Message of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines on the occasion of the NPA’s 50th founding anniversary
March 29, 2019
[This is an abridged version of the statement of the CPP Central Committee. The complete version of this statement will be released in the coming days.]
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines, together with the Filipino people and all their revolutionary forces, extends most militant greetings to all the valiant Red commanders and fighters on the occasion of the 50th founding anniversary of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Let us celebrate the victories accumulated through five decades of waging people’s war, as well as those achieved in the past year of waging armed resistance against the ruthless attacks of the US-Duterte fascist regime.
Let us honor all the heroes and martyrs of the people’s war who gave their lives for the revolutionary cause. Let us recognize as well the contributions of all veterans who served the NPA and who now continue to serve the revolution in other forms. The achievements of the past 50 years could not have been accomplished without their sacrifices. Their names will forever be etched in the annals of the Filipino people’s epic resistance. Their examples inspire us to carry forward the difficult tasks ahead.
Let us also firmly salute the thousands of Red commanders and Red fighters of the NPA, both the old-timers and new recruits. They are driven by the desire to defend the people and advance their aspirations. They are ever determined to wage armed struggle. They are models of courage and selflessness.
The worsening crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system underscores the need for waging a national democratic revolution. This is made more starkly clear by the Duterte regime’s abuse of power, corruption, widespread violations of human rights, mass murder, war crimes, subservience to US imperialism, excessive foreign borrowing, onerous taxes and sellout of the country’s wealth and patrimony.
Duterte is the face of the rottenness of the entire ruling system. His anti-people, anti-national and anti-democratic policies are causing the people grave social and economic hardships. He has unleashed brutal wars accompanied by widespread abuses and fascist violence. In his lust for more power, he is set on establishing a fascist dictatorship in order to perpetuate dynastic rule and secure the entire system through barefaced force.
The broad masses of the Filipino people are suffering from worsening crisis conditions and have no other recourse but to wage revolutionary mass resistance and armed struggle to put an end to their grave situation. The crisis of the ruling system generates ever favorable circumstances for the accelerated growth of the revolutionary forces. Duterte’s tyranny and reign of terror is pushing more and more people to support and join the NPA.
THE CURRENT WORLD SITUATION is characterized by unresolved capitalist depression leading to ever worsening conditions of oppression and exploitation, as well as by growing inter-imperialist contradictions between the big powers. US imperialism insists on asserting unipolar power causing tensions and risking antagonism within the prevailing multipolar institutions.
Economic stagnation continues to engulf the US and Europe. The capitalist world is trembling over the prospect of a slowdown of the Chinese economy. Desperate to overcome economic stagnation, the US is shaking up existing trade and investment liberalization agreements.
Amid persistent conditions of stagnation, imperialist agencies themselves are raising fears of an impending economic storm. They have warned of the international financial system collapsing under the weight of global debt. Capitalist overproduction is resulting in heightening contradictions between big imperialist powers over trade and economic arrangements. Economic stagnation in the US is pushing it to assert ultranationalism and hegemonic power more vigorously, heightening contradictions with rival powers. Other imperialist powers are racing to increase their own military capacity.
Billions of workers and peasants across the world are suffering increasingly intolerable conditions. They are fighting back and are ever ready to respond to the call to wage revolutionary resistance under the banner of genuine communist parties. Across the world, people are waging resistance in different fronts against worsening social and economic measures under the neoliberal policy regime, as well as against imperialist intervention and military aggression.
THE FILIPINO PEOPLE continue to suffer from deteriorating socio-economic conditions marked by rising prices, measly incomes, widespread joblessness, rural displacement and lack of basic social services. The US-Duterte regime rampages on with its war of suppression and scheme to establish a fascist dictatorship.
The import-dependent and export-oriented Philippine economy remains in an acute state of crisis. The country’s trade deficit last year ended at a record high as a result of global economic stagnation and weak demand for Philippine semimanufacture exports. Joblessness is at historic highs under Duterte. To mask the severity of the jobs crisis, Duterte’s statisticians have simply stopped counting millions of jobless as unemployed. Duterte’s promise of job creation with his infrastructure program remains unfulfilled.
Prices of food and other basic commodities continue to rise while wages remain grossly low. Prices of fuel products have increased by at least seven times over the past few weeks.
The expected deluge of rice imports will cause grave negative impact on millions of local rice farmers, mostly tenants and farm workers, who are set to suffer loss of income. Infrastructure, tourism and energy projects, as well as the expansion of mining and plantation operations are causing widespread rural displacement. Up to 1.7 million jobs in the agricultural sector were lost last year. To placate rising rural restiveness, Duterte has mounted public stunts of fake land reform that misrepresent the handing out of land transfer certificates requiring peasants to pay regular amortization as “land distribution.”
Cases of human rights abuses continue to rise as the Duterte regime’s military and police forces go on a rampage in an intensification of its war of suppression. Extrajudicial killings of peasant leaders and activists are on the rise. The military persists in summarily accusing civilian residents of being members or supporters of the NPA and rounding them up as “surrenderees.” Children’s rights are wantonly violated by the military with recent reports of arbitrary detention of minors.
Duterte now heads what is virtually a civil-military junta in the form of the so-called National Task Force to “end local communist armed conflict.” Invoking the so-called “whole of nation approach” (a rehash of the previous “whole-of-government” policy) under the National Internal Security Program, various government agencies and local government officials are reduced to serving as adjuncts of the AFP in its counterinsurgency drive. The military and police use blanket Red-tagging and terrorist-labeling, surveillance and harassment to target activists, progressive organizations and party-list groups.
The ruling classes of big business oligarchs and bureaucrat capitalists are mired in deep factional struggles. Rival political and economic cliques are furiously competing for franchises and kickbacks and cuts in overpriced government infrastructure projects and contracts. Conflicts over pork barrel allocation indicate intense power play between Duterte and other cliques, including the Arroyos with whom he is in an electoral and political alliance.
These ruling class rivalries combine with the people’s discontent over deteriorating socio-economic conditions to cause a deep crisis in the ruling political system. This is made even worse by Duterte’s bent to monopolize power and perpetuate his family’s bureaucrat capitalist rule resulting in heightening antagonisms.
All indicators show Duterte wants to establish himself a fascist dictator either by railroading charter change in congress to establish a “federal” system of government under which he centralizes power and appoints allied warlords and political dynasties as regional and local leaders; or by outrightly declaring emergency rule and claiming autocratic powers.
He is using nationwide de facto martial law powers, as well as his fake drug war, to ensure the outcome of the midterm elections in May, or to scuttle it altogether. Duterte is setting up the scenario for widespread fraud. He is using threats of inclusion in his made-up “narcolist” against his rivals, as well as Red-tagging, threats and harassment against progressive, patriotic and democratic party-list organizations to prevent them from gaining more seats in parliament.
THE REVOLUTIONARY ARMED STRUGGLE being waged by the New People’s Army continues to advance nationwide. In 2018, the NPA surmounted the enemy’s all-out offensives and focused military operations.
Last year, the NPA mounted several hundred tactical offensives across the country. The NPA was able to seize at least 107 high powered rifles from the enemy armed forces and police, private armies and security agencies serving big mining operations.
Since 2015, the AFP has declared its strategic aim of crushing the NPA in eastern Mindanao. At the outset of 2018, the AFP deployed as much as 75% of its combat troops in the island. This gave the revolutionary forces in Luzon and Visayas the opportunity to expand and step up their work. With the steady growth of the NPA in Luzon and Visayas regions, the AFP has been forced to reduce its troop deployment in Mindanao to 65% by the end of 2018 and further down to 60% recently. Most units of the NPA in Mindanao continued to steadily advance and expand its ranks.
The enemy suffered at least 600 casualties in 2018, with more than 380 killed in action, more than 40% higher than the previous year. Units of the AFP that suffered the most casualties were those deployed in focused military operations in north central and northeastern Mindanao provinces where NPA units were able to carry out active defense and frustrate the enemy’s offensives. The AFP would meet defeat after defeat with at least 185 enemy troops killed in action across eastern Mindanao.
In the face of the steady nationwide growth of the NPA, Duterte’s security officials have already toned down on their earlier braggadocio of defeating the NPA by middle of 2019. They have instead moved their “deadline” to the end of 2022.
While waging armed struggle, the NPA and the peasant masses continue to establish and strengthen mass organizations of peasants, women, children and cultural activists. Supported by the NPA, peasant mass organizations continue to carry out land reform struggles. Under the auspices of the organs of political power, literacy and numeracy programs for children and adults, mass clinics and health campaigns and other mass campaigns to address the well-being of the people are being carried out.
Amid deteriorating socio-economic conditions and the fascist rampage of the US-Duterte regime, the justness and necessity to wage revolutionary armed struggle is exceedingly clear to the Filipino people.
At the same time, the masses of workers and peasants and the broad range of democratic sectors are resolutely carrying forward legal struggles to defend and assert their democratic rights. Legal progressive and national democratic forces are tenaciously waging resistance amid martial law conditions in Mindanao and de facto nationwide martial law under which they face threats of arrest, detention, torture and murder by state forces.
The united front against Duterte’s tyranny continues to expand bringing together a broad range of forces to oppose Duterte’s scheme to establish an open fascist dictatorship and plans to manipulate the outcome of the elections through force or rigging the electronic counting and canvassing system.
They demand justice for all victims of widespread abuses of human rights. They seek legal redress. They continue to mount assemblies and demonstrations to exercise the people’s collective rights and manifest their opposition to Duterte’s reign of terror and call for the ouster of the fascist despot.
UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF THE PARTY, the NPA is determined to bring forward the people’s war to the advanced phase of the strategic defensive and bring it closer to the threshold of the strategic stalemate. It must continue to carry out and develop extensive and intensive guerilla warfare based on an ever widening and deepening mass base.
In accordance with the Central Committee’s 5-year Program, the Party directs the New People’s Army to boldly intensify guerrilla warfare nationwide and wage all-out resistance against the US-Duterte fascist regime.
The NPA must continue to develop nationwide strength, spread and advance, and attain more effective cooperation and coordination in advancing guerrilla warfare across the country. We must strengthen the NPA several times over and raise its capability in annihilating enemy units. Let us build more and more units of people’s militias, self-defense units of mass organizations and raise their capability in waging mass guerrilla warfare. Let us build partisan units.
Let us conduct campaigns of recruitment. Let us mount campaigns to generate material and other forms of support. Let us step up recruitment of cadres from among the workers and intellectuals.
Let us strengthen the NPA through ideological building, strengthening the Party’s absolute leadership, systematic training to raise the combat capability of NPA units, raising the quality of its weaponry, raising the political consciousness of Red fighters, and their will to fight and offensive spirit, and strengthening their iron discipline and their inextricable link with the masses.
Let us continue to strengthen the NPA commands to develop planning, coordination and leadership of the work of the NPA. Let us systematically carry out the development, training and promotion of military cadres.
We must fully utilize the armed strength of the NPA and the deep and wide support of the people in order to deliver bigger and more frequent blows against the enemy. We must frustrate the enemy’s all-out war, gradual constriction, win-hold-win, triad campaigns and focused military operations.
Let us mount well-planned tactical offensives with the aim of annihilating enemy units and seizing its weapons. The NPA must target the worst fascist criminals, punish them for their abuses and smash their culture of impunity. We must also carry out partisan operations in order to punish the enemy in the cities and in their main lines of communication and transportation.
Let us completely overcome military conservatism and exert efforts to always take tactical initiative. Let us root out and repudiate the wrong ideas that bring about such weaknesses such as overestimating the enemy’s strength and underestimating the strength of the people and their army. We must strengthen our resolve to overcome the fear of sacrifices and aspiring for comforts.
We must strengthen the NPA’s vertical forces which serve as the leading force in mounting tactical offensives. Relative to horizontal forces, vertical forces are more concentrated and can move more quickly, by itself or with horizontal units, when necessary to hit at the isolated and vulnerable units of the enemy. In between battles, they must also help in waging mass campaigns and struggles, participate in production, conduct trainings, education and political work.
On the other hand, we must build our horizontal or front guerrilla forces to ensure widespread and intensive guerrilla warfare by developing guerrilla fronts in a comprehensive manner–in the military, political, economic, organizational and cultural fields.
Mass work in the guerrilla fronts is of armed propaganda type. It consists of carrying out military work, tactical offensives, combating enemy offensives and raising the military capability of the army and people by building their self-defense units and units of the people’s militias. It should also result in building local Party branches and groups, section committees, mass organizations and organs of political power. We must raise the capacity of local revolutionary forces to carry out their tasks on their own in order to unburden the local army units of details of administrative work and allow it to concentrate in various aspects of military work.
In every guerrilla front, there must be a principal unit to serve as anchor of all combat maneuvers and resistance. Local guerrilla forces serve as centers of gravity of people’s militias and village self-defense units.
THE PEOPLE’S ARMY must assiduously carry out the tasks set upon it by the Party. Party cadres leading the NPA, together with Red commanders and fighters must always be good at learning and drawing lessons as they carry out these tasks from one level to the higher, always mindful of the overall plan. Led by the Party, the NPA is ever determined to surmount and frustrate the enemy’s all-out offensives, fight the fascist rampage of the Duterte regime and punish it for all the brutal crimes it has committed against the people.
With its current nationwide strength and spread, the NPA is in a position to carry the people’s war forward to unprecedented levels in the coming years. Inspired by the victories of their people’s army, the Filipino people are ever determined to wage the national democratic revolution and attain victory in the foreseeable future.