SURIGAO DEL SUR, Philippines – The gathering of followers and supporters for the communist party’s 46th anniversary was very successful and in fact the largest, despite authorities' efforts to stop people from attending it, rebel officials claimed.
An estimated 8,000 people from different parts of Caraga region and other parts of Northern Mindanao travelled to the town of Marihatag in Surigao del Sur to attend the 46th Anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Friday.
Soldiers from the Army’s Special Forces tried to block the large number of vehicles that showed up along the small barangay road leading to the event venue for three hours. Undaunted, hundreds of people started walking for several kilometers and the pressure pushed the soldiers to allow several vehicles to get through. But hundreds more were trapped in the army checkpoint.
Jorge Madlos also known as Ka Oris, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front-Mindanao, called the Army's action a desperate move to stop the celebration from happening.
“The people here endured the heavy rain, muddy roads and the Army’s effort to stop them yet they persevered. Yet we can se that the gathering is a big success,” declared Madlos.
NDF peace panel spokesperson Fidel Agcaoili attended the event and assured the people that they are looking into solutions in resolving several issues to again kick-start the resumption of peace talks with the government.
Here are some scenes from that anniversary celebration in Surigao:
Soldiers guard the middle of the road, ordering vehicles to turn back from their intended route.
A skylab driver explains to soldiers that they are residents of the area and they need to go through.
Thousands of people started walking for several kilometers when soldiers stopped their vehicles.
NPA guerillas stand in formation as they present their force during the opening of the program
The village is a stronghold of the NDF/CPP/NPA
Jorge Madlos also known as Ka Oris, spokesperson of NDFP-Mindanao, addresses thousands of people during the anniversary program.
An NPA guerrilla carries a chair toward the event venue of the CPP anniversary.
Guerrillas don't just shoot; they sing, too.
Painted faces of the female members of the Kabataang Makabayan.
Members of the Kabataang Makabayan portray the armed struggle of the NPA in a stage play.
NDF peace panel spokesperson Fidel Agcaoili
NPA guerrillas seem pleased with their gun salute.