Overseas Filipinos, foreign comrades join NDFP celebrate its 35th year

NDFP International Information OfficeImage

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines on Saturday observed its 35th anniversary with the theme “Celebrating 35 years of the Filipino people’s victories in their struggle for national liberation.” The event was held at an old church, the Nassaukerk, in Amsterdam and was attended by overseas Filipinos and foreign comrades from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Ireland, the UK, Turkey, and Indonesia.

Part of the afternoon program was paying tribute to non-Filipino nationals “who have become "friends, supporters, partners and comrades of the NDFP, the Filipino people, and the revolutionary struggle".

NDFP International Information Office

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines on Saturday observed its 35th anniversary with the theme “Celebrating 35 years of the Filipino people’s victories in their struggle for national liberation.” The event was held at an old church, the Nassaukerk, in Amsterdam and was attended by overseas Filipinos and foreign comrades from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Ireland, the UK, Turkey, and Indonesia.

The event started at 2 p.m. with an exhibit of NDFP memorabilia, revolutionary paintings and posters, film showing, and a sale of various items to raise funds for the victims of the recent calamities in Eastern Visayas and for the campaign to resurface disappeared NDFP peace consultants and staff who have been victims of enforced disappearances.Image

A forum highlighting the victories and prospects of the Philippine revolution was held next. Featured speakers were Luis G. Jalandoni, chair of the NDFP Negotiating Panel, Professor Jose Maria Sison, NDFP chief political consultant; and Koen Hostyn, a Belgian student who was part of a delegation that visited the Philippines recently.

In his speech, Jalandoni described the work of the NDFP in this way: “The major part of the work of the NDFP allied organizations is in the wide countryside. Mass organizations of peasants and farm workers, workers, women, youth, cultural groups and children are set up. Mass campaigns for land reform, health, education, culture, and self-defense are carried out in response to the peasants’ basic needs. Organs of political power or alternative governments on the barrio level are formed, while the New People’s Army and the CPP are strengthened.”

Strides in the areas of land reform, health service, literacy and cultural programs have been made, said Jalandoni.

With regard to the work in urban areas, Jalandoni explained: “In the urban areas, NDFP allied organizations promote the workers’ struggles, the revolutionary mass movement, the struggle for human rights, and political work within reactionary institutions. They join the masses in the campaign to oust the corrupt, illegal and fascist Arroyo regime. They help build alliances to broaden the national united front in support of the overall revolutionary struggle,”

Jalandoni singled out the holding in 1980 of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) on the Philippines as one of the revolutionary movement’s successes in its international work. The PPT would later declare the NDFP as the legitimate representative of the Filipino people and recognize the status of belligerency of their revolutionary armed struggle.

Jalandoni said that “abroad, the NDFP allied organizations promote the work among overseas Filipinos to defend and uphold their rights and foster their participation in and support for the Filipino people’s liberation struggle. It also develops international solidarity with peoples from different countries, fostering mutually beneficial cooperation in the struggle against imperialist globalization and wars of aggression.”

He added: “The NDFP likewise carries out proto-diplomatic and diplomatic work to win support and recognition from governmental and intergovernmental institutions abroad. The NDFP Negotiating Panel and its consultants, staff and volunteers are also tasked with undertaking peace negotiations with the reactionary government.”

Prof. Sison spoke about the current situation in the Philippines and the prospects in the coming years. He explained that the semifeudal and semicolonial system is in chronic crisis and is ever rife for a national democratic revolution. “The Arroyo regime has aggravated and deepened the crisis by escalating the exploitation and oppression of the people.”

Sison lambasted the Arroyo government for being anti-people and for going against the development of the economy through national industrialization and genuine land reform. “She is extremely servile to the US and other imperialist interests and has allowed free rein to plunder of the economy by foreign corporations and by the big compradors and landlords.”

Can Arroyo finish her “stolen” term up to 2010? To this question, Sison replied that the fake president being ousted before her term ends remains a “distinct possibility”. He said protest actions participated in by a broad alliance of all classes and sectors in Philippine society will continue across the country. He added that the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the NDFP are all doing their share to isolate the Arroyo regime by intensifying its revolutionary struggle in the countryside.

“But the most decisive event is still to come, which is the pouring out of hundreds of thousands of people into the streets of the national capital region in order to signal the anti-Arroyo military and police officers and personnel to withdraw support from the Arroyo regime and give way to a new civilian government,” Sison said.

Lastly, Sison also emphasized the important role played by the NDFP’s international work. This work, he said, includes gathering the support of international friends and mobilizing overseas Filipinos for the Philippine revolutionary movement.

The importance of learning from each other’s experience was the message Belgian youth activist Koen Hostyn tried to impart in his message during the forum.

Joining a delegation of Belgian students who in 2007 went to the Philippines for an exposure trip, Koen experienced firsthand how it was to live and struggle with the Filipino masses. The group visited the peasants in Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, the striking workers of Nestlé in Laguna, and also their fellow students at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Visiting a third world country for the first time, Hostyn said the experience concretized for him and the rest of the group the meaning of exploitation and oppression. He said they were also amazed at the militancy of the workers and peasants in continuing their struggle despite the fascist measures employed by the landlords and the capitalists. Hostyn: “We were moved by the courage and determination of the Filipino masses.”

International awards, cultural nights

Part of the afternoon program was paying tribute to non-Filipino nationals “who have become "friends, supporters, partners and comrades of the NDFP, the Filipino people, and the revolutionary struggle".

This year’s recipients of the NDFP “internationalist awards” are: Bernard Tomlow, the NDFP’s Dutch lawyer; husband-and-wife Harsono and Darmini, Amsterdam-based Indonesians who have been supporting the Philippine struggle for years; and posthumous awards to Gerard Raemaekers, a Dutch development volunteer in the Philippines; and Pat Healy and Jack Hynes, two Irish missionary priests assigned in the Philippines who selflessly dedicated their lives to the Philippine revolution.

Cultural night

Capping the celebration was a two-hour cultural night prepared by the NDFP staff in Utrecht, international friends, and the Filipino community in The Netherlands.

Dances from the Philippines, Indonesia and Ireland were showcased, while revolutionary songs were sung not only by the Filipinos but also by Turkish, Dutch and German friends who attended the celebration.

Chorale reading of Carlos Bulosan’s poem, “If you want to know who we are”, as a tribute to overseas Filipinos and their participation in the revolutionary movement, was also rendered.

The most moving part of the cultural night was the beaming of the names and pictures of the martyrs of the Philippine revolution.

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