Posts

‘Justice,’ Kadamay says of death of Badion’s alleged assassin

Urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) said its assassinated secretary general Carlito Badion had been given justice with the reported death of one of his alleged assassins.

This was the group’s reaction to a report that one of Badion’s alleged killers, Jojo “Pekulo” Lucero, had recently been punished with death by the New People’s Army (NPA) last June 25 in Ormoc City.

“What we have seen through the punishment done by the NPA is that Filipinos are seeking alternative methods for justice as the government continues to fail them. Kadamay supports all oppressed sectors in their search for justice and accountability,” the group said.

Badion, long-serving Kadamay secretary general, was tortured and murdered in his home city of Ormoc in Leyte in May 28, 2020.

Badion defended urban poor communities from violent demolitions and was known critic of substandard and dangerous government relocation sites.

He had been a repeated victim of red-tagging by government security forces until his death.

In an announcement through the underground Eastern Visayas newspaper Larab last October 2, the NPA said it conducted investigations and found Lucero guilty of being one of Badion’s assassins.

The decision was reached by a “people’s court” and was carried out by the NPA, the Larab report said.

The NPA said Lucero also took Badion’s laptop computer, mobile phone and money after the urban poor leader was killed.

“Sa isinagawang imbestigasyon sa kaso, napatunayang nasa ilalim ng proteksyon ng pulis si Lucero. Ayon sa nakalap na impormasyon, ‘sumuko’ siya sa lokal na yunit ng Philippine National Police (PNP) matapos paslangin si Badion,” the NPA said. 

(The investigation conducted proved Lucero was under police protection. According to pieces of information we gathered, he ‘surrendered’ to the local PNP unit after Badion was killed.)

But the police did not press charges against Lucero and instead sent him home with money and grocery items, the group added. 

Lucero was also a known police asset who, despite being involved in theft charges has not been jailed, the NPA said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

The death of my daughter Kerima

I went into denial, even as I reminded myself it would be better to accept what had happened

This article was originally published by The Diarist.PH. It is republished here with permission.

By Pablo Tariman

As I write this, it’s been 14 days since my daughter Kerima died. (Twenty-two days as of this posting.–Ed.)

It was not a peaceful death, as it turned out. An encounter between military and rebel groups at 6 a.m. on Friday, August 20, 2021, left three dead, one soldier and two reported insurgents.

I got a mysterious message saying one of the casualties in the encounter was a “young woman” with her companion. I refused to believe my daughter was that “young woman.”

The next day, Saturday, August 21, a friend from Bacolod told me the military had identified the female casualty as Ka Ella. I asked my friend to send me a picture that appeared in the military FB.

In my Messenger, I saw a picture of a woman left alone on a mountain trail. Her face was blurred. Her arm was almost severed after being riddled with bullets.

I know how my daughter looked like, then and now. After one more hard look at the picture, I realized the dead woman was my daughter Kerima, who turned 42 last May 29.

I had been ready for this years back. I knew it would come to this.

We had some arguments about this. But all this is water under the bridge, so to speak. In the end, I respected her choice.

It is easy to say you are prepared to see the worst happening to your daughter because of her involvement in the movement. But when you see her in the picture, cold and lifeless on a mountain trail, you know you need more courage to accept what has happened to her.

I was looking at her son, Emmanuel, that morning still asleep, when I accepted the news. My next predicament was how to break the news to him.

I knew I couldn’t do it.

The next day, her violent death was all over Facebook. The newspapers also carried news of the encounter. And always, she was identified as Ka Ella, also known by her real name, Kerima Lorena Tariman.

It is the first death in the family. She was the second of my three daughters.

The last time I saw her, she showed up in the city unannounced two years ago. She said it was better that we saw each other in a neutral place, definitely not in our house.

I knew she was preparing me for some big decisions she had made. We had very little conversation. She knew I had no other choice but to accept her decision.

After a few lingering moments, I kissed her on her forehead. Before she walked away, all I could say was, “Ingat, Kima.” Kima was how she was known in the family.

Still, she wanted to see more of her son, in my care since his grade school years. While I was doing my last concert at the Nelly Garden in Iloilo City, I met my grandson at an inn. He said someone would meet him and bring him to his mother.

The meeting was short, just an overnight stay. And he was back in Iloilo while I was preparing to travel with my performing artists after a farewell concert at Nelly Garden. By then, I had an idea why my daughter desperately needed to see her son before she totally disappeared.

And so her death was all over FB. I went into denial, even as I reminded myself it would be better to accept what had happened.

I asked a family friend to come to break the news to my grandson. I didn’t think I could handle it without turning the moment into a scene from a teleserye. And so the family friend arrived, condoled.

Then I asked him to take on the sad task of breaking the news to my grandson. He did it gently, from what I could figure out.

Minutes later, I saw my very composed grandson. No breaking down. No tears. I even saw him break into a wan smile

Emmanuel Tariman Acosta delivering the response after the four-hour tribute to his mother Kerima at Bantayog ng Mga Bayani on Aug. 28, 2021. (Photo from Altermidya)

Minutes later, I saw my very composed grandson. No breaking down. No tears. I even saw him break into a wan smile as if to tell me, “This is not a big deal. I can handle this.”

The sad news transmitted, I let out a sigh of relief. My grandson is made of sterner stuff, and he showed it.

Then he told me he knew something was wrong just by reading my face that early morning, while I was trying to confirm the news.

I told myself we could move on and do what had to be done.

We had to fly to Bacolod to claim the body. We had to subject ourselves to swab tests to be able to board the plane. We had to apply for Silay and Bacolod passes so we could move around.

That was my first swab test. What if I tested positive? Did this mean only my grandson could fly to Bacolod while I had to face isolation?

The swab test results didn’t come on time by email for us to be able to board the Monday 8 a.m. flight. No way could you board the plane without the results of your swab test, the lady at the check-in counter told us.

We had to rebook our tickets for an afternoon flight. The swab test results finally arrived after the plane had left. My grandson and I tested negative!

We were able to rebook an early afternoon direct flight direct to Silay-Bacolod airport. Meanwhile, I had to brace myself for what I would see when I claimed my daughter’s body.

I have never been inside a funeral morgue. I have never been inside a dingy room full of dead bodies. Before the plane landed, I had to let go of my quiet sobbing. After all, this was not my idea of my last reunion with my daughter.

First order of the day upon arrival was a briefing with our lawyer, who happens to be a city councilor.

I needed to present papers to be able to claim my daughter’s body: birth certificate, marriage certificate, my grandson’s valid ID and birth certificate, and my ID and birth certificate.

Next was the moment of truth.

The funeral parlor aide guided us to a room full of dead bodies all covered in white cloth. I looked at my grandson. I wondered how he would react upon seeing his dead mother for the first time.

When I saw my daughter’s lifeless body on that steel stretcher, I let out a long, painful howl of grief. I embraced her and kissed her forehead like the last time we saw each other.

He saw how helpless I was that moment, so I felt my grandson’s hands massaging my shoulder as I cried endlessly. My grandson’s inner strength is unbelievable.

No tears for him. No breakdown like I had.

When I calmed down, I realized I had to attend to more details to be able to claim my daughter’s body.

The plan was to claim the body, bring it to a Bacolod crematorium, and fly home the next day with the urn.

Our lawyer appealed to the Silay city chief of police if we could cremate the body first and attend to the paper requirements later. He nodded to say yes.

But when the body was about to be pulled out from the funeral parlor for cremation, the chief of police said no.

We had to produce all the papers: death certificate, permit to bring the body from the Silay funeral parlor to the Bacolod crematorium, and another permit to transport the remains from Bacolod to Manila.

We had to secure a barangay clearance from the barrio where the incident happened. I was appalled to learn that my daughter actually operated in the shadow of Mt. Silay, where the sugar cane workers lived.

Meanwhile, the cremation had to wait until we were able to meet all the requirements. Our lawyer brought me to the office of the Silay chief of police to secure another requirement, a spot report filed by the local police.

Said he: ‘I can see that she is a very intelligent woman. But no government is perfect. Even people are not perfect’

We noticed the chief cop kept on revising the incident report. He made small talk while we waited for the final version.

Said he: “I can see that she is a very intelligent woman. But no government is perfect. Even people are not perfect.”

We left the chief cop’s office convinced we had a rewritten version of what happened during the bloody encounter at Hacienda Raymunda.

I read a study by my daughter where she detailed studies of the plight of sugar plantation workers at Hacienda Raymunda. The report said workers got as low as P500 a month for backbreaking work.

Ironically, she died in an encounter also at Hacienda Raymunda in Silay City.

I don’t know what to make of my final hours with my daughter.

After we secured all the permits, her body was finally released for cremation.

Our coordinators noticed we were being shadowed by police operatives, taking photos and videos of us everywhere we went.

Meanwhile, I scheduled a video call with my daughters based in Frankfurt and Pasig before the cremation. I saw my daughters weeping as they said goodbye to their rebel sister.

I couldn’t help sobbing as her body was shoved into the big burner. “We can give you the urn in two hours,” said the crematorium staff.

I had to make peace with myself as we flew back to Manila.

There was a tribute for her at the Bantayog ng Mga Bayani where friends, classmates, and supporters from all over the country paid their last respects Saturday, August 28.

They were so many who remembered her, the tribute lasted four hours.

For the first time, I saw a composite picture of my daughter as classmate, poet, warrior, and Red fighter. I didn’t realize she was feared as much as she was respected.

My wife and I recited  poems in her honor. The tribute of her Frankfurt-based sister Karenina drew applause. She recalled how she spent one night in an Isabela jail in 2001 just to be with her sister Kerima, at least for one night of her sister’s month-long detention.

I thought the most poignant recollection during the tribute came from her son, Emmanuel, who closed the tribute.

My grandson recalled: “Bata pa lang ako, tinuruan nya na ako ng iba’t ibang bagay na hindi ko matututunan kung saan man at pinakita niya sa akin yung mundo at naiintindihan ko yung mga desisyon na ginawa nya at ng aking ama. Proud ako sa nanay ko, sa kanyang tapang, sa kanyang talino, hanggang sa huling hininga ay nasa isip niya ang masa at sambayanan. Hindi nagtatapos sa kanyang pagpanaw ang laban at marami pang magpapatuloy: tayong mga naririto. Mabuhay ka, Nanay, at maraming salamat sa lahat!” (Even when I was young, she taught me many things that I would not have learned elsewhere, and showed me the world, and I understand the decisions she and my father made. I am proud of my mother, of her courage, her intelligence, until her last breath the masses and the country were on her mind. The fight does not end with her death, and many will continue it: we who are here. Godspeed, Nanay, and thank you for everything!)

At home, I made a special place for her in the living room.

I cannot imagine her leaving us for good. And so I wrote this poem.

Stay a little longer my child
Keep your father company
As he welcomes another sunrise
Without you.

Stay a little longer my daughter
Keep your son company
He who is proud of you
In your prolonged absence.

Stay a little longer my child
Let’s reminisce days
As we welcomed sunrise
In the black sand of San Roque
And frolicking at the park
In the shadow of Mayon.

Stay a little longer my child
Keep your father warm
Watch over your only son
For a few days more.

Memories come and go
And far too few
I still see us welcoming sunrise
With the perfect cone
Towering over us.

Suddenly you are gone
The little child
Who once romped by the beach
Is suddenly limp and cold
Finished off by bullets
From ruthless strangers.

Stay a little longer my child
Let me just remember
The last hug
The kiss I planted on your forehead
In this room full of dead bodies.

I can’t help it
Letting out a howl of grief
Akin to a whining dog.

Your son remained strong
And unperturbed
As he massaged my shoulders
As I let out
A shrill whimper
Echoing through
The mortuary.

Now
I have to make the most
Out of this last plane ride
With your son and I
Huddled together
As we keep watch
Over your urn
From Silay to Manila.

You are home now
Stay a little longer my child
As we prepare
Your new home
Away from home.

I can see peace
And deliverance
In that small crypt
Just a walk away
From where we live.

Welcome home my child
There is peace and quiet
Waiting for you
In that small door
Leading to the great beyond.

On Aug. 29, 2021, Cecile Licad, the author’s longtime friend, performing Chopin’s ‘Revolutionary Etude’ in the open-air concert in Tivoli, New York, with Kerima Tariman in mind. A music fan wrote the pianist that it was the ‘fiercest’ ‘Revolutionary Etude’ he has heard in his life. (Photo from the file of Cecile Licad)

’19 MARTYRS’: CPP confirms ‘big loss’ in military aerial strike in E. Samar

AFP’s bombs failed to distinguish the medics and the patients, and other unarmed personnel who were not in a position to battle, the CPP complained

Nineteen New People’s Army (NPA) fighters died in an air strike by the government military in Dolores, Eastern Samar last August 16, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) website announced.

In one of the NPA’s biggest loss in a single incident in years, the CPP said those who perished were part of a 50-man unit who were in the area to conduct political, military, economic, education, cultural and medical work among peasant masses.

The Red fighters were also conducting an investigation into the socioeconomic conditions of the peasant masses in the area with the aim of addressing their needs and problems, the group added.

“They were among the best sons and daughters of the people who dedicated their lives to the cause of national freedom and democracy. Their deaths bear hard upon the hearts of the workers and peasants across the country and all the oppressed peoples in the entire world,” the CPP in a statement said.

The group’s statement came at the heels of several announcements by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that an undetermined number of NPA guerrillas were killed in an early morning air strike, followed by fire fights that lasted the entire day.

Wikipedia map.

The Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division in Catbalogan City said no casualty had been reported among its 52nd Infantry Battalion troopers who engaged the guerrillas, aided by the Philippine Air Force.

The state troopers also said they recovered at least 20 assault rifles, a laptop and a handgun at the NPA encampment where the rebels were allegedly manufacturing bombs.

The CPP however said the Red fighters were conducting a continuing campaign to raise the people’s awareness of the Covid-19 pandemic to prevent infections from reaching their hinterland communities where there are no medical facilities.

The group added a team of medics were among the NPA unit to perform a surgery in the camp for a civilian patient suffering from hernia.

‘A big loss’

The CPP admitted that the deaths of the NPA “martyrs” was “without a doubt…a big loss.”

“It is, however, a temporary setback and does not negate the overall forward direction of the people’s war. Indeed, in Eastern Visayas and the rest of the country, the NPA continues to make strides in recruiting new Red fighters, building more units, expanding its areas of operations, building new guerrilla fronts, defending the people against the AFP’s armed suppression and mounting tactical offensives to strike blows against the fascist monsters,” the CPP statement said.

The group expressed confidence that the NPA in the said municipality will be reorganized with new recruits to continue the work of their fallen comrades.

“We may have lost a number of fine people’s warriors, but even greater numbers are sure to emerge to take their place as new Red fighters of the heroic people’s army,” the group said.

‘Indiscriminate bombing’

The CPP meanwhile condemned AFP’s aerial bombing and strafing as well as artillery shelling it said constituted a disproportionate use of force.

In the case of the Dolores bombing, the AFP’s bombs failed to distinguish the medics and the patients, and other unarmed personnel who were not in a position to battle, the CPP complained.

In a Manila Bulletin report, unexploded AFP bombs allegedly hit at least two houses in Brgy. Cabaguan that pierced ceilings and terrorized residents.

“These terrorist weapons should be banned as these cause massive loss of lives among unarmed people, endanger the lives of civilians, traumatize thousands of people, especially children, and damage and ravage the environment and property,” the CPP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Farmers to military: ‘You, not Kerima, are the terrorists’

Farm workers defended Kerima Lorena Tariman from the military who alleged the highly-regarded poet was a “terrorist” and “extortionist.”

Bristling at government troopers’ description of Tariman, the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) said they should instead take a hard look at themselves.

“State armed forces seem confused about what terrorism is. Serving the people—which was what Kerima Lorena Tariman did—is not terrorism,” UMA chairperson Antonio Flores said.

The military said in its announcement of Tariman’s death she was a terrorist involved in extortion as part of her task to allegedly “re-establish the dismantled Northern Negros Front” of the NPA.

Tariman died in a fire fight between the New People’s Army and the Philippine Army last August 20 in Silay City, Negros Occidental. She was 42.

A “Comrade Pabling” perished with Tariman while a Private First Class Christopher Alada of the 79IB later died in a hospital after being wounded in the clash.

UMA said however Tariman never harmed peasants and has only consistently defended them all her life.

Defender of poor farmers

As an activist, Kerima led efforts in Hacienda Luisita for agricultural workers to assert their right to land and secure their access to food, UMA said.

Tariman was once briefly detained by the Tarlac police with 10 others for joining a rally at Hacienda Luisita in September 2013.

In Mindanao, Tariman conducted a research on corporate plantations and the harsh working and living conditions of farm workers, UMA said.

In Negros, Tariman led campaigns to alleviate sugar workers’ plight against extreme poverty and assisted them in asserting their right to social amelioration funds, the group added.

“How can any of that be terrorism?” Flores asked.

Defend Negros image.

‘Abominable slander’

In a separate statement, the group Defend Negros said it is an abomination for Negrenses to have their “heroine” Tariman labeled as a terrorist “by the very forces who sow terror in Negros and the whole country.”

“We vehemently condemn the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ statement against Kerima, a former staff of UMA and a staunch land rights activist,” Defend Negros spokesperson Ariel Casilao said.

“They maliciously maligned and undermined every sacrifice that Kerima made for the benefit of landless farmers and farm worker,” he added.

Casilao revealed that among Tariman’s achievements while living with peasant communities in Negros was a primer on the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to help sugar workers understand and defend their rights for better wages and benefits.

Tariman also spearheaded the publication of UMA’s newsletter that focused on tiempo muerto (season of death) or off-milling season when seasonal farmhands in Negros have no work and income.

A highly-regarded writer and already a published poet upon graduation from high school, Tariman was managing editor of The Philippine Collegian when first arrested in Isabela province in 2000.

“It is the deep-seated, centuries-long poverty of the peasantry that compelled Kerima to take the path of the revolutionary armed struggle. Fighting until her very last breath to defend the people’s rights to land and living wages is not and must not be tagged as terrorism,” the former Anakpawis Representative said.

 ‘Real terrorists’

UMA said military spokespersons like Maj. Cenon Pancito III, Maj. Gen. Edgardo de Leon and Col. Ramon Zagala should take a hard look in the mirror before accusing Tariman of what they ought to be accusing themselves.

“Occupying civilian communities, conducting aerial bombings over farmlands, gunning down unarmed peasants—routine activities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines—now that’s terrorism,” UMA said.

The group said the police, military and armed goons hired by plantation owners have killed more than 100 activists in Negros Island, most of whom were peasants.

Casilao also said: “It was the military, the police, and other armed goons who had sown terror in Negros Island with their Oplan Sauron operations conducted under Memorandum Order 32, killing more than a hundred peasants and activists.”

Casilao challenged the government, the police and the military to look at the sufferings of the people as Tariman did.

“The regime and its armed forces are deeply intoxicated on the falsehood that being a revolutionary makes you a terrorist…Landlessness, absence of security of tenure, inadequate social services and slave-like wages–these are the causes of unrest in the island,” Casilao said.

UMA said it was in Negros that Tariman most deeply realized the limitations of being an “aboveground activist”, having witnessed firsthand the violence state forces were capable of unleashing on unarmed peasants.

The fact that Negros Island remains the country’s hacienda capital proves that government land reform programs are fakes and anti-peasant, the group added.

“This was what pushed Kerima into the armed struggle of the NPA. For her, there was no more effective means of serving the people, especially the peasantry. She was not involved in terrorism. Rather, it was state terrorism that pushed her into joining the NPA,” UMA said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Poet Kerima Tariman dies in Negros fire fight

Poet Kerima Lorena Tariman was killed in a clash between the Roselyn Jean Pelle Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Philippine Army in Silay City, Negros Occidental, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) website announced.

NPA Negros’ regional Apolinario Gatmaitan Command said Tariman was killed along with a Comrade Pabling in a fire fight with the 79th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army at Hacienda Raymunda, Barangay Kapitan Ramon on Friday, August 20, at around six o’clock in the morning.

Cover of Kerima Lorena Tariman’s second book of poems published by High Chair in May 2017.

The group said Tariman was a leading cadre of her NPA unit at the time of her death.“She gave up her life to serve the people and the revolution,” the NPA said.

Tariman hailed from Legazpi City, Albay province and was once managing editor of the University of the Philippines’ The Philippine Collegian.

A highly-regarded poet and artist, Tariman’s second book of poems was published by High Chair in 2017.

A brief Pinoy Weekly review of Tariman’s book “Pag-aaral sa Oras: Mga Lumang Tula Tungkol sa Bago” said her poems are powerful by themselves but were made more powerful as a collection.

Her first book titled “Biyahe” was published in 1996 while she was a graduating Philippine High School for the Arts student.

“She was a renowned poet, writer and revolutionary artist who chose to share the life-and-death struggle of the masses of Negros Island. She gave up her life to serve the people and the revolution,” the NPA said.

“The masses of Negros have Ka Ella and Ka Pabling deep in their hearts. They mourn the death of revolutionary martyrs who fought for their liberation from decades-long feudal exploitation,” the group added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva/Photos from Pinoy Weekly)

NPA defeating Duterte’s all-out war, CPP says of guerrilla army’s 51st anniversary

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) reported numerous New People’s Army (NPA) victories despite massive military and psychological warfare operations unleashed by the Rodrigo Duterte government throughout 2019.

In a statement marking the guerrilla army’s 51st founding anniversary today, March 29, the CPP said the NPA continues to operate in more than 110 guerrilla fronts in 73 of 81 provinces across the country with “several thousand guerrilla fighters…armed with high-powered weapons and small firearms seized from the enemy, security forces and other sources.”

Belittling the results of the government’s National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) launched in 2018, the CPP Central Committee in its annual statement marking the NPA’s founding anniversary said Duterte and his military officers have failed in their declarations of crushing the guerrilla army.

“[F]irst by end of 2018, then by end of 2019, and later before Duterte’s term ends in 2022. Almost daily, AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) commanders make false public announcements claiming NPA ‘surrenderees,’ typically recycling old firearms in their armory and presenting these as surrendered weapons,” the CPP said.

The underground party cited the manipulated photograph claiming to be that of “surrenderees” in Masbate province late last year as proof of AFP’s lies.

The group also chided Duterte for predicting NPA will be defeated “sooner” as the AFP announced having destroyed or weakened 15 NPA guerrilla fronts.

“All these are empty boasts as the NPA continue to strengthen and wage revolutionary armed struggle alongside the democratic mass struggles of the Filipino people to end the reign of terror of the US-Duterte regime,” the CPP’s statement, released Saturday, March 28, said.

Image from CPP Founding Chairperson Jose Maria Sison’s post.

‘Two battalions killed’

The CPP said units of the guerrilla army operate under 14 regional operations command, which in turn are under the National Operations Command (NOC) of the NPA.

The NPA builds company-sized regional and sub-regional vertical forces, as well as company-sized guerrilla fronts with six to nine platoons, one-third of which are concentrated and two-thirds spread to cover the breadth of guerrilla front territories, the CPP said.

The CPP said that based on NOC reports, the NPA mounted at least 710 military actions of varying scale in 2019 that killed at least 651 government troops and wounded more than 465 others.

The number of killed and wounded is the equivalent of around 30 platoons or two battalions of its enemy troops, the group said.

‘NTF-ELCAC failing’

The CPP said the Duterte government’s NTF-ELCAC mounted all-out military offensives nationwide and formed nine new AFP battalions and deployed these primarily against the NPA.

The AFP is being assisted by the United States military in establishing and training new combat units such as the Light Reaction Regiment, the 1st Brigade Combat Team and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team which are all based in Fort Magsaysay, where the US maintains facilities under the EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement), the CPP revealed.

In all, the AFP has 140 maneuver battalions, of which, 35 are deployed in Luzon; 19 in the Visayas; and 83 in Mindanao (19 battalions in Moro areas, and 64 in NPA areas), the group added.

“Thus, close to 85% or 118 battalions are deployed against the NPA,” it said.

The group said that close to 55% of AFP units deployed against the NPA are in Mindanao, mainly in the eastern regions. Combined AFP and PNP troop deployment is highest in Southern Mindanao, followed by Southern Tagalog, Eastern Visayas, North Central Mindanao, Far South Mindanao and Negros.

“The aim of the AFP is to concentrate one battalion of troops for every NPA guerrilla front, in the vain hope of crushing the NPA through intelligence, psywar (psychological warfare) and combat operations, it said.

Despite the additional units, the AFP’s forces are spread thinly, the CPP said, adding that at the national level, there are regions where government troops could not deploy a full battalion against every NPA guerrilla front.

On the ground, AFP combat battalions cannot saturate the territory and population of a guerrilla front, where there are widely spread revolutionary mass organizations, militia units and organs of political power which actively carry out mass campaigns and struggles, leaving large areas open for NPA units to maneuver, recruit, and strengthen themselves, the CPP revealed.

“When AFP brigades or divisions mount focused military operations in one or several guerrilla fronts in border areas, it combines several battalions pulled-out temporarily from their assigned areas of operation, giving the NPA units in other areas leeway to conduct political and military work,” the CPP said.

The CPP said that Duterte’s all-out war tactic against the NPA and its perceived supporters generates armed resistance.

“In putting down the people’s resistance with armed force, he is actually inciting the people to fight back. Like Marcos before, Duterte has become the Number 1 recruiter of the New People’s Army,” the group said.

Part of the NPA’s First Pulang Bagani Battalion in formation in Davao City in 2017. (R. Villanueva/Kodao)

NPA’s response to Covid-19

Marking the NPA’s 51st founding anniversary amid unilateral ceasefire declarations by both the CPP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the underground party said it is mobilizing its forces in a public health campaign to prevent the spread of the disease and help treat those infected by the virus.

“The Party has directed the NPA, especially its medical units, to carry out a public health campaign together in coordination with village health committees to help prevent the spread of the disease, give special attention to the elderly and pregnant women, help care those who have been infected and promote personal hygiene and community sanitation,” the CPP statement reads.

It also directed its members in the cities to carry out similar mass campaigns, while raising demands for mass testing and other public health measures.

“Beyond the field of public health, the Filipino people must also take action in the arena of political struggle. It is as important to resist the militarist restrictions imposed by the Duterte regime, and raise their call for the ouster of Duterte to make him answer for his criminal sabotage of the public health care system,” it said.

The CPP said the NPA had been conducting such social services to poor Filipinos, earning them the monicker “the people’s army.”

“Its fighters are well known for being courageous and self-sacrificing. They are ever-ready to learn from the people their needs and demands and perform the most difficult and dangerous tasks in serving the people. They are also recognized by the masses as their defenders, cooperators, teachers, doctors, as well singers and artists, always attending to the people’s well-being and needs,” it said.

The CPP said the people always approach the NPA to seek advice or assistance whenever they demand redress from an injustice done, or seek intercession to iron out small conflicts in the communities.

‘Strengthening the NPA’

The CPP directed the NPA to further strengthen itself in order to “frustrate the government’s strategic plan of crushing the armed revolution, and to advance the people’s war in an all-sided manner.”

The group said it directed all its branches to make plans to help strengthen the guerrilla army by recommending its members and activists to join the NPA.

“There must be an active campaign of recruitment of young intellectuals and workers to join the NPA,” it said.

The CPP also directed the NPA to further intensify its tactical offensive operations through a combination of counter-encirclement and counter-offensives of large-scale military and police combat operations as well as raids against “soft-targets” such as military and paramilitary detachments and security forces.

It also ordered “more numerous and extensive harassments, interdictions, arrests, partisan, demolition and sapper operations and other armed actions.”

The CPP said that under its leadership, the NPA is expected to achieve more victories in its armed resistance and achievement of national and social liberation of Filipinos.

“The Filipino people look forward to celebrating more victories of the NPA in the coming years,” the CPP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Joma: ‘Duterte is best NPA recruiter’

National Democratic Front of the Philippines chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said President Rodrigo Duterte is “the best recruiter” for revolutionary movement, such as the New People’s Army (NPA).

In this interview, Sison replies to statements made by Armed Forces of the Philippines officers that the NPA is a spent force. (Contributed video by Urbano Guevarra)

NPA Southern Tagalog spokesperson arrested inside hospital

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Southern Tagalog announced that Melito Glor Command-New People’s Army spokesperson Jaime Padilla had been arrested by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) forces at a hospital in Mandaluyong City Monday night, November 25.

In a post on the Communist Party of the Philippines’s official website, Patnubay de Guia, NDFP spokesperson in the region, said Padilla, also known as Ka Diego, was undergoing medical examinations at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center on his heart conditions when arrested.

De Guia said Padilla’s arrest was illegal and violates International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

“Maselan ang kundisyon ni Ka Diego Padilla at kailangan niya ng agarang medikasyon para sa kanyang nararamdamang sakit sa puso,” de Guia said. (Comrade Diego Padilla’s heart condition is serious and he needs immediate medical attention for his ailments.)

The NDFP said it vehemently condemns the arrest as it may further endanger Padilla’s life.

It pointed that that sick persons are given protection under the IHL.

The group demanded Padilla’s release to allow him to continue receiving medical care from doctors of his own choice.

Both the PNP and the AFP are silent on Padilla’s reported arrest. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Mount tactical offensives,’ CPP tells NPA in wake of mass arrest

By Visayas Today

Communist guerrillas have been ordered to “exert all effort to mount tactical offensives” against government forces, “especially those behind fascist crimes,” in the wake of the recent arrests of scores of activists in Negros and Manila.

At the same time, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), in a statement dated November 2, denied that the more than 50 persons arrested during simultaneous raids in Bacolod City on October 31 are members of the New People’s Army (NPA), calling the claim a “brazen lie” intended to “conceal the martial law crackdown on mass-based organizations.”

Among those nabbed in Bacolod were officers of progressive organizations, including the National Federation of Sugar Workers, Kilusang Mayo Uno and Karapatan, all of which the government and state security forces openly accuse of being “legal fronts” of the rebel movement.

Also arrested as Anne Krueger of the alternative media outfit Paghimutad.

Aside from the Bacolod raids, joint police and Army teams also made arrests in Escalante City and, in Manila, nabbed the chair of women’s group Gabriela and her husband, Kadamay-Metro Manila spokesperson Michael Tan Bartolome.

Authorities claimed to have found weapons, ammunition and explosives at the office of progressive groups. However, the targets of the raids insist these were “planted.”

The CPP said the mass arrest “marks a heightening of the Duterte regime’s fascist drive against all democratic forces” and called it “a brazen display of force and abuse of state powers” intended to “terrorize people” and “silence the broad masses against worsening oppression.”

It was also “a dress rehearsal for a nationwide crackdown,” the CPP added.

However, the statement predicted that the suppression would only lead encourage people “to join the New People’s Army or seek its protection.” #

Armed men ‘abduct,’ grill Himamaylan villagers – rights group

By Visayas Today

Armed men believed to be military personnel barged into a home in an upland village of Himamaylan City early Friday morning, August 30, allegedly handcuffing and blindfolding occupants, including high school students, and forcing them into a vehicle as they searched for purported communist rebels, a human rights group said.

The September 21 Movement Southern Negros said the gunmen forced their way into the home of farmer Delia dela Rosa Pacheco, 64, in Sitio Maliko-liko, Barangay Carabalan around 3 a.m.

They then rounded up Pacheco, her niece Aiza dela Rosa, 24, and two other relatives, one a Grade 11 student, the other in Grade 10, and a guest, Teresita Camanso, 46, a daycare worker from Sitio Lanap, Barangay Buenavista who was staying for the night after attending a seminar at the Himamaylan city hall.

The statement quoted Pacheco as saying they were all ordered to lie on the floor as the gunmen cuffed and blindfolded them. They were later taken to the vehicle.

Camanso told the human rights group that the gunmen asked her if she knew “Loida” and “Toti,” who they said were members of the New People’s Army who were supposedly staying in the house.

She was also grilled about the formation of an indigenous peoples’ organization in her village. 

The other occupants of the house were also interrogated. 

The September 21 Movement condemned the incident and urged vigilance against what it called the “creeping militarism and dictatorship in Negros.” #