Sunday, December 30, 2018

Military: CPP’s 50th year anniversary celebration failed to stir public interest

From GMA News (Dec 27): Military: CPP’s 50th year anniversary celebration failed to stir public interest

The 50th founding anniversary celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which has the distinction of being the longest communist insurgency in Asia, has failed to generate interest and support from the public, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Thursday.

Military public affairs chief Colonel Noel Detoyato was referring to the CPP anniversary which fell on December 26.

In marking their anniversary, the communists vowed to resist President Rodrigo Duterte's "policy" of fascist terror and tyranny. The New People's Army particularly cited its members' solid grasp of the requisites of widespread and intensive character of guerrilla warfare on top of building and deployment of its horizontal and vertical formations, forming guerrilla theaters composed of two to three guerrilla fronts, employing some elements of regular mobile warfare, mobilizing the masses for armed struggle, waging agrarian revolution and other mass campaigns in the countryside, among others.

The NPA is the armed wing of the CPP.

“They were not able to sustain big assemblies and organize masses They (communists) were forced to make it as a small gathering. Their braggadoccio type of holding their annual anniversary events were effectively reduced to internal affair,” Detoyato said.

“Their failure to generate big national and international attention shows that the overwhelming majority of the Filipino people don't care about the CPP or their founding anniversary,” he added.

Local news organizations reported about the CPP's 50th founding anniversary, while London-based tabloid Daily Mail, which has a circulation of 1.2 million copies on a daily basis, also ran a piece on the occasion of the communist movement's founding anniversary.

The Daily Mail is also the paper with the third largest circulation in London.

Still, Detoyato is convinced that the communists do not have the support of the public.

“The government and the Armed Forces were able to consolidate public opinion and public support to the democratic and duly constituted authorities of the government. The vast majority of the population in the countryside and in urban areas do not believe in the validity of the armed struggle as espoused by the CPP-NPA-NDF, much much less in the legitimacy of the communist alternative,” he said.

“Failure ang 50th year anniversary [celebrations] ng CPP,” he added.

In its 50th anniversary statement, the CPP said that the military is nowhere near defeating the communist rebels for good, saying that the deadline for eradicating the communist rebels has been constantly moving.

The Communist Party of the Philippines at 50

From Rappler (Dec 27): LOOK: The Communist Party of the Philippines at 50

Communists in Quezon Province hold an intimate celebration

PREPS. Party cadres prepare the backdrop for the golden anniversary press conference. All photos by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

PREPS. Party cadres prepare the backdrop for the golden anniversary press conference. All photos by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

QUEZON, Philippines – It was supposed to be a grand celebration complete with all the bells and whistles, but after President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirades against them last week and without the traditional Christmas ceasefire, they opted for a simple gathering.

About a hundred members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People's Army gathered on a muddy clearing in the lower Sierra Madre mountains after Christmas Day to celebrate the 50th year founding of the CPP.

The celebration was the usual parade, press conference and cultural presentation. However, absent were supporters and family members who usually joined them for the occasion. Officials cited threats of military operations as the reason why they have decided not to make the celebration public.

The whole afternoon was an intimate gathering of cadres of the Melito Glor Command. A time to display their newly printed commemorative chinos and Mao caps, sing new revolutionary songs as anthem of the anniversary and to reaffirm their commitment to the Party.

MUDDY TRAIL. Fighters of the NPA's Melito Glor Command march from their bases to celebrate the Party's founding.

GOLDEN YEAR. The CPP's commemorative logo.

'CONCEALER'. A rebel gets a face paint to hide his identity from the media.

WAITING. NPA fighters rest before the start of the celebration.

FINAL TOUCHES. An artist applies ink on the NPA flag.

FEAST. A cadre prepares meals of fish and vegetables for the participants.

ATTENTION. NPA fighters form for the parade.

SALUTE. Communists rebels sing the Internationale to start the festivities.

PRESS CONFERENCE. Southern Tagalog NPA spokesperson Diego Padilla (right) raises his fist after announcing the Party's statement.

COMMUNITY SINGING. NPA rebels introduce two new revolutionary anthem for the anniversary during a cultural presentation.

AT EASE. Rebels gamely pose for the camera to show their commemorative caps and chinos.

STILL RELEVANT. Despite government claims that their numbers are dwindling the CPP maintained that they are stronger than ever.

Experts: Security in Philippine South Rides on Autonomy Vote

From BenarNews (Dec 28): Experts: Security in Philippine South Rides on Autonomy Vote

Residents of Marawi city in southern Philippines raise fists of approval during a campaign rally in favor of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law on regional autonomy, Dec. 22, 2018.

Residents of Marawi city in southern Philippines raise fists of approval during a campaign rally in favor of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law on regional autonomy, Dec. 22, 2018.  Froilan Gallardo/BenarNews                    

A failure to ratify a Muslim autonomy law in the southern Philippines early next year could ignite fresh violence in the troubled region, with Islamic State-linked militants potentially exploiting the situation to boost their waning ranks, analysts warn.

On Jan. 21 some two million voters are expected to vote on ratifying the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL). President Rodrigo Duterte signed off on it in July, four years after the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) ended a separatist rebellion, which began two decades earlier and left tens of thousands of people dead and parts of the south in deep poverty.

If the law fails to bring development – as promised by MILF leaders-turned-politicians – it could drive many southerners back into the arms of militant groups, said Ramon Beleno III, head of the political science and history department at Ateneo De Davao University in Davao City.
“There are challenges ahead like how it will be implemented. There is opposition from other sectors. And if it they are not addressed, that situation will lead to another armed group,” he told BenarNews.

The law gives people in the south control over many local government functions, including taxation and education, and will allow Muslim Filipinos to incorporate Islamic law into their justice system.

The upcoming plebiscite is expected take place in the predominantly Muslim provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur. It will also include six towns in Lanao del Norte and the cities of Cotabato and Isabela in Basilan.

However, with a few weeks left before the vote, large segments of the Muslim population have not been educated about the concept of autonomy and the implications of BOL, according to Beleno.

“Many people do not understand it. There must be massive explanation on the ground about the consequences if they accept it or not. There were many promises under the new set-up, but if they are not met, we will have a problem,” he said.

Under the set-up MILF would gradually disarm, with its members integrating into the Philippine armed forces.
But the absence of the former fighters from the frontlines could lead to a power vacuum, which more hardline groups inspired by Islamic State (IS) militants could fill, MILF chief Murad Ebrahim has warned.

Murad Ebrahim (right), chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, talks to supporters while campaigning for the Bangsamoro Organic Law on regional autonomy, in the battle-ravaged southern Philippine city of Marawi, Dec. 22, 2018. [Froilan Gallardo/BenarNews]

BOL: ‘A political experiment’

Already, militant groups are testing the resolve of the army and police.

In late July 2018, a car bomb set off by militants at a checkpoint in southern Basilan island killed 10 people. Meanwhile, dozens of militants who escaped from southern Marawi city last year after a five-month battle with government forces are busy with frenzied recruitment efforts, the military has said.

“The BOL will require the MILF to stop fighting the Philippine through a military struggle and this will be a big contribution to peace in Mindanao,” Rommel Banlaoi, and expert at the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, told Benar.

“However, there are still threats to peace emanating from the military activities of other groups,” he said.

Apart from holdover militant veterans of the Marawi battle, the military should be wary of extremist groups, including the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Abu Sayyaf, and watch out for a possible revival of the Ansar al-Khilafah Philippines (AKP), Banlaoi said.

Among other things to consider, MILF’s many fighters would be left to relearn military discipline under the strict guidelines of their former battlefield foes, he said. The government has estimated MILF’s strength at 10,000 fighters, but the former rebel group has claimed that its forces are three times as big.

Banlaoi said he recently visited MILF areas in the south, and he had reason to believe that “there can be more than a million armed people who can fight on behalf of the MILF.”

“Thus, BOL will require the MILF leadership to tell all their armed followers in their mass base not to use their arms to fight the central government,” he stressed, while acknowledging that the process of decommissioning MILF’s entire arsenal could be difficult.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law is not a “panacea” for multifaceted problems of conflicts in the south that have been aggravated by the presence of IS, Banlaoi argued. Rather, it is a “political experiment that we all hope will work,” he said.

Also, he said, the law could not be expected to “automatically stop the influx of foreign fighters” to the south, and could “even attract some foreign fighters to come to the south to oppose what they perceive as cooptation with the infidels.”

In such a case, he warned, MILF and the new Bangsamoro government must not lose time formulating ways to prevent more foreign fighters from infiltrating local territory.

“Otherwise, foreign terrorist fighters working in tandem with local fighters can undermine the peace aspired by all,” Banlaoi stressed.


The south’s Muslim population is not entirely united behind BOL. Some local groups have expressed their opposition to the autonomy law.

In October, Sulu provincial Gov. Abdusakur Tan II questioned its legality in a petition before the Supreme Court, arguing that the law was unconstitutional.

And Cynthia Giani, the mayor of Cotabato city, has been actively campaigning against her city’s inclusion in the expanded autonomous region.

“Whatever comes out of the plebiscite, we really have to respect it but I believe that no matter how hard you campaign to residents of Cotabato City, they have a mind of their own. What the people feel is different from what Manila people perceive,” Giani said.

MILF leaders, at the same time, have warned of trouble brewing should the measure be defeated in next month’s vote, particularly in Basilan, the bailiwick of the Abu Sayyaf Group, and in Cotabato, an administrative capital of the Muslim government.

The Abu Sayyaf, or Bearers of the Sword, is the most brutal of militant groups operating in the southern Philippines. It has been engaged mostly in banditry, kidnapping and bombings.

One of its commanders, Isnilon Hapilon, became the head of the Philippine Islamic State faction. In May 2017, he led an attack and take-over of Marawi city, a major Muslim trading hub. The siege and ensuing five-month battle destroyed the city and left at least 1,200 people dead, mostly militants.

“There should be smooth acceptance from the people. Otherwise, it will spark another group to come out,” Beleno, the political scientist, said.

Deployment of soldiers, police in the hinterlands of Negros Occidental hit as killing spree continues

From the pro-Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) online publication the Davao Today (Dec 29): Deployment of soldiers, police in the hinterlands of Negros Occidental hit as killing spree continues

A group of sugarcane workers hit out the continued deployment of soldiers and police in the remote communities of Negros Occidental in what they feared as a systematic crackdown against activists in the province.

John Milton Lozande, speaking for the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), said the Army’s 302ndInfantry Brigade deployed 1, 000 police and military troops in the hinterlands of Guihulngan City, La Libertad, Mabinay, Santa Catalina, and other parts of Negros Oriental since the evening of December 27 up to the present.

Lozande said government troops have killed six people because “they fought it out with the brigade size security forces ala Tokhang style and arrested 16 persons.”

Among those killed was Jesus “Dondon” Isugan, son of Kaugmaon KMP peasant organizers Delia and Dominador Isugan. Others were habal-habal drivers Reneboy Fat and Jaime Revilla, who are community organizers and Demetrio Fat, who is a brother in law of a peasant organizer.

He added that authorities have also arrested peasant organizer Margie Baylosis, cousin of Joey Baylosis, also a peasant organizer who was arbitrarily arrested with five others in Mabinay.

“These atrocities come at a time after the Sagay Massacre, the killing of Atty. Benjamin Ramos the recent arrest of NFSW local leader Ricky Canete; the death threats against another peasant, worker and human rights and development workers, and military operations in Northern Negros,” Lozande said.

Lozande further alleged that government troops have 119 search warrants with them for loose firearms and illegal drugs.

“More than 80 of those warrants are in Guihulngan City and only 20 have been served so far. But reports from Karapatan Negros reveal that no warrants were shown to those who were arrested and firearms were planted to them and to those who were killed,” he noted.

He added: “The NFSW demands a halt to these military operations in Negros Oriental and an independent investigation of these atrocities and justice to those who were killed and arrested. If this would not be stopped, this could be replicated in other areas similarly situated like Samar, the Bicol region and especially in Mindanao where martial law was extended.”

CPP at 50: Reds celebrate victories; hopeful to accomplish more

From the pro-Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) online publication the Davao Today (Dec 29): CPP at 50: Reds celebrate victories; hopeful to accomplish more

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is looking forward to accomplishing ever bigger achievements and revolutionary victories as it celebrated its 50thfounding anniversary on Wednesday.

“The Philippines has the exceedingly favorable conditions to wage a national democratic revolution as a solution to the chronic crisis,” the Party’s Central Committee said in a statement.

Despite the pronouncements of President Duterte that it would not reciprocate the CPP’s unilateral ceasefire and even ordered the military to crush the communist guerillas, communists across the country held a fiesta-like celebration in the hinterlands, marking the Party’s golden anniversary.

In cities, activists held meetings and small gatherings out of police and military intelligence agents’ radar.

The CPP also gave its highest recognition to the martyrs and to the founding Chairman Jose Maria Sison for bringing Marxism Leninism and Maoism ideology in the Philippine setting despite his incarceration and exile since 1987.

Counter-Insurgency Campaign

The CPP added that the AFP and Duterte have repeatedly boasted of crushing the NPA before 2018 ends but the communists said it was a big lie. This year, the Duterte administration said it would end the insurgency in the middle of 2019.

Duterte and the AFP are mounting a major strategic offensive in 2019 under the National Internal Security Plan of 2018, according to CPP.

It added that the said offensive is marked with the release of Executive Order No. 70 forming a “National Task Force to end local Communist Armed Conflict” involving all stakeholders in the government and civilians as weapons against the Communists.

Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the NDFP said that EO 70 limits the GRP to the framework of military suppression and the use of fake surrenders and fake encounters misrepresented as localized peace talks.

“It is in line with the anti-peace Proclamations 360 and 374, Memorandum Order 32, the arrest of NDFP Peace Consultants and the deployment of Duterte death squads in both urban and rural areas against suspected revolutionaries.EO 70 will not result at the end of the revolutionary movement led by the CPP”, Sison added.

President Rodrigo Duterte in February 2017 called for the arrest of NDFP consultants and peace negotiators. He declared that the peace negotiators would be considered “fugitives” and branded the CPP-NPA as a terror group.

Among those arrested was Rafael Baylosis who was nabbed in Quezon City in February 2018 and Adelberto Silva in October later that year.

Vicente “Vic” Ladlad joined the growing list of National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultants arrested since the collapse of peace talks between the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army and the government in 2017.

The 68-year-old former activist was arrested along with Alberto and Virginia Villamor in Novaliches, Quezon City November 8 on charges of illegal possession of firearms.

National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant and Philippine Peace Center Executive Director Rey Claro Casambre was arrested by the police in Bacoor, Cavite on December 7.

Casambre was arrested with his wife Patricia while they were onboard a Toyota Vios in Barangay Niyog 3, Molino Boulevard, according to a police report.

Police said Casambre was arrested for murder and two counts of attempted murder by virtue of a search warrant issued by Regional Trial Court 11th Judicial Region, Branch 32, in Lupon, Davao Oriental.

Peace Talks

MalacaƱang said the President would only be willing to resume peace talks if communist groups prove that they will not violate the terms of such.

“The President is always open to end bloodshed in this country. He doesn’t want any killing among Filipinos. But for as long as they violate the terms of peace talk, then the President will never allow it to happen,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

The GRP-NDFP peace negotiations was terminated in November 23, 2017 with Proclamation 360 subsequently followed with Proclamation374 designating the CPP-NPA as “terrorist organizations.”

Sison said that Duterte never gets tired of repetitively terminating the GRP-NDFP Peace Negotiations despite the standing policy of the NDFP to be ready and willing to negotiate with the GRP.

With Duterte asking for a good reason for peace talks to continue and inviting NDFP officials in November to talk in Manila, the NDFP sees that the resumption of the peace negotiations runs counter to the to the scheme carried by the Duterte administration to carry out nationwide martial law and pushing for charter change to a bogus kind of federalism.

“Before he terminated the peace negotiations, the NDFP, and the GRP negotiating panels had made drafts of the CASER and CAPCR,” Sison said.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza has resigned from his post following President Duterte’s dismissal of his two subordinates for alleged corruption.

Dureza has accepted full responsibility for the corruption allegations in his office and sent a letter to the President “voluntarily tendering his resignation.”

He was replaced by appointed retiring Armed Forces chief Carlito Galvez Jr. to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

Tactical Offensives

The CPP lauded the NPA with the successful tactical offensives in Agusan del Sur, Sorsogon, Compostela Valley, and Northern Mindanao. The NPA tactical offensives were resounding blows against the Duterte regime’s martial law rule in Mindanao and across the country.

On the other hand, the NPA said that the recent NPA offensives do not violate the CPP’s unilateral declaration of a temporary ceasefire which took effect on December 24 to 26 and December 31 to January 1 next year to celebrate the CPP’s 50th anniversary and join the people in their holiday traditions.

CPP: Skirmish in Monkayo is NPA’s response to military ops

From the pro-Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) online publication the Davao Today (Dec 29): CPP: Skirmish in Monkayo is NPA’s response to military ops

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said the communist rebel’s involvement in a clash with the military in Monkayo, Compostela Valley province was the New People’s Army (NPA) response to the offensive operation by government troopers despite the former’s yuletide holiday truce.

“The AFP took advantage of the NPA ceasefire by mounting a military offensive in their desperation to spoil the political and cultural assemblies of revolutionary forces in line with the CPP’s 50th-anniversary celebration.,” CPP said in a statement.

“Clearly alert and with the help of the masses, the NPA unit was able to counter ambush the AFP offensive and cause casualties on the enemy forces. The AFP brought the losses they suffered upon themselves,” it added.

Eleven soldiers were wounded on December 26 after 101 Division Recon Company and 25th Infantry Batallion conducting military operation had clashed with an undetermined number of communist guerillas at Sitio Tinago, Brgy. Mt. Diwata, Monkayo, Compostela Valley province.

In a statement, 10th Infantry Division said that NPAs were allegedly forcing people to join the 50th anniversary of CPP last Wednesday. It claimed that the NPA was also laying improvised explosive devices along the roads.

Brigadier General Jose Faustino, the 10th ID Commander, condemned the attack and commended its troops in “preventing the planned plenum and atrocities” of the communist group that day.

But CPP said: “Despite their offensives, the AFP, however, failed to detect hundreds of other secret assemblies mounted nationwide.”

The incident happened following President Rodrigo Duterte rejected the holiday ceasefire declared by the communist group.

Church leaders from Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP) earlier called on the government to reciprocate the holiday ceasefire declared by the NPA as they appeal on Duterte to revert its order to its forces to “destroy” the CPP and all its alleged legal front organizations.

They called on Duterte anew to instead pursue peace through “principled dialogue” and “that the peace talks are still the most viable option to attain a just and enduring peace in the country.”

2018 Yearender: More extremists surrender to gov't

From the Philippine Star (Dec 29): 2018 Yearender: More extremists surrender to gov't
The police and military are expecting the surrender soon of more misguided Islamic extremists in southern provinces.
Hundreds of wanted radical Islamists surrendered in 2018, remorseful of abusing a religion that moderate peace-loving Muslims find perfect and incomparable.

In Basilan province alone, 187 members of the Abu Sayyaf, feared for its practice of beheading captives if ransom demands are not met, returned to the fold of law this year through the efforts of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Western Mindanao Command and the Regional Police Office-ARMM.

More than a hundred Abu Sayyaf bandits in Basilan surrendered from between 2016 to 2017.

No fewer than 30 members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Maguindanao also yielded in batches from between March to November 2018 after having been convinced by the provincial government and units of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division to reintegrate into the local communities.

The Abu Sayyaf and the BIFF, apparently trying to sabotage the now 22-year peace efforts of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, are both using the Islamic State flag as banner.

Among those who bolted this year from the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan, a component province of ARMM, is a 12-year-old Yakan child-warrior, Tarik, and his 14 year-old brother, whose parents were killed in hostilities with pursuing soldiers about five years ago.

They are now in the protective custody of the office Gov. Mujiv Hataman, the outgoing chief executive of the autonomous region, whose second elective term is to end on June 30 next year.

Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega of the Western Mindanao Command said Saturday the surrender of Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf terrorists and BIFF bandits in Maguindanao was a result of the extensive humanitarian programs of ARMM regional and provincial officials.

“Economy has been improving in areas where they once ran `shadow governments’ that compelled under duress poor villagers to support them. People there have means of livelihood now,” Dela Vega said.

Dela Vega cited as example how the once notorious Al-Barka municipality in Basilan, scene of deadly Abu Sayyaf-military clashes in recent years, bounced back from poverty and underdevelopment wrought by conflicts via ARMM’s infrastructure and socio-economic programs.

Galvez said units of WestMinCom in Basilan have just reported to him that the ARMM’s P1 billion “transcentral road” project cutting through hinterlands in the center of the island province where remnants of the Abu Sayyaf are holding out is now more than halfway.

“Road-building equipment and workers are now breaking through the mountains in the Sampinit Complex there that the transcentral road is to traverse, supposedly an impregnable bastion of the Abu Sayyaf. With this, we are sure that more will soon surrender,” Galvez said.

Records from the ARMM police indicated that the Abu Sayyaf tried to kill thrice in the past two years using home-made bombs Engineer Soler Undug, chief of the Basilan District Engineering Office, to disrupt the implementation of regional government road projects, connecting lairs of terrorists to municipal centers, that he was helping oversee.

Galvez said the WestMinCom appreciates the launching last April 2018 in Basilan of the ARMM’s Program Against Violent Extremism, or PAVE, focused on providing reforming Abu Sayyaf bandits psycho-social, livelihood and religious interventions needed to hasten their reintroduction into mainstream society.

“The WestMinCom supports the PAVE. It will help heal the conflict-affected communities in Basilan,” Galvez said.

A 25-year-old former Abu Sayyaf member, who asked to be identified only as Mansur, said he and eight relatives joined the group in 2005 after having been indoctrinated by clerics who circumvented teachings in the Qura’n to suit their vested interests.

“We have learned from preachers now providing us spiritual reorientation that the teachings of those who recruited us were wrong. They deliberately duped us into believing that hating and killing non-Muslims will lead us to paradise,” Mansur said in Yakan dialect.

Adam Sajili, now farming in Sumisip town in Basilan with the help of the ARMM agriculture department, said their recruiters also kept silent on Islamic teachings espousing religious tolerance in any preaching discourse.

“We were taught to ignore the Islamic teaching that says there is no compulsion in religion, something obviously intended to ensure tranquility among Muslims and non-Muslims,” he said in Filipino.

An ustadz (theologian) now benefitting from the PAVE said poverty and lack of access to schools in the past condoned the Abu Sayyaf’s control of the local communities in isolated areas in Basilan.

“Now there are mainstream schools in many barangays in Basilan, connected to villages via good roads,” said the ustadz, who lost two brothers, Jipanul and Sarratul, in an encounter with soldiers near Maluso town in Basilan in 2013.

Col. Gerry Besana, spokesman of WestMinCom, said Saturday in Lanao del Sur, also an ARMM component-province, dozens of remnants of the Maute terror group, which started as the Dawlah Islamiya, also turned themselves in to local authorities this year.

Combined Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists instigated the May 23 to October 16, 2017 conflict in Marawi City that left more than a thousand dead, among them soldiers and police personnel, dislocated some 300,000 innocent residents and left historic, centuries-old Meranao dwelling enclaves there in ruins.

The BIFF members in Maguindanao who surrendered this year, four of them bomb-makers trained by the slain Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, most known as Marwan, are now beneficiaries of livelihood and education support from the third-termer Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, who shall also step down from office on June 30, 2019.

Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of 6th ID, said credit for their surrender has to go to local officials, to Chief Superintendent Graciano Mijares of the ARMM police and to the Maguindanao Program for Education and Community Empowerment, or MagPEACE.

The Maguindanao provincial government’s vaunted MagPEACE, which provides college education to poor but deserving Muslim, Christian and Lumad beneficiaries, has produced more than 3,000 professionals in the past six years.

“Many of the MagPEACE professionals are from areas where there is BIFF presence. I’ve learned too that some of them are relatives of BIFF members. This is the kind of diplomatic community-building initiative that will help address the security woes in Moro-dominated areas,” Sobejana said.

6 leftist rebels killed by gov't troops in central Philippines

From Xinhua (Dec 30): 6 leftist rebels killed by gov't troops in central Philippines

At least six leftist rebels have been killed during a series of law enforcement operations by Philippine military and police recently, a military spokesman said on Sunday.

Colonel Noel Detoyato, chief of the Public Affairs Office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the military and police launched a series of joint law enforcement operations in Negros Occidental province in the central Philippines from Thursday to Saturday, resulting in the killing of six
New People's Army (NPA) rebels and the arrest of 24 others.

Detoyato said the joint military and police operations were aimed at serving arrest warrants to 103 target personalities who were involved in illegal drug activities in this area.

However, he said that operating teams found out that 30 of them were NPA regulars. NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which is found in 1968.

According to the military spokesman, during the law enforcement operations, six NPA rebels who resisted arrest and engaged the government troops and policeman in a shootout were killed. Nearly 65 firearms were confiscated.

The Philippine military said the NPA has an estimated 4,000 members. The rebels have been fighting the government since 1969 in one of Asia's longest-running insurgencies.

The Philippine government has been trying to forge peace with the leftist rebels since 1986 but the on-off talks have faltered many times in the past.

The Duterte administration has scrapped talks to solve the 50-year-old leftist insurgency and has declared a "full-scale war" against the leftist rebel group which has been trying to overthrow the government for five decades.

Agusan's most wanted NPA rebel nabbed

From the Philippine Star (Dec 31) Agusan's most wanted NPA rebel nabbed

Agusan del Norte’s most wanted New People’s Army (NPA) rebel, who is facing multiple criminal cases in various courts, was arrested in a police and military operation early yesterday morning.

Joaquin Madrianon, alias Alto or Junjun, an intelligence and commanding officer of the NPA’s special partisan unit for Western Agusan del Norte – Agusan del Sur sub-regional command, was nabbed at his alleged hideout in Barangay Tagcatong in Carmen, Agusan del Norte at around 4:30 a.m.

Maj. Ronald Putol, civil-military operations officer of the Philippine Army’s 402nd Infantry Brigade, said Madrianon is also listed as the second most wanted criminal in the province.

As this developed, Lt. Col. Francisco Molina Jr., commanding officer of the Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion, thanked “concerned citizens who bravely provided positive and timely information to the authorities about the activities and whereabouts of (Madrianon).”

“As the protector of the people, we always abide by and adhere to the rules of the law by using lawful and peaceful means of capturing the perpetrators in order to prevent their hostile plans in conducting atrocities in the community,” Molina added.

6 rebels killed in Negros Oriental clashes says military

From ABS-CBN (Dec 31): 6 rebels killed in Negros Oriental clashes says military

Six suspected members of the New People's Army (NPA) in Negros Oriental were killed in separate encounters with government forces during the weekend, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.

The fatalities were identified as Reneboy Fat, Demetrio Fat, Dondon Isugan, Constancio Languita, Jun Cubul, and Jaime Revilla.

The police and military also arrested 24 others, including former Guihulngan Mayor Cesar Macalua, who were allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

The AFP said they served warrants of arrest against 103 people in Guihulngan City and the towns of Mabinay, La Libertad, and Santa Catalina.

The fatalities allegedly resisted arrest and engaged in a shootout against government troops, AFP added. They were brought to the nearest hospital but didn't make it alive.

The AFP said that drug personalities in Negros Oriental received protection from the suspected rebels.

Also arrested were former barangay officials Misael Dagat and Alfredo Javier. Confiscated from the operations were firearms, ammunition, and explosives.

No demands from Abu Sayyaf

From The Star Online (Dec 31): No demands from Abu Sayyaf

KOTA KINABALU: Abu Sayyaf gunmen who are holding a Malaysian and two Indonesian fishermen in their southern Philippines Jolo island, have yet to make fresh contact with their families or the authorities.

Apart from a call to a family member hours after they were snatched from their fishing boat, there is no further contact from the victims or the kidnappers.

The incident happened in Pegasus Reef waters in Sabah’s Kinabatan­gan, Lahad Datu area on Dec 6.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah said yesterday the last call was made to one of the victim’s wife on Dec 6 after they were kidnapped.

“We are still waiting for fresh development,” he told reporters after attending the 2018 Police Family Day celebrations function that was held in the city.

The three - Hariadin Rere, 45, Heri Ardiansyah, 19 and Jari Abdullah, 34, – were believed to have been grabbed from their fishing boat in the Pegasus reef area after the same group failed to kidnap sailors from a tugboat.

In their earlier attempt, the tugboat skipper, who used a flare gun to ward off the attackers, was shot on his thigh by the gunmen in the Pegasus Reef waters on the Lahad Datu side.

However, police are still trying to establish if it was the same group involved in the two incidents.

Comm Omar said they were still investigating both incidents that occurred close to the Philippines’ island chain of Tawi Tawi that straddles along the eastern Sabah sea border.

Regional intelligence sources believed the three hostages were taken to Panamao village in Jolo and were being kept together with another Indonesian hostage kidnapped from Semporna’s Pulau Gaya on Sept 5.

The sources had earlier indicated that the gunmen were led by Al Mujir Yadah, who is a member of a notorious Abu Sayyaf group led by sub-commander, Hatib Hajan Sawad­­jan.

Hatib Hajan has teamed up with another sub-commander, Indang Susukan, to search for value targets to kidnap in Sabah waters.

Al Mujir, who was joined by at least 18 armed men, is believed to be lurking in the Tawi Tawi islands since Dec 21 in an effort to kidnap new victims along the sea border.

Abu Sayyaf frees kidnapped son of Labason Mayor Quimbo

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 30): Abu Sayyaf frees kidnapped son of Labason Mayor Quimbo

Patikul in Sulu - Google Maps

Patikul (outlined in red) in Sulu (Image from Google Maps)
After more than a year in captivity, Jed Quimbo, son of Labason Mayor Eddie Quimbo, was freed by the Abu Sayyaf group on Rizal Day, Sunday, in Patikul town, Sulu.

Chief Superintendent Emmanuel Licup, police regional director here, said Quimbo was freed around 4:14 p.m. on December 30, in the vicinity of Anuling village, Patikul town.

Quimbo was abducted on September 6, 2017, in Labason by six unidentified men who forced him to board a van.

Licup said Quimbo was released by the Abu Sayyaf in Patikul and later, was handed over to his brother Justin.
“Mister Justin Quimbo was together with former Governor Abdusakur Tan. The kidnap victim was presented to officer-in-charge of the Joint Task Force Sulu at the residence of Tan,” Licup said citing spot report from Sulu Provincial Police Office.

Quimbo will undergo debriefing and medical check-up at Camp Bautista Station Hospital, after which, he will be flown to a private hospital.


Posted to Katropa DWDD-CRS Virtual RTV (Dec 29): CPP-NPA Weakens

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Esperon optimistic about 'brighter, more secure' PH in 2019

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 30): Esperon optimistic about 'brighter, more secure' PH in 2019


Overall, the Philippines is safe as far as security in 2018 is concerned and the future looks bright for an even secure country in 2019, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said.

"The National Security Council and the security sector succeeded in adequately managing national security in the face of numerous issues and concerns that continue to challenge the security of the nation," Esperon said in a statement released on Sunday.

Esperon cited the creation of the National Security Strategy (NSS) and the issuance of Executive Order 70 establishing a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) as President Rodrigo R. Duterte's initiatives to fulfill his promise in providing a safer and better future for Filipinos.

"The NSS that was issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in May was instrumental in integrating the country’s major security policies, defining responsibilities, and coordinating the actions of all concerned agencies, to effectively address security threats, issues, and concerns both within and outside the country. The President himself is leading the way by taking the role of National Task Force Commander (in NTL-ELCAC)," he said.

Esperon expressed optimism that the country will be "brighter, continually stable, and more secure" in 2019, as he cited various security concerns such as trans-boundary crimes posed by international syndicates and terrorist groups, threats from local terrorist groups, illegal drugs and the overlapping territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea as some issues which the country faced and addressed this year.

"The security sector will become more robust in addressing future security challenges. We are optimistic that as we are able to provide continuing stability, more developmental prospects, small and big -- such as our ‘Build, Build, Build’ projects -- will see fruition," he said.

Esperon reiterated the need to address local communist and extremist terror groups such as the Abu Sayyaf, Maute, and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), saying these groups hamper the country's full economic potentials.

"The operations will be relentless. More security forces will be deployed, as necessary. The government remained persistent in implementing the Enhanced Comprehensive Localized Integration Program (E-CLIP), wherein rebel returnees have found alternatives to a life of crime and violence," he said.

Esperon said trans-boundary crimes "are being addressed through the strong collaborative mechanisms within the ASEAN framework."

He said the campaign against illegal drugs will be "more intensified to eradicate the menace."

Meanwhile, Esperon said the Duterte administration has adopted a "middle ground" approach in the West Philippine Sea issue where the Philippines is a friend to all and an enemy to none in order to secure the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

"We continue the use of diplomatic engagements with China and other claimant states without compromising Philippine national interest. The improvement of facilities in the Philippine-occupied features in the West Philippine Sea were also undertaken," he added.

Peace and order is one of the major campaign promises by President Duterte when he ran for office in 2016.

NDF/NDF-Negros Island: Crackdown against the people in Negros Oriental

NDF-Negros Island propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP or NDF) Website (Dec 28): Crackdown against the people in Negros Oriental

Ka Frank Fernandez
NDFP – Negros Island

December 28, 2018

The simultaneous attacks of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) troops against the people of Negros Oriental are not drug-related but a crackdown on progressive forces and ordinary peasants struggling for their daily survival and longing for genuine peace. The so-called “war on drugs” and “crime prevention” are o only covers to legitimize the presence of state agents and their crimes against the Filipino masses.

In fact, top officials of the AFP and PNP are furious and humiliated because of their failure to obstruct the glorious celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines in Negros.
This crackdown sets the stage for the open declaration of Martial Law in Negros and nationwide. The atrocities, especially against the legal democratic movement and the peasant masses, are expected to heighten in the first quarter of next year as the US-Duterte regime is yet again facing a defeat in their illusion of decimating the New People’s Army by mid-2019.
But the people of Negros will courageously stand with the Filipino people in confronting this fascist regime. Expose and oppose all violations and abuses of the AFP, PNP and their force multipliers. There is no room for silence and apathy in this period of rising dictatorship.
The protest movement and the fight for democratic rights must reach a higher level of vigor. Mass struggles and anti-feudal campaigns must multiply tenfold amid the spate of extra judicial killings, escalating human rights violations and the worsening economic and political crisis of the reactionary system.
The broadest anti-fascist alliance must rise to resist Duterte’s sinister directive of making his enemies’ blood flow.
Now, more than ever, armed revolution is relevant and justified. All revolutionary forces must work to arouse, organize and mobilize the greatest number to further strengthen the national democratic revolution and overthrow the fascist rule of the US-Duterte regime.###

NDF/NPA ROC-Negros Island: Continuing simultaneous attacks in Negros Oriental are EJKs and illegal arrests, not at all related to drugs and criminal activities

NPA Regional Command-Negros Island propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP or NDF) Website (Dec 28): Continuing simultaneous attacks in Negros Oriental are EJKs and illegal arrests, not at all related to drugs and criminal activities  

Juanito Magbanua
Spokesperson, Apolinario Gatmaitan Command
NPA Regional Command – Negros Island

December 28, 2018

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) are spinning lies and fake news dubbed as Simultaneous Enhanced Managing Police Operations to whitewash the series of extrajudicial killings (EJK) and illegal arrests they have perpetrated in Negros Oriental since the evening of December 26.
According to consolidated reports from the New People’s Army (NPA) Leonardo Panaligan Command and Rachelle Mae Palang Command of the Central Negros and Southeast Negros Fronts respectively, there have been coordinated harassments, 6 cases of EJKs and 27 illegal arrests and trumped-up cases in Guihulngan City, Mabinay, and Sta. Catalina towns of Negros Oriental.
In Guihulngan City, six civilians were killed in simultaneous attacks by combined elements of the 94th IB and PNP. They are peasant organizer Jimmy Fat and Jun Kubol both from Barangay Trinidad, Reneboy Fat, a habal-habal driver, from Barangay Hilaitan, Jaime Revilla, a community organizer, Jesus “Dondon” Isugan, farmer and son of a peasant leader, and Boy Singko, a councilor of Barangay Trinidad.
Junior and Genia Isugan were taken into custody after their son, Dondon, was killed in their house. Fifteen others were also illegally arrested and falsely accused as members of the NPA. Barangay officials were not spared as Melbourne Bustamante and Erlinda Abraham, Village Chiefs of Barangay Trinidad and Tacpao were also detained for alleged illegal possession of firearms.
Homes of peasants were ransacked in Barangay Trinidad and the house of Sheldon Uy in Guihulngan proper was raided in the joint operation. Adding to the increasing violence in the area, a media man was also shot by a riding-in-tandem in La Libertad town early this morning.
Meanwhile, six residents of Barangay Luyang and Talingting, Mabinay were arrested wherein firearms and ammunition were planted as evidence. One of the victims of illegal arrests is Margie Vailoces, cousin of political detainee Joey Vailoces (#Mabinay6). As of press time, the aforementioned residents are on their way to the Hall of Justice in Dumaguete City.
At the same time, Barangay Nagbinlod Councilor Nonoy Trosa was arrested in Sta. Catalina town in southern Negros Oriental.
While in Negros Occidental, Rene CaƱete of the National Federation of Sugar Workers was also illegally arrested and charged with trumped-up cases by dubious police forces wearing bonnets in Sagay City last December 19.
Ahead of these attacks, the AFP circulated fake news in Central Negros. They claimed that an encounter between the NPA and AFP forces took place and more than 50 firearms were confiscated. But this was only to justify their presence in the hinterlands of Guihulngan City and Canlaon City in Negros Oriental and Isabela and Magallon towns in Negros Occidental. The truth is a composite force of the 94th IB of the 302nd Brigade and 62nd IB of the 303rd Brigade with 95-120 troops were conducting operations last December 20-23 in a fruitless search for the CPP golden anniversary celebration.
Also, the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command (AGC) have received reports that the local media have been under 24-hour surveillance to spy on those who will cover the activities in relation to the CPP@50 festivities.
EJKs and political harassments have been prevalent in Negros Island under the US-Duterte regime. Since the brutal Sagay 9 massacre and the murder of Atty. Ben Ramos, the spate of killings and human rights violations in Negros perpetrated by state forces have escalated further and none have been given justice by the reactionary government. As of today, there are 55 counts of EJKs in Negros since Duterte became president. With the all-out implementation of Duterte’s Memorandum Order 32 and Executive Order 70, beyond doubt, Negros is under de facto martial law.
The current conditions have only made clearer that the only means to put a stop to the fascist and tyrannical rule of Duterte and his clique is protracted people’s war. The regime has only sharpened the contrast between the butcher AFP and PNP and the genuine people’s army, the NPA. The AGC-NPA calls on the rank-and-file in the AFP and PNP not to tolerate the lawless violence committed by their colleagues and expose these crimes. More importantly, the AGC-NPA calls on all Negrosanons to rise up against the de facto martial Law in our Island. Together with the Filipino people in general, smash Duterte’s fascist and military rule. Take part in the national democratic revolution and join the NPA!###

NDF: NPA Melito Glor Command celebrates CPP’s 50th year

Propaganda article from the pro-CPP Manila Today posted to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP or NDF) Website (Dec 29): NPA Melito Glor Command celebrates CPP’s 50th year

The sun shone through the thin canopy of coconut tree leaves just as Red fighters of the New People’s Army sang the first lines of the Internationale.

No rain from the afternoon before could stop them from celebrating the Communist Party of the Philippines’ 50th anniversary, as the absence of a ceasefire from the Duterte government did not deter them from doing so either.

On December 26, on a small clearing in the Sierra Madre jungle, members of the Melito Glor Command paraded in their black camisa de chinos and caps bearing the Southern Tagalog region’s commemorative anniversary logo. Despite threats to security and incessant combat operations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Red fighters solemnly celebrated the Party’s golden year by holding a press conference that highlighted the history of the New People’s Army in the region.

The paints on the guerrillas’ faces symbolize their proletarian remoulding. And upon interviewing them, one could tell they came from different class backgrounds — peasants, workers, students from the petty bourgeoisie. Their diversity is a manifestation of, as detailed by the Melito Glor Command’s spokesperson Jaime ‘Ka Diego’ Padilla, the CPP’s continuing effort to consolidate the broadest united front to oust the Duterte regime and to advance the people’s struggle.

Other forms of anniversary celebrations had been planned and imagined, complete with grand cultural presentations and cheers from the peasant masses who traditionally grace the annual celebration. But it was as simple a gathering as profound as the Red fighters’ vow to serve the people and to carry forth the revolution towards victory. And that, according to them, is more than enough.


NDF: Young cultural workers and artists lead in celebrating 50 years of art and culture in the Philippine revolution

Propaganda article posted to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP or NDF) Website (Dec 30): Young cultural workers and artists lead in celebrating 50 years of art and culture in the Philippine revolution

(Utrecht, The Netherlands) – Hundreds of cultural workers, youth, human rights and political activists, artists, academics, Filipino and other migrant nationalities and representatives of political parties and formations from all over the world, jampacked the auditorium of center for art and culture in this central Dutch city to celebrate “Fifty Years of Art and Culture in the Filipino People’s Struggle for National and Social Liberation” and the anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on December 26, 1968.

The celebration was organized by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) International Information Office in Utrecht, together with the Linangan Art and Culture – a network of young cultural workers and artists in the Netherlands. The Basis voor Actuele Kunst (BAK) – a leading international platform for theoretically-informed, politically-driven art and experimental research, hosted the event.

The celebration which began in the morning, was highlighted with an exhibition of art works, performances and publications, video installations and film-showings produced in the course of the struggle of the Filipino people for national and social liberation.

The celebration was capped with speeches by Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Founding Chairman of the CPP, and NDFP chief political consultant, who spoke on the achievements of the revolutionary movement in the past 50 years; Luis Jalandoni, NDFP peace panel senior adviser, who gave a speech on building the third weapon of the revolution, the united front, and Coni Ledesma, NDFP peace panel member, who spoke on the road to a just and lasting peace.

A one-minute video on “What is Peace” preceded Ledesma’s speech. A choral singing of “Martsa ng Bayan” (March of the People) preceded Jalandoni’s talk, and a dance interpretation of the poem and song “NorthStar” preceded Sison’s input.

NDFP peace panel member Julie de Lima

Earlier during the day, Julieta De Lima, NDFP peace panel member, gave a premier lecture on the role of art and culture in the struggle of the Filipino masses for national and social Liberation, and the role of the masses in the development of revolutionary art and culture.

The solidarity program included heartwarming and revolutionary performances by young militant cultural workers from the Philippines, Netherlands, the US, Canada, Belgium, Turkey, and Italy. They rendered revolutionary songs, dances that included the contemporary and traditional lumad (indigenous) dance, choric reading, and theater performances depicting the triumphs of the people’s army in the Philippines. These performances were always accompanied by visual presentations on the people’s struggle.

Representatives from many organizations in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Iceland, Norway, Peru, United Kingdom, Switzerland, the US and Canada, India, Mexico, Turkey, and Indonesia attended. The Embassy of Venezuela in The Hague also sent a representative.

Solidarity messages from political parties and formations from the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Greece, Turkey, Kurdistan, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Norway, Indonesia, the US and Canada. Chants of “Viva CPP-NPA-NDF!” and “Mabuhay ang CPP!” interspersed the reading of the solidarity messages from the friends of the Filipino people.

The film “Revolution Selfie: The Red Battalion” by American filmmaker Steven De Castro who tackled the portrait of the 48 year-old people’s army in the Philippines, and the documentary film “Moving Mountains” which tackles the life stories of the pioneers of the Philippine Revolution and the future of the protracted people’s war, were also shown earlier in the day.

During the solidarity program, youth organizations in the Netherlands gave a special recognition to Prof. Sison and Julie de Lima, for being among the most outstanding pioneers of the Philippine revolutionary movement and a guiding inspiration for young revolutionaries, particularly young guerrillas of the people’s army. They gifted Joma and Julie with bouquets of flowers and a Mao pen and Mao’s original classic “Red Book”. Youth activists in the audience chanted “ang karit at maso, dudurog sa estado” (the peasant sickle and worker’s hammer, will crush the state) as the couple received a standing ovation.

As a tribute, a moving video collage of contemporary Filipino revolutionaries – poets, human rights workers, cultural activists, writers, movie directors, academics, militant priests and nuns, solidarity workers, and NPA guerrillas who have passed on, became missing, killed by the Philippine military or died as guerrilla fighters and combatants, was shown.

The evening of celebration concluded with the community singing of the workers’ anthem “Internationale” while a video of exiled NDFP leaders singing the same song was also played, and was followed by a celebratory dance with indigenous music participated in by the Filipino migrants and their children who were garbed in indigenous attire from the Cordilleras and Mindanao.

“The pen and the gun: weapons for a successful revolution” – Juliet de Lima

In her presentation titled “On the Pen and the Gun”, Julie de Lima paraphrased Mao Zedong who wrote: “to defeat the enemy, we rely primarily on the people’s army wielding the gun. But this is not enough, we must also have an army wielding the pen.”

De Lima says: “It is significant that Mao mentioned the pen first before the gun. Our experience shows that we must first arouse before we can organize and then mobilize people, whether it is taking up the pen, or the gun, or further, the gun and the pen. Reviewing its 50 years of uninterrupted revolutionary struggle, we can say that the CPP has been successful in wielding both weapons.”

De Lima cites the CPP’s cultural achievements since its founding in 1968 and its impact and influence on the cultural and artistic endeavors on Philippine society and the people’s revolutionary struggle.

She proceeds by comprehensively and eloquently tracing the historical experience of the Filipino people starting with the old democratic revolution, the First Propaganda Movement, well into the Second Propaganda Movement the CPP’s first, second and continuing rectification movement which is essentially an education movement, until the current age of the internet and multimedia.

De Lima called on the people and revolutionaries to “contribute to the peoples’ unified cultural offensive against imperialism, aware that its overwhelming dominance necessitates strong organizations with strong leaderships guided by the ideology, politics and methods of a party of the most advanced and most productive class in our society.”

It is not enough for us, she emphasized, to compete with the imperialists in such superficial terms such as trending hashtags, viral Youtube views and TV ratings, but to build long-term results with the growth by leaps and bounds of the anti-imperialist mass organizations and mass movement at the national and international levels.

“The essential task of the progressive and revolutionary forces all over the world today is developing unity, cooperation and coordination of all peoples and raising their level of struggle to weaken and defeat imperialism and reaction towards building a society that is just, peaceful and progressive,” De Lima concluded.

In reaction to De Lima’s paper, Lisa Ito of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) and professor of the College of Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines stressed that the “ongoing Philippine revolution—in the 70 years from 1898-1968 and in the 50 years from 1968-2018—is one that continuously resists, rectifies, and renews itself: against capitulation, against collaboration, and always for the advance of national liberation. De Lima makes clear how, since its humble origins in 1968, the Party achieved all these contributions through correct analysis, practice, and rectification.”

She says in her reaction paper entitled Key Words: Notes on Manifestoes for the Future, De Lima’s stories teach us how we must learn to be self-reliant and daring in waging the cultural and propaganda counter-offensive, in the same way the activists of the First Quarter Storm did: by vigorously and systematically pursuing study, production, translation, and dissemination to break the normalization of fascism and to now prevent another tragic return to authoritarian rule.

There is an urgency to overcoming this learning curve. For the world we inhabit now is not the same as the world back in 1968. Most of the technology present today did not exist then: including computers, the Internet, electronic and digital media, video, data visualization, cybernetics, and social media platforms. These are but a fraction of technologies imagined and invented for agriculture, industry, medicine, scientific inquiry, and war. These technologies make today’s state of material and mental or cultural production possible and are developing at a rate unimaginable fifty years ago. But they will also remain largely in control by the ruling regimes unless channeled towards revolutionary practice, Ito says.

In concluding her reaction to De Lima , Ito says: A good friend and comrade recently described cultural work not in terms of its surface forms or strategies, but as a selfless act and process. If there is anything this and the 50 years of culture and resistance teaches us, it is that drawing the line of the revolutionary is also an immense assertion of love. Cultural work in the revolution transforms individualism, which reenacts the status quo on personal or structural levels, into a radical force that finds its fullest potential in being one with the struggles of the people.

Dr. Joi Barrios, another reactor to De Lima’s paper maintained in a video message after De Lima’s input, that as De Lima’s speech traces the cultural achievements of the Party, it provides us with the following five frames by which we can discuss the revolutionary art and literature produced in the past fifty years: historical and contemporary contexts; organizational commitment and the process of creation; centrality of language; exploration and appropriation of forms and spaces; and solidarity work with allied artists and writers.

Emphasizing the need for solidarity with allied and other artists, Dr. Barrios who teaches at the University of Berkeley in California, says that we celebrate today not only the work of those we can name, such as National Artists Amado V. Hernandez, Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal, not only the unnamed cadres who have achieved national stature for their artistic and literary achievements, not only the creativity of our current army of writers and artists, but also the countless allies we have in theater, music, dance, visual arts, media arts, and literature.

The sustained creation of revolutionary art and literature, Dr. Barrios says, allows us to envision what Julie de Lima describes as the triumph of a “unified cultural offensive of the people against imperialism” towards a “just, peaceful, and progressive society.”

“No matter the pronouncements of the current dictator, fascist regimes cannot annihilate our persistent radical bodies, nor our revolutionary texts,” Dr. Barrios concludes.

In her talk “The Road to a Just and Lasting Peace”, Coni Ledesma asserts that we can only attain a just and lasting peace by waging our national democratic revolution. Or another way of putting it is: the national democratic revolution is also a struggle for a just and lasting peace. Waging peace is another form of struggle for national and social liberation.

“The road to a just and lasting peace is not a paved and smooth road, as seen during the last 32 years. But our goals are clear. No matter how difficult, no matter the hardships, with great patience and commitment, we continue to pursue the peace. Because one day, there will be just and lasting peace, when the Filipino people win their liberation,” Ledesma emphasized.

NDFP Senior Adviser Luis Jalandoni

Luis Jalandoni’s focused on “Building the United Front for National and Social Liberation”. He says the United Front is necessary to develop the broadest possible alliance and reach immediately the people in their millions in order to effectively confront and defeat US imperialism, the big compradors and landlords, and the bureaucrat capitalists. They control the reactionary state machinery and its military, police and paramilitary forces.

Carrying out creatively this united front policy in the countryside, Jalandoni says the CPP carries out agrarian revolution, mass base building, and launches tactical offensives. These are waged on the basis of an ever deepening and expanding mass base. Organs of political power are set up on the basis of revolutionary mass organizations of workers, peasants, women, youth, indigenous people and other sectors.

The organs of political power are the firm foundation of the People’s Democratic Government (PDG) that provides essential services to the people, such as land reform, increased productivity, health, education, protection from enemy attacks, arbitration and justice, cultural work, disaster relief and environmental protection.

He asserts that in the face of the brutal attacks of the US-Duterte regime, the united front needs to be further broadened and strengthened. The united front is concretized in the consolidation of the National Democratic Front of the Philippine and its 18 allied organizations. Other supportive organizations and alliances in the whole country are also very important.

Internationally, Jalandoni says, the revolutionary movement engages in mutually beneficial solidarity and cooperation to win support as well as extend support to other movements. It is ever ready to contribute to the strengthening of the worldwide anti-imperialist movement and the international campaign to build socialism.

Duterte would be politically destroyed before he could destroy the revolutionary movement – Jose Maria Sison

NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison

Delivering the main speech of the celebration “Great Achievements of the CPP in Waging 50 years of Revolution”, Sison sums up the achievements of the Party, thus:

The CPP has systematically strengthened itself ideologically, politically and organizationally. It arose with only a few scores of cadres and members from the revolutionary mass movement of the 1960s. It has become nationwide and has become even more deeply rooted among the toiling masses of workers and peasants. It continues to draw strength from the revolutionary mass movement. It has grown into tens of thousands of cadres and members who have been tested and tempered in revolutionary armed struggle and other forms of struggle.

The CPP leads the New People´s Army (NPA), which it founded on March 29, 1969 in the second district of Tarlac. Now, this army operates in more than 110 guerilla fronts covering substantial parts of 73 out of the 81 Philippine provinces in 17 regions outside of the national capital region. It is assisted by the people´s militia and self-defense units of mass organizations. It follows the strategic line of protracted people´s war, carries out agrarian revolution and guarantees the building and functioning of the people´s democratic government.

The CPP leads the national united front whose most consolidated embodiment is the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) founded on April 24, 1973. The national united front relies mainly on the revolutionary basic alliance of the working class and the peasantry, wins over the middle strata of the bourgeoisie and takes advantage of the conflicts among the reactionaries in order to isolate and defeat the enemy, which is the worst reactionary clique.

The united front is effective in reaching and rallying the people in their millions. It has demonstrated that it can overthrow the fascist dictatorship of Marcos in 1986 and the corrupt regime of Estrada in 2001. It is necessary to defeat one reactionary clique after another and thus increase the strength of the revolutionary movement for overthrowing the entire semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system, accomplishing the people´s democratic revolution and laying the basis for the socialist revolution.

Sison says that the regular people’s army is augmented by tens of thousands of people’s militias and hundreds of thousands of people’s defense units.

The protracted people’s war, Sison asserts, is transitioning from the middle phase to the advance stage of the strategic defensive.

Departing from his prepared written speech, Sison assails Philippine President Duterte for boasting that he could destroy the revolutionary movement in 2018. But Sison laughs this off by saying two days are left before the end of 2018 and the CPP and the revolutionary movement it leads is even growing stronger and drawing in more members and allies.

Sison also laughed off Duterte’s threat to use the widely-condemned Suharto-type of solution to eliminate the revolutionary movement. Sison says, in the first place, the CPP is clandestine and has a people’s army deeply-rooted in the broad masses of the people.

“Duterte would be politically destroyed before he could destroy the revolutionary movement, either he is ousted by his own military and the broad opposition and the people, or gives in to the pressure from the intensifying armed revolutionary resistance in the countryside,” Sison says.

The revolutionary movement, he asserts, would certainly outlast him.

In conclusion, Sison proclaimed to the audience that the Communist Party of the Philippines is a torchbearer of the world proletarian revolution.###