Amid all-out enemy deployment and focused military operations at a guerrilla front in Southern Tagalog, the New People’s Army (NPA) was able to conduct recovery work in Maro.
For nearly a decade, comrades have not been able to conduct revolutionary work in Maro. This is where the seed of the revolution was first sown in the area. It has served as a wellspring of members of revolutionary mass organizations, as well as Red fighters and commanders. As a result, the enemy focused its attacks on Maro to destroy the residents’ unity. The military put up a CAFGU detachment and unleashed paramilitary and vigilante groups in the area. Checkpoints were also mounted along roads during the Covid-19 pandemic.
There have been efforts to reach out to the residents of Maro. However, for a long time, the area only served as a passageway of the NPA to other areas. In compliance with the rectification movement and to address the need to expand guerrilla bases, the NPA determinedly returned to Maro.
The NPA unit that was deployed in the area lacked knowledge about the area and its terrain, as well as mass support. They, however, held on to the rich revolutionary history of Maro and bravely reached out to the masses despite massive enemy deployment.
The unit immediately investigated the condition of the masses. Residents were facing severe hardships and loss of livelihood due to the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many poor peasants and farm workers could not travel to look for additional work due to the militarist lockdown. Majority of the farmers are landless and work under a 60-40 sharing scheme in favor of the landlord.
During its first months in Maro, the NPA unit conducted a sanitation and education campaign on Covid-19. They conducted check-ups and other medical services. They helped farmers’ children answer their modules, and taught them how to use cellphones and the internet for flexible learning. The unit also helped in production activities in the area.
With the help of the NPA in their day-to-day activities, the barriofolks’ hardships amid the pandemic somehow eased. In turn, the masses now have time to help the NPA unit, such as assisting it to avoid enemy attacks and guiding Red fighters to safe areas.
The unit’s mass work immediately bore fruit when the unit was directed to launch a military action. With the help of the masses, the presence of the NPA unit was concealed from operating soldiers. The unit was also able to mount a successful offensive just two kilometers away from a military and police checkpoint.
Neither heavy military presence nor their lack of knowledge about the area hindered the NPA unit in reaching out to masses in recovery areas. A month after Maro’s recovery, the residents held a gathering to celebrate their reunion with the NPA.