The New People’s Army-Eastern Visayas (Efren Martires Command or EMC) today commemorates with the Filipino people the 119th anniversary of the historic Balangiga Uprising, a memory of the triumph of people’s war over the war of aggression by US imperialism. More than a hundred years later, the militancy, creativity, and heroism of the people of Balangiga inspire most especially the broad peasant masses in Eastern Visayas who now fight the war of suppression waged by the terrorist US-Duterte regime by way of people’s war.
On September 28, 1901, at the morning toll of the bells of the Balangiga church, around 500 men of Balangiga as well as present towns Lawaan, Giporlos and Quinapondan ambushed the garrison of American troops. To catch the enemy by surprise, the men disguised as women and smuggled their bolos inside coffins. The elderly, women and children were safely evacuated before the attack. The US troops were dealt with their “single worst defeat” in the Philippine-American War by the peasant masses. Such was their rage that they retaliated a thousandfold against the people, killing tens of thousands, burning and looting their homes, and turning Balangiga into a “howling wilderness.”
Supported by US imperialism, the Duterte regime subjects the peasant masses in Eastern Visayas to the same terrorist, scorched-earth policy, hell-bent to squash the revolutionary movement and defeat the New People’s Army. Desperate to accomplish its deadline of defeating the NPA before Duterte’s term ends, it has put the Eastern Visayas countryside under de facto martial law, concentrating an unprecedented 13 combat battalions of the military and police and planning to add more. It has killed, strafed and massacred peasants, arrested and threatened them, and bombed and shelled their farmlands. It has put thousands under intense surveillance, population control and psychological warfare, and forced hundreds to surrender as NPA members or supporters, or else die of starvation or by their bullet.
But the peasant masses are undeterred by the Duterte regime’s state terrorism. This campaign of suppression has only emboldened them to embrace the revolution and cherish the NPA as their true army and defender. This year, the revolutionary mass base in the region has further expanded and consolidated. The guerrilla bases where the NPA can swiftly maneuver and keep the enemy blind and deaf to its movements have grown. With the support of the masses, the NPA has turned the fascist troops, their inflated budget and advanced military equipment dumb. The fascist troops’ deadline is fast approaching but they have yet to dismantle a single guerrilla front or wipe out an NPA unit.
By launching people’s war against the US-Duterte regime, the peasant masses of Eastern Visayas advance the revolutionary example of their forefathers in Balangiga. Their hearts are imbued with rage against injustice and oppression. As the regime’s fascist onslaught intensifies, they are determined to support the armed struggle, join the NPA, and to oust the treacherous, morally bankrupt, and corrupt Duterte.#