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NPA turns 50 today; CPP calls for intensified guerrilla warfare

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) called on the New People’s Army (NPA) to boldly intensify guerrilla warfare and wage all-out resistance against the Rodrigo Duterte government as the revolutionary army celebrates its 50th founding anniversary today.

Congratulating Red fighters all over the country, the CPP’s top leadership said the NPA continues to advance nationwide and succeeded in surmounting Duterte’s all-out offensives and focused military operations in 2018.

Founded by the CPP in March 29, 1969 in Sta. Rita, Capas, Tarlac, the NPA started with only nine rifles and 26 inferior firearms for 60 Red fighters consisting of veteran guerrillas and new recruits from Manila and Isabela.

CPP founding chairperson Jose Maria Sison and local rebel leader Bernabe Buscayno were among the prominent personalities present in the event.

After five decades of continuous guerrilla warfare, the NPA said it has 110 guerrilla fronts all over the country, majority of which are composed of company-sized formation of full-time Red fighters.

The NPA’s guerrilla war is the longest-running in the world today.

Major victories in 2018

Last year, the CPP said the NPA mounted several hundred tactical offensives across the country, seizing at least 107 high powered rifles from government forces and even from security agencies serving big mining operations.

The underground party said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police and their paramilitary forces suffered at least 600 casualties in 2018 with more than 380 killed in action.

One hundred eighty five AFP soldiers were killed in action across eastern Mindanao, the CPP claimed.

The group added that the numbers of government casualties were more than 40 percent higher than in 2017.

Units of the AFP that suffered the most casualties were those deployed in focused military operations in north central and north eastern Mindanao provinces where NPA units were able to carry out active defense operations against AFP offensives.

The CPP said the AFP’s decision to reduce its troop deployment in Mindanao to as low as 60 percent from a high of 80 percent in previous years is added proof that aims to crush the NPA in eastern Mindanao is failing.

“In the face of the steady nationwide growth of the NPA, Duterte’s security officials have already toned down on their earlier braggadocio of defeating the NPA by middle of 2019. They have instead moved their ‘deadline’ to the end of 2022,” the CPP said.

5-year plan

Even as it successfully frustrating Duterte’s all-out war, the CPP called on the NPA to boldly intensify guerrilla warfare nationwide and wage all-out resistance against the Duterte regime.

The CPP said the call is in accordance with the Central Committee’s five-year program (2017-2021) to continue developing nationwide strength, spread and advance.

“We must strengthen the NPA several times over and raise its capability in annihilating enemy units,” the CPP said.

The program includes the building of more units of people’s militias, self-defense units of mass organizations, partisan units, as well as raising their capability in waging mass guerrilla warfare, the CPP said.

“With its current nationwide strength and spread, the NPA is in a position to carry the people’s war forward to unprecedented levels in the coming years,” the group added.  # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NPA in Bicol celebrates CPP’s 50th anniversary

The Romulo Jallores Command of the New People’s Army invited journalists of select local and international media groups to a press conference in a guerilla camp deep in the Bicol Region.

The event was part of the nationwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

CPP successfully celebrates 50th anniversary

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) successfully celebrated its 50th founding anniversary yesterday in many regions nationwide despite the government’s refusal to reciprocate its unilateral ceasefire declaration, the group’s information bureau announced.

“In the guerrilla areas, NPA (New People’s Army) Red fighters and Party members gathered in fiesta-like assemblies together with the peasant masses from nearby barrios with food and cultural programs,” the CPP said in a statement.

The NPA’s temporary ceasefire held since December 24 despite relentless military offensives by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), the group said.

No fire fights happened during the NPA’s unilateral ceasefire from December 24 to 26.

“In the cities, Party members and activists held meetings and small gatherings under the nose of police and military intelligence agents,” the group’s information bureau revealed.

Last week, members of the Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions, an underground organization of workers, held a rally in downtown Manila as a “warm up” activity prior to yesterday’s anniversary.

Abroad, a rally was held in Hong Kong last Sunday by Filipino migrants in unity with the CPP celebrations.

An assembly was also planned in The Netherlands where the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) International Office is based, the CPP said.

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Saturday the destruction of all Reds, both combatants and civilians, marking the first Christmas and New Year that his government refused to declare a ceasefire.

A platoon of the Romulo Jallores Command of the New People’s Army parades before members of the media and civilian supporters in a camp in the hinterlands of Bicol. (Photo by R. Villanueva)

NPA victories

In response to ongoing military operations against communists, NPA guerrillas struck in the Bicol region, Kalinga Province in the North, Compostela Valley in Mindanao and Northern Samar in the Visayas, scoring massive victories that netted them dozens of firearms while inflicting casualties on both AFP and paramilitary forces.

In Barangay Western Uma in Lubuagan, Kalinga last December 23, Sunday, the NPA’s Lejo Cawilan Command overran a detachment of the 77th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (PA) and carted away 30 firearms.

The detachment’s commander, a Sergeant Elon D. Bayang, was reportedly killed while three paramilitary troopers were injured. The NPA said they also suffered one casualty in the attack.

The NPA accused the PA unit and its Civilian Auxiliary Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) paramilitary of harassing and restricting the movements of residents in the area whom they accuse of being rebel supporters.

The government troopers also instigated gambling and “anti-social” activities in the communities, the NPA said.

The raid followed a massively successful NPA raid of a military patrol base in Barangay New Tubigon, Sibagat town, Agusan del Sur where they carted away 24 high powered firearms “without firing a single shot.”

The Red Fighters also took two soldiers of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion and 12 paramilitary troopers captive. The NPA assured that their prisoners of war are being treated humanely under International Humanitarian Laws.

Earlier, the NPA also launched successful tactical offensives in Sorsogon and Northern Samar provinces.

In Las Navas town in Northern Samar last December 22, a government soldier was killed while two others when attacked by the NPA.

PA Private First Class Alvin Avila died on the spot while Private Ivan Anthony Ignao Michael Ocasla were wounded.

The NPA in Sorsogon Province attacked a Philippine National Police station in Magallanes town, inflicting injuries on three police personnel before withdrawing after a ten-minute fire fight.

Aside from projecting nationwide strength on the CPP’s 50th founding anniversary, the successive NPA attack are seen as the NPA’s response to massive military operations against civilian communities.

Since early December bombings and military operations in the Kalabugao plains straddling the  tri-boundary of Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental in Mindanao have forced indigenous peoples and civilian communities to flee.

Col. Edgardo de Leon, commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade said the bombings and military operations are meant to disrupt the CPP’s anniversary celebrations.

“We discovered a major NPA hideout that is probably a projected venue of the CPP anniversary celebration,” de Leon said.

Meanwhile, CPP and NDFP’s respective websites, prwc.net and ndfp.org have become inaccessible since yesterday.

“The CPP’s website became inaccessible as it was under attack likely by the US-trained AFP cyberwarfare group. But in social media, the hashtags #CPP50 and #LetsCelebrate were the top Twitter trending topics in the Philippines for several hours since early morning and was still trending as of mid afternoon,” the CPP Information Bureau said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

CPP hails Sison, heroes and martyrs on 50th anniversary

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) hailed Jose Maria Sison and its thousands of martyrs and heroes in a message on the revolutionary group’s 50th founding anniversary today.

“The Central Committee gives highest honors to Comrade Jose Ma. Sison, the Party’s founding chairman, who masterfully applied Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to the concrete conditions of the Philippines and set the revolution along the correct path and steered it from strength to strength,” the CPP said.

Celebrating a rare milestone in the history of armed uprisings in the world, the party said Sison continues to be a leading light of the longest-running Maoist revolution in the world.

“Even during his prolonged incarceration and exile since 1987, [Sison’s] theoretical, socio-historical and practical insights continue to illuminate the Filipino people’s revolutionary path, help guide the Party as well as rouse the international proletariat and people to wage anti-imperialist resistance and socialist revolution,” the CPP said.

Aside from Sison, the revolutionary party said it salutes all revolutionary heroes and martyrs who gave their all for the people and served revolution to their last breath.

“It is with their dedication and sacrifices that made possible the revolutionary victories of the Filipino people,” the CPP said.

The CPP was founded in the province of Pangasinan in 1968 by a small group of intellectuals and activists led by Sison on a date that coincided with the 75th birth anniversary of the revolutionary thinker, poet and leader Mao Tse Tung.

The CPP said it celebrates its anniversary while it wages “all-out resistance against Duterte’s fascist tyranny, corruption and puppetry.”

“The rise of the US-Duterte fascist regime and its reign of terror and tyranny is, symptomatic of, and aggravates the grave conditions of the semicolonial and semifeudal system in the Philippines,” the CPP said.

The party added that the killings and many other forms of human rights violations is the Duterte regime’s way of countering the Filipino people’s growing resistance against old methods of political rule characterized by political dynasties, corruption and neglect.

Worsening crisis under Duterte

Under Duterte, the CPP said, social crises have grown even more grotesque as shown by fiscal deficits and debts.

Last September, the budget deficit widened by almost 80 percent to P378 billion from P213.1 billion during the same period last year, the group said.

To finance its programs and operations, the CPP said the Philippine government plans to borrow as much as P624.4 billion next year as Duterte seeks excessive amounts of loans from China, as well as from the Asian Development Bank and other financial institutions in order to spend for his Build, Build, Build Program.

“Under Duterte, Philippine public debt rose by more than 17 percent to P7.167 trillion from P6.09 trillion in 2016. Over the past 15 years, the Philippines allotted P10.741 trillion in debt payments and services,” the CPP said.

Against this backdrop, the CPP said the Duterte regime has become outright fascist, unleashing martial law in Mindanao until the end of next year and implementing its counter-insurgency scheme Oplan Kapayapaan to bloody results.

But the CPP said Duterte cannot defeat the NPA with such schemes, owing to widespread and deep support to its revolution.

NPA is growing

The CPP said that amidst Duterte’s harsh rhetoric against the party and the NPA, the armed revolution still grows five decades after it began.

“Duterte and the AFP have repeatedly boasted of crushing the NPA. Their claim last year that the NPA will be defeated before the end of 2018 has been frustrated and proven a big lie. This year, they proclaim that the NPA will be completely finished by mid-2019. As in all previous regimes, they keep on moving their impossible deadline,” the CPP said.

The CPP said the NPA has more than 110 guerrilla fronts in 80 provinces throughout the country, a great majority of which boasts of company-sized or bigger fighting units that are augmented by people’s militias.

“Even with US military advice and support, Duterte’s pipedream of crushing by mid-2019 the people’s armed revolution and other forms of resistance will fail,” the CPP declared.

“With the nationwide spread and growth of the NPA, it is practically impossible for Duterte to achieve superiority on all fronts at any given time. The NPA enjoys such widespread and deep support among the masses rendering the AFP incapable of encircling or constricting every guerrilla unit without rousing widespread resistance,” the group explained.

The CPP said the NPA has recently stepped up “annihilative tactical offensives” from north to south, wiping out small enemy units and seizing firearms and other war materiél while carrying out numerous attritive actions against fascist troops with the help of people’s militias and self-defense corps of revolutionary mass organizations.

In Mindanao, the NPA continues to persevere and succeed in launching successful tactical offensives despite being focus of military offensives, most notable of which is the recent overrunning of a paramilitary detachment and capture of 24 firearms in Agusan del Sur.

The CPP also said the three-week long offensives by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the Bukidnon-Misamis Oriental-Agusan del Sur triboundary allegedly aimed at driving away the Lumad from their lands have been roundly frustrated.

“The enemy desperately wants to duplicate its concentrated and sustained offensives in the Davao region in North Central Mindanao, Samar, Bicol, Southern Tagalog and Negros. It will, however, be roundly frustrated as it faces a stronger nationwide force of the NPA that is ever more capable and determined to mount annihilative attacks on its weak and vulnerable points, to make it bleed with countless attritive actions while avoiding its attacks,” the CPP said.

Duterte’s November 28 order deploying more AFP troops in Bicol, Samar and Negros lessens the 75 percent concentration of government troops in Mindanao to 65 percent, the CPP said.

“[It] provided the NPA in the Luzon and Visayas regions the opportunity to mount a growing number of tactical offensives. Duterte’s order to deploy more troops in Bicol, Samar and Negros is an admission of the growing strength of the NPA in Luzon and Visayas. In doing so, the AFP is being further overstretched, increasingly exposing thinner parts to NPA annihilative offensives,” the group revealed.

CPP challenges members

The CPP’s 50th anniversary statement challenged its members to intensify their anti-feudal struggles and other mass struggles in the countryside.

“Amid worsening conditions and worsening forms of exploitation and oppression, the broad masses of peasants must intensify the land reform movement across the country and raise the demand for free distribution of land to the tiller. Mobilize the peasant masses in their millions,” the group said.

The party called on workers, students and other democratic sectors to carry out mass struggles in the advancement of their rights and welfare amid worsening socio-economic conditions against “Duterte’s heavy taxation, inflation, corruption, misuse of public funds and other anti-people policies.”

It also called on underground organizations and network to frustrate and defeat the Duterte regime’s surveillance, arrests, extrajudicial killings and other forms of attack against the legal democratic forces.

“Activists and mass leaders who are being targets of liquidation or abduction can avail of the security of the guerrilla base areas of the NPA,” the CPP said.

“As we mark and celebrate the Party’s 50th anniversary, we look forward to accomplishing ever bigger achievements and revolutionary victories,” it said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Generations of fighters | Bicol as hotbed of revolution

A few weeks ago, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the deployment of more troops to crush the “insurgency,” but the men and women, both old and young, of this armed revolution just laughed.

By RONALYN V. OLEA

BICOL REGION – Somewhere in the mountainous part of the region, there were makeshift huts made of freshly cut pieces of wood, leaves and plastic waterproof sheets. A few hammocks made of taffeta hung in between trees. These served as temporary sleeping quarters for the mobile army composed mainly of peasants, some workers and intellectuals.

There was a kitchen, a meeting place and a stage. Slits of bamboo were used as poles for the flags of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Electricity came from a generator. Water was sourced from the nearby brook.

The temporary camp was only a two-hour walk (for the urban-raised but less than an hour for those who know the terrain by heart) from the cemented road.

In this same region, military operations continue. A few weeks ago, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the deployment of more troops to crush the “insurgency.” But the men and women, both old and young, of this armed revolution just laughed at their enemy’s dream.

Why such confidence? What sustains the NPA? Who supports them?

Four NPA guerrillas from different generations shared their stories.

Taking roots

The NPA prides itself as the people’s army.

Samuel Guerrero, the 69-year-old spokesperson of the NPA-Celso Minguez Command, has devoted 27 years living among the poorest. Like many NPA units, 70 percent of his time is devoted to organizing and the other 30 percent to military work.

“In some villages, the poor eat lima-lima (a Bicolano term for pig’s food) because they could not afford to buy rice. If you are immersed among the poor, your resolve to fight is strengthened all the more. Even the fatigue disappears when you are with the masses,” Guerrero said in Filipino.

He himself came from a poor peasant family. At the age of 12, Guerrero’s small hands became familiar with soil. His family cleared portions of public land and planted abaca, corn, sweet potatoes, banana and coconut. Sometime in 1975, the soldiers came and destroyed their crops. The men in uniform also accused his father of being a NPA. Out of fear, the family left and went back only in 1986.

When his father was confined in a hospital due to a disease affecting his spine, the family became deeply indebted. They were able to pay it many years after.

“The poorest just waits for death to come,” Guerrero said. “The system only works for the rich.”

And so, it was easy for Guerrero to embrace the alternative society espoused by the revolutionary movement. On May 10, 1991, Guerrero sought out the NPA to join them.

Guerrero explained that the NPA does not only fight their enemy but also help the masses in agricultural production, wage agrarian revolution, provide health services, build organs of political power, among others.

His hair, beard and moustache already white, Guerrero does not have any plan of retiring yet. He guides the younger ones, often talking to them and helping them in even the menial tasks of preparing food and fetching water.

“The leader should be the role model in strict discipline. He should have a good relationship with his troops,” he said.

His wife and their three children are also active in the revolutionary movement in the village.

Peasant and worker

A few years younger than Guerrero, Ka Cedric, 53, also came from a poor peasant family. He grew up in a village considered as NPA mass base and decided to join the guerrillas when he reached 18, the minimum age set by the CPP to join its army.

Asked if his parents agreed with his decision, Ka Cedric paused, his face distorted, his shoulders stiffened and he broke into tears. After a minute or so, he related that the 52nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army took his father when he was eight years old. “They tortured him for one week. When he came home, bruises were all over his body,” he told Bulatlat in Filipino.

After the incident, Ka Cedric’s father joined the NPA. When his father died, he was not able to pay his last respects because he was assigned in another province.

In 1983 Ka Cedric was wounded. A grenade exploded as they took soldiers’ firearms after a successful ambush. The left side of his body and his left leg were hit by shrapnel; it took him eight months to recover.

He soon rejoined the NPA, performing organizing tasks and technical work. In 1990, problems arose within the NPA and Ka Cedric decided to leave.

Ka Cedric’s family decided to go to Manila where he worked as a construction worker for more than ten years.  He became active in their union and held a strike to demand wage hike, remittance of their social benefits, among others.

When all of his children already finished high school, the family went back to the province.

In 2017, he rejoined the NPA. “I have always believed there is no other solution,” Ka Cedric told Bulatlat.

Women guerillas

For Ka Arianne, 43, becoming a guerrilla was a fulfilled dream.

Born in a middle class family, Ka Arianne grew up in the city. As a young girl, she remembered her mother, a lay leader who was active in the movement against the Marcos dictatorship, welcoming NPA guerrillas in their home.

In 1998, after earning a degree and passing the licensure examinations, Ka Arianne was dead set to join the NPA. Finishing her studies was sort of a concession, she said. Her parents eventually respected her decision.

Even when she got married and gave birth to her two sons, Ka Arianne never thought of leaving the NPA. Her husband, a NPA fighter of peasant origin, is assigned in another unit. Once a year, they are able to spend quality time with their sons, now aged 13 and 8.

“I never imagined life outside the movement. Raising a revolutionary family is part of our plan,” the guerrilla with a fair complexion and her long, black wavy hair tied in a ponytail, said.

Last summer, her eldest was able to attend an educational discussion about the Philippine Society and Revolution. “He was shocked to know that Cory [Aquino] was far from being saintly,” Ka Arianne said smiling.

“We do not want to impose [upon our children] but we make it a point to expose them to the kind of life we have here, a communist way of living, that is, from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” she said. “At the very least, we want them to learn how to care for others and not to think only of personal satisfaction.”

Asked what sustains her, she replied, “The best part is being able to help resolve the problems of the masses.”

Ka Arianne said they form revolutionary committees, the concrete manifestation of red political power, in villages, municipalities and provinces, depending on the level of consolidation of the mass base. These committees perform the functions of revolutionary government, including the dispensation of justice, setting up people’s militia and provision of social services.

Asked what she thought of Duterte’s pledge to crush the revolutionary movement, Ka Arianne let out a gentle laughter and said, “Hindi niya kaya.” (He is not capable.)

She said government troops are afraid of the NPA. “They dare not go to the mountains. They often stay in urban areas, terrorizing the people,” she said.

One of the youngest NPA in the camp also dismissed Duterte’s threats. Ka Kim, 20, said the masses love the NPA so much. “They would invite us to their homes, offer us coffee and whatever food they have,” she said, her eyes glowing.

Like Ka Arianne, Ka Kim grew up seeing NPA guerrillas in their home. “They would give us rice whenever we did not have anything to eat.”

At the age of 11, Ka Kim, the fifth of six siblings, helped in planting banana, vegetables and root crops.  “Whenever NPA fighters pass by, they would also help us in our work,” she said.

Her parents and siblings are active members of organizations in the village. When she reached 18, she joined the NPA.

In the first few months, Ka Kim admitted getting homesick. Whenever melancholy strikes, she performs her tasks or talk to her comrades. “They are all inspiring, especially the old ones,” Ka Kim said.

Ka Kim looks forward to the NPA growing bigger and stronger in the following years.

With the CPP turning 50 this year, Guerrero said they adhere to the resolutions last 2016 to overcome conservatism and achieve more gains for the Filipino people.

“This is a protracted people’s war. When I’m gone, my children and my grandchildren would be there to continue breaking the yoke of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism,” Guerrero said.

Imperialism refers to foreign domination and control over the country’s economic, political and military affairs. Feudalism refers to the feudal bondage of farmers and agricultural workers while bureaucrat capitalism is the use of public office to plunder the nation’s wealth.

For less than a week, the temporary camp was undisturbed. Several farmers came to visit, bringing vegetables and other supplies. Members of cultural group Armas performed revolutionary songs and skits.

Despite the cold December breeze, their hearts were on fire. #

Duterte ouster more likely than CPP’s defeat, Sison says

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison laughed off President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that the revolutionary movement would be finished by the middle of next year.

Sison said he thinks Duterte is taking too much of the anti-pain drug Fentanyl, leading him to have “pipe dreams.”

“Duterte is delusional by claiming that he shall have destroyed the CPP-New People’s Army (NPA) and the entire revolutionary movement of the people by the middle of next year,” Sison said after Duterte said in a speech his government is winning the war against the rebels.

In a speech at Camp Melchor dela Cruz, headquarters of the Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division, in Gamu, Isabela Tuesday, September 18, Duterte claimed his government is winning the war against the revolutionary movement.

“I think, God willing, this will be over by about the second quarter of next year. Many are surrendering,” Duterte said.

Duterte commended the 5th ID for its active and relentless efforts against threat groups in Cagayan Valley.

But Sison said Duterte forgets that his government’s “campaigns of mass murder, mass intimidation, fake surrenders and fake encounters under Oplan Kapayapaan are angering the people and inciting them to íntensify their resistance.”

Sison added it is Duterte’s bankrupt and weakened government that is ready to be toppled due to corruption as well as soaring prices of basic goods and services that make him the target of the “people’s rising hatred.”

“The people consider Duterte a clown” as they “reject the traitorous, tyrannical, murderous and corrupt character of his regime,” Sison said.

The communist leader said it is more likely that Duterte would be ousted from power than that he could destroy the people´s revolutionary movement by the middle of next year. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NPA to carry out rescue, relief and rehab after ‘Ompong’

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) announced Saturday, September 15, that New People’s Army (NPA) units are ready to conduct humanitarian activities for victims of Typhoon “Ompong”.

“The NPA and all revolutionary forces in North and Central Luzon, as well as in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, are geared to carry out rescue, relief and rehabilitation work for millions of people whose homes and livelihood were ravaged by strong winds and rains brought about by typhoon Ompong,” the CPP said in a statement.

The CPP said that while remaining vigilant over “relentless” offensive operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, local NPA commands shall primarily concentrate in civic action amid the disaster in the next few days.

The CPP announcement was issued even as tropical cyclone “Ompong” (International name: Mangkhut) is still barrelling across extreme northern Luzon, packing sustained winds of around 205 kilometers per hours (kph) and gusts of up to 285 kph.

“Ompong” made landfall at 1:40 am at the rice-producing town of Baggao in Cagayan Province and moved west-northwest at a speed of 25 kph after hitting the Sierra Madre mountain range.

Billions of pesos in damages to crops are expected as rice and corn, both major crops  in Cagayan, Isabela, Apayao, Abra and Ilocos Sur, have yet to be harvested before “Ompong” ravaged the area.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has yet to announce any casualty from the typhoon.

As of 1 pm Saturday, the typhoon has weakened and its center was located off the coast of Laoag City in Ilocos Norte.

The typhoon’s path closely followed the trajectory of Supertyphoon “Lawin” which hit the same area in late 2016, killing eight victims and causing an estimated P60 billion in damages to crops and properties.

Typhoon Ompong’s aftermath in Cabagan, Isabela.

Extending all help

In light of the widespread destruction, the CPP urged the Filipino people and international humanitarian agencies “to unite and extend all possible help to address the welfare of the people. “

“[The CPP] urges all democratic sectors to establish Serve the People brigades to help collect and distribute relief assistance. The broad masses of workers, peasants, minority people, fisherfolk and other basic sectors suffer the most from the damage wrought by typhoon Ompong,” the CPP said.

The revolutionary group added there is urgent need to mobilize peoples and groups to facilitate the entry and equitable distribution of all financial and material assistance.

The CPP warned that rampant corruption and inefficiencies by the government may hijack relief operations, as when Supertyphoons Pablo, Sendong, Yolanda and Lawin devastated large parts of the country in recent years.

The group also urged the Rodrigo Duterte government to implement wage increases, land distribution, cancellation of debt, agricultural subsidies, free irrigation and livelihood assistance and economic relief to help the victims. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Duterte an ‘arrogant fake’–CPP

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) called President Rodrigo Duterte an “arrogant fake” for cussing the drivers and small operators who recently held a two-day nationwide transport strike against the government’s planned phase out of the iconic jeepney.

Nagpupuputok ang butse mo sa ibinubugang usok ng mga jeep, pero tameme ka naman sa napakakapal na usok ng mga coal-fired power plant na lumalason sa kapaligiran sa buong bansa,” the CPP said in a statement. [You are angry at the smoke belched by the jeepney but you are silent about the thick smoke from coal-fired power plants that poison the entire country’s environment.]

“The truth is, you just want drivers and small operators to die in hardship and poverty in order to serve your true masters,” the group added.

In his speech at the Federalism Summit in Naga City Tuesday, Duterte unleashed another cuss-filled tirade against the protesters,

Mahirap kayo? P*******a, magtiis kayo sa hirap at gutom. Wala akong pakialam!” Duterte told the protesters. [You say you are poor? You sons of bitches, put up with hardship and hunger. I don’t have a care!]

The CPP said Duterte again showed his true color.

[G]alit sa mga gutom at mahirap, laluna ang mga marunong manindigan at lumaban para sa kanilang interes,” the CPP said. [He is against the hungry and the poor, especially those who know how to stand up and struggle for their interests.]

In his speech, Duterte also branded transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide, human rights group Karapatan and Kilusang Mayo Uno as CPP fronts.

Dictator’s mindset

Other groups also condemned Duterte’s statements against the protesters.

“We say to Mr. Duterte: please stick to the issue! His self-indulged blabbing over the national television, refuses to address the real threat to the livelihood of the country’s jeepney drivers being posed by the Jeepney Phaseout Scheme,” KMU said.

KMU said Duterte refuses to listen to the jeepney drivers and operators’ legitimate demand and logical reasoning to junk the jeepney phaseout scheme.

“Duterte is proving he himself is a front of the oligarchs, such as the Ayalas, Pangilinan, and Cojuangco, who will be raking super profits from this scheme. The same oligarchs whom he handed control over MRT/LRT, express ways, telecommunication, power, and water,” KMU said.

“Duterte has the mindset of a dictator! When the poor exercise their right to speak up against threats to their livelihood, he brands their actions as ‘conspiracy’ and ‘rebellion’,” the group added.

Anakbayan Metro Manila burns an image of Duterte following the President’s cuss-filled tirade against striking jeepney drivers. (Photo by Kathy Yamzon)

Meanwhile, youth group Anakbayan-Metro Manila slipped through heavily-guarded Mendiola Street to hold a lightning rally at Malacañan Palace Thursday and condemn “Duterte’s inhumane and anti-poor statement” on the recently concluded transport strike.

The group burned Duterte’s image depicting him as “anti-poor, anti-people, and subservient to foreign masters” at the Palace’s Gate 7.

Anakbayan said it also holds Duterte accountable for the extrajudicial killings as well as the violent demolition and harassment of residents in Floodway, Pasig. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Groups deny conspiracy vs Duterte

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denied having a formal alliance with the Liberal Party (LP) to overthrow the Rodrigo Duterte regime.

In a statement, the CPP denied Duterte’s allegation there is a conspiracy between the Left and the “yellow” (LP) to oust the President, even as it praised initiatives against “Duterte’s tyranny.”

“The CPP and other Left political forces may have no formal alliance with the Liberal Party and its affiliates but can recognize their initiatives and action as serving the same purpose of resisting Duterte’s tyranny,” the CPP said.

In a speech Wednesday, Duterte alleged that the Left, including Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), had joined forces because “gusto nila ako paalisin dito sa Malacañan,” a move the CPP fears stages attacks on the political opposition.

“It appears that such claims aim to set the stage to clampdown on the political opposition and all other forces standing up against moves to establishing Duterte’s authoritarian rule,” the CPP said.

What Duterte claims to be a “conspiracy” is the broad community of various political and social groups have been roused against rampant extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations by the Duterte regime, the revolutionary party added.

Creating his own ghosts

Bayan for its part flatly denied the existence of a Left-Yellow conspiracy against Duterte.

“The President is the one creating his own ghosts. There is no Left-Yellow conspiracy,” Bayan said in a statement, adding it has always been transparent with its activities including the September 21 rally it helped organize.

“The broad movement involves different groups and personalities with different political affiliations. Church groups, students and artists are also part of the growing movement,” the group said.

“Instead of complaining about an imagined Left-Yellow conspiracy, Duterte should explain why the DOJ (Department of Justice) is backing what appears to be a pro-Duterte vigilante group in the form of the Citizens National Guard. Also, more alarming than the imagined Left-Yellow conspiracy is the proliferation of disinformation using government resources,” it added.

Senator and LP President Francis Pangilinan for his part described Duterte’s allegation as a “fake ouster plot.”

“They’re (administration) just looking for something to divert attention of media and the public from the controversies of corruption, drug smuggling of the Davao group, and the ineffective war on drugs that only resulted in killings every day,” Pangilinan said.

Strong arm tactics

The CPP said Duterte is intolerant of all opposition and dissent, intent on monopolizing political power.

“Duterte wants to clampdown and silence all who disagree with his policies and methods. He has threatened to impose martial law. His officials and loyalists have openly declared plans to use all means to have all those who dissent to be imprisoned,’ the Party said.

The CPP said the so-called Citizen National Guard, a group endorsed by Duterte’s justice secretary, is more brazen in encouraging attacks against declared dissenters whom they declared as “enemies of the state.”

“Duterte’s resort to such strong-armed tactics show desperation and underscores his political isolation. His triple war of death and destruction, his fascist and bureaucrat capitalist rule, corruption and US subservience have roused widespread people’s resistance,” the CPP said.

Calls for Duterte’s ouster continue to mount, the group added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Carol Pagaduan Araullo’s STREETWISE: Duterte and the Left

The right is always the party sector associated with the interests of the upper or dominant classes, the left the sector expressive of the lower economic or social classes, and the center that of the middle classes. Historically this criterion seems acceptable. The conservative right has defended entrenched prerogatives, privileges and powers; the left has attacked them. The right has been more favorable to the aristocratic position, to the hierarchy of birth or of wealth; the left has fought for the equalization of advantage or of opportunity, for the claims of the less advantaged. Defense and attack have met, under democratic conditions, not in the name of class but in the name of principle; but the opposing principles have broadly corresponded to the interests of the different classes.Robert M. MacIver, The Web of Government (1947) 

Rodrigo Duterte, longtime mayor of Mindanao’s premier city, Davao, will be the sixteenth president of the Republic of the Philippines upon his inauguration on 30 June 2016. He is a conundrum to many people both to the left and right of the Philippine political spectrum.

For those on the Right who support him — who comprise the socio-economic elite, the dominant classes, the status quoers, the political conservatives, and reactionaries — Duterte is what the ruling system needs to “fix” what is broken and in so doing maintain and strengthen it further.

During the campaign, they lapped up his diatribes against rampant criminality especially drug abuse. They applauded when he railed against corruption in government. They cheered when he denounced incompetence and the lack of political will to crack down on both. They jeered with Duterte when he spat out the Aquino administration’s “Daang Matuwid” catchphrase.

For the Rightists who believe in Duterte, he is just what the system needs at this time. Not so much to bring about any substantive changes, but to act as the charismatic demagogue who can make the people believe that the system can still be fixed and that he is the one to do it.

Whether they are gleefully cheering Duterte on or warily accepting his ascent to the presidency despite his pedestrian language, controversial record, and association with the Left, it is mainly because he appears to have succeeded more than any of the other presidential candidates in doing so.

For one, his law and order tag line, while neither new nor original, resonated with even the lower to middle income classes. Those who live hardscrabble lives are much more vulnerable to being victimized by the anarchy, violence and rough-and-tumble of the mean streets of the country’s cities. The upper and elite classes who live in exclusive subdivisions, work and play in highly-secured environs, and travel using tinted, air-conditioned luxury vehicles are relatively spared the aggravations of petty criminality and street-level lawlessnes.

The Leftists, more specifically the Makabayan bloc of progressives in Congress, officially supported Duterte’s closest rival, Senator Grace Poe, but saw many of its avowed constituency either gradually shifting to Duterte or, as was the case in Davao City and most of Mindanao, stubbornly backing Duterte from the very beginning.

It didn’t help that Poe’s campaign failed to energize Makabayan’s mass base and other staunch oppositionists to Aquino’s rule with its weak and halting critique of the outgoing administration. Poe’s fairly progressive platform she shared with Makabayan was not highlighted during her campaign and did not quite make its mark in the public consciousness. Poe’s slogan “Puso at Galing” could not sustain its feel-good vibe as the campaign polemics heated up and rivals had to starkly differentiate themselves from the Aquino-backed candidate, Mar Roxas.

In the thick of his campaign, Duterte agreed to a high-profile role in the release of policemen held captive by the New People’s Army (NPA) or what the latter calls their prisoners-of-war. This was followed by his well-publicized Skype conversation with Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman.

Duterte said he would immediately resume peace talks with the underground umbrella organization, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) representing the CPP, NPA and 16 other revolutionary organizations should he win. He has even stated that he is open to entering into a “coalition” with them. He has also unabashedly described himself as a “Leftist” and “socialist.”

Upon his victory in the presidential race, he announced his willingness to set aside four Cabinet positions — labor, agrarian reform, social work and environment and natural resources — to be filled by nominees of the CPP.

These pronouncements taken together with his record of non-antagonistic and, even more so, friendly ties with the New People’s Army in Davao City, as well as support for the Leftist movement in general, underscore three aspects of Duterte that distinguish him from other run-of-the-mill bourgeois politicians.

First, he does not harbor a rabid, anti-communist bias having had exposure to revolutionary concepts and organizations since his youth. He does not consider revolutionaries as terrorists nor traitors but as patriots who are seeking radical societal change for the good of the majority of the people. While his views may not coincide completely with the communist-led movement, he recognizes that the objective conditions of social injustice and vast inequality are the fertile ground on which the entire national democratic movement thrives. He shows respect for the movement’s leaders; he acknowledges the CPP-NPA-NDFP as a significant force to contend with.

Second, because he acknowledges the deep socio-economic and political underpinnings of armed conflicts, he knows these cannot be resolved by military means alone. Thus, he has publicly-announced his commitment to resume peace talks with the NDFP until a negotiated political settlement or, even much earlier, an agreement for immediate truce and cooperation is reached.

He has also repeatedly declared his intention to release all political prisoners, most specially the 18 NDFP consultants covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and the sick, women and elderly, for humanitarian reasons.

Third, Duterte has a strong, idiosyncratic character manifested in his refusal to kowtow to conventional ideas and norms about how a presidential aspirant or an elected president should behave towards the country’s former colonizer, the US of A; or how the presumptive president should relate to the pillars of the reactionary system — Congress, the Supreme Court and the judiciary, the civilian bureaucracy, and the military, the hierarchical church foremost of which are the bishops of the Catholic Church, the big landlords and big business including multinationals and their local comprador partners and dummies.

More than a month away from his inauguration as President of the Republic, Mayor Duterte has stepped up the momentum for change during the transition with statements and decisions no one had expected or predicted. The difficulty in anticipating these lie partly in their being apparently inconsistent or contradictory and irreconciliable, such as continuing the neoliberal economic policies of the Aquino government while offering socio-economic cabinet posts to the communists. But these could also be seen as bold, if unorthodox, yet carefully calibrated measures towards his vision of a reformed “socialist” society while maintaining the tenuous equilibrium between the status quo and reform.

Mayor Duterte has displayed exceptional brinksmanship in proving that an avowed Leftist and Socialist can win and wield the Presidency while reassuring the Right that he will keep his oath to preserve the system. So far, these are positive signs of how well, how fast, and how far he will and can go towards instituting genuine change with the Left behind and alongside his Presidency.

–Carol Pagaduan-Araullo is a medical doctor by training, social activist by choice, columnist by accident, happy partner to a liberated spouse and proud mother of two.  Her column STREETWISE  is originally published by BusinessWorld. http://www.m.bworldonline.com/m_content.php?section=Opinion&id=127956)

 

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