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Proletarian issue 22 (February 2008)
Forward march of The Philippines’ people’s war
The New People’s Army continues to gain support as the comprador Filipino government descends into crisis.
According to a press release issued on 27 December 2007, New People’s Army (NPA), armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), achieved “significant military victories” in 2007.

CPP spokesperson Gregorio ‘Ka Roger’ Rosal referred to at least 95 reported and a further 200 unreported tactical offensives launched across the country during the last year, which had together yielded enough weapons to equip at least three new companies of Red fighters.

Among the significant NPA victories this year, Rosal particularly cited the raid at the Davao Penal Colony on 7 April, which yielded 108 assorted firearms “without the NPA firing a single shot”. He also cited the downing of a Philippine Air Force Huey Helicopter on 14 December by the NPA in Tanay, Rizal which killed four soldiers and wounded nine others.

“At least 204 government military, police and paramilitary forces were killed and more than 149 other enemy forces were wounded in these armed encounters. Nine government soldiers and CAFGU elements were also captured in the field, held as prisoners-of-war and subsequently released on humanitarian grounds,” added Rosal.

He continued: “Revolutionary punishment was also meted out against certain elements of AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines]-directed death squads that are behind the extrajudicial killings masterminded by Arroyo's national security officials. These measures were carried out by the NPA after painstaking investigations and judicious observance of due process.

“Most significantly, the NPA was able to defeat division-level, brigade-sized military campaigns of suppression launched on several guerrilla fronts since January. In the Ilocos-Cordillera Region, the attacking AFP were the ones who suffered casualties, numbering at least 33 from January to April. In the Northeast Mindanao Region, the 58th IB lost the equivalent of a company due to casualties and also due to demoralised troops that went AWOL.

“Morale has been noticeably very low among junior officers and rank-and-file soldiers of the AFP, principally because they could not defeat an NPA that undeniably enjoys deep and widespread support among the peasant masses and other advantages such as the element of surprise, mastery of terrain and so on. Moreover, the AFP is badly demoralised because of the corruption, fascism and terrorism of the Arroyo regime and its top military and security officials.”

Rosal laughed off claims by Philippine Army chief Lt Gen Alexander Yano that the AFP could put an end to the revolutionary movement in “39 weeks”, alluding to the 39th anniversary of the CPP that was celebrated in December.

“How can the deeply factionalised, demoralised and useless government armed forces expect to defeat a solid, highly-spirited and battle-capable adversary in the NPA?” asked Rosal. “How can the fascist reactionaries expect to defeat the NPA when they are waging a brutal and barbaric war that only incites more and more people to hate the AFP and the regime that it serves? With the worsening poverty, oppression and sufferings the masses of the people have been going through under the rotten, puppet regime, more and more of them are taking up arms and joining the NPA.

“The AFP could not even concentrate the bulk of its fighting force on more than 10 percent of all NPA guerrilla fronts. They are desperately stepping up the recruitment of paramilitary forces, but with decreasing successes and increasing misgivings, especially as many CAFGU [Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (paramilitary squads)] members are suspected of supporting the NPA.”

The significance of these achievements should not be underestimated. In order to wage guerrilla warfare successfully, a people’s army must have the support of wide sections of the masses, upon whom it relies to feed and shelter its cadres, as well as to provide it with information regarding police and military activities. This popular support, which enables fighters to disappear into the population after every action like fish into the sea (to paraphrase Mao Zedong), is the secret to the success of such movements.

In its 39th anniversary statement, the CPP central committee stated that “Once more we collectively renew our resolve to carry forward through protracted people's war the national democratic stage of the Philippine revolution. We are determined to complete this stage through the nationwide seizure of political power in order to reach the stage of socialist revolution and begin the long transition to communism …

“The imperialists and the local reactionaries keep on prating that the CPP and the revolutionary movement of the people ought to be dissuaded from waging armed revolution because of the betrayal of socialism by the modern revisionists, the subsequent disintegration of the revisionist regimes, and all the ideological, political, economic, cultural and military offensives of the imperialists headed by the US.

“They obfuscate the fact that the Party has remained firm in its Marxist-Leninist and anti-revisionist position, that it understands and acts upon the concrete semicolonial and semifeudal conditions in order to carry out the new democratic revolution, and that the offensives of imperialism and its puppets have only served to aggravate the oppressive and exploitative conditions and incite the people to wage armed struggle and other forms of revolutionary struggle. The enemies of the revolution overlook the fact that the Party and the revolutionary movement have prevailed over all the bloody campaigns of suppression carried out by the Marcos fascist regime and the subsequent pseudo-democratic regimes.

“The Arroyo regime, especially the fake president and her top military henchmen, keep on bragging that they can destroy or cause the strategic defeat of the CPP, the New People's Army and all other revolutionary forces before 2010. Instead, the revolutionary forces are growing in strength and advancing because of the ever worsening crisis of the world capitalist system and the domestic ruling system, and the Arroyo regime's detested policies of national betrayal, class exploitation, corruption and state terrorism. In the midst of all this, the Party's ceaseless ideological, political and organisational work nurture the revolutionary forces’ continued growth and development.”

Explaining the background to the current crisis in the Philippines, the party’s statement goes on to say: “The socioeconomic crisis under the Arroyo regime is worsening rapidly. The rate of accumulated unemployment is growing. Incomes of the toiling masses of workers and peasants and even the middle social strata are being pressed down hard. Prices of basic goods and services are rising as a result of the rising costs of imported equipment, fuel and other inputs. The costs of basic services, such as education, health, electricity, water and transport are rising as the social infrastructure is breaking down and profit-taking runs rampant. The broad masses are reeling from the pressures of the crisis and the rising rates of exploitation. These are generating social unrest.

“The broad masses of the people are enraged that foreign monopoly interests, highly placed bureaucrats and big compradors and landlords have accelerated the rate of exploitation and plunder of the country's natural resources. The net income of the top 1,000 corporations increased by 327% from 2001 to 2005, with their profits increasing by 20% annually.

“The Filipino people are widely and deeply offended by the puppetry of the Arroyo regime to the US, Japan and other imperialist powers, by the unbridled corruption of the ruling Arroyo family and its cronies, by the regime's mendacious claim that the Philippines is ascending to ‘first world’ status even as it is further deteriorating as a backward third world country, and by the brutal actions of the police and military to suppress workers' strikes, to drive away the peasants and national minorities from their homes and farms, to persecute and eliminate the legal patriotic and democratic movement, and to break up the protest actions of the working people and other social sectors.”

Since issuing the statements cited above, the NPA has conducted a high-profile attack on a copper-gold mine operated by Swiss corporation Xstrata in the southern town of Tampakan. According to Bloomberg, the pre-dawn New Year’s Day attack “may hamper efforts by the government to woo overseas investment and exploit up to $1 trillion in mineral wealth” . Or, to put it another way, such attacks interfere with the efficient looting of the Philippines’ vast mineral wealth by imperialist corporations.

The CPP has called for an acceleration of advances in 2008, at the end of which year it will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its founding.
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