Achieve the broadest and strongest unity against the fascist Duterte regime!
Merely half a year after the brazen summary execution of three members of the New People’s Army – Ilocos Sur (NPA-Ilocos Sur), the 702nd Brigade bares yet again another display of atrociousness by murdering at least five members of the revolutionary army. On August 8, in Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur, government troops blatantly disregarded international humanitarian laws governing armed conflict and warfare by committing the worst acts of overkill against members of the NPA-Ilocos Sur. Truly, under the administration of the bloodthirsty Rodrigo Duterte, unparalleled barbarity and unprecedented disdain for human rights has become the brand of the Philippine Army (PA).
The National Democratic Front – Ilocos (NDF-Ilocos) condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the dastardly acts of the units under the PA. It is another clear violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws signed between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Government of the Philippines in March 1998.
Moreover, it is obvious that utter cowardice lies behind the PA’s excessive use of violence. Its fear of the systemic change espoused by the NPA, and the spread of its influence amongst the masses, drives it to employ the most heinous methods to snuff the life out of a revolutionary hero. Its greatest mistake is believing that revolutionary ideals die together with the revolutionary martyrs and denying the fact that fascism only serves to fan the flame of the revolutionary struggle.
While the PA never balked at any chance to exert extreme violence against the revolutionary army, Duterte’s own predilection towards brutality and condescension towards the poor only served as extra badge of approval. That loss of life and limb is so normalized under the present regime is evidenced by the estimated 7,000 killed under the supposed war against illegal drugs, by communities in Marawi wiped out in their entirety through aerial bombing and indiscriminate firing and by the abandonment of millions of Filipinos in the fight against Covid-19 through militaristic—rarely medical—measures against the virus. Fascism, coupled with class privilege, are the operative words under Duterte’s rule.
It goes without saying that the national democratic movement has earned the deepest ire of Duterte himself. Aside from periodically stating his irrational refusal to resume the talks for peace, Duterte has ordered the murder of a negotiator. On August 10, Randall Echanis died after suffering from multiple stab injuries and gunshot wound to the head. During his life of struggle and service, he has been an advocate of peace based on justice and committed through armed struggle, as well as an ardent activist for agrarian reform. His revolutionary ideals, like those of the slain NPA members, will continue to take root and flourish long after his demise.
The NDF-Ilocos joins the rest of the national democratic movement in mourning the deaths of these fellow warriors and revolutionaries. Their presence will be missed but their legacies will more than fill the gap they have left. Duterte and his blood-drenched army will do well to remember that history and the people will be their judge. The fall of tyrants and despots is just as inevitable and certain as the victory of the national democratic revolution. ###