The Regional Operations Command of the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao is one with the Filipino people in celebrating April 27 as National Day Of Armed Valor to memorialize the valiant heroism of Datu Lapulapu and thousands more in the Battle of Mactan five centuries ago. Red commanders and fighters take pride that the revolutionary armed struggle of the NPA genuinely honors the quincentenary event, upholding its nationalist, anti-colonial and anti-reactionary spirit and tradition.
Around the region on April 27 and in the succeeding days, NPA units stood in formation to honor the Battle of Mactan as other units conducted political discussions on the history of the heroic battle and its significance in the continuing armed revolutionary struggle being waged by the NPA and the entire Filipino people.
The Battle of Mactan is a triumph of the ingenuity of guerilla warfare against a double-faced enemy that is far more superior in terms of troops and armaments. The enduring validation of this historic fact is one that every Red fighter can attest to. Under the AFP’s no let-up focused military operations in the region, enemy troops are constantly being forward-deployed deaf and blind to the social and military situations in NPA base areas, as Magellan and his men have been 500 years ago when they tried to land in Mactan. Despite the facade of its so-called retooled community service program, marauding AFP troops are deeply isolated from the masses for they serve the greed of landlords and imperialist interests, just as Magellan served the Spanish crown. The NPA’s firm adherence to its mass line of agrarian revolution and the defense of the Lumad’s ancestral land echo the anti-colonialist battlecry that mobilized Datu Lapulapu and a thousand others to resist with bows and arrows, krises, and iron-tipped spears.
Throughout our history, it was to the fatal detriment of the militarily superior colonizers and oppressors that they mocked and underestimated the revolutionary armed resistance of a united oppressed people. Three centuries since Datu Lapulapu’s victorious stand in the shores of Mactan, Filipinos finally ended Spanish colonization and would later continue fighting US imperialism and Japanese occupation with nationwide guerilla armed resistance. The present puppet Duterte regime is no different from this list of enemies of the Filipino people, as it continues to vilify the Red fighters, calling them bandits or terrorists, in vain attempt to negate the legitimacy and relevance of revolutionary armed struggle.
The people’s militia and the masses in the region, especially in Lumad areas, mining and agri-venture plantation communities, easily grasp the significance of the Battle of Mactan and liken its relevance in their present struggle against large foreign mining, expansion of monocrop plantations, widespread land conversion and projects under the Build, Build, Build program. The Lumad’s pangayaw especially takes inspiration in Datu Lapulapu’s guerilla tactics, as the former’s superior knowledge of terrain and cunning use of indigent weapons forced back and continue to hold logging and mining companies at bay.
Red fighters around the region likewise find inspiration in Datu Lapulapu and his people’s resistance to strengthen the unity of the masses in denouncing Duterte’s outright treachery in kowtowing to Chinese interests in the West Philippine Sea. The masses are outraged that the fascist regime easily wields terror to silence the democratic demands of the people but cannot stand up to or even denounce China’s military intrusion and pillage of our economic resources.
Moreover, the Battle of Mactan reminds us that oppressors around the world have not changed tact in resolving the crises of their class societies. Political, economic and military aggression are still very much the default action of imperialist countries like the US and China, while semi-feudal and semi-colonial client states like in the Philippines still subject their peoples to neoliberal exploitation and fascism to maintain political power. It is in this vein that the Filipino masses reject historical revisionists, pacifists, Duterte’s trolls and all reactionaries that vilify justness, relevance and urgency of armed struggle.
The Battle of Mactan is ground zero for the Filipino people’s succeeding and continuing armed resistance against oppressors and colonizers for independence and national democracy. It is a point in our history which lives on 500 years since and many years more in the future until revolutionary armed struggle fulfills its mission as the only means by which the toiling masses can overthrow the ruling class, sieze political power and build a just society.