Unite and lead the masses in the heroic struggle to isolate and end the fascist terrorist US-Duterte regime

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This article is available in Waray


With boundless joy and revolutionary determination, the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) today celebrates with revolutionary forces and the broad masses throughout the country the 53rd anniversary of the reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

We give the highest Red salute to the martyrs of the Philippine revolution. Let us give honor to all revolutionaries and activists who have served the people and fought for their national and democratic aspirations. We pay tribute to the 22 Red fighters who were martyred in Dolores, Eastern Samar last August. We are forever indebted to their sacrifice. Their names are etched in the annals of the Filipino people’s heroic struggle for social and national liberation.

We commemorate today the Party’s anniversary as the people confront the Covid-19 pandemic and the aftermath of typhoon Odette which severely ravaged Visayas and Mindanao. Units of the NPA and revolutionary mass organizations are now mobilizing for relief and rehabilitation efforts, extending help to the masses in the badly-hit areas. The Party’s anniversary imbues them with the spirit of solidarity and collective unity with which they have overcome past struggles.

The revolutionary armed struggle in Eastern Visayas has persisted for more than five decades. The Party, the NPA, and the people’s democratic revolution have struck deep roots among the toiling masses who warmly embrace them because they aim to bring down the rotting semicolonial and semifeudal system that has caused much suffering and hardship. Because they are eager for genuine change, the toiling masses carry forward the people’s democratic revolution. This heroic struggle has thus far outlasted all puppet regimes, has come out even stronger after the 14-year Marcos dictatorship, and has caused the ouster of two puppet regimes.

The 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army has declared to end the revolutionary movement in the region before the end of Duterte’s current term in 2022. Like many others before them, they are fools to say so. Revolutionary forces in Eastern Visayas are poised to take even greater strides in the conduct of armed revolution, especially because of the worsening crisis of the ruling system and increasingly brutal state terrorism of the fascist US-Duterte regime. Contrary to the enemy’s claims, the revolution will surely outlast the increasingly isolated and hated terrorist regime.

Deepening semifeudal and semicolonial crisis, worsening neoliberal policies

In Eastern Visayas and elsewhere in the country, the broad masses are suffering ever worsening forms of exploitation and oppression. The Duterte regime and its cohorts among the foreign monopoly capitalists and big comprador-landlords rake in super-profits from the import of capital goods and the export of cheap raw materials and labor, while the people’s economic conditions worsen and are exacerbated by the regime’s neoliberal economic policies.

Even before the pandemic, economic growth in the region has been downward, persisting with the post-supertyphoon Yolanda trend where the share of the agriculture sector in the economy has been dwindling and while the services and industry sectors have been “growing.”

Growth of the industry sector has been superficial, mainly fueled by the regime’s manic infrastructure push and cheap export of raw materials from mining and logging operations. Even during the lockdowns, operations such as bauxite extraction in Western Samar, nickel in Eastern Samar, and iron sand in Leyte, all intended for companies in China, run unimpeded. Land conversion schemes, including the Enhanced National Greening Program (E-NGP), serve to give way to logging and mining operations, road construction projects and other big businesses such as agroforestry and ecotourism.

Agricultural liberalization has caused undue hardship to the millions of peasants who comprise the majority in Eastern Visayas. They have yet to recover from the devastating effects of typhoons such as Ambo and Tisoy and the crop infestation which drove to record-setting lows the output of major regional products coconut, abaca and rice. They suffer due to the regime’s Rice Tarrification Law and other neoliberal policices in agriculture, which resulted to even more heedless importation and smuggling. Low farm-gate prices are driven by the lack of government subsidy.

Production remains backward, small-scale, and rain-fed. Peasants can hardly afford the expensive farm implements whose prices are dictated by the agribusiness monopolies. In the barrios, they are bound to the landlord-traders who exploit them through unjust wages, land rent, monopoly of farm tools, usury, low farm-gate prices, and trader profiteering and fraud. The landlord-traders on the other hand profit from different forms of semifeudal and feudal exploitation.

The regime’s land conversion rush has resulted to the dwindling of agricultural land and further decline in food production, thus exacerbating food insecurity as it undermines the rural sector’s ability to plant crops that will feed their local communities. Meanwhile, consumers bear the brunt of low food supply, skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, and consecutive oil price hikes.

Duterte’s flagship infrastructure program Build, Build, Build aims for the regime to not only profit from projects but also to privatize public spaces to further liberalize the economy. In the name of “disaster rehabilitation,” urban poor families in Tacloban City have been driven from their communities to give way to the North Township project and the Tide Embankment Project. Many will also be evicted for the planned Catbalogan City Business District.

There has been a renewed drive for the Road Network program and other counter-insurgency related infrastructure projects, marked by the regime’s vow to mobilize the military in the region to provide security in exchange for bribes and kickback. The road projects are also meant to pave way for the massive export of raw minerals out of the interior areas, to serve as milking cow and showcase projects for the elections, and to allow the entry of military trucks to intensify military presence in the countryside.

As the ruling classes roll in their profits, the toiling masses in Eastern Visayas remain mired in deep poverty. No substantial wage increase has been implemented in the region. Eastern Visayas remains one of the regions with the highest inequality index. Unemployment remains high, especially after the regime imposed militarist lockdowns and forced businesses to close and retrench workers. Workers are subjected to inhumane working conditions and discriminatory employment schemes such as the “no jab no pay” policy.

The Duterte regime has used the national budget to fatten itself, its allies, and the military and police as funds for social services were further emaciated. The dismal state of health and education in Eastern Visayas pre-pandemic was further magnified at the time when Covid-19 infections were at its peak.

Undeclared martial law and unbridled fascist state terrorism

The region has been put under de facto martial law since the Duterte regime issued Memorandum Order 32 and declared Eastern Visayas as one of the priority areas in its all-out war against the revolutionary movement. By virtue of Duterte’s Executive Order 70, Duterte heads civil-military junta at the national level and enabled his fascist goons in the 8th Infantry Division to become virtual overlord of civil society through the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC). Duterte intends to use the military, among his other maneuvers to manipulate the upcoming elections including control of the Comelec, to perpetuate his tyranny beyond 2022.

The 8th ID through the RTF-ELCAC has usurped civilian rule. At the regional level, it has obliged political dynasties, composed of landlords and bureaucrat capitalists, to follow its bidding and participate in its all-out war against the people. Those not aligned with the ruling Duterte faction, such as Calbayog City mayor Ronald Aquino, are harassed or killed by Duterte’s fascist troops.

The Duterte regime through the 8th ID wields fascist state terrorism to wage its brutal war of suppression against the people. Truly, the 8th ID is an army of occupation, cowardly in the face of foreign threats such as US and China, but brutally attacks and suppresses the people. In Eastern Visayas alone, it spends at least P5 billion each year, bleeding the public coffers dry in the name of its massive military operations and terror tactics of bombing and shelling, extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, torture and others.

At least sixteen combat battalions of the AFP-PNP are currently at the behest of the counter-insurgency campaign in the region. Since 2019, the Joint Task Force Storm of the 8th ID has directed the quick maneuver and deployment of ground troops, air and even naval assets with close coordination with the Visayas Command to conduct its fascist attacks against units of the NPA.

The 8th ID has become even more dependent and conducted increasingly frequent large-scale and costly terrorist attacks. Since the second half of 2020, it has conducted no less than 20 cases of indiscriminate bombings using military airplanes and helicopters, as well as artillery shelling, with the aim of catching NPA units by surprise and terrorizing the residents in the surrounding peasant communities.

The sheer amount of force and brutality with which the 8th ID and JTF Storm attacked a small mass work unit of the NPA through its overkill bombing in Dolores, Eastern Samar has been unprecedented in the history of the armed struggle in the region. Without regard for the safety of nearby villages, combined forces of the Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force and Philippine Navy dropped bombs and strafed the area for at least thirteen hours. Countless rounds of cannon fire then rained upon the area for three days. Assets such as fighter jets, attack helicopters, gunships, drones, cannons, rockets and bombs with proximity fuse were excessively used. Some of these weapons would be used in later terrorist bombings such as in Bobon and Las Navas in Northern Samar, and in the boundary of Baybay, Javier and Abuyog in Leyte.

The 8th ID has further entrenched its fascist military reign from the regional up to the provincial, municipal and barangay levels. With the threat of more terrorist bombings, EO 70, and the Anti-Terror Law, it has forced the cooperation of local officials and other members of civil society. Soldiers conducting Retooled Community Support Program operations have imposed martial law in the barrios, made garrisons out of them, implemented population control and economic blockades, and sideswiped the supremacy of civilian government. These combat-intelligence-psywar operations can last several months. RCSP troops can also regularly return to the barrios several times over the years.

The people of Eastern Visayas condemn Duterte as the worst human rights violator out of all the past puppet regimes. He has openly goaded his fascist troops to “shoot and kill” with impunity. His death squads in the military and police have brazenly killed barangay captains, activists, human rights defenders, supporters of progressive causes and ordinary civilians, going as far as false tagging these against the NPA. His blood-thirsty fascist troops indiscriminately strafe at peasants working in their farms based on mere suspicion. Entire communities have been forced to leave their homes and livelihood.

The RTF-ELCAC has intensified the brutal suppression of the legal democratic movement. It has filed false charges against and unjustly imprisoned the Tacloban 5 and many other innocents. It has harassed identified activists, bribed and threatened them to cooperate and “surrender.” It has openly red-tagged and spread vicious lies against internationally-acclaimed organizations such as People Surge and Leyte Center for Development. It has launched an anti-communist witch hunt among schools and universities. Just as before, its fascist troops engage in electioneering in favor of militarist candidates and those belonging to the ruling Duterte faction, and against candidates such as those from the Makabayan bloc. The military has blatantly warned candidates to not speak openly against the NTF-ELCAC.

The regime has further intensified its surrender campaign. In its vain attempt to paint the NPA and the movement as dwindling in force or weakening, to support the lie that hundreds of barangays have been “cleared” of the NPA, and to parrot the absurdity that Leyte, Southern Leyte and Biliran are “insurgency-free,” the 8th ID and the RTF-ELCAC have threatened, forced, hoodwinked, and bribed thousands upon thousands of innocent people to “surrender.” Duterte and his high-ranking military officials make a killing from the bogus surrender figures. Victims of the forced surrender campaign are then organized into counter-revolutionary organizations, which aim to abolish existing organizations and take away the victories the masses have gained through militant struggle.

Hail the people’s heroic struggle against Duterte’s fascist terrorism

Let us firmly salute the Party members and cadres, Red fighters and commanders, revolutionary forces and the broad masses in Eastern Visayas for courageously resisting the Duterte regime’s all-out war and fascist state terrorism. For almost six years, they have fought tooth-and-nail to resist and expose its rottenness and crimes. The worsening exploitation and oppression of the masses and the regime’s terrorist attacks have only roused them to wage all forms of resistance, especially armed struggle. They are determined to frustrate Duterte’s schemes to perpetuate his large-scale corruption, plunder and tyrannical rule, and his efforts to evade prosecution when his term ends in 2022.

They have so far frustrated the regime’s deadline against the revolutionary movement in the region by 2019, which was pushed to 2021, and then again in 2022, and then forced it to concede to merely aiming to decimate it.

Throughout the region, Party committees have persevered to frustrate the Duterte regime’s fascist state terrorism. They strived to consolidate the mass base, to strengthen the masses’ resolve in facing the enemy’s fascist attacks, and to rouse them to struggling for their democratic demands. Party committees and NPA are keenly aware that where they fail to provide close leadership in the barrios where the enemy conducts a sustained and brutal campaign of suppression, intimidation, killing and forced surrender, the masses can become disunited and can lose the victories they have won from militant struggle.

Even in militarized barrios, they have kept contact with the masses, organized and roused them to militant action. Together they planned and launched legal, semi-legal and illegal forms of resistance to defy, punish, sabotage, protest, expose and drive out the fascist troops. They have strived to sustain active and tit-for-tat propaganda work to overcome the terror campaign, expose the fascist troops’ abuses, and struggle for their democratic demands. They consciously assessed, summed up their experiences, and shared their lessons in frustrating the enemy’s fascist attacks and its tactics of terrorism, bribery, coercion, and deception. They picked up lessons from the past to employ guerrilla tactics in waging mass struggles and resisting militarization.

NPA units are striving to master the guerrilla tactics of shifting, dispersal and concentration to keep enemy troops blind to their maneuvers and frustrate the enemy’s large-scale and sustained military offensives. These attacks include focused military operations, which are brigade-led operations that mobilize at least battalion-sized forces in a small focused area and can last to up to a year. Enemy attacks have also come in the form of coordinated and simultaneous combat operations, as well as precision strike operations against zeroed NPA units. Many NPA commands have overcome internal weaknesses with regard to force structure, overdispersal, prolonged concentration or overconcentration of forces.

While the enemy has dealt severe blows upon some units this year, on the whole, the NPA in Eastern Visayas still dealt greater casualty against elements of the AF-PNP-CAFGU-paramilitary, equivalent to more than a company of killed and wounded enemy troops. NPA units are more aware of the need to launch principally annihilative tactical offensives that deal large blows to the enemy and confiscate their weapons. They also launched attritive offensives that aim primarily to harass and drive away the fascist troops and defend the mass base. They have conducted special operations to punish counterrevolutionaries, traitors, and enemy assets, and to rid the peasants’ communities of criminal elements. Though many NPA units have adapted to the changing political-military situation, in general, there persists the need to master upholding secrecy, mobility and flexibility in their different lines of work to avoid losses in personnel and weapons.

The masses in Eastern Visayas continue to embrace the NPA as their true army. The NPA has long won them over because of the shining victories in armed struggle, agrarian revolution, and base-building which they achieved from when the revolution in the region was in its infancy. Aware of the need for a wide and deep mass base and mastery of the superior terrain in which they can swiftly maneuver, NPA units were able to recover old areas, expand to new territories, and consolidate existing ones.

In urban centers, legal democratic forces are striving to resist the Duterte regime’s all-out campaign of suppression. They are making great effort to regain strength so they can assert their civil and political rights and their democratic demands. Sectors of the middle class such as professionals, academics, small businessmen, civil-society groups and members of the church who were also red-tagged, intimidated, threatened and fooled by the RTF-ELCAC are called upon by the toiling masses to voice out their opposition against the Duterte regime.

Unite and lead the masses to heroically struggle against the fascist-terrorist Duterte regime

With utmost determination, revolutionary forces in Eastern Visayas are ready to take advantage of the favorable conditions of the worsening crisis under the US-Duterte regime, to unite the masses in intensifying the fight to isolate and oust the Duterte regime and to take greater leaps in the conduct of the people’s democratic revolution.

The masses are greatly desirous of revolutionary change. They are angry over the Duterte regime’s innumerable crimes against the people. More than five years under his tyrannical regime have shown them its utmost rottenness and ruthlessness, and the correctness of waging both open protests and armed struggle to end Duterte’s reign.

Leading Party committees must be ready to intensify their efforts to lead the masses in frustrating the Duterte regime’s timetable of destroying the revolutionary movement in the region by June 2022. Even though this is surely the enemy’s pipe-dream, they must still make preparations to resist the escalating attacks, avoid losses and gain strength.

In the guerrilla bases and zones, Party committees and NPA units must always study, quickly assess and sum up the lessons, and make the necessary steps regarding the enemy troops’ movement, deployment and objectives. They must mobilize all assets to frustrate the enemy’s intelligence operations, its efforts to gradually constrict them to a narrow area and destroy them in decisive battles, and its attempts to prevent the people’s army from performing bolder recovery and expansion work.

It is essential to conduct widespread and intensive guerrilla warfare to frustrate the all-out war of the fascist regime, and for revolutionary forces to strengthen themselves in the process of waging struggle. Intensifying guerrilla warfare means intensifying the masses’ direct participation in armed struggle. The NPA and the broad masses must employ guerrilla tactics in carrying out mass struggles and waging various aspects of people’s war.

Leading Party organs and NPA units must assist each barangay in creating a defense plan against the enemy’s intensifying fascist onslaught. They must perform sustained agitation and propaganda-education work, comprehensively advance mass struggles, conduct alliance work, and others. These are essential in the masses’ fight against militarization. Frustrating the enemy’s fascist schemes is closely intertwined with leading the masses in carrying forward people’s war.

Leading Party committees and NPA units must closely guide the masses in times of military occupation. They must give the highest priority to solving their issues, problems, and struggles. They must assiduously carry out research, social investigation and class analysis in order to correctly study the objective conditions of the masses, identify their problems, and give apt solutions. They must closely listen to them so they can swiftly clarify regarding burning issues.

As the enemy employs various terror tactics of aerial bombings and strafing, killings, arrests, torture, intimidation and forced and fake surrenders, all the more must they perform painstaking, sustained, and tit-for-tat propaganda work. Our revolutionary propaganda must reach the broadest masses. Revolutionary publications Ang Bayan, Larab and other local publications, as well as statements by Party and other useful documents must be spread in various creative and popular forms.

All NPA units must intensify their tactical offensives based on the deepening and widening mass base. They must intensify their offensives against weak, isolated and worn out enemy units, especially when the barrios are occupied and the masses are terrorized by the enemy. They must launch principally annihilative tactical offensives as well as attritive ones. To ensure victory, they must make improvements in making ample preparation for their offensives, perform high-quality intelligence work, and conduct close coordination and communication between the command and the different units participating in the offensive. More officials and commanders must be trained in leading military actions, correctly judging the situation, making quick adjustments, and ensuring victory. The consecutive victories of the NPA shatter the climate of fear in the barrios and embolden the masses to fight.

Revolutionary forces must rouse the masses to resist the military encampment of communities, to immediately expose every case of fascist abuse through legal, semi-legal, and illegal means of protest, to identify and destroy the enemy’s intelligence network, to condemn the regime’s aerial bombing, shelling and other terrorist attacks, to combine legal, semi-legal and illegal forms of resisting the garrisoning of their villages, and to creatively overcome military-imposed restrictions limiting their revolutionary work. They must conduct a study campaign regarding the Comprehensive Agreement for the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and to call to uphold it. All of these efforts are aimed at comprehensively consolidating and expanding the mass base and rendering it unyielding to the regime’s fascist attacks.

The masses look up to the Party and the NPA as their guide and defenders. As the terrorist regime intensifies its attacks and all-out war, revolutionary forces must raise the quality and style of their work and comprehensively prepare themselves for greater sacrifice and adversity. Duterte is becoming more insatiable with his lust for power, corruption and greed. He is causing greater contradictions among the ruling clique and is generating conditions favorable for the advance of people’s democratic revolution. Revolutionary forces in Eastern Visayas are keen to the present situation and are thus optimistic that they can unite the masses, overcome their internal weaknesses, and are determined to overthrow the US-Duterte regime and make advances in the people’s war.

Long live the Communist Party of the Philippines! Long live the New People’s Army!
Long live the people’s democratic revolution!
Bring the fascist and terrorist US-Duterte regime to its ultimate downfall

Unite and lead the masses in the heroic struggle to isolate and end the fascist terrorist US-Duterte regime