Leenardo Pacsi Command issues open letter to Mt. Province local government units

Open letter to the local government uniots of Mt. Province from the Leonardo Pacsi Command-NPA Mt. Province

This open letter is in response to the reactions of the provincial and municipal government units to the series of firefights that happened last March 29 to April 2 between the Leonardo Pacsi Command- NPA Mt. Province and joint government combat troops of the PNP Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) 1502 nd Coy and Special Action Force (SAF), and AFP’s 54 th IB Phil Army. We would like to clarify various points and concerns raised that were not yet discussed in our previous statements and press releases, to wit:

1. Condemnation of the grievous acts, ambushes and killing of uniformed men

There is a continuing civil war in the Philippines. It has been 50 years and still counting because the root causes of this war – imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism – have not been resolved. Moreover, national oppression against the national minorities, including the Cordillerans, perpetuated by the ruling class through its coercive state has not been fully addressed. The state machinery which is composed of the legislative, executive and judicial branches enforces laws, policies, programs, orders and decisions that serve the interest of the ruling class at the expense of the peasants, workers and middle class. The state uses its uniformed men in the PNP and the AFP, including their civilian auxiliaries and reservists, to safeguard the ruling class and their interests, and to quell the growing resistance of the people. As such, they are subvervient to the interest of the ruling class – the few big landlords, compradors and their US imperialist master.

The CPP-NPA-NDF have been waging a national democratic revolution through the people’s war against this present rotten social system in order to achieve freedom from the clutches of the imperialists, freedom from land monopoly of the few landlords, and freedom from self-serving politicians and political dynasties. In the process of changing this expoitative and oppressive system, the revolutionary forces of the toiling masses clash with the dreaded mercenary forces of the ruling class who protect and defend such system. Such is the reality of this ongoing civil war – a war between the oppressed classes and the ruling class, not merely a matter of insurgency.

The present state controlled by the ruling class commands its mercenary troops to hunt the CPP-NPA-NDF and even civilians in order to end the national democratic revolution and the quest for just and lasting peace. In the last 50 years of all-out counter revolutionary wars of all regimes, the revolution rages on. Truly, so many men in uniform have given up their lives and limbs serving the greedy system in exchange for a monthly subsistence pay, a medal, and financial assistance for their bereaved families. On our side, many comrades have also fallen as well as thousands of our people have become victims of grievous state fascism in exchange for their commitment to and aspirations for freedom, democracy, justice and peace.

What happened in the latest firefights on March 29 – April 2 is part and a manifestation of the heightening class contradiction between the poor and the rich. The commanding officers of the PNP and PRO-COR deployed their troops on March 27 as part of the continuing all-out war of the US-Duterte regime under Oplan Kapayapaan and to prevent the celebration of the 50 th founding anniversary of the NPA and its victories. The PRO-COR admittedly sent their RMFB combat troops led by Police Capt. Le Veonn Madalang and Capt. Graeme Boy Javier, fully armed to engage the NPA guerillas. The commanding officers of the AFP 5 th ID PA and the 54 th IB PA also sent their combat troops fully armed to reinforce the RMFB to pursue the NPA guerillas. These commanding officers of the government troops are the ones accountable for the demise and wounds of their men. Their field commanders are likewise responsible for the number of casualties, for ordering their elements to continue assaulting the NPA despite their pleadings for their safety, for threatening to fire at their men if they defy orders. They should be the ones to be banned from Mt. Province.

However, the commanding officers easily settled with the bereaved families with the measly financial assistance and the medals of valor for defending the exploitative and oppressive system of the ruling class. To cover up for their accountability, together with the local government units and the Regional Peace and Order Council, they lashed out the blame on the NPA. For the politicians who are vying for positions in this coming elections, it is easier for them to condemn the NPA than to stand up against the root causes of the civil war, including the national oppression of national minorities.

2. Banning of the NPA. Yes to tourism, No to terrorism

Banning the NPA from our municipalities will not solve the root causes of poverty, landlessness, landgrabbing of ancestral lands and resources, usury, low productivity, high cost of production and low prices of farm products, non-industrialization, low wages and contractualization, political dynasties, graft and corruption, impositions of imperialist policies, negligence and poor delivery of social services, discrimination, injustices and inequality. There are other areas where there is no NPA unit operating but the same problems are present and are even worse because the ruling expoitative class is freely doing its wanton plunder, corruption and repression. The CPP-NPA-NDF has withstood the all-out counter-revolutionary wars of the past and present regimes due to these continuing problems besetting our society which is the fertile ground for breeding revolutionaries who want genuine social change, and to the full support of the toiling masses and middle forces who stood up for their rights, demanded for social justice and even directly participated in the armed struggle.

Whatever reforms our people are benefitting from are results of untiring struggles and have been primarily pushed by the revolutionary movement. For instance, the peasants have been struggling for the distribution of lands and against land use conversion, lower land rent and interest on loans, higher farm workers’ wages, free irrigation, higher prices for farm products, farm input subsidies, infrastructures and rural development. The national minorities have been defending their ancestral domain against plunderous businesses in mining, energy and plantations against government neglect, discrimination and bastardization of their culture.

The armed struggle is the primary form of struggle and the mass movements are suplementary in achieving the people’s socio-economic-political demands. These struggles are fought side by side in the country side and in the cities and town centers. In the countrysides, these fights are led by different organs of political power and organizations along with its revolutionary army – the NPA.

Are these the work of terrorists? Is tourism the only economic activity you value and the solution to uplift everyone from poverty? When we fight for our rights, the ruling class and the state tag us as terrorists. But when the copycat politicians own these reforms when it is convenient for them, can fill up their pockets and can boost their political carreer, the ruling class and the state call them as honorable men and women. When we take up arms to defend ourselves from the onslaught of government troops, punish the plunderers and human rights violators, the ruling class and the state call us terrorists, pressure the local government units to condemn and ban us from their areas. But when the mercenary police and military attack the CPP-NPA-NDF and civilians, harass, vilify, arrest and search without warrants, lodge fake cases, and kill those fighting for their rights, the ruling class and the state award them with medals, bounty and promotion. When the government troops suffer casualties from battles with the NPA, the ruling class and the state call us terrorists, persona nan grata, extortionists,etc. while they pin medals of valor to their paid pawns. But when the CPP-NPA-NDF suffer casualties, it is the people who call us their heroes.

3. Joining the government troops for their economic subsistence and to defend the ancestral domain

The job offer of the Duterte government for the Cordillerans is to join the PNP, AFP, CAFGU, and intelligence network. This aggressive recruitment is part of the indigenous people’s – centric approach to divide the national minorities and rule over them. Many youth join the government troops for the economic subsistence of their families, and some parents send their sons and daughters to school to be employed in this mercenary fascist machinery. Parents are happy to be receiving financial help from their children in uniform and even boast of them. What they are not prepared for is the consequences – when their sons are deployed to engage the NPA in battle and suffer wounds or death. The men in uniform and their families realize that their job is not just ordinary policing among civilians or communities, but to fight as combatants in the battlefield that can cause them to lose their lives and limbs. It is about time that the youth, parents, families and communities resolve not to allow their kin to join the PNP, AFP, CAFGU and intelligence network for subsistence and to be used as tools of oppression against the people.

To say that they join the government forces to defend their ancestral domain is a lie, it is makebelieve. The PNP, AFP, CAFGU and the intelligence network are consciously organized by the ruling class to implement their oppressive laws and employ militarization that violate the right to the ancestral domain and self-determination of the national minorities. The irony is that the Igorot police and military officers are pitied against their own tribe, clan and ili as they are obligated to enforce laws even against their own ancestral land and resources, to conduct counter-revolutionary operations to silence the mass movement and quash the armed revolution that aim to estabish a genuine regional autonomy under the people’s democratic government. The sterling warrior tradition of the Igorots is being used to protect the business interests, and to defend the ruling class and the state against the interest of the national minorities. In exchange for meager pay is the plunder of the rich resources which our ancestors fought hard to protect against foreign colonizers and imperialists.

4. Since time immemorial the I-Sagadians were on their own in their struggle saving its people and domain

Red salute to the i-Sagadians and everyone from the Cordillera who fought with the Katipuneros against the colonialism of the Spanish feudal lords, against US imperialism, and who continued the fight for self-determination and democracy with the CPP-NPA-CPDF. If not for their continuing militance and perseverance, our ancestral domain could have been easily grabbed and plundered by the ruling class and the state.

But to say that i-Sagadians were alone in their struggle and can save their own people and domain by themselves alone is a revision of history and presumptous. Their municipality, just like the other parts of the Cordillera has been long subsumed by the semi-feudal semi-colonial system of Philippine society, and has been experiencing national oppression. For instance, the PD 705 – the Revised Forestry Code cannot be changed by iSagadians alone, same is true with the Mining Act, SSM Act, IPRA, NIPAS, EPIRA and other oppressive laws. Similarly, they alone cannot change the bureaucratic system of graft, corruption and patronage, even within their own local government unit.

It is naïve to allude that a municipality can singlehandedly and without arms face the security forces of the ruling class who are in full military gears and modernizing their armaments. Take for instance the threats of Allen Ocden when he was the PNP Provincial Director implementing PD 705 in banning small-scale mining and cutting of trees. To end national oppression that is perpetuated by the ruling class and the state necessitates a collective effort of all Filipino people, and the use of armed revolution against their fascist machinery. To estabish a truly self-determined and democratic society is part of the over-all struggle of the whole Cordillera and the entire Filipino people.

5. There never was a good war or a bad peace

This depends on whose standpoint and to whom the war and peace serve. Let us take a short passing of our own history. The historical battles of the different tribes all over the Cordillera in defense of their ancestral land from the Spanish feudal colonizers and the American imperialist colonizers were good wars, revolutionary wars for the good and peace of their tribes. The national democratic revolution of the KKK was a revolutionary war for national liberation and democracy against the Spanish feudal lords who enslaved our ancestors for more than 350 years. The Katipuneros continued on the fight against the American imperialist forces but eventually lost in the Filipino-American war, consequently subdued and robbed of land, gold and freedom for the good and peace of the American imperialist and their local cohorts.

Can one honestly say that these wars were never for the good of our own people? That to fight in a war against imperialist forces in order to liberate our homeland and to have peace is not a good war? That to be silent about the continuing foreign domination and aggression, exploitation and oppression is peace, and a good peace? That to fully support the forces that protect the ruling class and oppress our own kin is for peace? Only hypocrites and those enriching themselves from this present system would say YES resoundingly.

During the Lang-ay Festival after the series of firefights, Mt. Province Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr. prayed for justice and peace, for the defense of all human rights even in times of war. Truly, there is no peace if there is no social justice and respect for all human rights. Peace is not just the absence of violence or war, it is the fruit of the resolution of the root causes of injustice and class struggle. For sincere peace advocates, it is timely to call for the resumption of peace talks between the GRP and the NDFP wherein the comprehensive socio-economic reforms will be discussed.

Included in the NDFP Proposal are provisions for land reform and rural development, national industrialization, respect for the rights of the national minorities, and delivery of social services. We enjoin you to study these provisions to widen your perspectives and not be tied down to tourism as the primary economic activity, and employment in the PNP and AFP as the primary job offer to the young people. Instead of fully supporting militarization, wise and responsible leaders should push for the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss with you through the media and this letter. We are open to further
exchanges of opinion and clarifications, and even to personally talk to you on various concerns involving our
people and the ongoing revolution.

Leenardo Pacsi Command issues open letter to Mt. Province local government units