With utmost revolutionary fervor and determination, the Central Committee extends warmest greetings to all Party members and cadres on the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). We also extend revolutionary felicitations to all Red fighters and commanders of the New People’s Army (NPA), members of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), activists of the national democratic movement, friends and allies both here and abroad and revolutionary fighters around the world.
On this occasion, we pay tribute to the heroes and martyrs of the Party and the Philippine revolution. We pay special tribute to Ka Julius Giron, Ka Fidel V. Agcaoili, Ka Eugenia Magpantay, Ka Agaton Topacio, Ka Randall Echanis and other revolutionary fighters and activists who served the people and the national democratic cause all through their lives. We celebrate their lives and their invaluable contributions to the cause of national democracy.
For over 50 years, the Party has firmly led the people’s democratic revolution in the Philippines. It has accumulated countless victories and achievements in building the Party along the ideological line of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, establishing and leading the people’s army and the people’s war and building and expanding the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
The Party has struck deep roots among the working class and the rest of the toiling masses and continues to organize and mobilize along the path of the national democratic revolution. The struggle to end the semicolonial and semifeudal system and overthrow the oppressive and exploitative joint class rule of the big bourgeois compradors, the big landlord class and bureaucrat capitalists is now even more urgent as the crisis of the ruling system continues to deepen and worsen.
The Party continues to strengthen itself ideologically, politically and organizationally. Despite the vicious attacks of the enemy, the Party remains solid and strong, united and determined to lead the proletariat and the oppressed Filipino masses in waging revolutionary struggles and accumulating greater victories. At the same time, the cadres of the Party remain self-critical and determined to overcome weaknesses and errors in order to more effectively lead the people in mass struggles and armed resistance.
The Party and the rest of the international communist movement are keenly aware of the crisis enveloping the entire capitalist system, the rotten core of which was thoroughly exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and by the inability of the majority of reactionary states to properly manage the outbreak causing unprecedented hardships on the toiling people across the world. This crisis is resulting in deep instability in the ruling regimes and is generating mass resistance in many parts of the world. Conditions prevail for a great surge in revolutionary mass struggle and building and strengthening communist parties capable of leading gigantic numbers of workers and other toiling masses in the imperialist centers, other capitalist countries and backward semicolonial and semifeudal countries.
The past year has seen the crisis of the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal system aggravated by the Duterte regime’s anti-people, militarist and neoliberal response to the Covid-19 pandemic and to the successive calamities that hit the country. The broad masses of the Filipino people are suffering from far more intolerable conditions as the evils of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism subject them to unprecedented oppression and exploitation. Their desire to end their sufferings is intense.
To preserve the rotten and crisis-ridden ruling system and allow it to carry out large-scale corruption and plunder, the Duterte regime has intensified its anticommunist onslaught against the broad masses through state terrorism under de facto martial law. It has placed the entire state and society under full militarization and fascistization. Schemes to perpetuate Duterte and his dynasty in power beyond 2022 remain in full play. The aim is to evade prosecution over his innumerable crimes and extend his reign of terror and corruption. The reactionary state has resorted to more intense political repression to prevent the masses from rising up in numbers. The Filipino people and revolutionary movement are resisting heroically in a life-and-death struggle. The conditions for waging revolution remain ever favorable.
Growing resistance amid global capitalist recession
The Covid-19 pandemic and the failure of most reactionary states to overcome the public health debacle has aggravated the crisis of the global capitalist system. These have resulted in the massive destruction of productive forces as production was ground to a halt by prolonged lockdowns enforced in the face of breakdown of public health systems. Majority of countries are now in the grip of a crisis unprecedented in many respects resulting in worsening forms of oppression and exploitation and generating conditions for mass resistance.
The fast-spreading disease struck the world that is deeply mired in crisis and decay. It easily distressed public health systems debilitated by more than three decades of subsidy cuts under the neoliberal policy regime which pushed public healthcare from the realm of social right to the field of capitalist profit-making. Unprepared and ill-equipped public health systems were easily overloaded by the rapid rise in the number of cases of Covid-19 infections.
As a result, governments lacked the capacity or refused to mobilize enough financial and human resources to carry out democratic public health response alongside socioeconomic measures such as subsidizing people who lost their jobs and sources of income. Worse, authoritarian regimes took advantage of the pandemic to acquire additional powers and impose repressive measures.
The pandemic continues to unfold and overwhelm countries around the world. More than 79 million people have been infected with Covid-19 while more than 1.7 million have died due to the disease. The number of infections have sharply risen since October, with the highest numbers recorded in the United States. It remains to be seen whether the vaccines which started to be rolled out by a number of pharmaceutical companies will be able to put a stop or decisively slow down the spread of the virus. Rich capitalist states have scrambled to produce and acquire vaccines for Covid-19 as a way of reviving their own national economies. As early as September, more than half of purchase deals for 5.3 billion doses have been cornered by a few rich countries representing just 13% of the world’s population.
The inability of most of the reactionary states to put into place a proper balance of economic and public health measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the further aggravation and deepening of the crisis of the global capitalist system and has brought grave sufferings to hundreds of millions of workers, peasants and toiling people.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the global capitalist system has been through a prolonged period of recession, stagnation and slow growth since the 2008 international financial and economic crisis. The past years have been marked by growing inventories of unsold commodities, bankruptcies of large capitalist firms, mergers and acquisitions, idling and destruction of machines and factories and widespread unemployment.
The lockdowns, closing of international borders and other measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in the worst global recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The current recession is more widespread with the simultaneous contraction of most economies. The International Monetary Fund estimates that world gross domestic product (GDP) for this year will drop by 5%, which is fifty times worse than the 0.1% contraction in 2009 following the financial crisis. Poverty is set to worsen causing severe impact on people’s physical and mental health, as well as on the education and the welfare of the youth.
Prior to 2020, global economic activity was already on a downtrend if measured by foreign direct investment flows. From US$2 trillion in 2015, this dropped to US$1.6 trillion last year and is set to further slump to less than US$1 trillion this year, as low as before 2005. Investments in operations of new enterprises dropped by 30%.
The global recession has further deepened the trend of economic stagnation. Optimistic projections by the IMF and other imperialist agencies of a 4-5% economic rebound next year are being made on the assumption that availability of a Covid-19 vaccine will be followed by the lifting of lockdowns, opening of borders and resumption of trade. While resumption of economic activity from zero may result in positive numbers, at best, it can only return to the pre-pandemic general trend of stagnation or slow growth, especially in the face of threats of massive bankruptcies and sharp declines in wages and income of workers and toiling people.
There remains an oversupply of key commodities including oil, steel, semiconductors, agricultural products, automobiles and aircraft, as well as transport and communications services. Production capacity continues to rise as a result of increased investments by competing monopoly capitalists in new technologies (robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and others) far outpacing demand which is being pulled down by collapse of household income and bankruptcies of small and medium enterprises.
Digital technology companies also benefited from the pandemic restrictions with increased demand for internet-based services during the lockdown (deliveries and servers for remote work and conferences). However, in the larger value-adding aspect of the economy, sales and profits have mostly slumped. Modest recoveries in sales of agricultural and metal commodities with the easing of lockdowns and opening of borders could not offset the growing gap between supply and demand in other areas of production.
Oil prices, in particular, are set to rise to US$44 per barrel by next year (from an average of US$41 per barrel this year) which is still substantially below the US$61 per barrel in 2019, despite aggressive intervention of the OPEC and Russia to cut down production. Sales of semiconductors have started to rise in 2020 after a slump since the end of 2018, with increased demand in autonomous vehicles, internet of things, big data and rapid wireless communications, but will likely be unable to absorb the anticipated record-breaking increase in productive capacity by 2021. Global steel-making capacity continued to rise this year, especially in China, despite the slump in demand and is anticipated to result in an oversupply gap of 700 million metric tons (from 514 million metric tons last year).
There are record levels of joblessness and intensified exploitation of workers. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that by mid-2020, around 495 million workers lost their jobs. In addition, it estimated that 1.6 billion low-income people in the “informal sector” were severely impacted through temporary or permanent loss of their source of livelihood. Labor exploitation has intensified through the extension of the workday through flexible work, work-at-home and similar remote working arrangements, cutting down production costs by pulling down wages or postponing scheduled wage increases. The ILO estimates that wages sharply dropped by 11% or the equivalent of US$3.5 trillion in the first three quarters of the year.
Employment of migrant workers dropped in 2020. Remittances to backward countries are projected to decline by 7.2% (to US$508 billion) this year and further down by 7.5% (to US$470 billion) in 2021. Around 3 million migrants were stranded abroad without jobs at the height of the lockdowns earlier this year.
Further concentration of capital and wealth in the hands of a fewer number of big capitalists is set to ensue with the slew of big corporate names declaring bankruptcies including airlines, retail stores and malls, restaurant chains, gyms, tourism and entertainment companies. The wealth of the planet’s richest 30 billionaires is now more than the poorest four billion people or over half of the world’s population.
The global capitalist system is vulnerable to a debt shock in the coming years. The global value of debt has rapidly increased over the past few months. Global debt surged by US$11 trillion as countries scrambled for resources to respond to the pandemic and which the IMF, the ADB and other financial institutions responded to with liberalized requirements extending more than US$1 trillion loans, four times the amount deployed in the global financial crisis of 2008.
Debt levels are now at record highs. From US$255 trillion or 322% of global GDP in 2019, the total debt stock is expected to reach US$277 trillion or 365% of global GDP by the end of the year. Last year, about 70% of global debt are owned by advanced capitalist countries. The unpayable levels of debt, combined with the long-term impact of the economic lockdowns, increases the possibility of a debt shock in the near future where a sudden rise in debt payment costs may trigger a cascade of debt defaults in several countries in either state, corporate or household sectors, an outflow rush of portfolio capital, leaving countries in a liquidity crisis leading to fiscal deficits and collapse of local production.
The pandemic shock of 2020 further deepened the stagnation and slow growth in the global centers of capitalism. These countries are overburdened by debt equal to 432% of their combined GDP. Total public or state-owned debt are projected to be equal to 100% of value of the global economy, the highest levels ever recorded, with governments paying Keynesian-type corporate and consumer subsidies to keep their economies from collapsing. Public debt is set to further rise in the coming years as governments prepare packages to bailout companies severely impacted by the crisis such as big transport, airlines and others.
The US economy shrank by 31.4% in the second quarter this year, the deepest since 1947 when economic recording started. The US is the hardest hit by the pandemic with close to 19 million infected and over 334,000 dead. After spending around $3 trillion for pandemic relief to stimulate the US economy, the US government’s deficit is set to hit US$3.3 trillion by end of the current fiscal year, three times more compared to the previous year. It is again set to spend $900 billion in “stimulus” to bailout companies and sustain consumer spending. After the second quarter contraction, the US economy grew sharply at 33.4% in the third quarter, but again contracted by an estimated 5% in the last quarter, and is expected to stagnate or further contract in the first quarter of 2021. As many as 62 million American workers lost their jobs since March, with as much as 25 million collecting unemployment subsidies. Up to 22 million US households reported not having enough food (14 million with children) and 12 million lost health insurance. From US$71 trillion in 2019, total US debt is likely to hit US$80 trillion by end of 2020, roughly the size of its economy. In the same period, the wealth of 644 US billionaires grew by US$931 billion to US$3.9 trillion since March, equivalent to the total wealth of the bottom half or 165 million Americans.
Total debt in European countries is set to reach US$53 trillion. This continues to cause severe burden on such countries as Greece, Spain and Ireland. Government intervention to subsidize workers’ wages sought to prevent job cuts of around 59 million workers whose jobs were put at risk of cuts in work hours and wages, temporary furloughs or permanent layoffs during the height of lockdowns and border closures. These, however, are believed to have simply postponed massive job cuts which are expected to rise after the subsidies end. Large companies laid off or are set to lay off hundreds of thousands of workers including Lufthansa (22,000), Renault (14,600), British Petroleum (10,000), Air France-KLM (7,500) and others. Economic uncertainty hounds the United Kingdom as it exits the European Union at the end of the year which is expected to lead to supply problems, production cuts and disruption of financial services despite the last-minute agreement.
The national debt of Japan continues to pile up with an additional US$2 trillion this year pushing its total to US$12.2 trillion or more than 260% of its GDP. It is also set to borrow an additional US$960 billion to fund a stimulus program. Its economy contracted by 8.2% in mid-year, the largest collapse since 1955. Analysts saw the Japanese economy recovering by the third quarter but do not see long-term growth as demand for Japanese exports (cars, electronics and others) remains low.
Further undermining the global capitalist system is the slowing down of the Chinese economy. Economic growth has been falling more or less steadily from 10.6% in 2010 to just 6.1% in 2019 (which is already less than half the most recent peak of 14.2% in 2007). China suffered economic contraction in the first half of 2020 following the pandemic lockdowns. It is expected to eke out a small 2% growth by the end of the year. China is burdened by a national debt that has quadrupled in the last decade and which could reach 335% of its GDP by the end of the year.
The pandemic economic shock also provided a convenient rationale for governments of backward and underdeveloped economies to intensify foreign borrowing, open up even further to foreign trade and investment and give even more incentives for foreign capital supposedly to hasten recovery. Estimates of job losses in underdeveloped countries is placed at 240 million. Researchers estimate that the number of people below the poverty threshold will rise by 420-580 million people to 1,178 million (earning US$1.90 per day or less); or to 2,480 million (US$3.20 per day) people. Most of the people living in extreme poverty are in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The national character of the monopoly capitalists continue to be heightened by the stagnation of the global capitalist system. The US and other leading capitalist countries impose increasingly protectionist economic measures since the financial crisis of 2008. At the same time, they push for further liberalization of trade and investment policies on backward client-states, in an effort to boost the profits of their monopoly capitalists and revive their own national economies.
The global recession is intensifying contradictions and political crisis. Interimperialist contradictions continue to intensify. There is now a race to dominate the production and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines among the biggest monopoly capitalists in the pharmaceutical industry.
Trade and economic conflicts between the US and China have expanded since the tariff war started in early 2019. The US government has aggressively moved against Chinese electronics giant Huawei and ZTE Company accusing it of espionage, as well as against internet company Tiktok. The US plans to allot nearly $2 billion to “rip and replace” China-made equipment from its digital infrastructure. It has also moved to freeze the foreign assets of Chinese state capitalists and blacklist scores of Chinese companies involved in the construction of Chinese military facilities in the South China Sea.
The US imperialists are also busy building a political and military alliance with Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia and other countries against China and Russia. The US itself is leading the military pack having deployed two of its biggest carrier groups in the South China Sea and East China Sea waters near Japan which are being claimed by China. The United Kingdom is also set to dispatch its aircraft carrier and strike group early next year and hold military exercises with the US and Japan. It has also opposed China’s efforts to strengthen its political control over Hong Kong by granting Hong Kong residents British citizenship. Japan has openly called on Germany to join a naval alliance against China.
On the other hand, China continues to secure its international economic interests. Chinese naval forces are being strengthened both in terms of increasing its aircraft carriers for transporting Chinese troops to overseas deployment and adding more vessels to its 500-ship strong Coast Guard and “militias” to swarm the South China Sea and East China Sea. China recently has empowered its Coast Guard, which is under the Chinese military, to demolish structures of other countries and board, expel or fire at non-Chinese vessels in marine territory being illegally claimed by China.
It strengthened its economic leverage by pushing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a multilateral trade agreement with the ASEAN and five other Asia-Pacific countries without the US. Using its economic size, China is offering the United Kingdom increased trade and investment in the face of an impending failure of the UK to forge a deal as it leaves the EU. The objective clearly is to counter the increasingly aggressive stance of the US anti-China alliance.
Interimperialist contradictions are also pushing up spending on arms research and production and sales of weapons systems. The US has boosted its nuclear arms research and production after it withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Another nuclear arms treaty, the New START, signed in 2010 by US and Russia to reduce nuclear arms, is set to expire next year. In 2019, global military expenditures rose to US$1.917 trillion, up by 3.6% from 2018, with the US, China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia as top spenders accounting for more 60% of total expenses. The United Kingdom is set to spend $78 billion for its military, the biggest since the 1980s. Total sales for 2019 by the top 25 companies totalled US$361 billion which is 8.5% higher than 2018. Total US arms exports this year rose to US$175 billion, 3% higher than 2019, or one-third of the total arms sales.
The imperialist countries, especially the US, continue to oppress countries asserting their sovereignty using economic sanctions, open political intervention and armed attacks. In Venezuela, the US government openly supported opposition forces in efforts to overthrow the Bolivarian Maduro regime. Early this year, US military forces carried out a drone attack to assassinate the top Iranian military leader. The assassination last November of a key Iranian nuclear scientist was believed to be carried out under auspices of the US. US military forces remain deployed in northern Syria to support armed subversion against the Assad regime and secure oil mining operations of the Delta Crescent Energy LLC, an American company headed by former military and diplomatic officials.
In the face of prolonged crisis, monopoly capitalists are subjecting workers and toiling people to even worse forms of exploitation and oppression to maximize extraction of surplus value primarily through intensification of labor, as well as by prolonging the workday or reducing wages. Suppression of trade union rights of workers to prevent them from resisting factory policies and employment arrangements has intensified under the pandemic. As a result, workers and toiling people are suffering from worsening socioeconomic conditions and the deterioration of their physical and mental well-being.
Behind the veil of anti-terrorism, militarism is on the rise in capitalist countries with the militarization of the police, increasing use of military forces and heightened state surveillance in an effort to quell mass protests. Fascism, racism, religious and anti-immigrant bigotry, misogyny, and other vile and ultrareactionary ideas and policies are being officially and indirectly fomented by the bourgeois states in order to divide the workers and people. In other countries, regimes took advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to accumulate more power authoritarian powers to restrict people’s democratic rights.
Workers and oppressed peoples are fighting back across the globe. Mass protests and strikes have erupted in a number of countries as they demand jobs, economic and health subsidies amid lockdowns, safe workplaces and safe schools in the face of the pandemic. They are also resisting suppression of rights. Protest actions erupted midyear across the United States participated in by 26 million people to protest against police brutality and racism. In India, around 250 million peasants and workers participated in historic nationwide strikes and demonstrations in late November to protest neoliberal policies favoring big agricultural corporations and demanding measures to safeguard people’s health and economic well-being. Mass protests have also erupted in France, Belarus, Guatemala, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and other countries against fascist and anti-people policies and demanding democratic reforms. Armed resistance are also being waged in Afghanistan, Kurdistan and other countries against foreign aggression and against oppressive regimes.
The global recession and health crisis are generating conditions favorable for the emergence and growth of proletarian revolutionary forces across the world. Advanced elements of the proletariat continue to emerge in various countries. There are efforts to study and apply Marxism-Leninism-Maoism on the specific conditions in different countries in order to provide leadership to the revolutionary struggle of workers and people. Communist parties continue to strengthen themselves and deepen their roots among the masses. They are leading revolutionary armed struggles in India and the Philippines and are determined to build people’s armies and wage people’s war in other semicolonial and semifeudal countries.
The US-Duterte regime aggravates the crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system
While the tyrant Duterte appears strong and powerful, he is in fact weak and tottering sitting atop a rotten system made bankrupt by his corruption and subservience to foreign capitalists’ interests. He is unable to satiate his greed without depleting state resources for the basic needs of the people. Over the past year, the chronic crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system in the Philippines has sank to record-setting depths in the face of the regime’s failure to properly respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and successive calamities that struck the country in recent months.
The US-Duterte regime aggravated the social crisis and the sufferings of the Filipino people with its militarized and inept response to the pandemic, its corruption, over-reliance on foreign borrowing, refusal to prioritize people’s healthcare, and complete disregard for their economic well-being. Millions of workers and toiling people lost their jobs and livelihood and experienced grave hardships and hunger. While the regime granted tax reductions and exemptions to big corporations, it plans to impose new taxes on the people.
To suppress dissent and opposition and stop the people from rising up, the fascist regime intensified state terrorism in both the cities and countryside in the guise of imposed counterinsurgency and open fascist rule through the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Law.
Fearing threats of having to face local and international criminal prosecution over widespread crimes, human rights abuses and corruption, the Duterte ruling clique is scheming to perpetuate itself in power. With just above 500 days remaining in his official term, Duterte is set to accelerate the implementation of one or all of his evil schemes to perpetuate his tyranny: declare a “revolutionary government” and install a fascist dictatorship, railroad charter change on the pretext of “federalism,” or ensure the dynastic succession through rigged elections of his equally fascist, corrupt and power-hungry daughter or one of his minions.
The Duterte regime’s response to the pandemic is an epic failure. At the outset of the pandemic, it ignored calls for closing international borders and allowed around 500,000 tourists from China to enter the country from December 2019 to February this year which preceded the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the country. Under the guise of pandemic response, Duterte claimed even broader authoritarian powers through the imposition of one of the longest military and police lockdown and arrogating extraordinary powers to realign public funds. The health system, especially public hospitals and laboratories, as well as scientific research agencies, were ill-prepared and debilitated due to years of budget cuts. Nurses and medical workers, hailed as heroes, lacked in numbers and are not compensated with just wages. Duterte ignored calls for free mass testing, free distribution of face masks and hygiene packages and aggressive contact-tracing. The broad masses are afraid of the Covid-19 virus, not only because it can be fatal, but moreso, because of the high costs of treatment which can run up to half a million pesos for a two-week hospital stay. International observers rank the Philippines as among the worst in Covid-19 response.
Instead of realigning funds to ramp up the capacity of the health system and subsidize the needs of millions displaced by the lockdowns, funds were funneled to Duterte’s pet infrastructure projects. Millions lost their jobs and sources of income. Travel restrictions prevented the marketing of agricultural produce resulting in income losses and pushing farmers to bankruptcy. Government subsidies came too late and too little. The regime took advantage of the lockdown to serve the interests of corporate transport by preventing tens of thousands of jeepney drivers from returning to their routes. As the pandemic raged on, workers were made to return to work without sufficient public transportation, lacking guarantees of a safe workplace and subjected to wage decreases. Without funds to guarantee safe learning environment, the regime shuttered schools in favor of an ineffectual “distance” and “blended” learning system which burdened millions of teachers, students and their parents.
The Duterte regime again displayed utter disregard amid the successive calamities that struck Luzon which put a spotlight on how disaster response has been impaired by budget cuts to the already meager funds. Hundreds of thousands of families suffered loss of their homes or hard-earned property due to strong winds, floods, mudflows and landslides. Without funds to help the people recover their losses, millions are left to fend for themselves as they try to rebuild their homes and recover their livelihood.
The rottenness and backwardness of the semicolonial and semifeudal system is laid bare under the US-Duterte regime. For the past four years, the Filipino masses have suffered increasingly worse forms of oppression and exploitation. The US-Duterte regime is presently the starkest representative of the evils of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism and the most urgent reason for waging revolutionary struggle. Even under the Covid-19 pandemic, it imposed anti-people and neoliberal policies that favor the big bourgeois compradors, the big landlord class and foreign big capitalists. These policies heightened oppression and exploitation, deepened social inequalities, and worsened the socioeconomic conditions of the broad masses of workers, peasants and other toiling people.
The pandemic and the inability of the Duterte regime to adequately respond exposed the rotten state of the ruling system, particularly the non-industrial, backward and agrarian state of the Philippine economy. The country has no self-capacity to manufacture enough personal protective equipment, face masks, testing kits and other necessary products, and had to scramble for costly imports. It also exposed the complete lack of an independent pharmaceutical industry and vaccine research making the country dependent on foreign big pharmaceutical companies.
The country has no means to produce most of the necessities for domestic production and consumption. The country’s vast wealth and natural and human resources are controlled and exploited by multinational corporations and their local partners. Production is dependent on imported machines and inputs. There are no independent domestic industries and industrial production is controlled by foreign big capitalists and limited in export-processing zones which are part of the international assembly line of multinational corporations. Agricultural production is backward, mostly using manual labor, hand tools and farm animals. Irrigation facilities are very limited and many are in a state of disrepair. Rice production is small-scale, largely non-mechanized and burdened by prices depressed by liberalized imports of state-subsidized foreign agricultural surpluses. This is further exacerbated by the recent typhoons and lack of state subsidies to assist local farmers.
Because the country is dependent on imported capital goods and finished commodities, and production is oriented towards the export of cheap raw materials and low value-added semi-processed goods, the Philippines suffers from chronic trade deficit. Before 2020, Philippine trade deficit hit historic levels of US$41.44 billion in 2018 and US$42.5 billion in 2019. It went down in April this year, not because of improvement in self-reliance, rather due to a sharp drop of imports of goods (20%) and services (19%) and an overall slower contraction of exports, amid the economic lockdown and continuing slowdown in the demand for semiprocessed goods amid the prolonged global stagnation. The outflow of portfolio capital has trebled from US$1.2 billion in the first ten months of 2019 to US$3.9 billion during the same period this year.
The overextended lockdown severely impacted the economy which contracted by 10% in the first three quarters of the year, worst than the 7.3% contraction in 1984-85. Even prior to the pandemic, GDP growth in the past four years under the Duterte regime has progressively gone down as a result of the slowdown of demand for Philippine exports due to stagnation and slow growth of the international capitalist system.
At least 7 million workers lost their jobs in April alone, pushing unemployment rates to all time highs, and pulling the “labor force participation” rate to all time lows. All in all, there are at least 8.5 million Filipinos without jobs or 19.4% unemployment rate. In addition, there are at least 6.3% underemployed who practically have no jobs. Since 2016, more than one million agricultural jobs were lost as a result of the displacement of peasants from their land by big bourgeois comprador operations, land concentration, bankruptcy and other factors.
Thousands of small and medium enterprises closed their businesses due to losses. By November, close to 685,000 overseas Filipino workers applied for emergency assistance. Millions of people are in desperate straits. While planning to impose more tax burdens on the people, the regime aim to reduce corporate taxes by ₱249.4 billion until 2022. Government tax collection is projected to drop by ₱696.2 billion in 2020. The Philippine government deficit is to more than double to ₱1.38 trillion this year, from ₱677.6 billion in 2019.
Facing revenue shortages and desperate to fund infrastructure projects of big oligarchs, the Duterte regime has gone on a borrowing binge, pushing Philippine debt levels to record highs. As of August 2020, national government debt was at ₱9.6 trillion, ₱1.9 trillion higher than at the start of the year. This is set to further rise to ₱10.2 trillion by the end of the year, ₱12 trillion by end of 2021 and ₱13.7 trillion at the end of Duterte’s term. At this pace, government debt that stood at ₱6.1 trillion at the beginning of Duterte’s term would have more than doubled in six years and be equal to 59.9% of the country’s GDP. As a result, debt interest and principal payments will run up to ₱1.8 trillion in 2021, the highest in ten years, which is equivalent to 40% of next year’s budget, or 8.1% of the country’s GDP.
Desperate to borrow money and get a positive credit rating from its foreign creditors, the Duterte regime is assiduously pursuing neoliberal policy impositions by foreign banks and financial institutions. Despite the pandemic, Duterte and his economic managers refused to reverse the policy of cutting subsidies for public health service and education, nor did it suspend onerous debt payments. It continues to push charter change, amendments to the Public Services Act, the proposed National Land Use bill and other similar measures which all aim to remove restrictions against foreign ownership of land and enterprises.
The regime’s 2021 budget is an outright anti-people program that gives the lowest priority to the people’s heath care, education and social welfare. As much as ₱1.1 trillion is set to be spent on pork barrel infrastructure projects that do not contribute to solid economic growth and which benefit mostly big oligarchs and political loyalists. On the other hand, it does not have plans to support the revival of small and medium businesses that were undercut by the lockdown. It ensures funds for counterinsurgency, particularly, the purchase of new helicopters, fighter jets, bombs, artillery, drones and other weapons systems, but has no plans to ensure the reopening of face-to-face classes in a safe school environment. While the regime allocated a measly ₱2.5 billion to fund the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines (out of an estimated total cost of more than ₱70 billion), it allotted a whopping ₱19 billion to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and its dirty war. He has allotted around ₱33 billion for “AFP modernization” but none for the urgent need to modernize the education and health systems.
As the economic crisis deepens, the political crisis of the ruling system intensifies under the Duterte regime. It is isolated from the broad masses of the Filipino people and relies on tyrannical methods of rule, combined with the relentless campaign to sow disinformation and fear. It has displayed economic servility to China and all-out subservience to the US imperialists.
Duterte does not have the voluntary and wholehearted support of the masses. He rather forces people’s obedience and compliance through the menacing invasion of the military and police in almost all aspects of civil life. The broad masses hold the regime responsible for the campaign of mass murder against the poor in its drug war sham, for the massacre of their jobs and loss of income and bankruptcy, for the onerous taxes and rising prices, and for causing hunger, widespread poverty, misery and economic desperation. The broad masses are outraged by Duterte’s brazen corruption and insatiability in bulldozing infrastructure projects and abuse of power to take over protectorship of the drug syndicates in the country.
Duterte feeds and satiates the military and police to secure the loyalty of generals and foot soldiers by providing them an endless stream of funds from which they pocket billions of pesos in profits through kickbacks in military contracts and cuts in so-called “integration programs.” He has raised counterinsurgency as the centerpiece policy of his regime giving the AFP and its generals broader powers to determine the direction of state affairs.
Duterte’s “anti-corruption” drive is a sham. His regime is insatiable and gobbles up everything. Using his tyranny, he is placing all government corruption under his control. Behind the veil of “anti-corruption,” he is shaking down agencies and replacing people who have failed to deliver the goods with more reliable agents. He has shielded his closest cabinet members from corruption charges. He has allied with the Arroyos and the Marcoses and has allowed them to evade punishment. He has placed the Bureau of Customs under direct military control to ensure his complete command of the smuggling of illegal drugs. He used his “narcolist” to force allegiance of congress and local government officials, as well as court officers. He used the 2021 budget to distribute pork barrel to his minions who have displayed absolute fealty. Taking advantage of the misery of millions of people, he also used emergency powers to realign funds to his favored politicians for subsidy distribution, building of isolation facilities, procurement of equipment and vaccines and others.
The ruling Duterte clique’s rapacity is causing deep divisions and antagonisms among the different factions of the ruling classes, as well as within the ruling clique. The regime has resorted to assassination or incarceration of political opponents and rival syndicates. Duterte has been using threats against rival oligarchs to force their cooperation and support or muscle over control of their businesses. This is while using state power to extend favors and privileges to his crony oligarchs. Refusing to bow to the wishes of Duterte, the Lopezes were denied broadcast franchise for media giant ABS-CBN. It has mounted a vicious campaign against the conservative political opposition and is determined to keep them disenfranchised and out of power in the 2022 elections. Dissatisfaction among Duterte’s political allies is also surfacing leading to the coup in the House of Representatives in October. There is also fierce competition between Duterte’s minions for the biggest cut in Covid-19 vaccine purchase and distribution.
Deep-seated divisions within the military and police are bound to rise to the surface as rival ruling class cliques become more assertive in consonance with an upsurge of protests in the streets. There are pro-US military officers who are secretly resentful of the regime’s sell-out of the country’s marine territory to China and contract allowing the new China-controlled telecommunication company to erect its cell towers within military camps. While Duterte cultivates loyalty among a small circle of military and police officers, more are becoming disgruntled as the Davao-connected officers bag the more juicy positions.
Duterte is dutifully performing his role as chief of the US neocolonial state. At the same time, he is kowtowing to two rival imperialist masters: the US and China. While currying economic, political and military favors with both sides, he is also risking antagonism as both powers are engaged in intensifying interimperialist competition.
Duterte has displayed slavishness before the Chinese imperialists, allowing it to annex Philippine territory and build military fortifications islands within the country’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea. He has also allowed China to plunder the country’s marine resources, destroy hundreds of hectares of coral reefs and haul giant clams, fish and other resources from the Philippine seas. In exchange, he receives kickbacks from loans and grants for infrastructure projects, as well as deals between his cronies and Chinese companies.
On the other hand, Duterte is subservient to US imperialism and bows to its hegemonic power. He continues to carry out the economic impositions of US imperialist controlled financial institutions and remains beholden and under the thumb of the US government and its military force. All unequal military treaties between the US and Philippines are secure under Duterte. He pretended to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in February but later suspended it. His real intention was merely to renegotiate the agreement to push for more military support for counterinsurgency which the US has accommodated with increased military grants and sales of war matériel. With continuous funding, training and arming of the AFP, US imperialism is the great enabler of the Duterte fascist regime. Under the Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines, US military forces continue to use the country as a springboard for its overseas military operations, in the guise of war games and exercises, and its so-called freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea and East China Sea.
Duterte has firmly entrenched himself as a fascist tyrant without outright declaration of martial law. He did so by enacting last July the Anti-Terrorism Law which, in fact, is a law on state terrorism. The regime is practically being run by the civil-military junta in the form of the NTF-ELCAC which has placed all state agencies under the control of the military. It completely shut the doors to peace negotiations with the NDFP as early as 2017. Human rights violations are rampant and on the rise.
Fearing an upsurge in mass protests in response to its reign of terror, corruption and neglect of the people’s welfare, the Duterte regime has intensified its campaign of suppression against the legal democratic forces both in the cities and countryside. Successive cold-blooded murders against peace consultants, revolutionaries and activists, as well as other forms of suppression by state forces over the past months have sparked international condemnation and caused the international isolation of the Duterte regime.
To accumulate more political power, fortify his tyranny and perpetuate his rule, Duterte has intensified counterinsurgency operations with the declared aim of crushing the New People’s Army (NPA) before his term ends in 2022. The AFP’s counterinsurgency drive under Duterte has extended its scope to include unarmed population in the countryside, as well as the broad masses in the cities.
Since 2017, the AFP, together with the PNP, have created around 27 new maneuver battalions and has concentrated their forces in eight regions, namely Southern Tagalog, Southern Mindanao, Eastern Visayas, North Central Mindanao, Bicol (with 14-20 battalions each); and Northeast Mindanao, Negros and Far South Mindanao (with more or less 10 battalions per region). There are around 124 battalions or 40 brigades of counterinsurgency troops in these eight regions. There are around 23 battalions of AFP troops spread in Western Mindanao, Cagayan Valley, Ilocos-Cordillera, Central Luzon, Panay and Central Visayas. The AFP aims to complete the recruitment of 9,000 CAFGU personnel which will bring the total of paramilitary troops to 70,000. The AFP also receives US combat assistance in the form of drone surveillance and reconnaissance and combat transport.
The AFP squanders billions upon billions of pesos to maintain its growing number of troops and its arsenal of surveillance drones, fighter jets and helicopters, aerial bombs, mortars and howitzers. The Duterte regime has allotted more than ₱200 billion for the military with plans to acquire surplus modern weaponry sold by the US and its subsidiaries.
The fascist armed forces mount successive focused military operations across the country. Focused military operations range from several weeks to six months and typically straddle border areas between provinces or towns. These operations use tactics of gradual constriction, with the aim of mounting search operations against NPA units to destroy them in decisive battles. These large-scale operations have inflicted substantial damage to some NPA units. However, majority of NPA units have largely adjusted and mastered guerrilla countermaneuvers to render the enemy’s large-scale operations ineffectual and thus a big waste of money and resources.
“Surgical bombings” using 500-pound bombs are the new feature of AFP counterguerrilla operations. These are set to intensify further in the coming years with the purchase of new military fighter jets, helicopters and drones. These are combined with intensified use of artillery employing various caliber shells. Aerial bombing and artillery fire operations aim to “shock and awe” the NPA and the masses, and cause the disorganized withdrawal of NPA units to subject them to interdiction. However, bombs are often aimed at the proximity of rural villages and mountain communities and have resulted in damages to farms and civilian infrastructure. In a bombing operation in Pambujan, Northern Samar, aerial bombs hit the AFP’s own troops.
The fascist regime intensified its brutal dirty war against the civilian population in the rural areas where Duterte’s military and police forces are behind an increasing number of terrorist crimes. This year, there were successive massacres and murders, abductions, arrests, torture and imprisonment of residents accused of being members, sympathizers or supporters of the revolutionary movement. Fascist armed troops belonging to so-called Retooled Community Service Program or RCSP teams are encamped inside civilian communities to intimidate the masses into “surrendering,” stir up trouble and promote drug use, gambling, drinking, pornography and other pernicious influences on the community and youth to disorganize and disunite the people. Entire communities are forcibly being evacuated in the course of AFP military operations, aerial bombardment and artillery shelling.
A parallel suppression campaign is being waged in the cities where the regime’s security forces target labor and urban poor organizers, students, media and other sectors. The fascist regime is waging a relentless campaign of red-tagging and anticommunist witchhunting and terrorist-labelling against mass organizations and alliances, combined with surveillance, arrests and killings. These attacks are being carried out by the regime’s fascist troops with impunity both in the provinces and in the national capital. The NTF-ELCAC has openly declared its aim of preventing progressive party list groups from getting reelected in congress, further narrowing the realm of legal courses of action. The ultimate aim of this campaign is to illegalize these people’s organizations and paralyze and prevent them from voicing out the urgent grievances and demands of the masses amid the crisis and disable them from leading their mass struggles.
Valiant resistance against Duterte’s counterrevolution
The Central Committee salutes the entire Party, the New People’s Army, all revolutionary forces and the broad masses of the Filipino people for firmly and boldly advancing the people’s democratic revolution even in the face of great counterrevolutionary adversity. They continue to persevere and carry out the arduous tasks in fighting for the national and democratic interests. Party cadres and members, Red fighters, activists and the masses are valiantly resisting the Duterte regime’s vicious and horrific anticommunist counterrevolution. This is marked by large-scale and sustained armed offensives against the NPA and an intensified suppression drive against the people’s organizations both in the cities and countryside.
The worsening oppression and exploitation and state terrorist attacks unleashed by the US-Duterte regime are rousing the broad masses of the Filipino people to wage revolutionary armed struggle to fight for their national and democratic aspirations. They are also waging other forms of resistance to defend their rights and fight for their demands for urgent relief in the face of rapidly deteriorating socioeconomic conditions. The people will not allow themselves to suffer forever the intolerable conditions under the US-Duterte regime.
The revolutionary armed struggle is persevering and is in the process of overcoming the Duterte regime’s relentless armed counterrevolution against the NPA and dirty war against the masses. While some parts have suffered losses, other parts have made headway and are steadily gaining strength.
Red fighters of the New People’s Army across the country are steadfastly waging armed struggle despite the severe difficulties posed by the large-scale, sustained and brutal counterrevolutionary offensives and suppression campaign. Units of the NPA are developing guerrilla tactics as they face heightened ground and air operations of the enemy armed forces that is far more superior in terms of weaponry and resources.
The people’s army has successfully frustrated the enemy’s publicly declared timetable of crushing the NPA which was first set for end of 2018, later moved to end of 2020 and recently moved again to 2022. In the past year, the AFP failed to destroy any major regional or national NPA center of command. With just more than one year to go, the AFP is bound to fail again.
While some NPA units suffered serious setbacks, overall, Red fighters and commanders of the NPA have avoided losses and are steadily adapting the correct guerrilla methods of fighting the enemy’s vicious war campaign. They are gaining mastery of guerrilla tactics of concentration, dispersal and shifting, combining military work and mass work (armed struggle and political struggles) to overcome the enemy’s all-out campaign of armed counterrevolution, render large-scale enemy operations futile and inutile and further deepen the support of the masses by helping them carry out antifeudal, antiimperialist and antifascist struggles.
To surmount the enemy’s focused military operations, NPA units are smartly availing of wider areas for maneuver by expanding to new territories or recovering old areas and forming new guerrilla fronts, while sustaining political and military struggles within existing areas of guerrilla fronts. This way, they can avoid the tendency of self-constriction and overconcentration of forces. There are outstanding experiences in guerrilla territory expansion in Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Negros and Eastern Visayas regions, all of which have have been placed under military control since 2018 through Memorandum Order No. 32. The revolutionary masses are being mobilized by the NPA to perform critical tasks in NPA expansion and recovery of guerrilla areas.
Expansion of guerrilla areas of operation has allowed NPA units to exercise greater flexibility. Interior areas are more closely linked up with the plains, road networks and coastal areas where they can more favorably hit at the vulnerable entry and exit points of the enemy, and where they can expand intelligence work, alliance work and mass political struggles. They can shift temporarily their centers of operation, turn the old centers into flanks even as they continue to engage in tooth and nail struggles in the old centers. Centers of command are able to set up several areas for encampment.
The NPA continues to strengthen its offensive spirit and posture. At all times, they seize the initiative, determine the war tempo and avoid defensives. Wisely avoiding hard targets and aiming only at isolated, detached, weak and tired units of the AFP and PNP, NPA units have mounted successful tactical offensives against the enemy this year. There are excellent examples of tactical offensives in Bicol, Southern Tagalog, Negros, Eastern Visayas, Northeast Mindanao, North Central Mindanao and Far South Mindanao where NPA units dealt blows against enemy operating troops engaged in focused military operations. This year, the NPA has mounted several hundred tactical offensives across the country.
NPA units conscientiously exercise a high degree of guerrilla discipline to render useless the enemy’s military superiority. They avoid human and electronic detection by using fire without smoke, trekking without tracks, using the dark of night, taking advantage of natural foliage and caves and wisely availing of electronic gadgets and communication signals. They avoid old routes and open new secret routes to shift from one area to another. Working closely with the revolutionary masses, they are able to leave the enemy deaf and blind.
The enemy practically announces their aerial bombardment plans with noisy drones, helicopter reconnaissance and massive ground troop movements. More often than not, NPA units would have already shifted to another area before the enemy could drop bombs and fire their artillery. The enemy squanders billions of pesos in these fruitless operations. By reading the enemy’s movements (build up of troops, use of surveillance drones, deployment and trajectory of artillery canons, intensified intelligence operations and so on) the NPA can carry out maneuvers even before the enemy moves. By expanding their areas of operation, units of the NPA can shift short or long distances to step away from the enemy’s focus and strike from the enemy’s rear or flanks.
With the Party and people’s army, the revolutionary masses, their mass organizations and Party branches, can withstand and comprehensively fight enemy suppression activities in their villages however prolonged. Guided, assisted and inspired by their Red fighters, the revolutionary masses in the guerrilla base areas and guerrilla zones have been fighting back against the armed suppression campaign of the enemy.
In areas under focused military operations and where enemy forces have occupied their communities, the peasant masses are adapting the correct methods of resisting which pit their collective will against the enemy’s armed might. Under the guidance of guerrilla front or subregional Party committees and NPA units, the revolutionary masses are standing up collectively by strengthening and activating their mass organizations and their local Party branches. Tireless propaganda and education must be carried out to oppose enemy disinformation and lies, using all possible and appropriate methods of spreading information including distributing newsletters, leaflets or flyers, broadcasting over radio, using cartoons or infographics, propagating audio files and so on.
Through painstaking propaganda and organizing work, the masses become politically active and imbued with the spirit of resistance. They fight back in various creative and militant ways such as collectively ignoring military summons, disobeying military orders to run errands, village-wide rallies of peasants armed with machetes demanding the release of arrested residents, overpowering the military’s voice in so-called dialogues by raising their urgent economic issues and demanding the military to answer for their rights abuses, tearing down enemy propaganda posters or streamers, exposing corruption in the use of funds for “community integration” and “surrender,” holding and coordinating fact-finding missions, and so on. They can hatch so many plans and reasons to frustrate the plans of the enemy to set up local paramilitary forces or build a detachment in or near the village.
The masses and the people’s army adopt creative and effective methods of communication and organization to avoid enemy detection such as secret methods of passing information, holding secret meetings within or outside the village, clandestine methods of collecting supplies for the people’s army, holding secret village assemblies, mounting antifeudal struggles that are not detected by the enemy, and using dual tactics so that socioeconomic projects of the local mass organizations can proceed even under the enemy’s noses.
Through tight coordination with the local mass organizations, Party branches, and local militias, units of the NPA are carrying out effective counterintelligence operations to identify and neutralize enemy spies and dismantle the enemy’s village intelligence network in order to help embolden the masses. The NPA units also detach small teams to carry out sniping and partisan operations against against enemy units or personnel that are detached from their main body to fetch water or take a bath in rivers, to buy supplies, to join cockfights and gambling, drinking sessions, and so on. In some regions, the masses are also being mobilized to help mount tactical offensives by using command-detonated explosives to cause damage against enemy troops and undermine their overall plans.
It cannot be discounted that some NPA units and guerrilla fronts suffered setbacks this year due to internal weaknesses and shortcomings. Some commands were unable to quickly adjust to the enemy’s heightened air and ground operations, and adopt and apply new guerrilla tactics and methods to frustrate and defeat the large-scale and sustained offensives of the enemy. A number of NPA commands have yet to master the proper deployment of forces and cadres to balance both military and political work and advance wave upon wave. This inability results in either overdispersal where small or undersized platoons cover an overly large area or self-constriction where units restrict their operations in limited areas. There is also the problem of prolonged concentration or overconcentration where large units are assembled together for extended periods to prepare for tactical offensives against hard targets or to provide security for overlong activities.
Some guerrilla base areas have also been adversely affected by the relentless operations of the enemy due to the incapacity of Party front committees and NPA units to guide and assist local branches and the masses to resist the enemy’s armed occupation of villages, psywar, “surrender” drive and all-out fascist suppression and counterrevolutionary violence. In areas where the Party fails to provide close leadership or when the NPA could not defend the masses and coordinate their collective response, the AFP’s RCSP operations, sustained campaign of intimidation, threats, killings and arrests, as well as superficial livelihood projects and other psywar activities cause the mass base to become disorganized and disunited, allowing the enemy to bring in destructive business operations that grab land and occupy the ancestral domain of minority people.
Through painstaking work and learning from positive advanced experiences, the setbacks in some guerrilla fronts and regions can be surmounted in due time.
The legal democratic forces are putting up an equally valiant resistance against the Duterte regime’s all-out campaign of suppression, attacks against civil and political rights and crackdown under de facto martial law rule.
In the cities, democratic and patriotic forces mobilized their forces despite severe restrictions imposed by the regime’s militarist lockdowns, to protest the enactment last July of the state terror law (ATL). Thousands mounted demonstrations braving threats of police action to denounce the ATL and Duterte’s de facto martial law rule. Arrests of rally participants did not prevent them from holding pickets and other forms of action.
In addition to the ATL, various issues sparked protest actions during the past months including the denial of franchise for ABS-CBN which was met with weeks of street protests participated in by broad segments of Philippine society.
Duterte’s failed response to the Covid-19 pandemic also stoked anger among the masses, especially the prolonged lockdown and the failure to provide the people with urgent and sufficient economic aid to feed their families. Over the past months, people expressed widespread outrage in social media over the regime’s refusal to conduct free mass testing as a way of detecting and controlling the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the brazen corruption in the DOH purchase of medical equipment, the refusal to punish police officers violating their own protocols, the severe punishment meted against curfew violators as well as jeepney driver protestors demanding their right to return to the roads, the lack of compensation and hazard pay for nurses, the oppressive travel restrictions, and the flip-flopping policies issued by the military managers assigned to handle the health crisis, among many others. The regime’s underfunding of plans to purchase Covid-19 vaccines are stirring up discontent among the people.
The slow and inadequate response of the Duterte regime to the disasters following the successive typhoons in November also infuriated the people. People who suffered losses during the calamities are starting to march to the streets to demand relief and subsidies as recompense for their losses.
The severe economic crisis is also rousing the people to demand immediate relief. Unions are raising the voices of workers in demanding wage increases, hazard pay for working during the pandemic, safety regulations at work, regularization and respect for their trade union rights. Students have mounted protests over the costly “blended” learning system and lack of state funding to ensure safe school environment for resumption of face-to-face classes amid the pandemic.
The Duterte regime’s tyranny and anticommunist attacks have also roused people’s anger and mass protest actions. Widespread indignation was expressed both here and abroad over extrajudicial killings, successive arrests, imprisonment and filing of trumped up criminal charges against labor organizers, peasant activists, human rights workers, media workers and others, as well as incessant red-tagging by Duterte and his generals of non-armed legal democratic organizations, and personalities who have expressed opinion critical of the regime.
The united front against Duterte’s tyranny and reign of terror continues to grow in strength. Professionals, small businessmen, church people, academics and other middle class sectors are increasingly being militated to lend their voices to protest extrajudicial killings, arrests, political persecution, red-tagging and other rights abuses perpetrated by state forces to silence dissent. They are also roused to protest the regime’s corruption, authoritarianism and monopolization of power, the regime’s puppetry to foreign masters and sell-off of the country’s sovereignty and other social ills. The conservative opposition has become more vocal in their criticism of the regime but are putting more effort in preparing for the 2022 elections rather than in helping generate mass protests, unlike during the 1983-86 period and the months prior to the ouster of the Estrada regime.
The sporadic protests over the past few months are a manifestation of the deep and widespread indignation of the broad masses of the Filipino people against the Duterte regime’s anti-people and militarist policies which have directly resulted in severe sufferings especially among the toiling masses. These broke out despite the militarist restrictions and all out attacks against the legal democratic forces which sought to intimidate them, disrupt and disorganize their work and draw away their strength. These protests are bound to further swell in the coming months as the broad masses of the people are made to shoulder the brunt of the economic crisis made worse by the thievery and corruption of the Duterte regime. The Filipino people’s demand for the ouster or resignation of Duterte continues to resound.
Strengthen the Party, lead the upsurge of resistance and carry forward the revolution
The deepening and worsening crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal under the US-Duterte fascist regime is generating conditions for the democratic and revolutionary resistance of the Filipino people to gather into a powerful storm, both in the sphere of street protests and in the realm of armed struggle.
The Communist Party of the Philippines must seize the opportunities presented by the situation to further grow in strength by leading the broad masses to greater heights of resistance. As the biggest organized revolutionary force and deeply rooted among the oppressed classes and across the middle sectors, the Party is in the best position to lead the struggle against the tyrannical regime and frustrate Duterte’s plan to perpetuate his dynasty in power.
The Party leads the people’s democratic revolution which aims to put an end to the semicolonial and semifeudal system. It exercises absolute leadership over the New People’s Army and wages revolutionary armed struggle to overthrow the class dictatorship of the big bourgeois compradors, the big landlord class and bureaucrat capitalists.
Guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the Party follows the strategic line of protracted people’s war of encircling the cities from the countryside. It builds the NPA from small to big, and from weak to strong through the phase of strategic defensive, until it reaches strategic parity with the enemy and becomes capable of carrying out strategic offensive to seize the cities, overthrow the reactionary state and replace it with the people’s democratic government.
The Party is deeply rooted among the broad masses. It wields the NPA as the most formidable expression of the basic alliance of workers and peasants. Party branches are built within every unit of the NPA to provide both strategic and tactical leadership. The NPA is the most important weapon of the Party which primarily draws strength from the peasantry by building their mass organization and organs of political power and waging agrarian revolution to destroy landlord power in the countryside.
The Party continues to build its strength by recruiting the advanced elements among workers, peasants, the semiproletariat, pettybourgeoisie and middle bourgeoisie. Branches of the Party are organized in rural communities, factories, school campuses, urban poor communities, offices and so on. It builds mass organizations and serves as core of the day-to-day struggles of the people. It builds the united front to draw support for the national democratic revolution. The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is the most concentrated form of united front that helps advance the revolutionary armed struggle.
To lead an upsurge in the people’s resistance, the Party must sharply grasp the objective conditions, self-critically assess its situation in order to overcome its weaknesses and shortcomings and comprehensively strengthen itself — ideologically, politically and organizationally. It is not enough that the situation favors the growth of the revolution. The Party and all revolutionary forces must tirelessly, courageously and daringly carry forward their tasks to arouse, organize and mobilize the masses no matter how arduous and great the adversity.
Ideological consolidation of the Party is the most crucial element in strengthening the Party and raising its ability to lead the masses.
As we carry out a life-and-death struggle against a brutal and blood-thirsty tyranny, Party cadres at all levels must steel themselves and be mentally prepared to face and overcome hardships and difficulties and spurn desires for comfort and convenience. Party cadres must be models of resilience as they face and overcome setbacks through critical analysis and careful planning and earnest discharging of their tasks.
They must always seek to raise the level of their work. They must learn to lead while fighting with the masses and the army. They must always be imbued with an offensive and fighting spirit, not allowing the enemy to weaken their resolve to march forward. They must be ready to resolutely fight the enemy and at all times oppose its evil schemes and plans. They must criticize and reject conservatism, passivity, laziness and complacency which breed bureaucratism and a “business as usual” style of work.
The Party and its cadres must always be mindful of the task of arousing and mobilizing the masses. They must aim to further deepen, widen and strengthen the Party’s roots among the masses. They must be indefatigable in carrying out mass work, propaganda, mass base building, consolidation and expansion. Party members and committees must at all times be conscious of the task of raising the masses’ political consciousness and determination and ability to fight. The Party must inspire new activists and leaders among the ranks of the masses. They must always heed the demands of the masses and be mindful of their well-being.
The Party must continue to assiduously implement its Three-Level Study Program. Ensure that candidate members undergo the Basic Course within their period of candidacy to grasp the basic ideological and political line of the Party. New full members must go through the Intermediate Course within a year of taking their oath in order to more firmly grasp the Party’s line and program in comparative study with the revolutionary experiences in China, Vietnam and other countries. Party cadres in leading committees at the regional level down to the district and section levels must collectively study the Advanced Course to more firmly grasp Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and apply it in their work.
They must carry out research, social investigation and class analysis within their scope of leadership in order to determine the problems and aspirations of the masses and deepen the Party’s grasp of the objective conditions of the semicolonial and semifeudal system.
The Party must firmly oppose revisionism of all types. As the Party and revolution grows in strength, the more that it is being attacked on all sides by the reactionaries, counterrevolutionaries, Trotskyites, the ultra-“Left” and pseudo-Maoists. Revisionists put to question the Party’s line and analysis of Philippine society, particularly the need to wage people’s democratic revolution and protracted people’s war to end the semicolonial and semifeudal system. These attacks aim to discredit the Party and weaken it internally and induce it to make mistakes. Party cadres must strengthen their grasp of anti-revisionism in order to strengthen their resolve and raise the level of their work.
All Party committees must conscientiously and self-critically study and assess their work. They must periodically sum-up their performance in order to carry their work to a higher level. All Party members must exercise criticism and self-criticism to identify and surmount their weaknesses and shortcomings, repudiate dogmatism (theory detached from practice) and empiricism (practice not guided by theory or not raised to the level of theory), subjectivism and all types of opportunism. They must build on their strengths and capabilities. They must always be resolute in consolidating and strengthening the Party.
All Party committees must carefully study and carry out the instructions of the Central Committee, particularly those being issued periodically by its Executive Committee.
The Party must train its cadres and NPA commanders in the task of leading units of the NPA at all levels. The need to wage widespread and intensive guerrilla warfare calls for the training of thousands who are capable at leading NPA platoons and directing the work of guerrilla fronts and subregions, and in mounting tactical offensives and in the mobilization of the peasant masses in their antifeudal struggles.
The Party must also strengthen itself organizationally. The Party must further expand its membership and surpass all previous levels. It must expand its current branches and build more and more branches in units of the people’s army, factories, in the urban slums, school campuses and colleges, offices, rural villages and communities. Helping build more branches in the adjacent areas must be part of the plan of every Party branch.
Despite the prevailing difficult circumstances, all Party committees and NPA commands must conduct their regular meetings to ensure unity. These meetings should be well-prepared, short and substantial. Special conferences must be held among cadres to share and exchange information and experiences. Information and assessment of advanced experiences in various lines of work must be shared to benefit other committees. There should be a system of communication between Party committees leading army units within the same areas of operation to keep everybody abreast of enemy movements.
The security of leading Party committees and cadres must be ensured. In the countryside, they must be models of guerrilla discipline in leading NPA units and enforcing policies to maintain secrecy and avoiding defensive battles with the enemy. The identity of leading cadres in villages must be strictly kept from the enemy. In the cities, Party cadres must strike deep roots among the workers and toiling masses and master secure methods of leadership. They must continue to strengthen their underground network of friends, allies and supporters. They must plan ahead and move early to avoid being forced to make hasty movements. They must always be ready to move to the countryside to avail of the security within the guerrilla zones and base areas.
The Party organization must continue to be strengthened along the principles of democratic centralism, that is, centralized leadership based on democracy, and democratic initiative under centralized leadership and guidance. All forms of bureaucratism and ultrademocracy must be repudiated.
All Party committees must dutifully submit regular (daily, weekly, monthly) and special reports and information to update their leading committee about the status of their work and seek guidance and policy instructions. Leading committees, on the other hand, must issue timely instructions, clarifications, policies and provide necessary or critical information to help guide the committees within their scope. A reliable and secure system of communication must be put into place to ensure the consistent flow of reports, information and guidelines. All this are important to ensure the health of democratic centralism.
The Party must strengthen itself politically. It must arouse, organize and mobilize the broad masses of the Filipino people in their numbers and build the broadest united front of all democratic and patriotic forces to overthrow the fascist regime and frustrate its plans of perpetuating itself in power.
It must be bold and daring in order to effectively lead the broad masses of the Filipino people in generating an upsurge in their resistance against the US-Duterte fascist regime, to surmount the enemy’s all-out counterrevolutionary war and carry forward the people’s war.
The Party must continue to strike deep and spread its roots among the masses. The masses are the key to the success of all the Party’s undertaking. The Party must always seek to arouse, organize and mobilize the broad masses by winning over the middle and by taking advantage of splits among the enemy to unite with temporary allies and isolate the worst and most rabid reactionaries. We must avoid sectarianism and commandism which means being able to mobilize only the small advanced section without drawing in the middle segment. On the other hand, we must avoid tailism, reformism and conservatism which means running behind the middle and failing to raise the revolutionary consciousness of the masses and their determination to fight.
Under the leadership of the Party, the broad masses of the Filipino people in both the cities and countryside must wage mass struggles to advance their welfare in the face of a severe economic crisis and intensifying oppression and exploitation. Their economic struggles are linked with the struggle to fight heightened suppression as they need to exercise their rights to voice out their grievances and manifest their indignation. Their economic and democratic struggles must be further linked to the broader revolutionary cause. Despite the intimidation, threats and all-out attacks of the tyrannical Duterte regime, the legal democratic forces must continue to fight back.
In the countryside, the Party must advance the antifeudal movement to arouse and mobilize the peasant masses and farmworkers in their millions. The conditions in the rural areas are fertile for advancing the antifeudal movement as the peasant masses suffer worsening forms of oppression and exploitation.
The maximum demand of the peasant antifeudal movement is free land distribution. At the minimum, the peasant masses demand lowering of land rent, elimination of usury, and fair prices for their produce and other agrarian reforms. The peasant masses also oppose the entry of mining operations, plantations, tourism, energy and other enterprises that cause their dislocation from their farms and ancestral lands. These struggles form part of the overall agrarian revolutionary struggle that is integrated with widespread and intensive guerrilla warfare and guerrilla front building under the leadership of the Party. In the process, the basic alliance for waging armed struggle is established and strengthened. The antifeudal united front is established by relying primarily on the poor and lower-middle peasants and farmworkers, winning over the other segments of the middle peasants, and neutralizing the rich peasants to isolate and destroy landlord power. Revolutionary organizations of peasants, youth, women, fisherfolk and national minorities are established. Organs of political power are built along the principles of united front.
Antifeudal struggles are linked with the antifascist and antiimperialist struggles and along the framework of building a national democratic united front. Other patriotic and democratic forces and non-peasants are aroused, while winning over the rich peasants, and cooperating with other unreliable allies against the common enemy.
In the cities, the Party must raise the level of the broad anti-imperialist and antifascist mass movement of workers, the urban semiproletariat, the students and youth, and other intellectuals and low-income professionals. The broad masses must wage widespread and sustained economic struggles which should be linked and raised to political struggles. These include mainly the trade union struggles of workers, the struggle for jobs and housing of the urban poor, the struggle against rising prices and costs of education, and the demand for free and quality education, health and other social services. These struggles assume a political character especially in the face of heightening repression that seek aim to prevent them from voicing out their grievances and advancing their demands.
In the face of the health and severe economic crisis, the broad oppressed masses must unite and mobilize for urgent socioeconomic reforms including immediate wage increases, financial and health aid, socioeconomic subsidies, suspension or reduction of land rent, debt cancellation, free mass testing, free Covid-19 hospitalization and inoculation and other measures that concern their health and economic well-being. They must mobilize their ranks and carry out collective militant actions to hold the Duterte regime responsible for their hardship and sufferings. Other patriotic and democratic forces, including the pettybourgeois intellectuals and professionals, must be mobilized to fight for their urgent democratic demands and support the demands of the toiling masses. Health workers must unite and raise their voices in their demand for salary increases, hazard pay, free testing, free vaccines and others. The students and youth must mobilize their ranks to oppose tuition increases and advance their demand for higher public subsidies to build health-safe schools and allow the return of face-to-face classes and to provide free equipment and access to expanded internet services to support online education.
The broad anti-fascist united front must continue to be strengthened and emboldened to fight. They must continue to demand the repeal of the ATL, and an end to the campaign of murder under the drug war sham, extrajudicial killings, arrests and imprisonment of activists, and call for the abolition of the NTF-ELCAC which is leading Duterte’s dirty war against the unarmed masses.
Using the ATL, the Duterte regime is pushing hard for the all-out illegalization of all forms of patriotic and democratic mass organizations and progressive party-list organizations which have been actively protesting the regime’s fascism, corruption and foreign subservience. The legal democratic forces must be prepared to do their utmost to defend their legal rights while adopting flexible and creative methods to continue conducting propaganda, organizing and mobilization to strengthen their capability to lead the masses. They must furthermore adopt measures to ensure their safety while waging relentless struggles. They can use methods of communication and coordination to avoid state surveillance.
The Party and revolutionary forces must act with dispatch to secure targets of state assassination. They can immediately be given refuge in a local NPA unit, or if not possible, moved to a different village or area within or outside the guerrilla front.
We must untiringly carry out propaganda work to expose the enemy’s lies, disinformation and psywar that aim to dishearten the people and weaken their resolve to wage revolution. Printed copies of Ang Bayan and statements of the Party, the NPA and NDF must be reproduced and distributed regularly. Make use of other methods of propagation using smartphones or cellphones to propagate AB and other revolutionary publications, statements, news articles, songs and audio recordings, videos and other revolutionary and progressive propaganda and educational materials.
Revolutionary forces must assert the line of just and lasting peace and expose and repudiate the fascist regime’s “surrender” negotiations. They must assert that the raging armed conflict in the country can only be resolved by putting an end to the oppressive and exploitative system. They must expose and denounce the Duterte regime for shutting the doors to peace negotiations as a way of addressing and resolving the roots of the armed conflict.
They must denounce the regime for resorting to a brutal dirty war marked by armed attacks against unarmed civilians and widespread gross abuses of human rights. They must denounce the Duterte regime for using the “war against terror” to render peace negotiations impossible.
The Party must continue to direct the New People’s Army to steadily advance the protracted people’s war across the country and frustrate the nationwide offensive of the fascist enemy. The enemy is superior militarily, but is inferior politically. It aims to preserve the oppressive and exploitative system and does not have the support of the masses. The Party must continue to raise the capability of the NPA to wage extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare on an ever widening and deepening mass base.
In waging people’s war, we must adeptly combine armed and political struggles, military work and mass work, developing guerrilla warfare and the mobilization of a broad people’s movement.
The Party and NPA must rouse the peasant masses in the guerrilla zones and base areas and provide close leadership in their active and tooth and nail resistance against the focused attacks of the enemy. They must closely guide the masses in the methods of collectively fighting back, using dual tactics of legal and illegal forms of action, mass confrontation and armed defense.
The Party must continue to firmly develop the antifeudal mass movement as the key in mobilizing and drawing the support and participation of the peasant masses in the armed struggle. The NPA can continue to grow in strength and succeed in surmounting the all-out offensives of the enemy if it can develop and carry forward a powerful antifeudal movement across the country. They must persevere in waging antifeudal struggles even in the areas under the enemy’s focused operations, as well as in expansion and recovery areas. The NPA must assist the masses in carrying out their campaigns and building their mass organizations and organs of political power.
We aim to raise the initiative and capability of the masses to wage political struggles and build their mass organizations and organs of political power. This, however, does not mean “liberating” the NPA from mass work to do only military work. The NPA must always be active in propaganda, education, cultural, medical and production work among the masses. The presence and participation of the NPA must always be palpable as they assist the masses in waging their struggles.
The Party must sustain political work within the NPA to raise the revolutionary consciousness and determination of its Red fighters. Units of the NPA must avoid prolonged periods that their fighters are detached from mass work which wanes their militance and lowers their political quality. It is the fulfillment of the Red fighter’s aspirations to be close to the masses and serve them in their daily needs and struggles. The advanced elements among the NPA’s Red fighters must be recruited as Party members. Party branches must be built and consolidated at every NPA company.
The Party must continue to lead the NPA in surmounting the problem of self-constriction through sustained expansion to new areas and recovery of old territories. When the enemy concentrates large numbers of its forces in one area, the NPA unit can shift its area of operation, while sustaining political work within the area encircled by the enemy and carrying out timely and appropriate armed strikes against the fascist troops. The Party should lead the NPA in building new guerrilla fronts and making the necessary reorganization of company-sized guerrilla fronts within subregions to ensure the proper balance of mass work and military work and the steady expansion and growth of the NPA and its territories.
The Party must strengthen the offensive spirit and posture of the NPA in guerrilla warfare. It must seize the initiative and determine the tempo of the war. It must mount tactical offensives to strike blows against the weak parts of the enemy to ensure victory, accumulate strength and ensure the steady growth of the NPA. The NPA must make the fascist enemy bleed from a thousand cuts and make it pay for all its crimes.
The Party must lead in instilling discipline in the NPA. By exercising strict discipline at all times, the NPA can avoid defensive battles. It must render ineffective the modern weaponry of the enemy by denying it precise targets.
The NPA must continue to master guerrilla tactics of concentration, dispersal and shifting to evade the enemy’s main attacking force, cause it to beat the air with large and wasteful operations, and then strike the weaker forces from its rear or flanks.
The Party must strengthen its leadership at the regional, subregional and guerrilla front levels, and at the different levels of command and units of the NPA. The Party must effectively lead the NPA in building the subregions as theaters of war to ensure the balance and coordination between guerrilla fronts, between political and military struggles, and between the interior areas and the plains.
Units of the NPA must raise their capability in the deployment of their forces in line with the force structure guidelines of the Party in order to ensure the correct balance of political work and military work, and in order to firmly maintain initiative and flexibility in the deployment of NPA units to carry forward guerrilla warfare. This is a crucial task of the Party in directing the people’s war.
We must give more attention to carrying out political and propaganda work among the enemy’s military, police and paramilitary forces. Majority of them come from the oppressed classes. Many among suffer oppression and abuses by the superior officers. They have close affinity with the toiling masses having relatives in the revolutionary mass organizations. They should be educated by exposing the rottenness of the ruling system which they are being made to serve and preserve. We must encourage them to understand the justness of the armed revolution being waged by their class brothers and sisters and call on them to stop participating in the fascist crimes against the people. The NPA must continue to exercise lenient treatment of enemy captives to show them that they have nothing to fear from surrendering in battle, and that they need not fight to their death when in battle with the NPA. We must systematize and raise the level of our proselytization work with the aim of increasing the numbers of enemy troops who leave their service and turn to revolution.
The Party must continue to forge close ties with anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces across the world. We must extend all forms of solidarity and help to all the oppressed people in their fight for freedom, democracy and socialism against the ruling reactionary state in their countries. At the same time, we must be able to generate sympathy and support for the struggle of the Filipino people against the fascist US-Duterte regime to cause its further international isolation.
As the Party leads and carries forward the people’s democratic revolution, it must be prepared to be confronted with greater and more vicious counterrevolutionary adversity. As the current executive of the ruling reactionary state, the US-Duterte regime is employing the entire state machinery in mounting a bloody campaign to destroy the Party, the New People’s Army and the people’s revolutionary forces. The insatiable tyrant Duterte is leading the counterrevolutionary war with the self-serving aim of aggrandizing more wealth and power and the perpetuation of his political dynasty. He is causing deep contradictions and fissures within the ruling system which generates ever favorable conditions for waging revolution.
Through the Party’s leadership, the people’s revolutionary struggles will surely intensify in the coming year. The grave socioeconomic conditions of the people amid the pandemic and successive calamities form a seething social volcano that is bound to erupt with great fury. Led by the Party, the broad masses are determined to resist the fascist onslaught, overthrow the US-Duterte regime and advance the people’s war.
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