[Message of the NDF-Mindanao on the occasion of the 47th Founding Anniversary of the New People’s Army (NPA)]The National Democratic Front-Mindanao joins the rest of the Filipino people in rendering its highest salute and conveying its congratulations to all the Red fighters and commanders of the New People’s Army (NPA) on its 47th founding anniversary on March 29, 1969. We also salute all the revolutionary martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the interest of advancing the armed struggle for national liberation and genuine democracy.
It is only fitting that we pay due importance to this auspicious day because the NPA, one of the foremost weapons of the people’s democratic revolution, continue to carry out its primary tasks and has reaped significant victories. This army has grown in size and strength and has frustrated the ill-intent of the US-Aquino III regime to crush the real people’s army and the entire revolutionary movement before the end of its term.
From almost nothing, the NPA was founded in Central Luzon in 1969 and it spread throughout the country. In Mindanao, the first NPA unit was established in 1972 in the boundary areas of Misamis Oriental and Agusan del Norte. From 1972, NPA forces in Mindanao spread and continued to increase in size and strength in the face of the brutal attacks of the Dictator Marcos’s OPlan “Nip-in-the-bud”, Cory Aquino’s and Ramos’s Oplan Lambat Bitag, Estrada’s Oplan Mamamayan and Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya. Currently, the US-Aquino III regime’s OPlan Bayanihan faces definite failure and a huge defeat. It is defeated because it has utterly failed to crush a small and weak guerrilla force, which has stood its ground and grew even stronger despite the enormity of the size and strength of the regular armed forces of the reactionary state.
Its revolutionary victories have been concretely attained through the implementation of its tasks in waging the armed struggle, base building, launching agrarian revolution, advancing anti-fascist and anti-imperialist struggles, and conducting political and ideological study courses, including cultural work.
Even with the brutal onslaughts of the US-Aquino III regime’s OPB against the revolutionary forces in Mindanao, the guerrilla fronts in the island, from beginning of the regime in 2010 up until this year, increased to 46, which covers the five regions of the NPA in Mindanao. Many among these fronts have company-sized forces, and not even one was decimated.
Guerrilla front-building attained its successes because of the determined effort to establish and widen bases that serve as maneuver areas of NPA units. In all of the six years under the US-Aquino III regime, the number of barrios where the NPA operates increased from 1,850 to more than 2,500 at present, covering more than 200 municipalities in 20 provinces in the whole of Mindanao. The population influenced by the revolution increased to several millions, wherein 200,000 are directly organized, while tens of thousands are covered by the people’s revolutionary governments in numerous communities and barangays and some at the municipal level.
Generally, in Mindanao, the NPA has increased its strength. From the start of the US-Aquino III regime, it has grown to more than a hundred fulltime NPA unit formations from squad, platoon to company. Not one of these platoons was destroyed in battle by the enemy. The NPA has been able to sustain numerous recruits because of the breadth and depth of established guerrilla zones and bases.
People’s Militia units in barrios and communities, which are the direct reserved forces of fulltime NPA units, have grown by the thousands in Mindanao. Many among them directly participate in military actions. They have also been mobilized in intelligence work, transport of supply, and other military support to fulltime units of the NPA.
Guerrilla units in squads, platoons and companies, together with thousands of People’s Militia, launched more intensified tactical offensives (TOs) against enemy regular and paramilitary units of the butcher AFP. In 2010, the NPA was only able to launch 250 tactical offensives in the entire island. In the next five years, this has become more intensified and frequent, and in 2015, more than 500 TOs were launched by the NPA in Mindanao. Over the last two months of 2016 alone, the NPA in Mindanao launched more than a hundred TOs, most of which were directed against detachments and regular troops of the AFP.
We have combined annihilative and attritive military actions, through which, if we add up the number of casualties within the armed troops of the AFP, PNP and the paramilitary, we have wiped out one battalion each year in the past six years. From these tactical offensives, we have confiscated thousands of firearms of various calibre. These firearms, including those given by allies and those we bought from different sources, served as additional weapons in our effort to build more platoons and companies spread across the 5 regions of Mindanao.
It is also the NPA’s task to launch military actions to impose punitive measures against large-scale mining and plantations owned by multinational corporations (e.g. SRMI, PGMC, Dole, Del Monte and SumiFru) that have grabbed ancestral lands from the Lumad, monopolized lands and deprived the peasantry the opportunity for agrarian reform. These corporations have also tremendously exploited the workers, and have wantonly plundered the natural resources and extensively damaged the environment.
The task of defending the interests of the Filipino people and that of launching tactical offensives to gradually weaken and destroy the reactionary army of the ruling classes have only been resounding successes because of the strong and broad support of the people.
Mass support for the NPA has become ever stronger given that part of its central task is to wage genuine agrarian reform in the countryside. Victories in terms of land reform, benefitting hundreds of thousands of peasants and agri-workers in Mindanao’s countryside, have been achieved in the rural areas at varying levels and coverage in every region. The struggles were in the forms of reduction of land rent and farm implements, reduction of usury, increase in wages, and increase in the price of agricultural products. Also launched were medical services and cultural campaigns.
These victories also stem from the NPA’s persevering work in raising the political consciousness of its Red fighters and commanders. NPA units have regular basic political education that is outlined in the PADEPA course, which includes among others the Short Course on Philippine Society and Revolution, Special Mass Courses, and The Basic Rules of the NPA, etc. This high political consciousness determines the NPA’s voluntary service towards the greater masses of the people and a firm adherence to a steel discipline among its members. This sets apart the NPA from the mercenary forces of the AFP, PNP and paramilitary whose service is acquired because they are paid to suppress the people and protect the insatiable interests of the big bourgeois compradors, the landlord class and the imperialists.
The absolute leadership of the Communist Party makes certain that the People’s Army firmly abides by the correct political line of the People’s Democratic Revolution and is able to adhere to strong discipline in its boundless service to and defense of the people’s interests. In order to carry this out, from within NPA units in the entire country including Mindanao, Party Branches within the platoon and Party Committees within the company, guide the politico-military tasks of the unit and in undertaking mass work, alliance work and political work within the ranks of the reactionary army. And above all, we have also firmly laid the political foundation of Party members within the units of the army by implementing studies on Party courses, particularly the Basic Party Course, the Intermediate Course and the Advanced Course.
The continuing advance of the people’s war in Mindanao and the ongoing armed resistance of armed groups among the Moro people remain a thorn, deterrent against the exploitative economic interests of the ruling classes in Mindanao. Thus, in this last stretch of the US-Aquino III regime, its OPB military suppression campaign has become more brutal and virulent in its desperate attempt to realize its dream of crushing the revolutionary movement in Mindanao and make sure that it protects the interests of local ruling classes and its imperialist masters.
Currently, of the total 113 AFP battalions in the country, 68 are deployed in Mindanao. Thirty-four (34) battalions are deployed to focus against the NPA while 34 are also deployed to Moro areas. Brutal campaigns and military operations have been launched almost simultaneously against revolutionary forces led by the Party, NPA and the NDF and, at the same time, against Moro armed groups that continue to wage armed struggle.
The particular focus of OPB’s campaign and military operations is Eastern Mindanao, which comprise of NPA regions in Southern Mindanao, where 12 to 13 AFP battalions are deployed, and in North Eastern Mindanao, where 8 AFP battalions are deployed. While they concentrate on these two NPA regions, they have also launched almost simultaneous ‘containing’ operations in the regions of North Central Mindanao, Western Mindanao and Far Southern Mindanao.
The concentration of a huge number of AFP forces in SMR and NEMR, which total 21 battalions all operating with unspeakable viciousness against the people and the entire revolutionary forces, has inflicted immeasurable suffering upon the people, especially towards peasants, Lumad and other underprivileged sectors of society. It has been the standard procedure of these operations to perpetrate massacres with impunity, murders, burning of houses and schools, indiscriminate shelling, bombings (with the use of helicopters and bomber planes), forcible evacuations and other despicable forms of brutalities.
Mercenary butcher AFP troops, together with its paramilitary forces, committed these atrocities not only to destroy the revolutionary forces but, above all, to protect the investments of imperialists and local ruling classes, such as large-scale mining, plantation, energy projects and others that adversely impact the environment and tramples upon the interests of the Lumad, Moro, peasants and workers.
In tandem with this blatant fascism, they have also launched psywar campaigns, such as the so-called “Peace Caravan”, parading of “surrenderees”, and the COPD. These have been used to openly deceive the people into believing that their terroristic measures have succeeded in depriving the NPA of its mass base. It peddles the lie that the revolution has weakened so that next it can declare as “conflict-manageable and ready for development” areas it has attacked, such as Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur and other areas. This will pave the way for the implementation of billions-worth of PAMANA projects, which, clearly, is only a source of corruption for both Malacañang and OPAPP.
The regime somehow dreams that with the concentration of their forces on a few regions, particularly on Eastern Mindanao, in the entire country, it will be victorious in crushing these priority regions. But it is mistaken because while it focuses on SMR and NEMR, this opens the perfect opportunity for NCMR, FSMR and WMR to make headway in their expansion and consolidation work and in their overall effort to advance the revolution within their territories. And while the enemy has concentrated 60% of the AFP’s forces in Mindanao, it gives much leeway for the regions in Luzon and in the Visayas to significantly advance the armed struggle.
Whatever setback that befalls the NPA is but temporary, only fleeting. The foremost, dominant development is still the continuing advance of the armed revolution and, in general, the people’s democratic revolution. The NPA is invincible because it is the army of the people.
And as reality has shown, NPA units have courageously and heroically launched counter-attacks through tactical offensives in order to preserve itself, defend the interests of the people and consolidate the victories of the revolution, and to inflict more casualties upon fascist AFP troops and the paramilitary. Moreover, the people of Mindanao bravely openly resisted and daringly unmasked AFP, PNP and paramilitary forces and militantly protested against its many human rights abuses in the entire country. These violations have been widely exposed and opposed after the September 1, 2015 massacre in Han-ayan, Lianga, Surigao del Sur. The reactionary regime has been criticized with strong condemnation from various sectors in society, including the Catholic and Protestant churches.
Thus, on the 47th founding anniversary of the NPA, we must firmly hold on to our victories and look forward towards a bright future for the revolution. The interests of the people reside upon us. Together with them on our side, the last brutal leg of the US-Aquino III regime’s OPB will surely fail and be defeated. And it is certain that we can also defeat the next counter-revolutionary campaign plan of the next regime that will take replace the reactionary Aquino III administration. We are confident that the advance of the people’s democratic revolution will be sustained because we hold and fight for the aspirations of the people for real liberation, democracy and just peace.
Long live the New People’s Army!
Long live the Communist Party of the Philippines!
Long live the united front and the Filipino people!
(Sgd.) Ka Oris
March 29, 2016