By JORGE MADLOS (Ka Oris)
Spokesperson, NDFP Mindanao Chapter
The 45th anniversary of the New People’s Army is a major victory because in the face of so many enemy attacks, and the many problems we have encountered, we have overcome them all. First, the NPA was established through the 1st Great Rectification Movement which caused the rapid advance of the revolutionary movement nationwide. But the advances were made alongside some negative developments. One of this was the deviation from the correct line. But the deviations were checked in the nick of time because the Second Great Rectification Movement was launched at once and since then, there has been a resurgence in the revolutionary movement nationwide, especially in Mindanao.
Currently, while the enemy is having problems on how to suppress the people’s armed revolutionary movement nationwide and in Mindanao, we continue to advance. So, congratulations to all members of the New People’s Army, congratulations to the people because their army, the New People’s Army continues to advance, and above all, congratulations to the Communist Party of the Philippines because due to its absolute leadership, the revolutionary armed struggle continues to advance and gain strength all over the country. Congratulations to all the revolutionary forces, who, under all circumstances, continually and diligently help each other to strengthen the New People’s Army.
Continuing advance of the revolutionary movement, especially in Mindanao
The revolutionary movement nationwide continues to advance amid massive and brutal attacks by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the CAFGU and PNP. Particularly in Mindanao, the main factors for the continued advance of the New People’s Army in the entire island is first, that due to the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army has maintained its offensive posture. This means that the New People’s Army did not lose the initiative even amid the violent attacks of Oplan Bantay Laya under the Macapagal-Arroyo regime and despite the vicious attacks of Oplan Bayanihan under the reactionary US-Aquino government in the last three years.
The adoption of a correct offensive posture is due firstly to the New People’s Army’s strict adherence to the absolute leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines over the NPA; secondly, in all of Mindanao, the mass base is expanding and the New People’s Army has taken deep root among the people. This is the principle of waging widespread and intensive armed struggle on the basis of a stronger, expanding and deepening mass base.
So, no matter what the enemy does to isolate the New People’s Army from its mass support, it is the people who voluntarily support their army because it is their only hope to achieve land reform, national industrialization, and the defense of the country’s sovereignty. This is the reason why the New People’s Army is supported by hundreds of thousands of organized masses island-wide and it operates in more than 20 towns and more than 2,000 barangays in the entire island. During Cory Aquino and Ramos’ time, they already launched Oplan Lambat Bitag. They were followed by Estrada who also declared total war through Oplan Makabayan, but we got through this.
Gloria Arroyo followed with nine years of brutal rule when she launched Oplan Bantay Laya. But we also overcame all of this. More recently, the Aquino regime launched the vicious Oplan Bayanihan and according to its program, it should have been able to essentially break the backbone of the revolutionary movement nationwide, particularly in Mindanao, within the first three years of the regime. But in Mindanao, not a single front was dismantled after three years of brutal attacks under the reactionary Aquino regime’s Oplan Bayanihan.
Also, not a single region has been dismantled. Instead, from the less than 40 fronts when Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya began, we now have 46 fronts in the entire island of Mindanao. So we can say that Aquino’s vicious Oplan Bayanihan program is a FAILURE! Besides being a failure, the revolutionary armed struggle in the entire island has even gained strength and advanced.
Agrarian revolution and mass support
The people also widely support the revolution because agrarian reform is spreading in the entire island. Hundreds of thousands of people have benefited from agrarian revolution which has raised the wages of farm workers, reduced land rent and rentals of agricultural equipment like rice mills.
The benefits gained by the people from the agrarian revolution being launched by all the revolutionary forces in the uplands are also a factor in the growth, deepening and expansion of mass support in the entire island. A recent development in this area is that aside from the hundreds of thousands of organized masses in the entire island, we have also been able to establish barrio revolutionary committees, or organs of political power. In some places, municipal level organs of political power have been established, where the people themselves run their government with the legal reactionary government seemingly still existing.
Aside from this, the New People’s Army has also established many units of the people’s militia. The NPA in Mindanao currently stands at more than 10 battalions when concentrated. It is distributed in the five regions of Mindanao: the Southern Mindanao Region; the Northcentral Mindanao Region; the Northeastern Mindanao Region; the Far South Mindanao Region; and the Western Mindanao Region.
So aside from more than ten NPA battalions spread out in the entire island in the form of platoons and some companies, we have also built battalions of people’s militia. They serve as the NPA’s direct backup in the armed struggle. When we compare formations, this comes to at least 30 to 40 battalions all over Mindanao. This means that island-wide, if we have more than ten NPA battalions and more than 30 battalions of people’s militia, this presents a tremendous advantage to the NPA because it has backup from the people’s militia and enjoys the wide support of the entire people.
Aside from formations, the advance of armed struggle in the entire island can also be measured by the number of tactical offensives launched by the New People’s Army in the last four years: First, in 2010, there were only about 250+ tactical offensives in the entire island. This grew to 300+ in 2011 to 400 in 2012 and 400+ in 2013. This means that despite the successive attacks under Oplan Bantay Laya and Oplan Bayanihan of the Arroyo and Aquino governments, tactical offensives became more numerous and widespread all over Mindanao. And we can expect in 2014 that the New People’s Army will be able to launch more than 500 tactical offensives in the entire island.
This is a yardstick, a basis for us to say that the NPA in Mindanao continues to develop, continues to advance. On the other hand, if there are tactical offensives, there are military casualties also. Summing up the numbers in the entire island, almost every year in the last four years, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, PNP and CAFGU suffered at least a battalion of casualties. The NPA’s casualties average about a platoon. So, the disparity in strength is made up for during gunbattles because the ratio of killed casualties between the NPA and the enemy is almost 1:10.
In addition, although strategically the disparity between the NPA in Mindanao and the Armed Forces of the Philippines and all the armed forces of the reactionary government is 1 is to 10, the New People’s Army continues to grow and gain strength.
The Moro struggle
In the concrete, aside from the NPA, the Moro struggle likewise exists. The recently concluded peace talks between the MILF and the reactionary government is actually just a formalization of the government’s neutralization of the MILF’s armed struggle. For almost a decade now, the MILF has had no basic armed struggle. As a matter of fact, more AFP forces have already been transferred from MILF areas to NPA areas. Thus, it came as no surprise to the New People’s Army when the GPH and MILF announced that the MILF would be formally demobilized, because the MILF has had no effective armed struggle for a long time.
So this development will not affect the New People’s Army. The NPA has already gotten used to the fact that the MILF is no longer waging active resistance. The NPA has singlehandedly taken on the task of fighting the AFP all over Mindanao. But there is sporadic fighting initiated by the MILF and the breakaway faction of the MILF—the BIFF which is led by Umbra Kato. This group does not fully agree to the surrender of the armed struggle and with the token economic and political accomodations offered by the Aquino government. So it is slowly breaking away from the MILF and launching its own armed struggle from time to time to fight for genuine independence, genuine autonomy for the Bangsamoro. So even without the MILF, the various groups among the Moro people will galvanize in the future into one group and continue their struggle against the reactionary government on a broader and higher level. But in terms of drawing lessons, they should not just struggle aimlessly but wage armed struggle to dismantle the reactionary government and the reactionary Moro local ruling classes that impose feudal and semifeudal exploitation and oppression on the Moro people.
Thus they should include in the agenda of their armed struggle a genuine antifeudal, anti-semifeudal agrarian revolution among their ranks. Without this, no Moro armed force fighting the government will be able to sustain its armed struggle. They must also be conscious of the existence of the armed struggle already being waged nationwide and led by the Communist Party of the Philippines, the NPA and NDF.
So it is important for them to also carry the antifeudal, anti-imperialist and anti-bureaucrat capitalist struggle and be in solidarity with the entire armed struggle nationwide. The NPA, CPP and NDF support the struggle of the Moro people and other armed groups that are persevering in their armed struggle.
More AFP forces against the NPA in Mindanao
Nationwide, it is Mindanao that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is currently focused on. More than 60% of the entire AFP force is now in Mindanao. Why? We already know that the island is rich in mineral resources and there are vast plantations owned by multinational corporations. The imperialists and the comprador bourgeoisie have huge economic interests here. The imperialists are also keen on establishing naval, land and air bases in Mindanao. In a few years’ time, these will rise in General Santos City. So they need to curtail the advance of the revolutionary armed struggle in Mindanao.
Because of the Moro armed struggle and continuing advance of the New People’s Army, the Armed Forces of the Philippines was forced to add two to three brigades of battalion armed forces (?) from Luzon. This early, up to four battalions have already been added to Mindanao. They are distributed in Northeastern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao Region and Northcentral Mindanao Region. Although if we follow the pattern of their attacks, it looks like they will be prioritizing Northeastern Mindanao Region in the first round of attacks in 2014. In any case, the people of Mindanao will be able to hurdle the first round of attacks and they will not flinch from any form of brutality launched under the Aquino government’s Oplan Bayanihan.
Actually, according to the Aquino government’s program, the armed component was supposed to end in 2013. It was supposed to launch its main attacks against armed revolutionary movements nationwide during this period. They have the same timetable for Mindanao. But in turned out that in 2013, the New People’s Army grew stronger in Mindanao. Thus, they will intensify their attacks in 2014. The US-Aquino government is sure to inflict more human rights violations and other gross injustices on the people. But the people of Mindanao will go on resisting, the NPA in Mindanao will go on fighting, so will the CPP and the NDF fight whatever grave scheme the brutal US-Aquino regime has in store for Mindanao. It is certain that if they fail in Mindanao, they will have an even bigger problem in their hands because having concentrated their forces and resources in our island, they will have given a big advantage to the revolutionary forces in all of Luzon and the Visayas to advance further.