A victorious decade of People’s War in Mindanao
As we celebrate this auspicious day, our deepest sympathies and concern go out to the families and friends of the victims of typhoons Sendong and Pablo. In line with this, we call upon all revolutionary forces in the island to be modest and simple yet meaningful and militant in their celebrations of the Party’s 44th anniversary. To help facilitate relief and retrieval operations, NDFP-Mindanao has declared a 29 day ceasefire in all areas affected by Typhoon Pablo. We also call on the people to unite and join in the collective and long term rehabilitation of the people’s livelihood and continue to help preserve and protect the environment.
In the face of brutal and relentless attacks by the Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) and Oplan Bayanihan (OPB) of the local ruling class and its imperialist master, the revolutionary struggle of the people of Mindanao has boldly and heroically advanced in the last decade because of the determined and correct leadership of the Communist Party and the wide and strong support and participation of the people.
Never daunted nor defeated, we have daringly crossed difficulties and sacrifices. From a trying first decade of launching the Second Great Rectification Movement (SGRM), the people’s war has rapidly accelerated over the last ten years (2002-2012). The Party’s correct leadership of the people’s war has been decisive in frustrating OBL 1 and 2, and initially thwarting OPB. We continue to take the initiative, despite the NPA being the priority focus of the AFP, amid the declining Moro armed resistance.
The offensive posture in both the military and political arena has been instilled among our forces. We have concretely shown this in our determination and daringness to frustrate the brutal OBL and OPB of the reactionary regime, so the people’s war may advance. Overall, we have overcome the lingering conservative tendencies among our ranks, as we continued with our offensive posture especially in our tactical offensives.
Establishing revolutionary bases and the revolutionary mass movement
We have rapidly expanded and strengthened our guerrilla bases in the entire island. More municipalities have been covered from the more than 200 towns originally listed the previous year. Hundreds of barrios have also been added to the 2000 barrios of the same period. Twenty-five percent (25%) of these have been consolidated from the level of barrio Organizing Committee (OC) to the level of Balangay. A good number of organs of political power (OPP) at the barrio, section and town levels have also been established. The hundreds of thousands organized under the revolutionary mass organizations continue to expand. They have undergone political education and they carry the national democratic political line with a socialist perspective. There are regions, however, that need to march in step in expanding and strengthening their guerrilla bases, while the more advanced regions must consolidate their bases further as they complete the process of covering their area of responsibility.
Agrarian revolution (agrev), which is the main content of the people’s democratic revolution as well as the key link to our mass work in the countryside, has been waged repeatedly in numerous barrios of the island. Hundreds of thousands of farmers and their families have benefited from the different forms and levels of anti-feudal struggles and other mass campaigns.
Through agrev, we have successfully decreased rent on land, farm animals and farm implements in many areas. We have also raised the wages of agri-workers from P250-P300. A relatively good number of areas have also benefited from an increase in the price of their farm produce, while there is a gradual reduction of the various forms of exploitative practices by traders and usurers. We have also reduced the prices of basic commodities inside our base areas. Our mass campaigns directly blocking the expansion of the giant imperialist plantations of Dole-Stanfilco, Del Monte, Sumifru and others have gain ground.
Cooperativization such as labor exchange, communal farms, consumers and marketing cooperatives continue to be developed and practiced in the peasant associations. We are developing self-reliant war economies in our relatively strong guerrilla bases. We have also established basic social services like education, health, culture and many more in our base areas.
All of these are slowly but surely building up the peasants’ economic and political power on one hand while weakening the power of the landlords, bourgeois compradors and the imperialists on the other hand. But on the whole, there is still a need to wage agrarian revolution on a deeper, wider scale and thus advance the people’s protracted war.
In general, we have firmly grasped the correct coordination between the armed struggle as the main form and the parliamentary struggle, as the secondary form. We have correctly combined the legal and illegal forms of struggle. This has greatly helped in exposing and fighting enemy attacks against our agrarian revolution and the anti-imperialist mass movement. While we advocate and struggle for the legitimate demands of the people, it is imperative that we sharpen our political line, especially in establishing the links and interrelationships between the anti-imperialist, anti-fascist and anti-feudal lines. The correct combination of the legal/open with the illegal/underground forms have helped in widening and strengthening our bases, and in sustaining our cultural movement and social services.
We have strengthened the antifascist and anti-imperialist mass movement. In numerous instances, abuses perpetrated by the operating troops in the countryside have been openly protested and condemned. More and more people have stood up and marched on the streets to denounce and condemn the long list of human rights violations committed by the regime’s armed forces such as the extra judicial killing of Fr. Pops Tentorio, Jimmy Liguyon, Rudy and Roderick Dejos, Eliezer Boy Billanes, Jenesis Ambason, Margarito Cabal, the massacre of the Cafeon family and many other bloody incidents. We have also waged a series of multisectoral protests against the direct intervention of US troops in Mindanao and in the entire country.
The movement against imperialist-owned mines and plantations has gained ground. These imperialist industries have caused irreparable damage to the environment, displaced and exploited the Lumads, peasants and workers. Thus, the NPA has conducted punitive measures against these highly destructive imperialist mining and agri-business companies.
As a result of a wider and more dynamic mass movement in the urban areas and a resurgence of the youth & student movement, many young activists have decided to join the NPA. Apart from the relatively marginal increase in numbers, greater strides must be taken to widen and strengthen our forces in the white area, particularly among the ranks of the workers and the student youth in order to jumpstart an upsurge in the open democratic mass movement.
Our Guerrilla Warfare in the island
Guerrilla warfare has become stronger and more widespread based on an ever widening and deepening mass base in the entire island and within the regions; this in effect has thwarted the enemy’s scheme to focus its operations in only a few areas. In 2007, for instance, the Eastmincom was forced to shift its attack from Northeast Mindanao to Southern Mindanao because of the bigger, more frequent tactical offensives in the said region. The North Central, FarSouth and West Mindanao Regions also launched tactical offensives, so that the enemy’s troops were not limited to SMR and NEMR alone. Within SMR and NEMR, tactical offensives were also launched on a wider, more frequent scale and range. While enemy forces concentrated on two or three regions, the other regions in Mindanao were given the latitude to regain the strength of their forces and reinvigorate their tactical offensives and mass movement.
The enemy’s offensive campaigns and operations, which include their Re-engineered Special Operations Team (RSOT) now renamed Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD), were met with our active defense, enabling us to launch annihilative actions amid widespread and daring attritive actions, as well as sustaining our counter-offensives against unremitting enemy campaigns and operations. Our active defense was able to sustain heavy damage on enemy troops, and on highly destructive imperialist companies which continue to plunder our patrimony, destroy the environment and exploit and oppress our people.
Many joined ranks with the NPA, and because of this, the Red fighters grew by 10% each year, and a great number of platoons were formed due to the ever widening and deepening mass base alongside widespread agrarian revolution. Milisyang Bayan (MB) and Yunit Depensa sa Baryo (YDB) now number by the thousands, both of which serve as direct support and reserved force for the NPA full-time guerrillas. In order to expand and strengthen the people’s war, we must rapidly establish platoon-sized MB units in every baryo and squad-sized YDB units per sityo or purok, train and arm them according to our capacity to do so.
Spread across the five regions of Mindanao are the NPA’s 44 guerrilla fronts, more than 40% of which are company-sized. Nearly 20% of NPA guerrilla forces are SDG or sentro-de-grabedad forces of either the region or sub-region. We must complete all guerrilla front formations in all regions. Two-thirds of all guerrilla fronts must have company-sized formations, 30% of which must operate as SDGs and the rest as SYP platoons in order to complete the rational deployment of our forces, and allow the guerrilla warfare to become more widespread and more intense, in conjunction with the advancement of people’s war in the entire country.
On the basis of our ever widening and deepening mass base, we have launched 400 tactical offensives in the entire island in 2012, which means more than one tactical offensive per day. Nearly 100 of these were annihilative tactical offensives where we were able to confiscate at least 150 high powered rifles. More than 70% of the 400 were attritive actions, including sniping, harassment and punitive actions. In these military actions, including 40 defensive actions where enemy forces had the initiative to attack the Red army, around a battalion of enemy troops has been killed, not including the numerous who were wounded. Clearly this is a significant advance compared with previous years. However, the frequency and intensity of our tactical offensives are still much lower than its actual potential capability, considering the number and size of our guerrilla units. A large number of our platoons have yet to launch the requisite 2-3 basic tactical offensives and attritive actions in a single year.
We have elevated the capability level of the NPA in terms of tactics and technique, coordination and formation, and operating with complicated targets. This has been manifested in the number of big-scale military actions that we have launched during OBL and OPB.
We successfully participated and contributed to the nationally-coordinated TO in 2005 and 2006, while we had our own coordinated TOs in the regions. We have launched inter-regional TOs, such as the raid at Earthsaver Security Agency in Butuan City, OMC Mining in Rosario, Agusan Sur, PICOP, Bislig City, and the PNP station in Talacogon, Agusan Sur. We have also launched multiple target operations using company-sized and undersized battalion formations, such as the raid in Taganito Mines (TMC), San Roque Minerals Inc. (SRMI), raid in Siargao Island, the raid in PNP station and ambush in Lingig, Surigao del Sur and others. We have also conducted special operations like the rescue of a detained comrade in transit along Bukidnon-Davao National Highway, the isparo operation in Tagum City and others. We have raided PNP headquarters in many municipalities, including lately the raid on PNP station in Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur. We succeeded in attacking several detachments such as those in Mlang and Luna Sur in North Cotabato, in Binicalan, Agusan Sur, in Maputi, Davao Oriental, Ginabsan ambush in Buenavista, Agusan Norte, and the raid on the COPD in Tandag city, among others. We successfully raided the Davao Penal Colony which garnered for us at least a hundred high powered rifles.
We have strengthened the organization of the People’s Army. There now stands a territorial Regional Command of the NPA (ROC) separate and distinct from the Regional Party Committee, however we still need to fortify and train this. There are still many Sub-Regions without distinct NPA territorial commands (SROC); and, after which, we must focus on strengthening the command at the guerrilla front. There is an immediate need to train all military cadres and political guides in our units.
Apart from the other general guidelines from the Party’s Central Committee, the national call in 2002 to establish the platoon in every municipality as basic formation serving as horizontal force and the SDG as the vertical force of the region, sub-region and front, has significantly and strategically helped all the regions in Mindanao. But, in general, we must still take great strides in taking to task the further development of the four different levels of NPA forces, which are the SDG, SYP Platoon , partisan units and the Milisyang Bayan and Yunit Depensa sa Baryo.
The national call to launch coordinated tactical offensives in 2005 and 2006 accelerated the pace for more TOs in Mindanao. However, after the nationally coordinated T.O. some regions reduced in intensity because of an erroneous concept with regard to the combination between attritive and annihilative tactical offensives, a lingering conservative tendency among military cadres and other pressing reasons. It is imperative that we learn, understand and firmly grasp the theories of People’s War.
Anchored on the basic alliance of workers and peasants and in carrying forward the armed political struggle in the entire island, our alliances have become broader and stronger. This is concretized in the political and material support given by the religious, teachers and other professionals, including business people. United by common issues against the US-Aquino regime, many from the local government units and politicians have reached out to the revolutionary movement,. But, compared to what we have achieved in the 80s, we still have to recover a lot more in our united front work.
We have maintained our linkage with the MILF. Despite the Framework Agreement it has signed with the Aquino government, we have continued to urge the MILF to be cautious so as not to fall into the trap of the reactionary US-Aquino regime. We have also linked with other legitimate Moro groups that continue to genuinely fight for their right to self-determination of the Bangsamoro.
Party growth and Party leadership
From the first Party branch organized in 1971, the Communist Party of the Philippines is now widely and deeply rooted among the workers, peasants, Lumad, youth, women and the middle forces in the 5 regions in almost all provinces in Mindanao. This year alone, Party membership increased by almost 50%. While this is clearly a victory in establishing the Party in the whole island, we still need to widen and strengthen the Party organization many times over in order for us to effectively lead more demanding and complicated tasks of the coming years.
In general, the Party has decisively led the entire revolutionary forces in the people’s war despite relentless enemy attacks. Recently, we have further strengthened the Regional Party Committees to even more effectively direct the war. The regional committees has made a thoroughgoing study on the balance of forces, the enemy situation particularly the nature of OBL and OPB, and how to wield initiative and flexibility in the ever-changing developments of the war. We have also firmed our priorities, rallied all our forces and coordinated the armed and legal struggles and other major components of the peoples war.
The theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism has been widely and deeply rooted like no other in the entire history of the Party in Mindanao. Almost all fulltime Party members have completed the basic course, most committee sections have undergone the intermediate course. As some regional level cadres have finished the advance course, we have programmed a study on this for all members of regional and sub-regional committees.
This year, there has been a marked increase in the number of local Party branches who have completed the Basic Party Course (BPC). We should persevere in launching the mass movement in studying BPC in order for Marxism, Leninism and Maoism to be firmly rooted among the widest section of the masses and for this to be the material force in waging the people’s war. There is also a need for us to further enrich the Intermediate Party Course with the more advanced practices that we have gained these past few years.
Based on the objective condition, and on the call of the national leadership, taken into consideration our short comings and weakneses, we shall inevitably advance to the next higher stage of the people’s war in the coming years, conscious and firm conviction that we would complete the last sub-stage of the strategic defensive in the next few years. These are our urgent tasks, these are our main contributions to forward the people’s war in the entire archipelago.
Dare to struggle! Dare to win!
Long live the Communist Party of the Philippines!