The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), together with the rest of the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces, today celebrate with utmost revolutionary fervor and vigor the 53rd anniversary of the New People's Army. Let us celebrate our victories during the past year and the achievements accumulated over the past five decades of armed resistance.
We firmly salute all Red commanders and fighters of the NPA as well as members of such auxiliary and reserve forces as the people's militia units and self-defense units of the revolutionary mass organizations in the guerrilla fronts who are determinedly advancing the people's democratic revolution and the cause of socialism.
We take this occasion to honor all the heroes and martyrs of the Philippine revolution who gave all their lives to the cause of national and social liberation. We make special mention of Ka Menandro Villanueva and Ka Jorge Madlos, both national commanders of the NPA and leading cadres of the Party. Their selfless service and invaluable contributions to the revolution will always be remembered and will serve as inspiration for the new generation of revolutionary fighters.
The chronic crisis of the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal system continues to degrade and ruin the people's living conditions. The majority of the people suffer from the devastating effects of all-out neoliberal economic policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund and foreign creditors. Millions of people suffer from widespread unemployment, low wages and salaries, loss of income, rising prices, increasingly onerous taxes, lack of access to public health, education and other essential services, dumping of foreign surplus products, imperialist plunder of the country's oceans, forests, rivers and land, feudal exploitation, and bureaucratic corruption.
In its desperation to preserve and secure the interests of imperialist banks and monopoly companies and those of the ruling classes of big bourgeois compradors and big landlords, the neocolonial regime, with the support of the US government, has turned to brazen state terrorism and fascist attacks against the people to suppress their patriotic and democratic aspirations. These attacks continue to heighten and become brutal. At the same time, the Duterte puppet regime has further opened up the economy to 100% foreign ownership of public utilities and services and in effect has fully denationalized the Philippine economy in favor of foreign monopoly vultures.
The worsening domestic economic and political situation is tightly linked with the protracted crisis of stagnation of the global capitalist system. The Philippine economy continues to totter in the face of weak demand for mineral ores, fruits and its low value-added semimanufactures. Economic and political competition between the leading capitalist powers, the US and China, have exposed the grave crisis due to overproduction and overaccumulation of capital by the monopoly bourgeoisie and the high potential for war in East Asia due to the unlawful claim of China over more than 90% of the South China Sea. In the meantime, open military hostilities have erupted in Ukraine as a result of NATO expansion and the rise of fascism which has victimized the Russian nationality since 2014. The US and NATO have used its puppet regime in Ukraine as proxy to provoke Russia which has in turn decided to recognize the people's republics in the Donbass region and refer to its mutual defense treaties as major ground for what it calls special military operations to counter the blitzkrieg against Donbass and imminent threat to Russia's security.
Across the world, the proletariat and toiling people suffer from worsening conditions and are being roused to carry out anti-imperialist and democratic mass struggles and revolutionary actions. The imperialist powers themselves are the main cause of social turmoil and the danger of war on a world scale. The addition of two imperialist powers to the traditional ones has served to worsen the general crisis of the world capitalist system and intensify the inter-imperialist contradictions on top of the other major contradictions, such as those between capital and labor, between the imperialist powers and oppressed peoples and nations and between the imperialist powers and countries assertive of national independence and their socialist aspirations.
The broad masses of the Filipino people are being subjected to worsening forms of oppression and exploitation due to domestic and global factors. The sharp deterioration of the people's conditions, rampant violations of their democratic rights and heightened campaign of psywar and disinformation are thoroughly exposing the rotten core of the ruling system. These are generating favorable conditions to arouse, organize and mobilize the people in great numbers. As the crisis of the ruling system worsen, the progressive and positive class forces are increasingly receptive to revolutionary propaganda and action.
Conditions in the Philippine countryside are becoming even more fertile for waging protracted people's war. Millions of peasant families are increasingly impoverished by exploitative feudal rent exactions, unfair farm gate prices, low wages of farm workers, land-use conversion and land grabbing, as well as by oppressive military operations. The oppressive conditions of the peasant masses continue to drive them to resist and take up arms, thus, enabling the NPA to gain strength and persevere along the path of guerrilla warfare, in the face the enemy's six years of strategic offensives.
The Party and the NPA have successfully frustrated Duterte and his military generals in their repeated declarations of crushing the people's armed resistance. This is not without losses, of course, due to some internal weaknesses and shortcomings, particularly in terms of adjusting to the changed military situation borne out of the enemy's new arsenal of weapons and strategies which requires the NPA to adapt new guerrilla methods and tactics of fighting. The preservation and successes of the NPA in most guerrilla fronts, however, continue to prove the political superiority of the people's war against the enemy's war against the people.
Guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the Party, the NPA and all revolutionary forces must sharply and critically take stock of the situation and firmly grasp the urgent tasks that need to be carried out in order to gain strength and advance the revolution. All NPA fighters, Party cadres and activists must continue to steel themselves ideologically, politically and organizationally and prepare for even greater struggles in the coming period. We must anticipate the enemy to resort to even worse brutality and pour all resources in its counterrevolutionary drive to terrorize and cow the people. We must gather all our will and strength, be ready for greater sacrifices, and exert all efforts to foil the enemy's plans and carry forward the revolution to even greater heights.
Inter-imperialist armed conflicts will prolong the global capitalist crisis
The insoluble protracted crisis of the global capitalist system continues to worsen as monopoly capitalists contend with the problem of overproduction and concomitant rising levels of unsold inventories and continuing downslide of commodity prices and profit rates. At the same time, the billionaires, who comprise a fraction of 1% of the population, own as much as 50% of the world's property and financial assets, expose the gross inequality of income and the extreme degree of class exploitation. Competition between rival imperialist countries over markets and spheres of influence have long threatened to break out into open armed hostilities, especially as the US imperialists seek to push back against China and Russia as it seeks to enlarge its share in the market for oil and natural gas, military weapons, electronics, vehicles, and others key commodities.
After becoming sole superpower upon the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US gained more confidence in outsourcing manufacturing to China, increasing investments and trade, and transferring technology above the level of sweatshops. Unwittingly, it undermined its own manufacturing and employment of workers. It concentrated on the production of major items in the high tech sector and in the military-industrial complex both in order to engage in arms sales and to engage in costly wars of aggression such as in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and elsewhere. It would be as late as the second decade of this century when the US strategists realized that the US has continued to slide in it strategic decline and become worried about the economic and military rise of China and the stabilization of Russia's economy due to high oil income.
The US/NATO proxy war in Ukraine against Russia erupted after eight years of aggression by Ukrainian fascists against the Donbass region since the bloody coup d'etat of 2014 and months of building up military troops along the borders of the people's republics and heightened shelling targeting civilian infrastructure. This was preceded by decades of transgressions by the US and its NATO allies of the 1991 Minsk security agreements under which Russia was assured that its allies in the defunct Warsaw Pact will not be made members of the NATO. Over the past decades, the US and NATO have mounted wars of aggression and intervention to force countries in eastern and central Europe to join the NATO, have it station US military equipment, and host military bases and missile and anti-missile facilities to surround Russia along its borders.
The military counter-aggression by Russia into Ukraine was carried out as a “special military operation” to defend the predominantly Russian population of the Donbass region against years of oppressive policies and incessant artillery shelling by the US-supported Ukrainian government which escalated earlier this year. More strategically, it is a response to the aggressive push both by the US imperialists and its puppet regime and fascist allies in Ukraine since the US-sponsored coup in 2014, to have the country join the NATO which would have further entrenched and strengthened the military bases and surveillance posts which the US, the UK and NATO have installed closed to the Russian borders.
Russia aims to attain its counter-aggression objectives of “demilitarizing and denazifying” Ukraine and ending the war the soonest possible time through peace negotiations. However, it is now confronted with the prospect of a prolonged war in Ukraine as the US and its NATO allies pour tanks, jet fighters, missiles, bombs and other weapons and military and economic funding for Ukraine. The Ukrainian government has expressed willingness to end the war through dialogue and declare its neutrality but is being goaded by the US and NATO to prolong its armed resistance.
The proxy war in Ukraine validates again the fact that imperialism means war. After its ignominious loss and withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan last year after two decades of occupation, the US imperialists needed to ignite another war to keep its giant military machine moving. It is set on spending $13 billion to supply weapons to Ukraine, and deploy its troops to neighboring NATO countries.
While providing weapons and extending military aid to Ukraine, the US and its NATO allies have also imposed wide-ranging financial and trade sanctions against Russia. The US, however, can only count on the EU, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore to carry out these sanctions, reflecting the large divide among the imperialist powers, and allowing Russia to continue trade and economic transactions with the rest of the global capitalist world. The United Kingdom, the closest ally of the United States, said it will impose oil sanctions on Russia, but will start imposing it only at the end of the year.
Sanctions imposed by the US are also causing resentment among European countries which imports almost 50% of its natural gas supplies from Russia. Under US pressure, Germany, which imports as much as 65% of natural gas from Russia, canceled contracts for the operation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline which would have doubled the volume of natural gas delivered by Russia. The US objective is to force European countries to import more liquefied natural gas (LNG) and rely on the US to rebuild its energy infrastructure, including building more terminals and storage facilities. The US has been building up its LNG capacity since 2016 and is expected to be the world's biggest producer by the end of the year.
Sanctions on Russian oil are causing supply disruptions and are being taken advantaged of by monopoly oil companies, oil producing countries, financial investors and hedge funds who speculate on oil to push up the prices of crude and petroleum products. Saudi Arabia declared that there is no shortage in supply. The US, itself, which sources a large part of its oil imports from Russia, is rushing to buy oil from Venezuela, a country also under US sanctions.
Just a few months ago, imperialist agencies gleefully declared having achieved an “economic rebound” last year after the global economic collapse of 2020. However, the long shadow of the capitalist crisis is now quickly catching up. Rising prices of petroleum products are pushing up costs of production and is threatening to further prolong the crisis of the global capitalist system. A looming inflation shock and prospects of stagflation threaten to pull the capitalist centers back to a recession even as majority of countries have yet to recover from the economic lockdowns and trade disruptions which were imposed at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The global capitalist centers remain mired in crisis and are afflicted with problems of weak production and spiraling debt. For the past two years, the US government has been cobbling together a hodgepodge of neo-Keynesian spending packages now known as the Building a Better America program under which it plans to spend close to $3 trillion in the next few years in an attempt to stimulate domestic production. China is being wobbled by slowing demand, production slowdowns and huge amounts of unrepayable public and private debt. Global debt rose further to $303 trillion last year, after soaring in 2020, in a desperate attempt to bail out companies, pay for subsidies and stimulate production.
At the base of the global capitalist crisis is the insoluble problem of overproduction, oversupply of commodities and overaccumulation of capital by the dominant monopoly bourgeoisie born out of the capitalist competition and anarchy in production. There is an oversupply of steel, vehicles, apparel and footwear, oil, grains and other major commodities. The temporary shortage of electronic semiconductors last year started a rush to invest in new fabrication plants in the US, the Netherlands, China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and other countries, and is expected to cause an oversupply especially in the lower-end chips starting the end of the year.
Capitalist competition compels rivals to outproduce each other and invest more and more capital to machines, robots, artificial intelligence and newer technologies, and less on wages, leading to falling rates of profits. This is true even among the biggest capitalists, many of whom, are merely kept afloat by their inflated financials through speculations in the stock and financial market.
The US and other centers of global capitalism continue to resort to military Keynesianism to keep production going. Its defense budget ballooned to $776 billion in 2021 (despite having withdrawn from Afghanistan) and is set to mushroom upward to $782 billion in 2022. Germany has also declared plans to significantly raise defense spending to $113 billion, in line with a NATO agreement to spend 2% of its GDP for defense.
The fundamental capitalist contradiction between socialized production and private accumulation of surplus value continues to intensify, with wealth and capital becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few monopoly capitalists. Since 2020, the collective wealth of around 704 US billionaires grew by as much a $1.7 trillion and now own more wealth than 165 million Americans. In 2020 alone, the wealth of China's superrich grew by $1.5 trillion.
On the other hand, the mass of workers and toiling people suffer worsening forms of exploitation and oppression and drawn more and more into hunger, extreme poverty and grave social conditions. Hundreds of millions lost jobs and income. The income of more than 100 million people fell to below $1.90 a day, while more than 163 million now live at less than $5.50 a day.
The worsening socioeconomic conditions are generating widespread mass protests in different parts of the world to resist neoliberal economic measures, fascist restrictions and imperialist wars. The revolutionary proletariat must continue to strengthen themselves and take advantage of the favorable conditions to lead the democratic struggles of the oppressed classes and progressive sectors.
Conditions are becoming ever favorable for waging revolutionary armed resistance. Armed struggles continue to be waged in India, Manipur, West Papua, Turkey, Kurdistan, Syria, Myanmar, Colombia, Peru and other countries.
Imperialist policies have aggravated the crisis of the ruling system under the US-Duterte regime
The neoliberal economic measures, combined with the militarization of the state and policies of state terrorism under the US-Duterte regime over the past six years have aggravated the crisis of the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal system and have worsened the sufferings of the Filipino people.
Duterte's economic measures are in accordance with policy dictates of the US government, imperialist financial institutions and foreign credit rating agencies, as well as by the local American Chamber of Commerce and their local partners. These are geared towards expanding the interests of foreign big banks and corporations and local subservient classes of big bourgeois compradors, big landlords, as well as bureaucrat capitalists.
Foreign-imposed economic measures over the past few decades have caused the country's economy to stagnate and remain backward, agrarian and non-industrial. Production remains debt- and import-dependent and export-oriented. Limited industrial production is low-value added and involves mainly the assembly of imported components or packaging. Agriculture remains largely small-scale employing hand tools, and very limited use of industrial machinery.
The ruling system has become even more rotten and unable to address the needs of the Filipino people who suffer from widespread unemployment, grossly low wages, loss of income, landlessness and land grabbing, rising prices, lack of access to social services and other grave social ills.
The Duterte regime pulled the country deeper into crisis. Over the past six years, the country's debt doubled from less than ₱6 trillion in 2016 to more than ₱12 trillion last March, and is expected to rise further to ₱13.42 trillion by end of the year. Large-scale corruption, wasteful and anomalous infrastructure projects and military overspending has bankrupted the government resulting in record levels of deficit spending reaching a high of ₱1.67 trillion last year. Duterte and his officials stash their loot in Chinese banks and other foreign accounts.
The Duterte regime has allowed the imperialists to further tighten control and domination of the local economy through the approval of the amended Foreign Investments Act, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act and the Public Service Act which all circumvent the limits set by the 1987 Constitution against full foreign ownership and operation of businesses. These laws will now allow foreign capitalists to fully own and operate enterprises in all fields of investments, except defense, in public utilities such as distribution of electricity and water, and in smaller retail trade.
In compliance with the demands of foreign capitalists and their local big business partners, Duterte enacted the CREATE law that reduced corporate taxes by 5% (which equates to ₱600 billion in lost revenue over the next five years) as incentive to lure more foreign investments. He also recently lifted the moratorium on open-pit mining and other mining operations which will allow foreign mining firms to further plunder and extract mineral resources from the country's mountains, rivers, land and sea. Duterte also enacted the Rice Import Liberalization Law which resulted in the flooding of imported state-subsidized rice to the detriment of rice farmers who continue to suffer from low buying price of palay. Vegetable farmers and meat producers are also suffering from unfair competition amid rampant smuggling behind the veil of all-out liberalization. Duterte also allowed Chinese industrial fishing in and around Philippine territorial waters which have depleted the country's marine resources making life difficult for Filipino fisherfolk.
The anti-people and anti-poor policies of the Duterte regime exacerbated the conditions of the Filipino people. Under the TRAIN law, the people were made to shoulder onerous taxes on commodities and services. Faced with mounting debts and revenue losses due to tax cuts on big corporations, Duterte's officials are now pushing for more additional taxes on workers, peasants and other toiling people. Worse, Duterte and his minions used their power for self-aggrandizement. Corruption continued to worsen in the form of kickbacks and bribes in exchange for government favors in government contracts and white elephant projects, which together surpasses the wasteful spending under the 14-year Marcos dictatorship. Many of these bridges, coastal roads and land reclamation are unnecessary and take away the source of living of peasants and fisherfolk.
The Filipino people also suffered from Duterte's overspending on the military and police for the superfluous purchase of surplus military equipment from the US, and to raise above standards the salaries of AFP and PNP officers to buy their loyalty. Due to military overspending, public education and public health suffered from lack of funding and budgetary cuts. As a result, students, their parents and teachers suffer from classroom and teacher shortages, slave-level salaries, and lack of infrastructure for distance learning and facilities for the safe reopening of in-person classes. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the gross shortage of doctors, nurses and medical workers in public hospitals and high costs of laboratory tests and treatment. Until now, there is not enough government spending for public health, making the country ever vulnerable to resurgence of Covid-19 infections.
The broad masses of workers and peasants are overburdened by rising prices of fuel, food and other basic commodities and utilities while big comprador companies rake in gargantuan profits. Under Duterte, the broad masses of workers suffered from wage repression and wage cuts which could no longer cover the daily cost of living of the majority of Filipino families. The exploitation and oppression of workers are intensified through job contracting and other flexible labor arrangements. Millions of jobless people–the reserve army of labor–are desperately cramped in large shanty towns in cities. In the countryside, rampant land-use conversion and land grabbing by big landlords, mining companies, infrastructure projects and expansion of plantations forced the displacement of hundreds of thousands of peasants from their land. All in all, up to 70% of Filipinos precariously live on or below the poverty threshold, while 10% to 15% are in danger of falling into extreme penury and poverty.
To preserve its strategic interests and the ruling neocolonial system in the Philippines, US imperialism continues to strengthen the defense and security forces of its client state. It has turned the reactionary state into a giant military fortress that seeks to impose its fascist power to every part of the country. The US exercises virtual operational control of the AFP which zealously follow US counterinsurgency doctrine, despite the fact that the US has been defeated in its foreign counterinsurgency involvements in the past seven decades.
The US extends its influence and control of the AFP and funnels money and war matériel through the Mutual Defense Treaty, the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, and its Operation Pacific Eagle – Philippines. American troops, military equipment and weapons are permanently stationed in the Philippines. To enhance its coordination and operational control of the AFP, the US has conducted 1,300 bilateral military activities in the Philippines and docked their war ships at least 850 times over the past six years.
Under the direction, planning and funding of agents of the US Central Intelligence Agency and American military advisers, the Philippine reactionary state has resorted to brazen fascist policies, outright suppression of democracy and brutal attacks against the people in which the entire bureaucracy has been placed under the command of military generals and defense officials. They have succeeded to put counterinsurgency and anti-communist suppression in the center of state policy, under which they have enlarged the power of the military and police, and unleashed state security forces to carry out suppression of basic democratic rights and fundamental freedoms, targeting activists, critics and the political opposition.
The government bureaucracy was reorganized to place civilian state agencies under the control of the National Task Force-Elcac, which in fact is a civil-military junta that actually commands the entire government. In 2020, the law on state terrorism (the so-called Anti-Terrorism Law) was enacted giving the state even worse draconian powers in violation of fundamental rights and judicial processes.
Military and police abuses continue to run rampant across the country, both in the cities and rural areas. In the cities, military and police agents subject unionists, community organizers, youth and women activists, as well as human rights advocates, progressive religious leaders, teachers and health workers to surveillance, harassments, arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings. The situation is even worse in the countryside, although there is gross under-reporting of incidents of military abuses and violations of human rights.
The enemy has erased all distinction between combatants and civilians. It arbitrarily accuses people of being communists or communist-supporters and is using the ATL to justify gross violations of people's rights and freedoms. It lays siege on communities mobilizing large numbers of troops in night-time or early-morning raids on peasant homes such as in the Oplan Sauron in Negros, the massacre of Tumandok minorities in Capiz and the Bloody Sunday mass killing of activists in Southern Tagalog.
Across the country, entire villages or clusters of villages are placed under military rule which bring hardships on peasant communities. Units of the AFP erect detachments or turn civilian structures into barracks, deploy perimeter guards to monitor and control people's movements, set up checkpoints to control commerce (in the guise of choking the NPA's food supplies), prevent them from tending to their fields and swidden farms during military operations, and prohibit the masses from expanding their fields or raising production (on the grounds that their extra harvest will go the NPA). Fascist troops incessantly harass the peasant masses, arbitrarily accuse them of supporting the revolutionary movement, make them pose as “surrenderees”, subject them to surveillance, conduct night raids on their homes, force them to disaffiliate from their organizations, abduct or arrest people on false charges and murder peasant leaders and activists.
Despite repeatedly declaring that the NPA has been weakened and is set to be crushed before the end of Duterte's term, the AFP and PNP continues to increase its counterguerrilla combat forces. There are presently 166 combat battalions of Army, Air Force, Marines, Scout Rangers, Special Action Forces and other military and police units deployed against the NPA, 21 more than the previous year. With this number, the AFP can deploy 5 to 6 battalions against their priority or focused guerrilla subregional or front areas of the NPA, and deploy 2 to 3 in non-priority areas. The AFP and PNP have established joint commands and operations.
The AFP and PNP managed to increase its deployment of combat troops against the NPA by building new units and battalions and redeploying forces from the Moro areas after the surrender of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The AFP spent at least ₱900 million to set up a new division (the 11th ID) that is set to be deployed in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi which will be firmly under the operational control of the US military forces that permanently operate in the area. Several battalions of PNP special action forces were also built last year.
Almost 60% of these combat troops are concentrated in five of thirteen regions, namely, Southern Tagalog, Eastern Visayas, Southern Mindanao, Bicol and North Central Mindanao. There is a marked increase in the deployment of troops in Far South Mindanao, Negros, Southern Mindanao, Eastern Visayas, Cagayan Valley and Southern Tagalog. The AFP aims to conduct large-scale and focused military operations, coordinate its various branches and make full use of the whole range of its arsenal against the guerrilla forces of the NPA.
Duterte's budget for the military further increased to ₱221 billion this year from ₱217 billion last year. Despite questionable spending, the budget of the NTF-Elcac further increased to ₱17.5 billion (from ₱4.2 billion) although ₱10 billion is categorized as unallocated. Over the past six years, the AFP has received a total of $1.14 billion worth of military assistance in the form of Foreign Military Financing, military training programs and others. The Duterte regime has spent hundreds of billions of pesos to purchase attack and combat utility helicopters, jet fighters and attack aircraft, cannons and artillery systems, 500-lb and 250-lb bombs, rockets and missiles, drone systems, tanks, armored personnel carrier, electronic surveillance and communication equipment, rifles, bullets and so on. It has deployed GPS tracking systems, button-sized cameras to track guerrilla movement in forested areas, equipment for cellphone surveillance, and so on.
At the same time, the US continues to assist the AFP in building its cyberwarfare capabilities to enhance the AFP's internal communication systems for real-time monitoring of the battlefield to enhance command capability and mobilization of forces. It also continually trains AFP personnel in “controlling the information environment” through psyops and disinformation. It seeks to politically undermine the revolutionary movement by parading “surrenderees” and claiming that they were “deceived by promises of a better life,” by criminalizing revolutionary forces through lawfare, and making repeated news claims of receiving “information from civilians” against operating NPA units. It aims to project a positive image of the AFP by showcasing “livelihood” or “housing” projects which, in fact, do not address the deep roots of the masses' poverty and oppression. At the same time, the AFP trains its personnel to mount cyberattacks against the websites of the CPP and NDFP, and other websites that are critical of the Duterte regime.
While the rush to accumulate firepower with the assistance of the US enhances the AFP's killing power, it is, in fact, indicative of the growing strategic weakness of the ruling system. It shows that to preserve the ruling system, the neo-colonial state relies more and more on armed suppression and fascist methods, rather than political persuasion and support.
The push to achieve overwhelming military superiority, however, has the opposite effect of deepening its political inferiority. It further promotes the culture of fascist impunity and complete disregard for people's democratic rights and freedoms which exposes its barefaced defense of the interests of the ruling oppressive and exploitative classes and, thus, further deepens their isolation from the people. It undermines the principle of civilian supremacy over the military and cuts the space for democratic expression which in turn makes the path of revolutionary armed resistance more and more just and legitimate. The growing political and economic power of the military makes them defy accountability, feeds on corruption and patronage politics, and deepens demoralization among the foot soldiers being used as cannon-fodder. These strategic weaknesses are further undermined by efforts of imperialist China to deepen its influence within the Philippine military and nurture good relations with Philippine military officers through bribery or financial rewards.
Over the past six years, the reactionary state under Duterte has ruled through terror and state violence against the people, from the sham “war on drugs” to the counterrevolutionary war of suppression. State forces have committed thousands of crimes against the people including the massacre of civilians, the abduction and murder of activists, as well as unarmed revolutionaries, aerial bombing and shelling of civilian communities and so on. The number of political prisoners who are made to languish in jail for prolonged periods continue to rise.
The Filipino people abhor the Duterte regime for its corruption, subservience to foreign powers and tyrannical rule. It has become extremely isolated from the people. Duterte's lust for power and schemes to perpetuate his political dynasty to avoid prosecution in international or local courts for his crimes has heightened contradictions among rival factions of the big comprador-landlord ruling class. Plans to steal the elections for the Marcos-Duterte camp remain on the table but will be extremely difficult to execute without inciting widespread mass protests and endangering the political stability of the ruling system. Mass rallies being mobilized by the main political opposition party continue to grow large as it provides an avenue for the expression of the people's outrage against the fascist regime.
The US imperialists are busy managing the rival cliques and forging political deals to effect a peaceful political transition after the elections. Even now, there appears to be a growing compromise among the major cliques of the ruling classes to support a Robredo-Duterte tandem as a compromise tandem for the upcoming presidential and vice presidential elections. It remains to be seen whether the US imperialists can succeed in placating the rival factions of the ruling elite whose factional divide continues to deepen as they become more avaricious with the worsening crisis of the ruling system. At the same time, reports persist that Duterte retains the option of making Isko Moreno the president or more credibly a convenient excuse for slashing votes from Robredo in favor of Marcos.
There is certainty or at least high probability that Duterte will rig the vote count and use the remainder of his term in May and June to declare martial law under the pretext of fighting election disruption by the opposition and “communist terrorists' and make way for a “seamless transition” to his chosen successors. But the huge mass rallies being mobilized by the opposition, the churches and the legal democratic forces can still dissuade or prevent him from electoral fraud and martial or prepare the broad masses of the people for a gigantic rising like those of Edsa I and Edsa II.
Whatever the outcome of the May elections, the Filipino people must remain keenly aware that they will have to continue to push ahead with their struggles to take back their fundamental freedoms and rights, and push for their democratic aspirations. They will have to contend with and resist the counterinsurgency state and fight to break the military's stronghold of the entire government and demand an end the reign of impunity and tyranny.
Furthermore, the Filipino people will have to continue strengthening their organizations to press forward with the people's democratic revolution to overthrow imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism, end the oppressive and exploitative semicolonial and semifeudal system, smash the puppet state and build and strengthen the people's democratic government under the leadership of the proletariat.
Raising the NPA's capability to defend the people and fight the fascist enemy
Over the past six years, the NPA has successfully frustrated the enemy's brutal and large-scale strategic offensives and its declarations of ending the armed revolution before the end of term of the US-Duterte regime. It has preserved its forces by persevering along the path of protracted people's war and by resolutely advancing the Filipino people's struggle for genuine freedom and democracy.
The Red fighters and commanders of the NPA, and the Party cadres leading the NPA, have displayed great tenacity and determination to bear heavy sacrifices, surmount all adversity and limitations, and exert all efforts to defend the people against fascism and state terrorism. They are willing to shun all desires for comfort and convenience as they shoulder the difficult tasks in waging the people's war. They draw joy, strength and inspiration from the peasant masses who the NPA serves selflessly, and who, in turn, provides for the needs of the NPA.
In the past few years, some NPA units suffered serious setbacks in the face of the enemy's heightened fascist attacks using superior military force to besiege and awe the NPA's guerrilla platoons and the revolutionary masses. The errors, internal weaknesses, and shortcomings that incapacitated these units from effectively using guerrilla tactics of concentration, dispersal and shifting needed to be identified, criticized and rectified. A few of these units have been saddled with various problems including overconcentration and self-constriction, weakness in striking the correct balance in military and political work, leading to their inability to strengthen and expand the mass base and area of operation. Some units have been afflicted with conservatism and passivity or a mountain-stronghold mentality. In some guerrilla fronts, the enemy was able to concentrate its forces on a limited area and apply brutal tactics of suppression against the masses to build blockhouses, compel NPA units to retreat to rough terrain where supply and flow of information is difficult, and force them into a purely military situation. It is crucial for all NPA units to self-critically assess their situation, identify and overcome their weaknesses and shortcomings and surmount their limitations, in order to steadily advance from one level to another.
Despite experiencing some setbacks, the NPA remains ever determined to advance the Filipino people's revolutionary armed struggle. The determination of the NPA Red fighters and the masses to resist is based on the correctness and justness of waging armed resistance. To the Filipino people, the necessity of armed struggle is further made indisputable by the worsening imperialist and feudal oppression, bureaucrat capitalist corruption, intensifying class exploitation by big landlords and big bourgeois compradors against workers and peasants, and increasingly brutal fascist terrorism under the puppet Duterte regime. The ruling classes of exploiters and oppressors will continue to suppress the people's aspirations for genuine national sovereignty and democracy.
The setbacks suffered by some NPA units reaffirm the necessity of waging extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare on an ever widening and deepening mass base. This is also validated by the positive experience of the greater majority of NPA units which continue to grow in strength as they combine and strike the correct balance between military work and mass work (or military and political tasks), expansion and consolidation, building vertical units based on the proportionate horizontal spread of army units and mass base, and so on. They have been able to expand the scope of guerrilla fronts or recover lost areas, or build new guerrilla fronts as new NPA platoons are built. This is done while consolidating and strengthening the old areas by further expanding the mass organizations, building militia units, and consolidating the organs of political power to continue and raise the level of agrarian revolution and wage guerrilla warfare to defend the masses against the enemy's fascist attacks.
The NPA must steel itself and prepare for more difficult struggle as we carry forward the protracted people's war to the next level. The NPA must continue to draw lessons from its history, further deepen our understanding of waging people's war, and sum-up our practice using Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the Party's constitution and program of action as theoretical guides.
We must learn from the advanced experiences of some NPA commands which have successfully repelled the enemy's all-out attacks. Some NPA units have successfully mastered tactics of counter-encirclement through dispersal and quick movement of smaller units to penetrate through the narrow corridor of enemy columns in order to strike at the enemy's flanks and rear. Other NPA guerrilla fronts have successfully forced the enemy to overstretch its forces by expanding the NPA's areas of operation to cover 6-10 towns while maintaining close leadership of the masses and mounting armed actions across the breadth of its territory.
Units of the NPA are strictly observing military discipline and security policies, and further developing guerrilla methods of secrecy in maneuvering and encampment, in order to render ineffective the enemy's use of drones, satellite trackers, and electronic signals, combined with ground intelligence forces, for surveillance and target acquisition; and thus, deny the enemy of an opportunity to use their aerial assets to drop bombs and strafing.
In areas within the enemy's focus and villages under military occupation, the NPA and the masses are successfully standing firm, parrying the enemy's attacks, mounting counter-attacks and defending themselves. Inspired by the slogan “Don't be cowed into silence!,” the masses are fighting back through armed and unarmed resistance. They have driven away military detachments from their communities. Directly or indirectly, they have refused the enemy's orders to gather firewood and water, or buy supplies, or to render work in the enemy's camp. They refuse to allow the enemy to secretly arrest anyone or interrogate them one by one. They paint slogans around their village condemning the presence and abuses of the enemy. Military detachments are torched or destroyed when the fascist troops leave even temporarily to carry out operations.
In support of the masses' resistance against the enemy's fascist onslaught, units of the NPA carry out widespread attritive actions one after another even within the thick of the enemy's deployment through sniping, grenade or molotov throwing, and other harassment operations. These are combined with basic tactical offensives (ambushes or raids) from the enemy's rear or flanks against its weak and isolated units.
There is a public clamor for the revival of urban or rural-based units that can strike at the weak points of the enemy units and elements based in towns and cities, such as local tyrants and other bad elements and police units culpable for red-tagging, abducting, torturing and killing people with impunity. The purpose is not only to carry out punitive actions or sabotage but to compel the enemy to be on the defensive wherever possible and to reduce the number of forces deployed against the guerrilla fronts.
As regards the high-flying weapons of the enemy, such drones, attack helicopters and other aircraft, the NPA must draw lessons and inspiration from how the Vietnamese revolutionaries defeated US airpower by bringing down more than a thousand US aircraft as early as 1969 with the use of portable surface-to-air missiles in the hands of the people and their fighters; and how similarly the Afghan mujahideens succeeded in defeating the Soviet social-imperialists using US-supplied Stinger missiles. In the last two decades, the Afghan Talibans have proven that they could defeat the superior air power of the US imperialists with firearms and explosive that could be aimed against the enemy from ground to air, far more accurately than the bombs dropped by airplane and even by the fire from attack helicopters.
To be able to defeat the enemy with the available weapons in the course of the people's war, the NPA must continue to strengthen and expand its mass base by waging agrarian revolution to implement the Party's minimum and maximum program for land reform. Wherever the masses and the NPA wage anti-feudal resistance, the roots of the revolution run deep and wide and become impossible to pull out. Thus, wherever the NPA is, it must address the urgent problems and needs of the people by organizing and mobilizing them to raise their demand for the lowering of land rent, elimination of usury, raising wages of farm workers, and for higher farmgate prices for their produce; and to fight land grabbing by big mining companies, plantations, and ecotourism, energy and wasteful infrastructure projects. The NPA also support the peasant masses in their struggle against the policy of import liberalization of rice and other agricultural products. They must also provide assistance to the masses in disaster-stricken areas by helping them repair their farms and help in pressing for the cancellation of debt and other urgent demands.
In line with the Party's antifeudal united front policy, the NPA relies on the poor peasants and farm workers, wins over the middle peasants, neutralizes the rich peasants and the enlightened landlords and directs the main blow against the big and despotic landlords. The NPA also helps the peasant masses raise their income by expanding and raising production through work collectives and different forms of cooperation, the introduction of scientific farming techniques, combined with traditional methods and by encouraging side occupation including semiprocessing of their produce.
In addition to building peasant associations, the NPA helps build the mass organizations of women, the youth, children and cultural workers, in order to serve as the foundation for building the village revolutionary committees or organs of political power. Officers of the village revolutionary committee are elected in community assemblies wherever possible, and serve as the basic unit of the people's democratic government. It is tasked to implement the laws and policies of the people's democratic government and its program for the local economy, education and culture, public health and defense and security.
Through the past 53 years of waging people's war, the NPA has accumulated countless achievements and victories in waging protracted people's war in an archipelagic country. The NPA operates in guerrilla fronts spread across the country in 13 different regions and enjoys the support of millions of people. The embryo of the people's democratic government exists in thousands upon thousands of villages. Wherever it is established, people exercise and enjoy democracy and take an active part in political, economic, social, cultural and security affairs.
The people's war in the Philippines is currently in the middle-phase of the strategic defensive stage with a clear view towards advancing to and completing the advanced phase through the multiplication of platoons and companies. The NPA aims to fulfill the requirements of the advanced phase by building more company-sized guerrilla fronts and waging extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare on an ever widening and deepening mass base. Only thus can we look forward to the multiplication of companies and battalions for regular mobile warfare in the strategic stalemate and the deployment of battalions and regiments for the strategic offensive.
Conditions for waging protracted people's war in the Philippines are ever favorable in the face of the seething economic and political crisis of the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal system. Workers, peasants, the pettybourgeois intellectuals and other oppressed classes and sectors suffer from increasingly intolerable conditions and are roused to wage all forms of struggle, including armed resistance. The brazen fascist attacks of the reactionary state against people's rights and freedoms are making it extremely clear to them that there is no other path towards national liberation and democracy other than waging revolutionary armed struggle.
The worsening crisis of the ruling system, combined with heightening state terrorism, is pushing more and more people to the road of armed struggle. The NPA must take advantage of the exceedingly favorable situation to accelerate its growth and expansion, and accumulate greater victories in the coming years.
Tasks to raise the fighting capability of the NPA and the masses
The NPA has shown great resilience in fighting the enemy. Under the leadership of the Party, it has successfully frustrated the enemy's six years of strategic offensives and plans to crush the armed revolution.
Beyond preserving its forces, the NPA must aim to boldly advance and gain strength in the coming years while resolutely fighting the enemy. It must continue to set its sights on fulfilling the task of completing the requirements of the advanced phase of the strategic defensive. We must advance the people's war by assiduously combining its three components of armed struggle, agrarian revolution and mass base building.
The NPA must quickly adapt to the tactics and strategy of the enemy and surmount all obstacles to carry forward the people's war. We must creatively enhance our tactics in guerrilla warfare in order to wage extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare on an ever widening and deepening mass base. As always, the key is to arouse the broad masses of the Filipino people in order for them to rise up in great numbers against the fascist tyranny.
In the coming year or two, we must carry out some specific tasks to raise the fighting capacity of the NPA and the masses in order to steadily advance of the revolution.
1) Strengthen the Party's leadership of the NPA.
The NPA is under the absolute leadership of the Party. We must make sure that Party branches and Party committees are built at all levels of the NPA in order to guide all the actions of Red fighters and commanders. It ensures that politics is always in command. Party committees must lead the NPA in planning, assessments and self-criticism. The Party must tirelessly raise the political and ideological consciousness of NPA Red commanders and fighters by relentlessly conducting propaganda and education among their ranks.
Party committees must conscientiously develop and recruit candidate members from the ranks of the politically advanced Red fighters and ensure that they undergo the Party courses to deepen their grasp of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and its practical application to waging people's war. Party members in the NPA must serve as models of discipline and determination for the Red fighters and the masses. The people's democratic revolution is invincible, so long as the Party keeps on raising the revolutionary education, training and deployment of Party cadres and members, commanders and fighters of the NPA and auxiliary forces, the activists of the revolutionary mass organizations and the officers and personnel of the people's democratic government.
2) Vigorously wage armed struggle and resist the enemy's brutal war of suppression.
The NPA must indefatigably defend the masses against the fascist onslaughts of the AFP and PNP and by mounting widespread tactical offensives. It must punish the fascists for their crimes against the people.
The NPA must carry out intensive and widespread attritive actions within areas where enemy forces are thickly deployed, and mount solid basic tactical offensives from the enemy's flanks and rear to annihilate enemy units and seize its weapons.
The NPA must actively mobilize its militia units to gather intelligence to draw a complete map of the enemy's positions and forge a plan to disrupt and break up the enemy's plans by repeatedly hitting at its positions. The enemy's intelligence network must be smashed. The NPA can carry out back-to-back inter-front or inter-subregional tactical offensives. It must make the enemy bleed from a thousand cuts and deliver periodic blows to its head.
The NPA must raise its capability to launch special tactical offensives along the enemy's main lines of transportation and communications. It can aim to disable the enemy's communication system, target the enemy's air assets and punish the fascist criminal bosses. It must effectively sabotage the capabilities of the enemy wherever possible and carry out punitive measures against vulnerable enemy units and elements in order to render justice to their victims and compel the enemy to go on the defensive wherever possible and reduce the number of enemy forces arrayed against the guerrilla fronts.
The NPA must dutifully avoid defensives, setbacks or losses. It must closely monitor the enemy's movement and continue to master secret or clandestine methods in guerrilla maneuvers. The NPA must forgo convenience for security, like choosing to take the long and arduous route, rather than pass through a possible enemy ambush site. All NPA units must strictly observe the policies and lessons learned to counter the enemy's campaign of aerial bombing and strafing and artillery shelling; and deny the enemy of a precise target. Render ineffective the enemy's drones and other methods of electronic and ground surveillance by avoiding at all times and at all costs, giving the enemy any sign of one's location (smoke, light and electronic signals).
We must vigorously expose and oppose the enemy's brutal war in the countryside. We must make sure to report each and every case of rights military and police abuses against the masses, every case of artillery shelling and aerial bombing that terrorize civilian communities, damage their livelihood and destroy the environment. We must exert all effort to expose all violations of international humanitarian law and bring all cases of abuse to the international and local human rights community and advocates of peace.
3) Strengthen the New People's Army.
The NPA must be strengthened militarily and politically. There must be a clear plan to recruit thousands upon thousands of Red fighters from among the peasant masses, especially the youth. There must also be an actionable plan to recruit new Red fighters from among the workers and petty bourgeois intellectuals. Local Party branches and higher committees, both in the rural areas and cities, must have concrete targets and methods for deploying its members and mass base to the NPA.
The NPA must ensure conducting politico-military training of its commanders and fighters to enable them to lead NPA units in both mass work and military work. Every NPA fighter must keep to heart the Three Main Rules of Discipline and Eight Points of Attention, as well as the specific policies and points of discipline to maintain the security of NPA units while encamped, in bivouac, in mass work or in mounting tactical offensives.
The NPA must build itself both vertically and horizontally, striking the correct balance between the two. We must aim to build and combine the three types of NPA formations in every guerrilla front, subregion and region: the NPA platoons for mass work (armed propaganda units); the guerrilla platoons to undersized company guerrilla units at the subregional and regional level that serve as centers-of-gravity of guerrilla warfare in their area, and which also bear the basic elements of mobile guerrilla warfare; and the local guerrilla militia units and self-defense militia units of mass organizations.
The NPA must build its armed strength and develop appropriate weapons to fight the enemy. The NPA primarily relies on seizing rifles and other weapons from the enemy. At the same time, it combines the use of high-powered weapons with indigenous or low-powered weapons, including home-made hand guns, as well as develops command-detonated and hand-held explosives or grenades from available materials. These weapons must be made in large numbers and be deployed widely among the Red fighters and militia units. The NPA must train to use its rifles or develop weapons against enemy aircraft.
We must raise the level of cultural activity within the NPA and the NPA's cultural work among the masses. Red fighters and commanders of the NPA must be taught and encouraged to express their experiences, the oppression and aspirations of the masses, contempt for the enemy and revolutionary ideas in various creative forms which in turn can help raise and strengthen the revolutionary will of their fellow fighters and the masses. We must vigorously reject the cultural influences of the ruling system that poison the minds of the youth.
4) Broaden and deepen the NPA mass base in the guerrilla fronts.
The masses are the source of strength of the NPA. We must aim to strengthen the ties that bind the NPA and the masses. We must aim to mobilize the masses in their numbers.
The NPA, together with the peasant masses, must wage widespread agrarian revolutionary struggles at all times. The mass struggles against all forms of feudal oppression must be combined with their struggles against fascism and military abuses.
The NPA and all revolutionary forces must work hard to carry out widespread propaganda, agitation, mobilization of the masses. It must carry out all forms of propaganda to effectively reach the people in their areas of operation.
It must ensure the distribution of Ang Bayan, other revolutionary publications, and statements of the CPP, NPA and NDFP at the national and regional level to clarify the views of the revolutionary movement on the outstanding issues confronting the country and people in the regions.
Local NPA units must produce and distribute leaflets and local newsletters to present analysis of local issues and problems of the people to raise their consciousness, militancy and determination to fight for their interests. Thus, they must always conduct social investigation into the pressing problems of the masses in their villages and towns. They can produce local radio or video programs. They can link up with the youth and the masses in their areas through social media or clandestine methods of electronic communications. It must exert efforts to work with media outfits to serve as platform for reaching out to the people.
Local militia units and mass organizations must carry out propaganda in their villages and town centers. Among others, they can mount operations to paint slogans or paste posters on walls to express their grievances against military abuses in their areas or to raise their economic demands. Local chapters of basic mass organization can issue statements and distribute it among the residents.
The NPA must firmly and resolutely expose and denounce the lies and disinformation being promoted by the enemy. We must not allow the enemy to get away with even a single lie. We must use all means to gather all facts and proof to expose the truth.
The units of the NPA must conduct campaigns for public health, including continuing education about the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as other diseases endemic in the local area. They must mount mass clinics and other forms of rendering public health service to the masses.
We must vigorously develop a revolutionary cultural movement among the masses by promoting revolutionary songs, poems and other works of art. We must organize local chorals or dance troupes of youth and children, and mount inter-village or inter-town festivals to promote the local revolutionary culture.
The NPA must also teach the masses the use of tactics to turn the reactionary law against their oppressors. They can make use of various forms of organization and mobilization to draw the biggest participation of a community, and take advantage of splits among the enemy.
5) Generate widespread support from the cities for the revolutionary armed struggle in the countryside.
The Party and the NPA must arouse, organize and mobilize the broad masses in the cities to support and join the revolutionary armed struggle in the countryside.
There must be extra effort to carry out propaganda and education among the masses in the cities who are daily exposed to the lies of the enemy through mass media and social media. We must show the inextricable link between the problems of workers and the unemployed, students, urban poor, professionals, ordinary employees and other oppressed sectors with the problems of the peasant masses in the countryside.
We must encourage the masses in the cities to wage militant collective struggle to defend their rights and welfare, fight political repression under the fascist regime, and resist imperialist domination and military intervention. We must issue timely slogans and calls to urge the masses to mount protest actions in their factories and workplaces, in school campuses and communities, and to take to the streets and demonstrate in big numbers to denounce the oppressive economic policies, mendicancy of the ruling regime, all-out liberalization, tax burdens, low wages and low salaries, skyrocketing of prices of food and fuel, tuition increases, and rising cost of other services.
We must steadfastly build Party branches and committees, and the underground revolutionary sectoral organizations allied with the NDFP in the cities. These organizations must perform their role in propaganda and education to raise the revolutionary consciousness of the people in the cities. They must expose and oppose the “terrorist designation” against the CPP which the US imperialists uses as pretext for military intervention. They are tasked to encourage the masses in the cities to join the NPA in the countryside, and help generate political and material support for the revolutionary armed struggle.
They can serve to secure activists and mass leaders being subjected to fascist persecution or threats of arrest or murder, and facilitate their transfer to the countryside to avail of the protection of the NPA.
6) We must systematically proselytize among the enemy's ranks.
We must effectively carry out propaganda addressed specifically to the rank and file foot soldiers of the enemy who are usually used as cannon fodder in the enemy's brutal counterinsurgency operations. We must urge those who came from the ranks of the oppressed and exploited classes to leave the military and police and instead join their class brothers and sisters in fighting for their just cause. We must call on them to expose their knowledge of the crimes, corruption and high-living of the officers of the AFP.
We must call on the youth to shun the reactionary armed forces and police, no matter the promises of high salaries, by exposing the AFP and PNP as enemies of the people and exposing the crimes perpetrated by the military and police forces against the people. But some of us may be allowed to do what can be done to secretly win over relatives who are in military academies or are already officers of the reactionary armed forces with due care and prudence.
The CPP and the NPA, as well as other revolutionary mass organizations, have had an outstanding record of being able to win over enemy officers, cadets and enlisted personnel to the revolutionary side. The disintegration of the enemy forces is complementary to the annihilation of enemy forces in the battlefield and is accomplished by persuasive methods outside of the battlefield, acceptance of enemy surrenders and lenient treatment to those who surrender.
7) Aggressively generate international support for the New People's Army and the Philippine revolution.
We must heighten our efforts to inform the migrant Filipinos and peoples around the world about the justness of the revolutionary armed struggle in the country as a struggle for liberation from imperialist domination and for genuine democracy. We must expose the role of US imperialism in the war of suppression and demand ending US military support for the neocolonial fascist state.
We must win international support under the principle of proletarian internationalism, through anti-imperialist solidarity work, through partnerships of Filipino revolutionary organizations with their counterparts abroad and through proto-diplomatic and diplomatic relations with governments that are anti-imperialist and assertive of national independence and socialist programs or aspirations.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines directs all its forces to carry forward the above tasks with full vigor and all-out energy in order to steadily carry forward the people's war and frustrate the enemy's desperate effort to stop the growth of the NPA and the revolutionary forces.
Given the favorable social conditions, the Party must put itself in a position to lead the Filipino people in their millions in mass upheavals against worsening forms of oppression and imperialist domination. It must lead the NPA and the masses in intensifying the revolutionary armed struggle and attain unprecedented victories and even greater advances in the coming years.
Persevere and carry forward the people's war!
Long live the people's democratic revolution!
Long live the New People's Army!
Long live the Communist Party of the Philippines!
Long live the Filipino proletariat and people!