chapters of basic mass organization can issue statements and distribute them among the residents.
The NPA resolutely and vigorously expose and oppose the lies and disinformation being spread by the enemy. It uses all means to gather all facts and proofs to express the truth. The units of the NPA conduct campaigns of mass education and mass organizing, raising production, public health and sanitation, self-defense, disaster relief and environmental protection. The NPA has excellent work in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as other diseases endemic in the local area. They mount mass clinics and provide health services to the masses.
The NPA vigorously develops a revolutionary cultural movement among the masses by promoting revolutionary songs, poems, dances, dramatic act, skits and other works of art. It organizes local choral or dance troupes of youth and children, and mount inter-village or inter-town festivals to promote the local revolutionary culture. The NPA also teaches the masses the use of tactics to turn the reactionary law against their oppressors. They can make use of various forms of organization and mobilization to draw the biggest participation of a community, and apply the united front policy and tactics to rely on the basic masses and take advantage of splits among the enemy.
The Party, the NDFP and various mass organizations enourage the broad masses in the cities to join or support the revolutionary armed struggle in the countryside. Extra efforts are being exerted to carry out education and propaganda among the masses who are daily exposed to the lies of the enemy through mass media and social media. The connections and interactions of exploitation and oppression are being exposed between the problems of workers and the unemployed, students, urban poor, professionals, ordinary employees and other oppressed sectors with the problems of the peasant masses in the countryside.
The masses in the cities are inspired to wage militant collective struggle to defend their rights and welfare, fight political repression under the fascist regime, and resist imperialist domination and military intervention. They issue timely slogans and calls to urge the masses to mount protest actions in their factories and workplaces, in school campuses and communities, and to take to the streets and demonstrate in big numbers to denounce the oppressive economic policies, mendicancy of the ruling regime, all-out liberalization, tax burdens, low wages and low salaries, skyrocketing of prices of food and fuel, tuition increases, and rising cost of other services.
Party branches and committees, and the underground revolutionary sectoral organizations allied with the NDFP are being built in the cities. These organizations have millions of members and perform their role in propaganda and education to raise the revolutionary consciousness of the people in the cities. They expose and oppose the “terrorist designation” against the CPP, NPA and NDFP which the fascists use as pretext for state terrorism and the US imperialists use as pretext for military intervention.
They have encouraged the masses in the cities to join the NPA in the countryside, facilitated integration and coordination and helped generate political and material support for the revolutionary armed struggle. They have helped to ensure the safety of activists and mass leaders who are subjected to fascist persecution or threats of arrest or murder, and facilitate their transfer to the countryside to avail of the protection of the NPA and to become ever more active and effective fighters for national and social liberation.
Revolutionary propaganda has been addressed specifically to the rank and file foot soldiers of the enemy who come from the toiling masses and are used as cannon fodder in the enemy’s brutal counterinsurgency operations. They are urged to leave the reactionary military and police and to join their class brothers and sisters in fighting for the just cause of the oppressed and exploited. They called upon them to expose their knowledge of the crimes, corruption and high-living of the officers of the AFP and to bring their weapons to the side of the revolution.
The CPP, NPA and the NDFP, as well as other revolutionary mass organizations, have had an outstanding record of being able to win over enemy officers, cadets and enlisted personnel to the revolutionary side. The disintegration of the enemy forces is complementary to the annihilation of enemy forces in the battlefield and is accomplished by prudent and persuasive methods outside of the battlefield, acceptance of enemy surrenders and lenient treatment to those who surrender.
The youth are called upon by the people and their revolutionary forces to shun the reactionary armed forces and police, no matter the promises of high salaries, by exposing the AFP and PNP as enemies of the people and exposing their crimes against the people. They are being persuaded by their friends and relatives to leave the military, police and paramilitary academies and trainin g programs and not to become oppressors of the people.
In addition to the more than ten million Filipinos who stay unemployed in the Philippines, another more than ten million have left the country as cheap labor abroad since the late 1970s. They are more than 10 per cent of the Philippine population and more than 20 per cent of the Philippine labor force. Efforts are being intensified to inform the migrant Filipinos and the peoples around the world about the ever worsening conditions of oppression and exploitation in then Philippines and the justness of the revolutionary armed struggle for national and social liberation from US imperialism and the local exploiting classes.
We strive to gain international support under the principles of anti-imperialist solidarity and proletarian internationalism, through solidarity mass work, partnerships of Filipino progressive organizations with their counterparts abroad and through proto-diplomatic and diplomatic relations with governments that are anti-imperialist and assertive of national independence and socialist programs or aspirations.
In this regard, we appreciate highly and are grateful for the international solidarity work and cooperation of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle and the various organizations of BAYAN and likewise the Friends of the Filipino People in Struggle and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. They have achieved a lot in their work and cooperative relations. They have strengthened themselves and extended support to the Filipino in their struggle. They have also been supportive whenever the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations are held abroad to address the roots of the civil war in the Philippines.
In view of the red-tagging by the forces of imperialist and state terrorism in the Philippines, we must point out that both BAYAN and NDFP are for the noble and just principles of national independence and democracy but they cannot be equated with each other because BAYAN is a legal federation of patriotic and democratic forces and NDFP is the national united front for people’s democratic revolution and then people’s democratic government. Overseas Filipinos and their foreign friends have found more freedom to relate openly to either one or both of BAYAN and NDFP than Filipinos who are subjected to state terrorism in the Philippines.
Thank you. ###