November 30 is an important date in our history. This marks the 156th birthday of Andres Bonifacio, leader of the old democratic revolution, this year. This is also the 55th year since Kabataang Makabayan, the secret mass organization of the youth that calls for a new democratic revolution, was established. It symbolizes not only the advancement of a democratic revolution of a new type with a socialist perspective but also the important role the youth plays in the struggle.
The US-Duterte regime trembles with fear that the youth movement will become stronger than ever and shake up the ruling system. The military relentlessly attacksthe rights of the youth to freedom of thought, self-expression, right to organize and assemble. Duterte’s troops make rounds in schools and use deceived parents and agents to vilify legal progressive youth organizations and link them to the New Peoples’ Army. The Lumad schools in Mindanao were also closed after being accused of having been founded by the NPA. Youth activists face surveillance, harassment, intimidation and extra-judicial killing. The military also spreads lies about the NPA recruiting minors.
But the concrete condition of the youth encourage them to seek for answers in the present social crisis they also experience. The education budget and other basic social services continue to lessen. The semicolonial orientation of education, such as the K+12 system whose purpose is to develop cheap labor force for the imperialists and for export. Meanwhile, patriotism is scorned and even the teaching of the national language is being done away with.
Change is the law of history. Duterte and his minions cannot stop the youth from seeking change. Bonifacio, Antonio Luna, Apolinario Mabini and many other heroes spent their vibrant youth in the revolution and wholeheartedly offered their strength and knowledge for the interest of the masses. Many Filipino youth will surely follow their steps and continue the unfinished revolution.
It is necessary to reach the large number of youth in the region. It is necessary to more than ever arouse, organize and mobilize the youth and students for the national democratic revolution. There are many high schools and colleges in the central towns and cities.Thousands of students from high schools and college can be aroused, organized and mobilized to join the broadest possible united front against the fascist Duterte regime. The short course on Philippine Society and Revolution must be disseminated and advanced mass activists recruited from the ranks of the educated youth and workers.
Youth and students must lead mass campaigns in their sector and unite with the basic masses of peasants and workers. They must win over the many to fight against tuition fee increase, to scrap K+12, and fight repressive policies such as mandatory ROTC and other pressing issues of the sector. Mass activists must be recruited from the ranks of those who take part in mass struggles.
Once the Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magsasaka has been established in the barrio, the KM chapter must be also set up to focus on the youth and raise their political consciousness. The youth can be mobilized for the Pambansa Demokratikong Paaralan (PADEPA or National Democratic School) and cultural activities. The peasant youth who are 18 years of age and meet the requirements can join the New Peoples’ Army. There must be NPA recruitment drives alongside the anti-feudal campaigns to defend the victories of the mass campaigns.
The youth workers and intellectuals also go to the countryside to do social investigation in the countryside and to help in the NPA and people’s democratic government. They also help in education work and technical services, and in the political work within the NPA. The educated youth contribute their knowledge and continue to remould in the pursuit of advancing the peoples’ democratic revolution.
Despite the continued oppression of the US-Duterte regime, it cannot stop the historic role of the youth. It was the dictator Marcos who declared Martial Law and declared KM as illegal. But the KM continued as an allied organization of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The youth and students of various mass organizations also continued the struggle. Regardless of the intensified intimidation to dissuade the youth from joining NPA, they are even more convinced to take part in the revolution and serve in the people’s army. Youth activists who are in danger can choose to continue fighting by taking up arms and joining the revolutionary armed struggle.
This only proves that Duterte remains as the best NPA recruiter of the youth. Their rage only intensifies further because of the their sufferings under the criminal, anti-people and anti-national regime. In due time, the streets will be flooded with youth along with the masses to make Duterte pay, and they will go on until the attainment of national freedom, democracy and socialism.