Message of the NDF-Ilocos for the 50th Founding Anniversary of the Christians for National Liberation(CNL) Strengthen the People’s United Front to End Fascism and Tyranny! Advance the People’s War!

While we commemorate the 150th year of the martyrdom of Gomburza, the NDF-llocos congratulates the Christians for National Liberation in its 50th founding anniversary. We give our highest salutation to the CNL in its 50 years of heartfelt service and undwindling support to the struggle of the oppressed Filipino masses. In 50 years, the CNL had imbibed the Christian principle which asserts dignity of the human person, freedom of conscience and love and service to the vast majority of the poor and oppressed. It has demonstrated faith in their determination and passion to serve the people, and expressed faith in class love for the oppressed and persecuted.

The NDF in Ilocos deeply appreciates the enthusiasm of the CNL to realize this celebration to further unite and strengthen our resolve to carry forward the national democratic revolution by means of people’s war all the way to building a socialist society. Only through the people’s war could the people fight fascism, tyranny and all forms of oppression and exploitation, and only through socialism could the people enjoy the fruits of their labor, and attain freedom, just and lasting peace.

The martyrdom of Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora who led the anti-Spanish secular movement had drawn an unprecedented wave of national sentiment against injustice and moral authority of the lay and religious Spanish colonial authorities. Their martyrdom helped spur the First Philippine Revolution that toppled the Spanish colonization to the Philippines. Father Gregorio Aglipay also joined the old Filipino revolution and became its vicar general. Then against American imperialist colonization, Filipino priests actively rallied the people to the revolution and became collectors of resources for the revolutionary government and army.

Indeed, the CNL had persisted in its historical mission of fighting for the liberation of the Filipino people. The CNL represents the new Gomburzas and Aglipays. New, because the CNL is now guided by the most advanced philosophy in the world — Marxism-Leninism-Maoism embodied by the most advanced detachment of the proletarian class, the Communist Party. New, because it pursues the course of armed struggle as the ultimate means of achieving national democracy and liberation as a stepping stone to socialism towards a classless communist world where oppression and exploitation will eventually perish. By applying the MLM in analysing the semi-colonial and semi-feudal character of the Philippine society, liberation theology advocated by the CNL was given content which reflects and exposes the Filipino people’s actual conditions, needs, demands and aspirations for national independence, democracy, social justice and genuine social progress.

The CNL became a major organization in the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in 1973. By 1974 the progressive clergy supported the La Tondena strike and subsequent strikes and to press Cardinal Sin and other bishops to speak up against the human rights violations perpetrated by the Marcos fascist regime.

While reactionary priests like Cardinal Santos and other Catholic bishops were endorsing the Martial Law proclamation of Marcos, the CNL which was still taking its bud served as the revolutionary core of the church movement that efficiently united the people against the Marcos fascist dictatorship. The patriotic and progressive clergy and religious people did exemplary work in actively participating in the struggle to expose, oppose, isolate, weaken and overthrow the Marcos fascist dictatorship.

In 1970s, at the height of the Marcos dictatorship, revolutionary cadre priests Zacharias Agatep and Nilo Valerio shouldered the task of building the foundation and proliferation of the armed revolutionary movement in Ilocos. Fr. Agatep organized the peasant masses who struggled against several forms of feudal exploitation by the landlords. From the peasant movement, a platoon of the New People’s Army was formed and the armed struggle was launched in the region.Thus the 3 integral components of the people’s war – base building, agrarian revolution and armed struggle were laid. This is the most important victory gained by the Ilocano masses and was achieved through the painstaking efforts of arousing, organizing and mobilizing initiated and carried on by the revolutionary clerics. Through these struggles, the Ilocano people realized that only through the national democratic armed struggle can they truly defend their rights against the greedy and oppressive classes of landlords and bourgeois compradors and their fascist instruments.

In 50 years, The CNL has succeeded in building, expanding and strengthening its nationwide organization among the clergy. It has prevailed over the ideological, political and military attacks unleashed by all the puppet regimes directed by their master imperialist US. It has broadened and strengthened the NDF by linking itself to the basic alliance of the workers and peasants, to the people’s army, to the democratic organs of political power,to the mass organizations and various types of alliances. It has prevailed over a 14-year Marcos fascist dictatorship and was able to rally the people to overthrow it in 1986. Once more they were able to unite and lead the clergy against the corrupt Estrada regime and removed it from power in 2001.

And now, we are confronted by the danger of the Marcos —Dutertes’ perpetuation to power, through their dirty scheme to grab the upcoming 2022 election. Therefore, it is especially imperative for us to remember the EDSA People Power of 1986 and how the patriotic, progressive and militant clergy rallied the people to overthrow the Marcos dictatorship.

The urgent task of the NDFP to overcome this challenge is to weld the strongest and broadest alliance of the toiling and working classes and the middle classes, including those of the open-minded and patriotic elements from the ruling classes to frustrate the evil plan of the Marcoses to return in cahoots with the Dutertes’ desire to stay in power. This united front of democratic forces must resolutely fight the Marcos-Duterte collaboration to perpetuate fascism, tyranny, bureaucratic corruption and rabid puppetry to imperialists. On the longer-term, this united front must advance its aim to overthrow the current unjust ruling system and replace it with a patriotic and democratic government, through the people’s war.

Thus the main task of NDF-Ilocos at hand is to shatter the political patronage to the Marcos dynasty and repudiate the wicked deed of the Marcoses to twist history to restore their dictatorship. The CNL must be at the core of the patriotic religious movement that must stand at the frontline in this struggle.

The church must remind the Ilocano masses, especially the youth how Marcos wielded his absolute power for his and his cronies’ enrichment, of how he monopolized the Philippines’ major industries, how he opened the rich natural resources of the country for imperialist plunder, how he grabbed thousands of hectares of land of peasants and ancestral domain of the national minority, how he stole billions from the state coffers and plunged the Filipino people deeper into indedtedness.The church must educate how Marcos controlled the Congress, the legislation and implementation of laws, the court, the armed forces and the media and for his own ends. We must show how the Marcos family had been living in grandiose luxury while the overwhelming majority of the people are mired deeper into poverty. We must unmask the truth that behind the deceitful brightness of Bagong Lipunan facade of the Marcos dictatorship is total darkness wrought by the terror of Martial Law.

We should remind the masses that , the Ilocano kailyan of Marcos were not excluded by the terror of Martial Law. We should remind the Bangui 8 massacre, as well as the Adams massacre, salvagings in Dumalneg and other towns, burnt communities and properties and evacuations of national minority people of Pagudpud and Marcos towns. We must remind the people that we, the Ilocano kailyan of the Marcoses tortures and forced were among the thousands of victims of arbitrary detention, disappearances who until this time were not given justice.

It is imperative for the church to make the people of Ilocos understand that the Marcos children and grandchildren inherit their patriarch’s sins to the Filipino people because they are the very inheritors of his ill-gotten wealth, and their ulterior motive to return to Malacanang is to protect and further beef- up their wealth. It must expose how the Marcos-Duterte tandem would maximize their loot to manipulate the elections through massive vote-buying and the vote-swindling.

This election, the religious movement in Ilocos must amplify the people’s basic demands for the alleviation of their socio-economic condition and protection of their rights. It must promote the peasant demand for land and termination of all forms of feudal and semi-feudal exploitation. The church must call to end the plunder of the national minority’s ancestral domain and the the resources of the sea for the fisherfolk, the protection of the environment, just wages and benefits for the workers and teachers. It must push for the implementation of decisive measures to end the Covid-19 pandemic and fight for the people’s right to health.

To end fascism and tyranny, the church must advance the call for peace based on justice. It must demand for the abolition of the NTF-ELCAC and Anti-Terror Act of 2020 and end militarization. It must press on for the resumption of the peace talks between the NDFP and GRP to decisively agree upon the CASER other agreements that would uproot the nerve-ends of the lingering people’s war.

Lastly, the NDF in Ilocos asserts that even beyond reactionary elections, only through the perseverance of the broad Filipino masses in waging the national democratic revolution up to socialism could their rights and dignity be upheld.

Long live the CNL!

Long live the NDF!

Long live the people’s war!

Strengthen the People’s United Front to End Fascism and Tyranny! Advance the People’s War!