(This is the preliminary statement on the 51st anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines. The more comprehensive statement of the Central Committee will be released soon.)
With unremitting revolutionary commitment and determination, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) marks its 51st founding anniversary today as the Filipino people confront the US-Duterte regime’s heightened fascist suppression and all-out attacks against the people and their revolutionary movement. Infused with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, a firm grasp of objective conditions, and boundless optimism, the Party is ever determined to strengthen itself and lead the Filipino people in their struggles against all forms of oppression and exploitation and advancing the national democratic revolution.
The US-Duterte regime’s heightened campaign of fascist suppression against the people manifests the deep-seated and chronic crisis of the ruling system. It reflects the desperation of the ruling reactionary state to preserve the moribund semicolonial and semifeudal system. This intensification comes as the irresoluble crisis of the ruling system, as well as continuing depression of the global capitalist system, subjects the broad Filipino masses to worsening forms of oppression and exploitation and incites them to wage all forms of struggle to defend their national and democratic interests.
The continuing and worsening economic depression of the world capitalist system is generating myriad forms of contradictions. In the past year, these have broken out in rising interimperialist conflict over economic and trade policy and sources of raw materials. There have been large-scale demonstrations in various countries and workers strikes, on the one hand; and rising fascism and state suppression, on the other.
The local socioeconomic crisis continues to worsen as the Duterte regime steps up implementation of long-discredited neoliberal economic policies espoused by the IMF and World Bank, and other imperialist agencies. The regime continues to perpetuate the country’s dependence on foreign-debt and imported commodities and capital goods. The economy remains non-industrial and backward. Except for pockets of semiprocessing and large agribusiness linked to the international operations of multinational corporations, local manufacturing and agriculture remains backward and small-scale. Large resources, including foreign borrowings, are being wasted on infrastructure, energy, tourism and other projects that generate massive profits for foreign big corporations and their local big business partners.
Unemployment is on the rise as the economy’s capacity for job creation is unable to keep up with growing surplus labor. This oversupply of labor, on the other hand, presses down on wages. Labor export remains the reactionary state’s central band-aid policy under the Duterte regime.
Social conditions of the broad toiling masses continue to deteriorate as wage and income levels cannot cope with increasing costs of living. Burdensome taxes have resulted in rising prices of food and other basic necessities. This is made worse by import dependence and all-out liberalization of rice imports which have threatened local agricultural production and food security. Millions suffer from homelessness, lack of public health and education services and general urban decay. In the rural areas, millions of peasants suffer from feudal, semifeudal and other forms of oppression.
There is widespread landlessness and disposession of agricultural and ancestral land in the face of aggressive encroachment and expansion of multinational mining and plantation operations, as well energy, tourism and other infrastructure projects. There is grave lack of social services in rural areas, especially among the minority peoples.
The grievious social and economic conditions of the broad masses of the Filipino people are in stark contrast to the accumulation of wealth and high-style living of the ruling classes of big bourgeois compradors, big landlords and bureaucrat capitalists. They wallow in luxury and spend money on jewelry, foreign travel, palacious homes, real estate and expensive gadgetry.
The worsening social and economic conditions of the people and sharp inequities indicate the deep crisis of the ruling social system. It is further exposed by the crisis of the ruling political system and its resort to open fascist rule.
The Duterte regime has placed the entire country under undeclared martial law since December 2018 through Executive Order 70, combined with Mindanao martial law and Memorandum Order 32. The entire reactionary state is now a virtual civil-military junta in the form of the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict headed by Duterte and fomer AFP chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon. It has a network of regional task forces led by active and retired military and police officers. With the chief executive himself at the helm, the entire reactionary state is focused on counterinsurgency and fascist suppression in an unprecedented manner since the Marcos dictatorship. Through intimidation (red-tagging and drug-listing) and threats of assassination, local government officials, as well as court judges, are being forced to serve as pawns in the AFP’s suppression drive and take part in the AFP’s “persona non grata” drive against the NPA and mass-oriented organizations.
The liberal façade of the ruling system is slowly being eroded with Duterte taking full control of the entire reactionary political system. Through the recent farcical elections, manipulated through hacking of the automated counting system, Duterte seized majority control of the Senate and Lower House. Progressive forces in the House are being eased out of parliament and are constantly being attacked and red-tagged. Majority of the Supreme Court justices is composed of Duterte appointees.
The rottenness of the reactionary state is laid bare as bureaucrat capitalists and criminal syndicates jockey for a greater share of the operations under Duterte. Duterte’s farcical war on drugs which has killed tens of thousands of ordinary people has been exposed by the involvement of top officers of the police in drug recycling. Duterte’s drug war aims merely to establish his overlordship of illegal drug trafficking in the country.
In cities and town centers, the Duterte regime has mounted sustained attacks against legal and democratic mass-oriented organizations using red-tagging, surveillance and intimidation, arrests and prolonged detention, filing of trumped-up charges, and extrajudicial killings. The attacks have been most intense in factories, campuses and urban poor communities. There are now more than 600 political prisoners, more than half of which were arrested since 2016.
In the countryside, the regime has mounted a relentless fascist onslaught against the peasant masses. This is being carried out primarily in areas where there is strong opposition to mining, plantations and other other destructive projects of big corporate interests.
It has employed full-scale state terrorism to force the masses to surrender their democratic rights and suppress their struggles for land and to uphold their economic well-being. Entire peasant villages where people have actively defended their rights and welfare, have been illegalized and subjected to military suppression. There are at least 730 detachments and camps of paramilitary and regular AFP troops and police combat forces, 50% more since imposing martial law in 2017, now dot the rural villages and interior areas of Mindanao. Civilians are arbitrarily accused by the military of being “NPA supporters” and face threats of being arrested or killed unless they cooperate with the AFP. To deceive the people, Duterte has presented himself as a champion of land reform, distributing meaningless titles, in a vain attempt to draw the support of the peasant masses away from the NPA. The AFP, moreover, has implemented the heavily-funded and corruption-laden E-CLIP with promises of P50,000 for anyone who “surrenders,” in a vain effort to obscure the deep social and political roots of the armed conflict.
The strategic aim of the Duterte regime’s suppression campaign against the peasant masses is to isolate the people’s army, put it into a purely military situation, force the NPA to narrow corridors in rough terrain and subject it to focused military offensives with superior military force. This tactic has been applied in full-scale in Mindanao regions since 2017 and is now being carried out in other parts of the country. The AFP has employed relentless artillery shelling and aerial bombing (rockets and 500-pound explosives supplied and funded by the US military) and strafing in the vicinity of civilian communities to terrorize and weaken the resolve of the masses and Red fighters to fight.
The enemy’s offensives have largely been frustrated by the NPA. The people’s army has employed guerrilla tactics of concentration, dispersal and shifting and availed of the deep and widespread support of the masses of peasants and minority people. Units of the NPA have successfully countermaneuvered and mounted tactical offensives. In the first half of 2019, the AFP suffered more than 353 casualties (252 killed-in-action) in Mindanao, putting out of action at least one battalion of fascist troops.
Two years after unilaterally ending peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the Duterte regime has once again reopened channels for a possible revival of talks. The regime has publicly declared willingness to end martial law in Mindanao. While alert to the duplicitous aims of the fascist regime, and keenly aware of the fact that the entire country is under undeclared martial law through EO 70, the NDFP has taken a principled stand, and has welcomed the approach of Duterte’s representatives. The NDFP has reiterated its position that previous agreements must be respected and that future negotiations must address primarily the socioeconomic roots of the armed conflict. It is keenly aware of the demand of broad masses of the Filipino people for thorough reforms to end de facto martial law rule. The Party leadership has positively acted on the recommendation of the NDFP panel to declare a unilateral ceasefire from December 23 to January 7 to help boost peace talks and generate people’s support.
The prevailing socioeconomic crisis and the grave oppression and exploitation of the people continue to generate conditions favorable and necessary for the people to wage all forms of revolutionary struggle. Keenly aware of these conditions, the Party and all revolutionary forces must heighten its efforts to arouse, organize and mobilize the Filipino people in their millions.
In the cities, workers’ strikes as well as various forms of demonstrations by public health workers, school teachers and employees are bound to increase as the demand for wage increases and job security become even more urgent in the face of rising cost of living and deteriorating social conditions. Student activism will continue to intensify as protests in the face of rising cost of education and worsening attacks against campus rights by fascist state agents. In the countryside, peasant unrest will continue to spread and erupt in mass protests in the face of widespread rural crisis resulting from land dispossession, liberalization of rice imports, land-use conversion, massive loss of jobs and state disregard of the plight of the people. Overall, the spirit of patriotism will continue to rise in the face of aggressive encroachment into the country’s sea and land resources by foreign big business interests. The people’s struggle for democracy will heighten incessantly in the face of relentless fascist suppression.
The Party must continue to strengthen itself in an all-round manner—ideologically, politically and organizationally, in line with the Central Committee’s Five-year Program. The Party must continue to assiduously study and apply Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in all fields of work, sum-up its experiences, root out the causes of weaknesses and shortcomings, and further improve its methods of work and leadership. The Party must spread and deepen its roots among the masses in order to effectively lead the people in their democratic mass struggles and all forms of revolutionary resistance, and sustain and carry forward the people’s war to higher levels.
In the cities, the Party must continue to build its branches among the workers, semiproletariat and petty-bourgeoisie. The broad masses must intensify their struggle for democratic reforms, amplify the demand for higher wages and salaries, job security, and increase in state subsidies for public health and education. At the same time, they must raise the patriotism of the people by linking and raising the democratic struggles of the broad masses to the question of imperialist domination and the need to defend the country’s sovereignty and patrimony.
The Party must continue to strengthen the NPA and advance the people’s war in a comprehensive manner. While the NPA has withstood the enemy’s all-out war, it must also pay attention to further consolidation in order to surmount the enemy’s bigger attacks in the future. The Party must strengthen the politico-military training of its cadres and NPA Red fighters in order to further steel their discipline and determination, raise the capacity of the people’s army to carry out extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare and heighten its ability to arouse, organize and mobilize the broad peasant masses in an ever-expanding manner.
The Party, the NPA and all revolutionary forces in the countryside must be able to mobilize the broad peasant masses, as well as the rural semiproletariat, in a widespread movement to carry out the Party’s minimum program for land reform and address the well-being of the people. The more extensive this mass movement, the more the NPA can expand and the wider the bearth for waging armed struggle. In doing so, we can frustrate the enemy’s objective of isolating the NPA and pacifying the masses. Thus, the Party and the NPA must be good in social investigation, paying attention to the big and small problems of the people, and working with the masses to raise their collective capacity to struggle for their social and economic demands.
We must develop a widespread anti-imperialist and antifeudal movement to resist the aggression and plunder of the country’s wealth and patrimony by multinational corporations. The Filipino people must resist the oppressive neoliberal policies and loan conditionalities imposed by foreign big banks, both those affiliated with China and the US imperialists. They must raise the demands for genuine land reform and national industrialization as key policies to address the chronic crisis of the ruling system.
We must also expose the link between the intensifying use of fascist violence by the Duterte regime to serve the interests of foreign multinational corporations, big mining, agribusiness and energy companies. The Filipino people must militantly fight for democracy and resist the US-Duterte regime’s campaign of suppression. The Party and all democratic forces must bring together the Filipino people in a broad united front to demand justice for all victims of fascist state violence and struggle to end the tyrannical regime.
The Party is optimistic that the Filipino people will continue to intensify their democratic and revolutionary struggles in the coming year. Duterte is bound to be isolated by his crimes, corruption and abuse of power. The fascist lies and promises of the Duterte regime are rapidly being exposed in the face of the worsening crisis of the ruling system and the sufferings of the Filipino people. The need to wage national democratic revolution has become ever clear.
End Duterte’s de facto martial law and fascist reign of terror!
Struggle for national democracy!
Carry forward the people’s war!
Long live the Communist Party of the Philippines!
Long live the Filipino people!