Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Reds hit Army’s SOMO violation in Bicol

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 25): Reds hit Army’s SOMO violation in Bicol

Communist rebels in the Bicol has accused the military of violating its own Suspension of Offensive Military Operation (SOMO).

In a statement from the National Democratic Front-Bicol Information Office, it said that at least three local units of New People’s Army rebels have reported that the Army’s Peace and Development Teams (PDT) continue to operate in the villages of Antolon, Patag and Poloan in Caramoan, Camarines Sur; Barangays Villapaz and Sinagaran in Jovellar town; Mamlad in Pio Duran; and Lumacao in Guinobatan, all in Albay; and Barangays Marinas and Cabiguhan in Gubat town, Manhumlad and Balocawe in Matnog town, in Sorsogon.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ breach of its own ceasefire declaration reveals its hypocrisy characteristic of ‘Oplan Bayanihan’s’ psywar policy,” the NDFP-Bicol said on Christmas day.

The NDF-Bicol added: “While AFP spokespersons smirk through their propagandas and fall flat at representing the military as champions of peace, the rest of its minions go wild in the countrysides committing grave human rights and international humanitarian law offenses.”

The Inquirer email a copy of the rebel statement to Lt. Colonel Domingo Gobway, the spokesman of the Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) based here in Camp Nakar, for the military reaction on the NDF’s accusation.

“There is no SOMO violation as alleged. After verification, our units on the ground were not conducting combat operations,” Gobway, said in a text message Wednesday evening.

Gobway explained that the PDT teams are just confine in some parts of the village “on a semi-permanent basis just like a typical detachment”.

“They are not there for combat operation but for peace and development,” he said.

In a report, AFP spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said the NPA rebels attacked military detachments in Casiguran and Gubat towns on Dec 22.

He said the communist guerillas fired at the detachments and withdrew. The incident reported no casualties.

The rebels in Bicol insisted that the PDT teams conduct “combat, psywar, and intelligence operations and are therefore poised at launching attacks and poisoning the minds of the people”.

The NDF-Bicol echoed the demand of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) for the military “to stand down and pull out their troops from territories of the People’s Democratic Government”.

The rebel warned that the government forces continue to conduct combat operation during the supposed SOMO period, the NPA rebels will be force to act in self-defense and fight back.

In the past Yuletide ceasefires, both armed protagonists had resorted to propaganda wars by accusing each other of truce violations.

On Dec. 20, President Benigno Aquino approved the SOMO recommendation from the military and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and declared a 26-day ceasefire with communist rebels starting at midnight of December 20 and lasting until January 15, 2014.

On Dec. 18, the CPP declared that the NPA rebels would observe a unilateral ceasefire from December 24 to 26 and again from December 31 to January 2.

The CPP said the truce was in keeping with the Filipino people’s traditional observance of Christmas and to pave the way for the party’s 45th anniversary celebration Thursday (Dec. 26).

According to the CCP, the anniversary celebrations which will be attended by allies and sympathizers of the rebel movement will be held in areas which they claimed as “under the jurisdiction and authority of the organs of the people’s democratic government”.

The party said the assemblies would also serve as an opportunity to generate and collect funds and other material support for rehabilitation efforts in the Yolanda areas.

The NPA, the CPP’s armed wing, has been waging Maoist-inspired protracted war against the government for the past 44 years, considered as the world’s longest-running communist rebellion.

Crew of ‘USS Cowpens’ give gifts to indigent children in Bataan

From the Manila Times (Dec 25): Crew of ‘USS Cowpens’ give gifts to indigent children in Bataan

DINALUPIHAN, Bataan: The officers and staff of the Ticonderoga guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens spent the day before Christmas distributing gifts to indigent children and a friendly basketball match with local players here.

The cruiser arrived at the Alava Pier in the Subic Bay Freeport Monday afternoon after over two weeks of humanitarian operation in Tacloban, Leyte in the aftermath of killer Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Around 40 of the 340-crew gave toys, food items, ball for basketball and other presents to the children at the Dinalupihan Civic Center.

Not only the kids enjoyed the gift- giving but even the American sailors when the children kissed their hands after receiving their presents.

“Thank you to the officers and men of USS Cowpens, especially to our townmate Jeruel Simsuangco, for making the Christmas of children a happy one,” Mayor Gila Garcia of Dinalupihan said.

Simsuangco is the senior chief of the American cruiser who has been with the US Navy for 17 years. He is from barangay Burgos in Dinalupihan.

“Never in my wildest dreams had I thought that I’ll be here with my ship,” Simsuangco said. He last visited his town only once since he left 20 years ago.

Former Councilor Noli Soriano of Dinalupihan, event coordinator, said the ship crew decided to spend their holiday in the former American Naval Base, now the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, after serving in Leyte.

Cruiser’s Command Master Chief Gabriel Keeton said being in Dinalupihan gave them the rare chance of seeing more parts of the Philippines after two weeks of stay in Tacloban in Leyte.

“Our ship is the first American ship and the last ship in Tacloban,” the master chief said.

Keeton said they were sent to Tacloban as part of the US aid mission after Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck.

C. Sheerin, a lady officer, said there are 40 officers and 300 men in the cruiser with 20 of them Filipinos.

“We are happy to be here after ‘Operation Damayan’ in Tacloban,” she said.

AFP on alert as CPP-NPA marks 45th anniversary

From the Manila Times (Dec 25): AFP on alert as CPP-NPA marks 45th anniversary

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is on alert against possible attacks by members of the New People’s Army (NPA) as the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) celebrates its 45th founding anniversary today.

AFP spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said on Wednesday that the military will continue to adhere to the 26-day suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) earlier declared by the President.

The soldiers, he added, will only maintain a defensive position and will remain active in protecting communities against any armed groups that may take advantage of the Yuletide ceasefire.

Of the 77 provinces in the country, only 25 have so far been declared as insurgency-free.

Maj, Gen. Aurelio Baladad, commander of the Third Infantry Division based in Capiz, said that his men will continue with their security patrols to protect the civilian populace, government and private infrastructures, and military camps and detachments.

“Taking into consideration the transgressions of the NPA in the past that took advantage of the ceasefire of the AFP, the military will continue with its proactive defense countermeasures to prevent NPA attacks,” Baladad said, adding that the CPP-NPA usually resorts to violence on their anniversary.

Last year, the NPA took advantage of the SOMO when it fired on a group of soldiers conducting peace and development activities in Sitio Anoy, Barangay Cabalaunan, Miagao, Iloilo province.

“We will not allow the past transgressions and violations committed by the CPP-NPA that stained the holidays with violence to happen again this year. Our forces remain vigilant especially in protecting the civilian communities,” Baladad said.

The unilateral 26-day truce declared by the President took effect midnight of December 21 and will end on January 15, 2013.

But hours after the government ceasefire was announced, the rebels attacked two military detachments in the provinces of Quezon and Sorsogon.

CPP: Advance the national-democratic revolution through people’s war amid the worsening global and domestic crisis

From the CPP Website (Dec 26): Advance the national-democratic revolution through people’s war amid the worsening global and domestic crisis

CPP Central Committee
  On the 45th anniversary of the reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines on the theoretical basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, we celebrate the accumulated and recent victories of the Party and the Filipino people in the new democratic revolution against the ruling system of big compradors and landlords servile to US imperialism.

We are resolved to advance the new-democratic revolution on the basis of our ideological, political and organizational strength, overcome our errors and shortcomings, set forth our tasks and carry them out in order to bring about greater victories in the revolutionary struggle.

The crisis of the world capitalist system continues to protract and worsen. Consequently, the chronic crisis of the domestic ruling system continues to deepen and aggravate. The crisis conditions inflict intolerable suffering on the people and drive them to wage all forms of resistance.

In line with US design, Oplan Bayanihan aims to destroy the revolutionary movement or reduce it to inconsequence by combining the escalation of brutal military campaigns of suppression and the misrepresentation of the Aquino regime as the paragon of good governance, economic growth and the dispenser of doleouts for the poorest, especially in the guerrilla fronts.

But at this point, the dismal failure of Oplan Bayanihan is starkly clear. The people’s war continues to gain ground and grow in strength. The revolutionary forces and the people are optimistic that with relentless hard work and struggle, they can advance further from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate.

The Aquino regime is exposed and condemned by the people for serving the interests of the exploiting classes to which he belongs, for being subservient to the US imperialists, for worsening the underdeveloped character of the economy and for being corrupt by stealing public funds and taking bribes from big business.

The US imperialists and the local exploiting classes previously expected the Aquino regime to contain the revolutionary movement, harmonize the rival reactionary forces and stabilize the ruling system. But it has aggravated the socio-economic and political crisis and is pushing the people to rise up. The demand for the ouster or resignation of the Aquino regime has become extensive and sharp.

I. Global crisis protracts and generates war

The imperialist powers headed by the US are fixated on perpetuating the neoliberal economic policy. They cling to the dogma that the maximization of private profit and the accelerated accumulation and concentration of capital in the hands of the monopoly bourgeoisie and its financial oligarchy through the reduction of the wage level, liberalization of investments, trade and finance, the privatization of state assets, deregulation of social and environmental restrictions and the denationalization of the underdeveloped countries are the way to economic growth, job creation and social satisfaction.

They obscure the fact that the capitalist system of maximizing private profits by minimizing the wage fund cannot but result in the crisis of overproduction in the real economy and that the use of credit, derivatives and financial bubbles to buoy up the economy and deliver still bigger profits to the monopoly bourgeoisie in cycles of boom and bust has limits. Amid the economic stagnation, the people in the US and other imperialist countries are outraged by the gross inequality of incomes between the upper 5% and the rest of society and the worsening conditions of poverty due to unemployment, homelessness and soaring costs of basic goods and services.

Since the financial meltdown of 2008, there has been no letup in the crisis and the deterioration of the world capitalist system despite the sporadic bounces in the financial markets. The global depression persists and the most victimized are the people of the third world. The imperialist powers have found no solution to the crisis but have aggravated it by bailing out the big bourgeoisie with public money and buoying up the assets of the big banks and corporations and further shifting the burden of crisis to the working people and the underdeveloped countries through austerity measures.

The recurrent and worsening economic and financial crises brought about by the neoliberal economic policy has profoundly undermined and weakened the US for decades. Its manufacturing base has contracted as a result of outsourcing many kinds of consumer commodities to China and a few other so-called emerging economies while focusing on the production of big items (such as telecommunications, aircraft and hightech weaponry), widening the service sector and financializing the US economy.

The crisis of the US and the world capitalist economy has taken the conspicuous form of the public debt crisis on top of the underlying problems of corporate debt and the hundreds of trillions of financial derivatives. The tax base of the imperialist states has been undermined by economic stagnation, the rise of unemployment, the continuing huge tax cuts for the corporations and the wealthy, bureaucratic corruption and high military spending.

In a futile attempt at solving the public debt crisis and rising public deficits, the imperialist states pass the burden of crisis to the people. The US federal government engages in so-called quantitative easing or printing money, while the local states conspicuously adopt austerity measures. The European Union imposes austerity measures on its member-states, especially those already openly bankrupt, such as Greece, Spain and Portugal. Austerity involves the reduction of wages and pensions, social services and public sector employment.

The US leads the imperialist powers in presuming military production to be a stimulant of the economy, in actually stepping up such production, in deploying military forces abroad and in launching wars of aggression. The US and its NATO allies openly share the position that maintaining military superiority is necessary for promoting and protecting foreign investments. At the same time, social services (such as education, health and social housing) are relentlessly being cut back.

To conceal the reality of economic depression and make it appear as mere recession albeit repetitive, the imperialist states inject public funds into the financial sector semestrally in order to create the illusion of recovery. The monopoly bourgeoisie and its financial elite cover up their responsibility for the crisis through the dominant political parties, mass media, the schools and the churches. They let loose such reactionary currents as chauvinism, racism, religious bigotry, anti-immigrant politics, anti-communism, fascism and warmongering to disable people from recognizing the capitalist roots of the crisis and the need for revolutionary class struggle.

Nevertheless, the working class and other people in the imperialist countries are resisting the rising level of exploitation and oppression, despite the attempts of the big bourgeoisie to confuse and entrap them in the electoral struggle between the barefaced reactionaries and the reformists. The workers are launching strikes and mass protests, together with the youth, women, senior citizens, migrants and refugees. The more severe the crisis, the more militant are the mass actions. Conditions are rife for the development of the revolutionary party of the proletariat and the progressive mass organizations in various sectors.

The imperialist powers always try to override contradictions among themselves by uniting against the third world countries and peoples by shifting the burden of crisis to them through intensified exploitation, privileged investments, lopsided trade, foreign currency imposition, heavier debt burden and the accelerated plunder of the natural resources and destruction of the environment. Modern imperialism has always been global in scale. But under the neoliberal policy, the main thrust of imperialist globalization is the denationalization of third world economies in violation of national sovereignty, national patrimony and the legitimate aspiration for national industrial development.

The peoples of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the socially retrogressive countries of Eastern Europe and republics of Russia are resisting the escalation of exploitation and oppression. The social unrest and political turmoil are sweeping entire continents of the world. The broad masses of the people are waging mass protests on an unprecedented scale. In a significant number of countries, revolutionary parties of the proletariat are waging people’s war for national and social liberation, such as the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, North Kurdistan, Colombia, Peru and elsewhere.

Conditions are rife for the emergence of people’s war in more countries as the crisis protracts and worsens. The revolutionary parties of the proletariat and the people can hope to complete the struggle for national liberation and democracy and then proceed to socialist revolution only if they smash the military and bureaucratic machinery of the reactionary state. Very instructive to all revolutionaries is the way peace agreements have been used to frustrate social revolution in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Nepal and Tamil Eelam.

Certain third world states like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and Iran have asserted their national independence and have stood their ground against threats, provocations and sanctions imposed by the imperialists led by the US. In varying degrees, they have learned lessons from the dismal experience of states, which at first resist imperialist dictates and then compromise with the imperialists and expose their vulnerabilities for eventual subversion and aggression.

The US and NATO have installed puppet regimes and gained military bases and economic spoils in countries where they unleashed wars of aggression or engaged in military intervention. But the people there continue to resist. Armed conflicts continue in Iraq, Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan and Libya. The Balkans remain a powder keg. The so-called Arab spring in Tunisia and Egypt have succeeded in toppling authoritarians like Zine el Abadine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak and led to the ascendancy of the Salafi and Muslim Brotherhood. The US has had to install again a pro-US military ruling clique in Egypt in order to please both Israel and the Egyptian military bourgeoisie bred by the US after the Camp David sell-out by then Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1977.

The US and the NATO undertook the bombing campaign that disintegrated the defense structure of the Qaddafi regime and allowed the anti-Qaddafi militia groups to overthrow it. Once more with the collaboration of Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, they instigated and supplied militia groups to fight the Assad regime in Syria and schemed to unleash air assaults against it on the false allegation that it is using chemical weapons. They also calculated that the regime change in Syria would pave the way for an attack on Iran.

However, Russia and China used their veto power in the UN Security Council to block the US-NATO bombing scheme and to give way to diplomacy in working out an agreement regarding the elimination of Syria’s chemical stocks and US-NATO desistance from bombing Syria. Further on, Russia and China pushed an agreement for Iran to reduce its uranium enrichment to the level of 5% for the purpose of energy generation in exchange for the reduction of economic sanctions by the imperialist powers. As in previous cases, agreements can prevent the US and NATO from bombing an enemy state for a while. But subsequently, they can claim noncompliance with such agreements or use other pretexts to justify aggression in due time.

The worsening crisis of the world capitalist system fuels contradiction among the imperialist powers no matter how hard they try to patch up their differences and unite against the third world countries and the working people. Since China and Russia became openly capitalist and joined the ranks of major capitalist states, the room for mutual accommodation among the imperialist powers has strategically contracted.

Having inherited from their socialist background a tradition of assertive national sovereignty, a significant degree of industrialization, a high level of science and technology and nuclear weapons, China and Russia are strong entrants in the circle of imperialist powers. They cannot be made to follow US dictates without resistance or circumvention. Thus, inter-imperialist contradictions are growing over a wide range of issues: investments, trade, finance, security, spying and the environment.

China and Russia are major members of the UN Security Council, the IMF, World Bank, the WTO and the Group of 20. And yet they are the stalwarts of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), an economic bloc with a comprehensive range of products and is a huge market. They are also stalwarts of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a security arrangement which has far more population and land than the NATO. The SCO has arisen as a countervailing force to the US and NATO, especially in Asia, as a result of the overweening arrogance and aggressiveness of the US after getting support for its so-called war on terror.

During and after the years of 1989 to 1991, when the revisionist regimes openly embraced capitalism and proceeded at top speed to legalize bureaucratic loot and privatize state assets, the imperialists and their camp followers proclaimed the death of socialism. They could not imagine how China and Russia as new capitalist powers would exacerbate inter-imperialist contradictions, worsen the crisis of global capitalism and unintentionally bring about the resurgence of the anti-imperialist and socialist movements in the long run.

Even while still stuck in a number of politico-military quagmires of its own making in West Asia, Africa, Central Asia and South Asia and still facing potential armed conflicts elsewhere, the US is pivoting to Asia in an ill-disguised scheme to confront and contain China. It is rebalancing by deploying 50% of all its military and 60% of its naval forces in the Asia-Pacific region. It is using the military buildup in combination with the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (which at present excludes China) to persuade China to completely privatize its remaining state-owned enterprises and to give way to the so-called democracy movement, which requires multiparty competition in elections from the local up to the national level and ending the privileged role of the pseudo-communist party which is in fact an authoritarian bourgeois party.

The US is also taking advantage of the disputes between China and Southeast Asian countries over portions of the South China Sea as well as that between China and Japan over Diaoyu island in the East China Sea. The Kalayaan or Spratly and other islets, reefs and shoals owned by the Philippines are clearly within the 200-mile exclusive zone stipulated by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea signed by China and the Philippines. But in the case of Diaoyu islands, these belong to China because it is far closer to China than to Japan and most importantly because Japan officially acknowledged Chinese ownership of them in 1885 and annexed them as war booty in 1895, following the defeat of China in the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95. The US unjustly takes side with Japan, if only to fish in troubled waters, and has combined with Japan in challenging China’s extension of its air defense identification zone over Diaoyu islands.

The US pivot to East Asia means the further transgression of Philippine national sovereignty and territorial integrity. It involves the further entrenchment of US military forces in the Philippines and the ultimate reestablishment of the US military bases. The US is already preparing for the return of the US military bases by setting up forward stations inside and outside of the military camps of the Philippine puppet army, rotating ever larger military units, increasing frequency of comings and goings of aircraft and naval vessels and ever developing interoperability with the puppet troops and supply mobilization.

We can anticipate the increasing involvement and participation of US military forces in armed counterrevolution against the revolutionary movement of the Filipino people. The current level of US military intervention in Philippine affairs is a preparation for outright military aggression. This is concomitant to the strategic scheme of the US to have a secure base in the Philippines for undertaking military actions and maneuvers against China and other countries in the region. US strategy regards the Philippines as being in the first line of defense against China and the DPRK, backed by a deeper second line of US military forces in the Pacific Islands and Oceania.

II. Ruling system reels from crisis and corruption

The crisis of the world capitalist system has a destructive impact on the Philippine economy and aggravates its chronic crisis. The export of semiconductors and other low value-added semi-manufacturing products has drastically fallen. Many of the plants engaged in fringe processing and reassembly have shut down. Agricultural production is bedeviled by dumping and smuggling of rice and corn into the country and lack of support from the state, which misrepresents the smuggled staples as domestic products.

Like its predecessors, the Aquino regime is opposed to genuine land reform and national industrialization. The neoliberal economic policy continues to aggravate and deepen the underdeveloped, agrarian and semifeudal character of the economy, dominated by the imperialists, big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists.
The regime claims to have made the economy as the fastest growing with the increase of remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), rise of income from the call centers and the expansion of private and public construction, mining, plantations, casinos and other tourist facilities.

The continuing increase of OFW remittances comes mainly from the Filipino nurses and caregivers in North America. Elsewhere, the crisis of global capitalism, the anti-migrant bias and social disorders have started to reduce overseas employment. Private construction is now afflicted by overcapacity and is a bubble that is bound to burst as soon as the imperialist banks raise interest rates to counter inflation and the portfolio investments (hot money) fly back to their countries of origin. Belated appropriations for public construction have been to a large extent pork barrel scams, with the public money privately pocketed, invested in upscale real estate or stashed away in foreign banks by the bureaucrat capitalists.

Foreign and domestic corporations are frenziedly engaged in mining all over the country. They practice open pit mining with heavy use of poisonous chemicals to accelerate mineral extraction to the detriment of agriculture, fishing and the environment. Mineral ores and precious metals are brought out of the country. Only token taxes are paid to the government. The plantations for the production and export of pineapple, banana, rubber and palm oil are reducing the land for staple food production and for land reform. The casinos and other tourist facilities do not spell any real economic development.

In the absence of any industrial development or rise of manufacturing, the Aquino regime boasts of having achieved an economic miracle by having the highest economic growth rate in the whole world. In fact, the so-called economic miracle is a mere bubble. The claimed growth rate of more than 7% on a GDP of US$250 billion is generated mainly by hot money in the carry trade and by wanton government borrowing and spending for nonproductive purposes. The hot money from abroad flows mainly into the stock and money markets; and at best finances the overcapacity and the bubble in private construction.

The budgetary deficit has widened because the revenue base of the reactionary government has been eroded by the actual economic depression, the privatization of earning assets, the tax cuts for the foreign investors, tax evasion by businesses and the wealthy and smuggling of goods in and out of the country; and because the tax revenues have been used to feed bureaucratic corruption, service the mounting foreign and local debt and raise appropriations for the military and other counterproductive purposes. The trade deficit has also widened because of high expenditures for the importation of luxury goods and necessities produced by other countries; and because export income has drastically declined. The reactionary government keeps on increasing the local and public debt and applying austerity measures without announcing these as such.

Whenever the Aquino regime boasts of economic growth, the broad masses of the people are outraged by the lie and by the fact that a huge part of the GDP includes the superprofit-taking operations of the multinational corporations and what the big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists grab from the social wealth that the toiling masses of workers and peasants create. They point to the rising mass unemployment, the decline of incomes, the soaring prices of fuel, food and other basic commodities, the increased charges for public utilities and social services and the visible spread of poverty, hunger and misery. Social unrest is widespread and deepening. Thus, the people are rising in mass protest. And an increasing number of people are joining the armed revolutionary movement in the countryside.

The ruling political system is the instrument of the US and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords that are represented by the bureaucrat capitalists. The bureaucrat capitalists are themselves members of the exploiting classes, like the current president B.S. Aquino who is a big comprador-landlord from the Cojuangco-Aquino dynasty. Other bureaucrat capitalists are recruited by the ruling classes from the urban petty bourgeois intelligentsia and, like their economic and political superiors, generally aspire to rise in economic and social standing and amass wealth in capital and land.
The bureaucrat capitalists amass private wealth by using their government offices for the purpose. They adopt policies and rules designed to favor their electoral campaign financiers, relatives and friends with economic privileges, and they take bribes in business contracts and use government appropriations for their private benefit.

Contrary to hypocritical claims that his regime is clean and honest, Aquino has become exposed as the Pork Barrel King, using hundreds of billions of pesos of lump sum appropriations at his sole discretion to disburse for his personal gain and political patronage. One of his siblings has also been denounced by a Czech company for demanding bribes.

The Filipino people have been further outraged by the corruption of the Aquino regime with the exposure of the disappearance of calamity funds for the victims of natural disasters and with its criminal failure to make pre-disaster preparations to ensure the safety of the people and to provide timely and adequate rescue and relief to the millions of people assaulted by the monster winds of the super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and storm surges. Thousands were killed, homes, means of livelihood and social infrastructure were destroyed and millions of people suffered from hunger, thirst, cold in the open air, lack of medicine, illness and death. Thus, the people are increasingly demanding the resignation or ouster of Aquino and his entire corrupt ruling clique.

The exposure of the plundering character and corrupt practices of the Aquino regime has unraveled the scheme of the US and most sections of the local exploiting classes to drum him up as the icon of good governance for stabilizing the ruling system and for rallying against the armed revolutionary movement of the people led by the Communist Party of the Philippines. Even the reactionary mass media which touted Aquino as a clean and well-meaning leader for more than three years have started to publish statements and articles exposing the corrupt character of his regime.

In the last elections of 2012, the Aquino regime appeared to reign supreme, riding high with the support of the media and poll survey firms and without any serious opposition from any rival bourgeois party. The ruling Liberal Party was able to coalesce with the Nacionalista Party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, the LDP and sections of the PDP-Laban and Laban-NUCD. Even the opposition party, PDP-Laban, was seen as a fake opposition because Vice President Jejomar Binay had long been known as an Aquino protege, directly handled by an uncle of B.S. Aquino. Previous to the 2012 elections, Aquino rounded up all major reactionary parties with pork to convict Supreme Court Justice Corona.

Notwithstanding his opularity?conjured by the reactionary media and the poll surveys, Aquino and his gang pre-determined the results of the 2012 senatorial elections by programming the 60-30-10 pattern in favor of his candidates and feeding into the automated electoral system operated by the foreign company Smartmatic and its Philippine partner Total Information Management (TIM). The electoral cheating has been proven conclusively by the highly respected computer scientists in AES Watch. It indicates how Aquino was elected not only with the financial help of big buinessmen like Eduardo Cojuangco, Lucio Tan, Manny Pangilinan and Jaime Zobel de Ayala but also with the manipulation of automated electoral system.

The automation of the electoral system has made the elections even more fraudulent and even more controlled by foreign and big comprador interests in violation of the people’s sovereignty. Automated or not, the reactionary elections are undemocratic as they include the political agents of the exploiting classes but exclude the patriotic and progressive representatives of the workers and peasants by such predetermining factors as the repressive and slanderous actions of the military and police agencies against the latter, the prohibitive costs of campaigning and the bias generated by the mass media, churches and schools. Even the party-list system that allowed the election of a handful of progressive members of Congress representing the exploited classes will now be completely overrun by the political dynasties and the reactionary parties as a result of a recent decision of the Supreme Court allowing them use of the system.

It is fine for the revolutionary movement that the reactionaries are themselves unwittingly doing everything to dispel the illusion that the reactionary elections are democratic. After all, the reactionary politicians expose their antinational and anti-democratic character as soon as they betray the people and grab the spoils of power.
The entire government itself has been weakened by exposure of its pro-imperialist and reactionary character, the privatization of its earning assets under the neoliberal policy, the intolerable levies on the people already impoverished by the crisis, the reduction and deterioration of social services and runaway wastage of public funds through bureaucratic corruption, debt service and military spending.

The Aquino regime has never had any serious intention of negotiating a just peace with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. At the first formal meeting of the NDFP negotiating panel and the Aquino-appointed panel in Oslo in 2011, the latter denounced The Hague Joint Declaration as a ocument of perpetual division.?

The NDFP pointed out that this is the framework agreement that has made possible more than ten major agreements, including the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). The regime has consistently refused to release NDFP peace consultants who have been arrested and detained in violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

In 2012, it declared the JASIG inoperative and refused to agree to the reconstruction of the list of JASIG-protected individuals which had been destroyed by the Dutch police raids in 2007 upon the Arroyo regime’s instigation to the Dutch government to arrest the NDFP chief political consultant on false criminal charges and to raid and seize documents and electronic media and equipment from NDFP Information Office and the houses of NDFP negotiators, consultants and staffers. For this reason alone, the NDFP had the basis to terminate the peace negotiations in accordance with the JASIG but decided to extend its patience for the sake of seeking a just peace.

The Aquino regime has exposed itself as worse than the Arroyo regime in violating the CARHRIHL and committing gross and systematic human rights violations. It has refused to release the hundreds of political prisoners that the Arroyo regime imprisoned in violation of CARHRIHL, especially the Hernandez doctrine that political activists and rebels should not be criminalized and should not be accused of common crimes, instead of political offenses. The Aquino regime has proceeded to arrest suspected revolutionaries, torture and murder or detain indefinitely hundreds of them on false charges of common crimes.

It is upon US advice that the Aquino regime has continuously fouled up and considered the peace negotiations as unnecessary for so long as he can maintain the illusion of good governance and efficient delivery of services to the people and thus combine well the triad of psywar, intelligence and combat operations. This US advice is clearly spelled out in the US Counterinursurgency Guide. By way of strengthening psywar and intelligence to serve combat operations, the Aquino regime has also recycled the failed Aquino-Ramos amnesty and rehabilitation program of the past by undertaking the Conditional Cash Transfer Program and PAMANA, using bribery and intimidation to entice entire communities and even the families of revolutionaries with cash doleouts in exchange for information against the revolutionary movement.

The Aquino regime is not at all interested in peace negotiations but the capitulation and pacification of the revolutionary forces and people under the guise of nilateral simultaneous indefinite ceasefires.? It has rebuffed the offer of the NDFP for truce and alliance or cooperation on the basis of a concise general common intent to realize and carry forward national independence, democracy, social justice, development through land reform and national industrialization, people’s culture and international solidarity. The truce and alliance or cooperation are meant to promote the accelerated negotiation of the remaining comprehensive agreements in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration.

In view of the proven unwillingness of the Aquino regime to negotiate a just peace, the revolutionary movement does not expect the resumption of peace negotiations with the regime. It has no choice but to wait for the next regime to engage in serious negotiations. It remains to be seen whether the regime can make a final peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that does not arouse the opposition of the Moro National Liberation Front headed by Nur Misuari and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. We are optimistic that the Bangsamoro will continue to struggle for self-determination and ancestral domain so long as these are not fulfilled.

The Aquino regime is a shameless puppet of US imperialism. It allows the US military forces to violate Philippine national sovereignty and territorial integrity. It cravenly believes that the US can save the rotten semicolonial and semifedual ruling system in the Philippines. Thus, it supports the US policy of pivot to East Asia. It is poised to sign with the US the Increased Rotational Presence Framework Agreement in order to improve interoperability of personnel, units, equipment and commands under the Visiting Forces Agreement of 1997 and the US-Philippine Mutual Defense Pact of 1953.

The increased rotational presence of US military forces, the frequent comings and goings of air and naval vessels, the establishment of forward stations inside and outside of the puppet camps, the improved interoperability and joint operations of the US and Philippine military forces constitute foreign military intervention and are preparations for the reestablishment of US military bases and for aggression against the Filipino people and neighboring peoples.

But like the rotting ruling system of the Philippines, US imperialism is on a path of accelerated decline. It has outwitted itself by imposing on the world the neoliberal economic policy, weakening its manufacturing base, financializing its economy, ever increasing military expenditures and extending concessions to China and Russia for their integration in the world capitalist system. What was once the sole superpower is now one of several power centers in a multipolar world. It has overextended itself in wars of aggression to suppress countries assertive of national independence and in contention with other imperialist powers.

In this context, the Filipino people can take their own destiny into their own hands more than ever before and continue to wage the new democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. It can look forward to a near future when the proletariat and people are again dramatically rising and reasserting themselves on an ever expanding scale in a world proletarian-socialist revolution amid the decomposition of the world capitalist system and the escalating contradictions of the imperialist powers.

III. The Party victoriously leads the new democratic revolution

Under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the Communist Party of the Philippines continues to strengthen itself as the advanced detachment of the proletariat and lead the broad masses of the people in the new-democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. It continues resolutely to build itself ideologically, politically and organizationally.

It takes advantage of the protracted and ever worsening crisis of the world capitalist capitalist system and the domestic ruling system. It sees clearly that the crisis inflicts terrible suffering on the people and drives them to fight US imperialism and the local exploiting classes. It is building on its achievements over the last 45 years and it is confident of winning ever greater victories.

The Party takes pride in having led one of the world’s most important armed revolutions for national and social liberation in a period of temporary defeat and strategic retreat for the international communist movement because of the sabotage and betrayal carried out by the modern revisionists. But now, the integration of Russia and China in the world capitalist system is exacerbating inter-imperialist contradictions and the international communist movement and the broad anti-imperialist movement are resurgent. The conditions for the Philippine revolution to advance are better than ever.

In the protracted struggle to complete the people’s democratic revolution, it has been useful and encouraging for the Party to define the goal of advancing from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate in the people’s war and to rally all revolutionary forces to realize the political and other requirements for such an advance. The goal remains valid even as the plan and time scale to achieve it may be adjusted and readjusted in whole or in part in the course of struggle.

In ideological building, the Party has upheld the theory of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and has integrated it with the concrete Philippine conditions and the concrete practice of the Philippine revolution. We are opposed to subjectivism, be it of the dogmatic or empiricist type. We have produced guiding documents, books and articles on the Philippine economy, politics and culture. We continue to provide timely analysis of major events and issues in the Philippines and abroad, published these in Ang Bayan and other journals and made available in our website.

We have carried out social investigations of varying scales in all areas in connection with our revolutionary work. Our Party leading organs and units engage in periodic and timely assessment and evaluation of our work as a matter of course. We conduct study conferences among our Party cadres and members to sharpen our understanding of crucial issues and campaigns that need to be carried out.

Whenever we evaluate our work, we conduct criticism and self-criticism in order to understand our errors and shortcomings and rectify them and thus improve our work and style of work. We have engaged in rectification movements, such as the First and Second Great Rectification Movements and others of lesser scale but of wider scope than the criticism and self-criticism that we conduct in specific organs and units in the general course of our work .

We plan and carry out formal Party study courses at the basic, intermediate and advanced levels. We ensure that all Party candidate members finish the basic Party course within the period of candidature so that they are promptly sworn in as full Party members. They can take the intermediate Party course within the first year of Party membership and the advanced Party course within the second year. The study outlines and texts are published to enable Party units to conduct the study courses.

The study courses are meant to ensure that Party cadres and members keep on improving their theoretical knowledge and revolutionary practice; and keep on deepening their revolutionary commitment. To keep the courses lively and interesting, they are always related to history and current circumstances and to current revolutionary work. In every course, the instructors make sure that the living study of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is done in connection with problems and issues in the objective situation and in revolutionary work.

Inside and outside the Party study courses, Party cadres and members can heighten, deepen and widen their knowledge by reading and study of revolutionary publications and integrating their knowledge with their work. But many of our Party members come from the ranks of the toiling masses and have limited formal education and training in reading or have limited time to read long and complex texts. Thus our Party cadres in education are tasked to prepare simple reading materials and audio-visual aids for quicker comprehension in combination with oral discussion based on facts and experience.

Videos and other audio-visual aids are prepared to facilitate the Party study courses and the presentation of various subjects of major importance. They are interesting and educative to all Party cadres and members, irrespective of their level of formal education. The new media can be used to serve revolution in conjunction with printed materials that can be easier distributed to working people who have no access to computers and even electricity.

In political building, the Party pursues the general line of new democratic revolution through people’s war against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords. The Program for a People’s Democratic Revolution is a comprehensive instrument for arousing, organizing and mobilizing the oppressed and exploited masses. On the basis of their strength, the Party can build the people’s army and the revolutionary united front as weapons for overthrowing the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system and establish the people’s democratic state of workers, peasants, the intelligentsia and other democratic and patriotic classes and sectors.

The Party serves as the advanced detachment of the unionized and nonunionized workers. Trade unions led by secret Party branches are the most effective in fighting for the rights and interests of the workers. They provide a good example to the workers where the unions are not led by the Party or where there are no unions yet. The Party organizes the workers in the factories as well as in the communities, together with other urban poor, to struggle for the just interests of their class as well as for the entire people’s democratic revolution.

Aware that the industry-based working class is only around 15% of the population, the Party has exerted all efforts to organize the peasant masses which comprise around 75% of the population. The peasants are the main force of the revolution. They are the inexhaustible source of strength for the people’ war. The fulfillment of their demand for land is the main content of the democratic revolution.

The patriotic and progressive youth movement has urban-based mass organizations. It fights for the rights and interests of the youth as students and out-of-school. It is aware that it can make political advances more effectively only in combination with the workers and other exploited people. It has produced leaders for other mass movements. The most advanced among them have become members of the Party and augment the ranks of proletarian revolutionaries. They have thus become more dedicated to the achievement of the people’s democratic revolution.

The women’s movement has become powerful because it is based on one half of the entire people and fights for its rights and interests within the context of the people’s democratic revolution. Women who become trained as mass activists have become leaders of various types of mass organizations and have also joined the Party. They are aware that they cannot advance in their struggle against millennia of patriarchalism without developing their collective strength through the people’s democratic revolution.

Men and women in various professional and technical occupations are drawn to the people’s democratic revolution because here they can contribute their knowledge and expertise to the people for their national and social liberation. Although they are better off economically than the exploited masses, they have their grievances and demands against the increasingly oppressive and exploitative ruling system.

Since its founding, the Party has considered the New People’s Army as the main instrument for overthrowing the ruling system and making possible the establishment of the people’s democratic state. The organization of the people’s army was facilitated by the combination of the proletarian revolutionaries from the Manila-based movements of workers and youth with the good remnants and veterans of the old people’s army in Tarlac province.

Since then, the people’s war has grown from small to big and from weak to strong by integrating revolutionary armed struggle, agrarian revolution and mass base building.
Under the leadership of the Party, the New People’s Army is now a nationwide revolutionary force operating in more than 110 guerrilla fronts, which exist in substantial portions of 71 out of 81 Philippine provinces. It has thousands of full-time Red fighters armed with high powered rifles and has a mass base of millions of people, mainly peasants benefiting from genuine land reform.

A typical guerrilla front has a total force of a guerrilla company, with a platoon serving as the headquarters, organizer of offensives on the scale of the front and cooperator with a higher command for the purpose of offensives of wider scale than the front. The two other platoons disperse into squads and teams for mass work and for combat operations appropriate to their size, capability and interoperability with the people’s militia and the self-defense units of the mass organizations. Combat capability is not limited to the full-time Red fighters but augmented and amplified by the people’s militia and self-defense units.

The enemy has repeatedly boasted that it can destroy or reduce the NPA to inconsequentiality but is always shamed soon enough. Enemy forces have so far been incapable of attacking simultaneously in concentrated strength for six months to one year on more than 10% of the guerrilla fronts. Within a typical guerrilla front, the space for maneuver is wide enough for NPA platoons and squads to launch counteroffensives against an enemy battalion that sudivides itself for covering wide areas.

Moreover, the NPA forces under a subregional (interfront) or regional command can launch counteroffensives within or outside the guerrilla front under enemy attack. When in certain regions the enemy is concentrating combat operations, the NPA in other regions can take the initiative of attacking the enemy forces in their region in order to take advantage of lesser enemy strength and in order to help the NPA in the regions under attack.

The NPA launches annihilative offensives such as ambushes, raids and arrest operations to seize the weapons of military, police, paramilitary and private security units. For attritive actions against the enemy forces, it also uses sniping operations, land mines, grenades, sapping, interdicting supplies and destroying military vehicles and fuel stocks at depots.

The NPA has in its ranks the best sons and daughters of the peasant masses because it is their own army, which enables them to benefit from land reform and other types of campaigns for their social benefit. The NPA carries out the minimum land reform program of rent reduction, elimination of usury, raising farm wages, improving the prices of farm products at the farm gate and promoting agricultural production and sideline occupations through rudimentary cooperation. As soon as allowed by circumstances, the maximum land reform program of confiscating the land and distributing them free to the landless tenants is carried out.

In times of natural disaster, the NPA and other revolutionary forces do everything they can for the purpose of rescue, relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction. In this regard, the Party goes to the extent of declaring unilateral ceasefires of varying scope in order to concentrate on work for helping the people. But the enemy forces shamelessly continue to carry out combat operations. Thus, the NPA has to be alert and ready for defense even when on ceasefire mode in the face of any impending attack.

The NPA continues to carry out extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare on the basis of an ever widening and deepening mass base. The Party within the NPA unit and the Party in the localities make sure that the mass base is developed in support of the NPA and as a bastion of political struggle against the reactionary and puppet forces. Mass organizations of workers, peasants, youth, women, cultural activists and children are built and strengthened. They also support and assist the local organs of political power which the Party leads.

The organs of political power in the countryside are established at the barrio, sub-municipal and municipal levels. Appointive organs of political power established by the unit of the NPA in the barrios precede the elective barrio revolutionary committees (BRC). The appointive organs of political power at the barrio level are tasked with hastening the full development of the different revolutionary mass organizations in the barrio, the building of units of the people’s militia, and undertaking antifeudal mass struggles and other mass campaigns of the people. The BRC is elected by the representatives of the mass organizations or an assembly of the people, depending on the security situation. They are established in clusters of barrios and can soon be followed by the establishment of the sub-municipal organs of political power or by the municipal organs of political power. The local organs of political power are formed along the line of the united front.

The policy of the united front is followed by the National Democratic Front and the people’s democratic government from the national level to every lower level. In representation of the united front, the Party leads the united front and makes sure that it is based on the worker-peasant alliance and is for the revolutionary armed struggle. It can combine the toiling masses and the urban petty bourgeoisie to form the alliance of basic revolutionary forces and further combine these with the middle bourgeoisie to form the alliance of patriotic forces. It can further make temporary and unstable alliances with sections of the reactionary classes to isolate and destroy the most reactionary section.

The Party organizational structure extends to all types of workplaces, communities, mass organizations and institutions and draws new Party members from them. It recruits those who have manifested revolutionary commitment and militancy and who accept the Party Constitution and Program for a People’s Democratic Revolution. Each recruit is recommended by a full Party member to the Party branch or committee concerned, which in turn, assigns another full Party member to verify the personal character and level of consciousness and commitment of the recommendee. After the aforesaid process, the branch or committee concerned can approve the status of candidate member and takes charge of developing the subject to become a full Party member within the stipulated period of candidature.

The Party can deploy and redeploy Party cadres and members in order to advance the work of the Party and the revolutionary movement. The NPA and the countryside are ever in need of Party cadres and members who are workers and educated youth.
Their integration may be facilitated in various ways. The most important consideration is that they are determined to stay indefinitely with the NPA or in the countryside where their competencies are needed.

The Party enjoys high prestige in the international communist movement and broad anti-imperialist movement because it has continued to lead successfully the people’s democratic revolution in an archipelagic country, which is supposed to be in the tight grip of US imperialism and its rabid puppets, despite the global sway of neoliberalism, the full restoration of capitalism in former socialist countries and the reign of neocolonialism in third world countries. The Party has demonstrated that the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war has continued to grow in strength and advance with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as its powerful guide.

Among the millions of Filipinos who have left for work abroad because of underdevelopment and poverty in the Philippines are members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and activists of the national democratic movement. They have been among those most resolute and militant in fighting for the rights and interests of overseas Filipino workers. They have been active in developing the solidarity of the Filipino people with the peoples in many countries. They have readily joined activities of the working class and the broad anti-imperialist movement in their host countries.

In closing, we wish to stress a number of tasks:

1. Let us do our best to cause the ouster of the Aquino regime or compel Aquino’s resignation from his office because of puppetry to US imperialism, corruption, electoral fraud, grave human rights violations, mismanagement of pre-disaster preparations and disaster aid, mendacity, unrestricted mining, logging, landgrabbing and other forms of destroying the environment. We consider our efforts to remove Aquino from power as part of the process of strengthening the revolutionary movement and overthrowing the entire ruling system for the purpose of realizing fully the Program for a People’s Democratic Revolution and proceeding to the socialist revolution. As proven in the overthrow of Marcos and Estrada, it is possible for the legal mass movement to drive the overthrow of Aquino. Even if this would not succeed, the movement would still be strengthened and will further cause the US-Aquino regime to fail in its brutal attempt to destroy the armed revolution of the people.

2. Let us further strengthen the Communist Party of the Philippines ideologically, politically and organizationally. We must ensure that the Philippine revolution is led by the revolutionary proletariat in the current stage of the people’s democratic revolution and in the subsequent stage of the socialist revolution. The effective leadership of the Party is the most important political requirement for the current plan of advancing from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate in our protracted people’s war. We must train and develop big numbers of capable cadres in the different lines of work, improve the collective leadership and style of work of Party committees, revitalize the Party system of regular and special reports, and strengthen the Party organization based on the principles of democratic centralism. We must strive to bring the number of our Party members to 25,000, no matter how long it takes to do so. Such organized strength of ideologically committed and politically competent Party members will give us the capability to perform all necessary tasks for advancing the revolution.

3. We must continue to intensify the offensives of the New People’s Army. We must wage battles to wipe out enemy units and seize their weapons. This is the way to strengthen the people’s army for the purpose of overthrowing the reactionary state. We must increase the number of our Red fighters to 25,000. We must be good at frustrating and defeating the enemy forces wherever they attack, attacking them at their weak points of deployment and their supply lines, dismantling the mining, plantation and logging enterprises that violate the laws of the people’s government and compelling enemy forces to take guard duty and be on the defensive. We have succeeded in preserving and increasing the people’s army nationwide by following the strategic line of protracted people’s war: encircling the cities from the countryside until we have accumulated the armed strength to seize the cities and achieve total victory.

4. We must persevere in our current tactical line of extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare on the basis of an ever widening and deepening mass base. We must be skillful at using the tactics of concentration, dispersal and shifting for defeating enemy forces in a war of fluid movement. In order to reach the strategic stalemate, we must strive to reach the goal of more or less 200 guerrilla fronts, while always improving the Party leadership and army commands at the national, regional, subregional and front levels. We must always integrate the armed struggle with agrarian revolution and mass base building. We must build the mass organizations of various types and the organs of political power. They should generate the land reform campaign and other social campaigns and build local defense forces (people’s militia and self-defense units) to augment and amplify the strength of the people’s army.

5. We must apply the policy of united front in the mass movement and in building the organs of political power at every level. The united front is under the leadership of the Party and is mainly for armed struggle. The National Democratic Front is the embodiment of the united front of the Party, NPA and all other revolutionary forces. It propagates the line of people’s democratic revolution. It harmonizes the relations of the revolutionary classes and their forces within its organized framework and develops alliances with other forces in a broader united front. It is authorized to engage in peace negotiations with the reactionary government and is guided by the line of seeking national liberation, democracy, social justice, real development, protection of the environment and solidarity of peoples as the basis of a just peace. There is no point in making any peace agreement without these objectives.

6. Let us continue having a positive view of all legal forces that seek to attain such objectives as those of the NDF and welcome their campaigns and activities. We appreciate that they also pursue the united front for the purpose of arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people in their millions to fight for their rights and interests. We condemn the brutal policy of the enemy towards organizations and activists that uphold, defend and promote the rights and interests of the workers, peasants, fishermen, urban poor, women, youth, indigenous people, teachers, journalists, scientists and technologists, health workers, lawyers and other professions as well as those who focus on good causes and advocate land reform, human rights, peace, environmental protection and so on. We encourage all social activists to hold their ground and fight for their rights. At the same time, we welcome to the revolutionary underground and the people’s army those who are in danger of death and imprisonment and decide to join the armed struggle.

7. The Party is guided by the principle of proletarian internationalism and works for the rebuilding of the international communist movement as well as the further strengthening of the broad anti-imperialist movement. We consider these movements of great importance in the face of the protracted and ever worsening crisis of the world capitalist system, the escalation of oppression and exploitation and the unleashing of wars of aggression by the imperialist powers. We must contribute to and support the resurgence of proletarian revolutionary parties and the anti-imperialist movement. We must raise the level of common understanding and practical cooperation through bilateral and multilateral meetings and other activities. In the course of our solidarity relations with revolutionary and progressive forces and peoples abroad, we must promote the rights and interests of overseas Filipino workers and we must encourage the Filipinos in the motherland and abroad to unite with all other peoples in fighting for and building a fundamentally new and better world free from the scourge of imperialism and all reaction.

PH ready to talk peace with disgruntled groups — OPAPP

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 25): PH ready to talk peace with disgruntled groups — OPAPP

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has said it was open to dialogue with “the skeptics and the disgruntled” as the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) aim to complete its long-drawn peace talks next year and submit to Congress a comprehensive peace agreement.

“We expectedly faced many challenges from those who chose to continue the path of violence, the skeptics who have seen earlier similar processes fall back on expectations, and the disgruntled who feel they would lose privileges they have long enjoyed. To all of them, we extend the hand of peace and open ourselves to dialogue and continuous engagement in the hope that we will find fair reconciliation,” the OPAPP said in a statement released on Christmas Eve.

The year 2013 saw many challenges to the peace talks, including the series of deadly bombings in Mindanao orchestrated by a breakaway group of the MILF and the September attack on Zamboanga City by loyalists of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari, who feared that the government’s impending peace deal with the MILF would set aside their own peace agreement signed in 1996.

The goverment-MILF talks was also stalled for a few months last summer because of disagreements over the wealth-sharing annex, which was eventually signed in July.
The panels are set to finalize in January the normalization annex, the last and final document needed to complete the crafting of the final peace agreement, which will be embodied in a proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

“The Annex on Normalization will concretize our vision for a post-conflict Bangsamoro. For this purpose, we shall be putting in place the new infrastructure that would pull together all our efforts in the security, socio-economic and transitional justice aspects,” the OPAPP said.

The peace agreement with the MILF is a cornerstone of the Aquino administration, which will complete its six-year term in two years. The MILF leadership has repeatedly said that a peace deal with the government is possible only under the watch of President Benigno Aquino III, as the group has given its trust to him.

“In all, our efforts at the negotiating table sought to find the good balance between what is just, practical and constitutional for this moment in our people’s history, and those other, higher aspirations that may find fruition and wider acceptability in some later future but not now.  All the time, we based our work on the shared principles of mutual respect, devolution, inclusivity, harmony and good governance. These principles are the essence of the Annexes we have signed,” the OPAPP said.

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, who also sits in the Transition Commission, said the commission would like to send to Congress the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law for approval by April.

Three-day Youth camp held in Basilan province

From the MILF Website (Dec 25): Three-day Youth camp held in Basilan province

About 170 people mostly Yakan youth attended the “Youth Leadership Camp: Youth for Peace 2013” held from December 18-20, 2013 in Ungkaya Pukan town in Southern Philippine’s province of Basilan, organizers told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
In its report on December 22, the Mindanao Examiner said that the three-day youth camp dubbed as “Kabataan, Kaakibat sa Kapayapaan at Pag-unlad ng Ungkaya Pukan,” was the brainchild and initiated by the 18th Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Paolo Perez in coordination with stakeholders from non-governmental organizations Nagdilaab Foundation Incorporation; Pinay Kilos, Non-Violent Peace Force, among others, including the local government. The Non-Violent Peace Force is an active partner of Moro NGO’s in Mindanao for quite sometimes.

The camp is part of the military peace-making efforts in support to the peace negotiation between the GPH and the MILF was participated in by 12 villages in Ungkaya Pukan town.

The leadership camp gave the youth challenging activities as well as lectures given by professional speakers covering the lectures on types and values of a leader, global warming, child rights and other subjects, the report by Mindanao Examiner further said.

“The activity became an eye opener to the youth making them realize that they can be in one place with the other youth from the different barangays to discuss matters pertaining peace and development of their municipality.”

“It also became a show window for the youth not only to show their talents but also an opportunity to acquire knowledge necessary for them to improve their leadership skills as future leaders in their barangay. As expressed by most of the participants, it was an unforgettable experience they’ve gained and having a second batch would surely be an exciting event. The parents were also very amazed on how the children worked harmoniously with each other in the camp,” organizers said.

CPP/Sine Proletaryo: Sa loob ng Hukbo

Posted to the PRWC blog site (Dec 25): Sa loob ng Hukbo (Inside the People's Army)

Sine Proletaryo
December 25, 2013

A glimpse of the tasks and activities of Red fighters belonging to the Apolonio Mendoza Command-NPA Quezon (Southern Tagalog).


[Video: Sa loob ng Hukbo (Inside the People's Army)]

[Sine Proletaryo is reportedly the video production unit of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Information Bureau.]

How to say Merry Christmas to wounded soldiers

From Rappler (Dec 25): How to say Merry Christmas to wounded soldiers

It's a small gesture but it meant a lot to the wounded soldiers: knowing that their sacrifices are noticed and appreciated.

Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc brought 5 wounded soldiers to Trinoma mall in Quezon City for an eat-all-you-can lunch on Christmas Day, December 25, thanks to money donations from civilian supporters from the Philippines, Japan, and the US.

They later proceeded to watch the comedy movie Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy of Vice Ganda. They want to laugh, said Cabunoc.

The 5 are among about 50 soldiers staying at the Heroes Ward in the AFP Medical Center. The others could not leave the hospital because of their wounds but they will be given gift packs.

Cabunoc said it was a Christmas gift that was discussed on Facebook. "It started as a suggestion in Facebook. After watching the heroism of soldiers in Zamboanga City and Typhoon Yolanda, they sent money to treat the soldiers," said Cabunoc, head of the 7th Civil Military Operations Group.

People sometimes forget that soldiers also get wounded in armed conflict, he added.

"I am very glad that there are civilians who have thought about supporting their soldiers. From the bottom of my heart, I'd like to thank them for uplifting our morale today," said Corporal Jose Jelly Vidal Bardon, a sniper of the 3rd Light Reaction Company (LRC) who was wounded in the Zamboanga City Crisis in September.

The other soldiers are PO3 Arthuro Nool Balaus, Staff Sergeant Weny Armenta Palalimpa, Private First Class Edgardo Abao Jose, and Private First Class Eugene Lustica Contaoi.

It's just one of the activities launched by the 7th Civil Military Operations Group after it collected about US$5,000 for the soldiers. The money was used to buy fishing boats for 3 lucky families in Leyte and $3,000 worth of relief goods, among others.

Boxes of canned goods and condiments like soy sauce and vinegar were sent to soldiers deployed to watch disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), Cabunoc said.

In Nueva Ecija, 155 soldiers of the 7th Infantry Division were also awarded on December 23 their own houses under the "Kalinga sa Kawal Off-Base Housing Project."
“I want to congratulate the soldiers who were awarded these houses. I am glad that as we celebrate Christmas, 155 of our fellow soldiers and their families will have their own houses they call their own,” said Major General Romulo Cabantac Jr, vice commander of the Philippine Army and chairman of the Philippine Army Housing Board.
The houses were built in barangay Caballero, Palayan City.

Development of ASW capability a priority for PN

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 25): Development of ASW capability a priority for PN

With the country's naval forces now undergoing modernization, the Navy announced that development of an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) is one of its priority so that Philippine waters can be protected against underwater intrusions.

ASW refers to the capability to detect, locate and if necessary, destroy submarines found intruding in the country's territorial waters.

"We have plans for (developing) an ASW capability but it is still in the long-term plans. This is part of the Philippine Navy (PN)'s 'Active Archipelagic Defense Strategy'. We are looking at ship mounted and helo (helicopter) ASW capability," PN spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic stressed.

He added that this program will be an important part of the Philippines' defense system once it reaches full bloom.

The Department of National Defense (DND) earlier revealed that the two missile-firing frigates it is bidding out for P18 billion must have an ASW capability.

This can be done with the fitting of anti-submarine torpedoes, with minimum range 2km, minimum depth 500m, with acoustic countermeasures capability, and two triple launchers, one on each side, Fabic said.

USS Cowpens gives gifts to indigent children in Bataan

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 25): USS Cowpens gives gifts to indigent children in Bataan

Officers and men of the Ticonderoga guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens distributed Tuesday gifts to indigent children and had a friendly basketball match with local players here.

The cruiser arrived at the Alava Pier in the Subic Bay Freeport Monday afternoon after more than two weeks of humanitarian operation in Tacloban, Leyte in the aftermath of killer typhoon Yolanda.

Some 40 of the 340 ship crews presented toys, some food items, balls for basketball and other gifts to the children at the Dinalupihan Civic Center.

Not only the kids enjoyed the gift-giving but even the American sailors when the children kissed their hands after receiving the presents.

"Thank you to the officers and men of USS Cowpens, especially to our townmate Jeruel Simsuangco, for making the Christmas of children a happy one,” town mayor Gila Garcia said.

Simsuangco, who is from Barangay Burgos in this town, is senior chief of the American cruiser and has been with the US Navy for 17 years.

“Never in my wildest dreams that I’ll be here with my ship,” he said.

Simsuangco has visited his town only once in the last 20 years he was away.

Former Dinalupihan Councilor Noli Soriano, event coordinator, said the ship crew decided to spend their holiday in the former American Naval Base, now the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, after serving in Leyte.

"While on holiday, the ship crew through townmate Simsuangco decided to give Christmas gifts to the children and at the same time, have some talks with the people here," Soriano said.

Cruiser’s Command Master Chief Gabriel Keeton said being in Dinalupihan afford them a rare chance to see more parts of the Philippines after two weeks of stay in Tacloban and Leyte province.

“Our ship is the first American ship and the last ship in Tacloban,” the master chief said.

Keeton said they were sent to Tacloban as part of the U.S aid mission after super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck.

There are 40 officers and 300 men in the cruiser with 20 of them are Filipinos.

Mighty military: China's pride and challenge

Posted to InterAksyon (Dec 25): Mighty military: China's pride and challenge

Chinese President Xi Jinping inspecting an honor guard. The armed forces are integral to his 'China dream,' a rejuvenated nation that is both peace-loving and militarily powerful. (photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon, Reuters)

It’s part of the lore of modern China. When paramount leader Deng Xiaoping was handing over power a generation ago, a widely recounted tale goes, he had some advice for his successor.

For every five working days, spend four with the top brass of the People’s Liberation Army.

The latest leader of China, Xi Jinping, shows every sign of applying that lesson.
A month after assuming power in November last year, Xi visited the province of Guangdong on his first major political tour. Of the five days he spent there, three were at a military base, according to official coverage of his trip.

The son of a Communist revolutionary commander, Xi built his career as a friend of the army, and at times an official in it. But he still feels compelled to ask his generals for something in return: loyalty. “First, we must keep in mind that the military must unswervingly adhere to the party’s absolute leadership and obey the party’s orders,” he said on one of his many military inspection tours.

Xi’s injunction that the party comes first is a sign of the insecurity modern Chinese leaders feel at the top of their nation’s huge and increasingly powerful armed forces, military experts say. As it grows mightier, the People’s Liberation Army is growing trickier to govern.

The PLA’s rising global profile is integral to Xi’s stated vision for the nation: the “China Dream,” a rejuvenated country that’s both peace loving and militarily powerful.

But Xi is less a true military man than Deng and the founder of the People’s Republic, Mao Zedong. He is fundamentally a career bureaucrat, like his immediate predecessors, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin.

Like them, Xi has to win over the force that keeps the Communist Party in power. But he must do so at a time when the PLA is more self-confident than ever, mounting the first serious challenge to the naval dominance of the United States since the end of the Cold War.

“It will take time for Xi to take control of the military,” says Huang Jing, an authority on the PLA at the National University of Singapore. “Most of the senior generals were not appointed by Xi. Instead they were all appointed by his predecessors.”

The rise of a nationalistic leader with military leanings comes as the People’s Liberation Army, with 2.3 million men and women under arms, is the hard edge of a rising China.

China’s annual military spending is now second only to that of the U.S. armed forces. The PLA navy is projecting power further into the Pacific. Years of buying, copying and sometimes stealing technology have helped the PLA narrow its capability gap with the United States and other rivals in Asia.

Beyond borders

Xi, as chairman of the Central Military Commission, is commander-in-chief alongside his roles as party general secretary and president. He now oversees armed forces that are influencing events far beyond China’s borders.

Fleets of Chinese warships patrol disputed territories in Asian seas. On Dec. 5, a Chinese warship forced a U.S. guided missile cruiser, the USS Cowpens, to take evasive action in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said. The incident, in international waters, appeared to be an attempt to prevent the U.S. ship from observing sea trials of China’s new aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, naval experts said.

PLA fighters now scramble to guard the controversial air defense zone that Beijing imposed last month off its east coast. The Chinese navy also cruises the Indian Ocean, contributing to international anti-piracy efforts, while PLA peacekeepers are on duty in Africa and the Middle East.

In hardened silos and on mobile transporters, the PLA’s Second Artillery Corps is modernizing China’s modest but expanding armory of nuclear missiles, Chinese and foreign military analysts say. During Xi’s tenure, likely to last another nine years, this force is expected to be bolstered with China’s first effective ballistic-missile nuclear submarines. If PLA engineers can make them stealthy, these subs will be capable of retaliating if China comes under nuclear attack, according to Chinese and foreign military assessments.

All this has been a dramatic change. In the late 1990s, visiting foreign military officers scoffed at China’s poorly equipped army. After more than three decades of soaring military spending, infusions of foreign and domestic technology and improvements in training, the PLA is transformed.

“There is no question China’s power is growing,” says Li Nan, an analyst of the Chinese military at the United States Naval War College. “That is contributing to a higher level of confidence.”

Reflecting the more complex military challenges China faces, Xi has moved to establish a national security commission, thought to be modeled on the U.S. National Security Council.

No details about the proposed new body have been released. Foreign diplomats believe it is aimed at tightening coordination between China’s sprawling military, intelligence, diplomatic and internal security agencies. Xi is likely to head the new body, according to several people familiar with the move.

Xi is keeping his generals close. The military’s top two commanders are almost always photographed at his elbow on his frequent visits to exercises, frontline units and military schools: army General Fan Changlong and air force General Xu Qiliang.

He has also been quick to begin putting his own men at the top of the PLA hierarchy.
Within days of taking over from Hu Jintao as head of the Central Military Commission in November last year, Xi promoted Wei Fenghe, commander of the Second Artillery Corps and member of the CMC, to full general. In late July and early August, he promoted six officers to the rank of four-star general, and 18 to lieutenant-general.
Eleven of those 24 officers are political generals, said Bijoy Das, a Chinese expert at India’s Institute of Defence Analysis. “In essence it indicates that the Party is co-opting a section of the PLA echelon to ensure that the ’Party holds the gun,’” he said.

Xi is shown mixing with the lower ranks, too. Dressed in plain military-style khaki slacks and shirt, the solidly built 60-year-old stands in mess lines, selects a plate and chopsticks from a stack and is filmed eating and chatting with soldiers and sailors.
Mao Zedong (rear) and Deng Xiaoping (far right) were revolutionary commanders of the People’s Liberation Army; recent leaders Hu Jintao (far left) and Jiang Zemin were career bureaucrats who had to win over the PLA. (Reuters)

Military princeling

Xi, like all of China’s Communist leaders, insists the PLA is bound with the party’s fortunes. The army delivered political power with its civil war victory in 1949 over the Nationalists. It fought the U.S. to a prestige-enhancing stalemate in Korea. It buffered tumult at home in the early decades of the People’s Republic and ended the 1989 Tiananmen protests in a bloody crackdown.

In his task of cementing ties with the generals, Xi had a head start.

His father, Xi Zhongxun, was a Communist guerrilla fighter who became a senior political leader and an architect of the market reforms that ignited China’s economic boom. That makes Xi a “princeling” of the leadership, and he rubbed shoulders with other offspring of Communist China’s founding elite.

Throughout his career, Xi has appeared to march in step with the PLA. In his first job after graduating from Tsinghua University, he was a key aide in the general office of the Central Military Commission, the top military council he now runs. Xi was secretary to Geng Biao, a defense minister and former military subordinate of Xi’s father.

He held no rank, but his duties were considered military service. “The military sees Xi as one of their own,” says a person with ties to the leadership.

As he climbed the rungs of China’s provincial bureaucracy, Xi had a parallel career as a political commissar in local army headquarters, units of the PLA and the People’s Armed Police, the party’s paramilitary internal security force.

He was careful to defer to important old soldiers. About 10 years ago, when Xi was party chief in Zhejiang Province, a retired vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, Zhang Zhen, visited Zhejiang Province to celebrate his birthday. Xi, then provincial party chief, broke with his official duties for several days to accompany the civil war veteran.

“Zhang Zhen was very touched with Xi’s respect for old cadres,” said the individual with leadership ties. “Those who came to offer their birthday felicitations all saw Xi next to Zhang. It was a plus for Xi.” Zhang Zhen’s own princeling son, general Zhang Haiyang, is now political commissar of the Second Artillery Corps.

As China has grown richer and better educated, the middle ranks of the PLA have filled with technically trained specialist officers. Along with that have come consistent if muted calls for China to have a fully professional army: one loyal to the state rather than the party, and free from the parallel supervision of political commissars who monitor the forces at virtually every level.

Amid these rumblings, the army remains deeply politicized, military analysts say. The PLA has long-standing internal factions and loyalties divided between rival political benefactors and regional commands.

While Xi was working his way up, Deng’s successor, Jiang Zemin, was promoting dozens of senior officers who remain in positions of power today. Jiang was the man Deng advised to tend to the generals. In retirement, Jiang remains one of China’s leading power brokers. His military appointments made sure his influence would outlast his term.

Hu Jintao, who replaced Jiang, likewise sought to anchor his position through military promotions and patronage before handing over to Xi. Both Jiang and Hu kept the funding tap wide open for new military hardware and substantially improved pay and conditions for the troops.

Xi appears set to maintain heavy military spending despite competing needs.

A hundred million Chinese still live in poverty, according to official measures, and there is growing pressure to spend more on health, education and pollution control.
Official defense spending is set to climb 10.7 per cent this year to $119 billion. Much spending takes place outside the budget, however, and many analysts estimate real outlays are closer to $200 billion, second only to the United States. The U.S. Defense Department’s 2012 budget totaled $566 billion.

A Chinese naval vessel fires guided missiles during a drill in October. Chinese military spending is set to rise 10.7 percent this year. (Reuters)

Friendly generals

As Xi came to power at the 18th Party Congress in November last year, there was substantial turnover in the Central Military Commission. Eight of 10 uniformed members of the council were replaced.

It isn’t clear if there is close patronage or loyalty between Xi and his top commanders. But other princelings, Chinese military analysts and foreign military attaches identify several generals with whom Xi is on especially good terms.

One is Central Military Commission member Zhang Youxia. Also close are two officers outside that top body: army General Liu Yuan and air force General Liu Yazhou. (The two Lius are not related).

Like Xi, these officers are princelings. Zhang Youxia is the son of General Zhang Zongxun, a celebrated senior commander in PLA’s wars against the Japanese and the Nationalists. The elder Zhang fought civil war battles with Xi’s father in north-western Shaanxi Province, according to people familiar with both men’s family background.

People close to the military say Xi last year wanted to nominate Zhang, now head of the PLA’s General Armaments Department, as one of the two vice chairmen of the CMC. Retired leaders Jiang and Hu vetoed the move, these people say.

Liu Yuan and Liu Yazhou are engaged in what they have described as an undeclared war by subversive foreign forces to unseat the Chinese Communist Party. They have also warned of the danger that unchecked corruption poses to the party’s survival.

Liu Yuan, 61, is the son of former president Liu Shaoqi, once designated to succeed Mao before he was brutally purged in the Cultural Revolution and died in custody. The elder Liu was posthumously rehabilitated after Mao’s death, clearing the way for his son’s life of privilege.

In a late start to a military career, Liu Yuan joined the People’s Armed Police as a political commissar at 41 before transferring to the army. He is now commissar of the PLA’s General Logistics Department. Xi has publicly acknowledged his friendship with Liu on a number of occasions.

Liu Yuan was also close to the powerful regional party chief Bo Xilai. Bo was sentenced to life imprisonment in September for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.

Liu first attracted wide attention for a rambling essay he wrote as a preface for a friend’s book in 2010.

He called for China to reject imported political models, including Western democracy, and extremes of the left and right. In convoluted language, Liu nevertheless appeared to be suggesting a more open political system that would allow more robust debate without challenging the leadership of the party.

More recently, Liu has led a rhetorical assault on corruption in the military. “Liu Yuan himself has become the anti-corruption poster child,” says Huang from the National University of Singapore. The campaign mirrors Xi Jinping’s declared attack on graft, in which he has threatened to go after “tigers and flies” - corrupt officials big and small.

Liu Yuan helped bring down Lieutenant General Gu Junshan, who was sacked last year as deputy director of the PLA’s logistics department and is soon expected to be court-martialed for corruption, according to three sources in Beijing. In an online discussion on the official People’s Daily website on Aug. 1, the military confirmed Gu was under investigation.

Liu Yuan may have paid a price for his zeal. “He was passed over for promotion because of this, and also because he was too close to Bo Xilai,” said a person with ties to the leadership who is familiar with the anti-corruption drive.

‘Silent contest’

General Liu Yazhou, also 61, is the son-in-law of Li Xiannian, who became president in the Deng era. Liu Yazhou, too, is a political officer rather than a military professional. One of the most outspoken senior officers, Liu became well known as a writer of fiction early in his career. He later turned to politics and strategy, writing frequently about the decisive role that air power plays in modern warfare.

For a time, he was widely regarded as one of the most liberal PLA officers. He once dared suggest that China needed a democratic political system to stamp out corruption and provide an environment where the best talent could get to the top. China routinely persecutes dissidents for airing similar views.

His articles indicate he is an avid analyst of the U.S. military and the Pentagon’s strategic thinking.

More recently, however, Liu has written about the party’s “absolute leadership" over the PLA. He also appears to have hardened his views on America.

In his current posting as political commissar of the National Defense University in Beijing, Liu this year co-produced a documentary film, “Silent Contest.” The documentary, thought to have been prepared for an internal military audience, appeared on Chinese websites for a couple of days in late October before being removed.

The film warned of an American “soft war” against China aimed at toppling the party. “They confidently believe it would be easier to divide or split China by approaching and engaging China and integrating it into the U.S.-led international political system,” Liu says in the film.

The documentary includes similar warnings from other uniformed senior officers. And to clinch the message, General Liu rolls out his heaviest weapon: the commander-in-chief of the PLA and leader of the Communist Party.

“Western countries’ strategic goal of containing China will never change,” Xi Jinping is quoted as saying. “They absolutely don’t aspire to see a big socialist country like us achieve peaceful development.”