The sun shone through the thin canopy of coconut tree leaves just as Red fighters of the New People’s Army sang the first lines of the Internationale.
No rain from the afternoon before could stop them from celebrating the Communist Party of the Philippines’ 50th anniversary, as the absence of a ceasefire from the Duterte government did not deter them from doing so either.
On December 26, on a small clearing in the Sierra Madre jungle, members of the Melito Glor Command paraded in their black camisa de chinos and caps bearing the Southern Tagalog region’s commemorative anniversary logo. Despite threats to security and incessant combat operations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Red fighters solemnly celebrated the Party’s golden year by holding a press conference that highlighted the history of the New People’s Army in the region.
The paints on the guerrillas’ faces symbolize their proletarian remoulding. And upon interviewing them, one could tell they came from different class backgrounds — peasants, workers, students from the petty bourgeoisie. Their diversity is a manifestation of, as detailed by the Melito Glor Command’s spokesperson Jaime ‘Ka Diego’ Padilla, the CPP’s continuing effort to consolidate the broadest united front to oust the Duterte regime and to advance the people’s struggle.
Other forms of anniversary celebrations had been planned and imagined, complete with grand cultural presentations and cheers from the peasant masses who traditionally grace the annual celebration. But it was as simple a gathering as profound as the Red fighters’ vow to serve the people and to carry forth the revolution towards victory. And that, according to them, is more than enough.