26 December 2009

Struggle for more and bigger victories in 2010 and onwards



Press Statement
Dec. 26, 2009

Message of the Communist Party of the Philippines-Eastern Visayas
on the 41st anniversary of the Party


The Communist Party of the Philippines in Eastern Visayas salutes its cadres and members, the Red commanders and fighters, the leaders and members of the revolutionary mass organizations, all the patriotic and progressive forces and the people on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the Party. Because of our concerted effort, this year we garnered many more victories in the armed struggle and united front in defeating the oppressive and deceptive Oplan Bantay Laya, which the enemy itself admits cannot win by 2010. This is our significant contribution to the national effort of the CPP and the revolutionary movement. Through the struggle of the people especially the peasant masses, the Arroyo regime also draws closer to ending and facing account for its massive corruption, fascist state terrorism and dogged servility to US imperialism. Let us not forget that our victories came with the sacrifice of the martyrs of the Party and the people, and let the fallen live on in our perseverance until victory.

The worsened state of the people in the region this year emphasizes the crying need for revolution. The global financial and economic crisis further debilitated the pre-industrial, backward agrarian, and import-dependent and export-oriented regional economy. Vast numbers of the peasantry face worse hunger and destitution because of widespread landlessness, steep and sustained declines in prices of cash crops such as coconut and abaca, backward and low level of agricultural production and lack of government support. The semblance of industrial production in the region has all but withered away with the decline of the raw material production for export of Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Corporation (PhilPhos) and Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (PASAR). The people are suffering from widespread unemployment, wage freezes and reduced income levels, rising utilities rates, rising fuel prices, lack of social services and the general inertia of underdevelopment. Oplan Bantay Laya and widespread political repression under the overstaying and insatiable Arroyo regime also lay waste to the countryside and beat down the people who demand a better life.

In the next year, the people can and must rise to wage bigger battles against the Arroyo regime, improve their lot and advance the revolutionary cause. Foremost must be the striving for further victories in the armed struggle to drive the nails into the coffin of Oplan Bantay Laya. From January to November 2009, the NPA in Eastern Visayas was able to carry out 60 tactical offensives against the enemy, confiscating 40 firearms and inflicting 90 casualties on the AFP. With the help of the masses, we can do more in the coming year. The increasingly active participation of the masses in the people's war is needed especially in mobilizing the militia units, mass recruitment into the NPA, raising economic production for the war, and launching various campaigns to support the NPA and guerrilla war . We aim to carry out more annihilative guerrilla offensives to accumulate more firearms and strengthen ourselves while weakening the enemy of the people.

The unprecedented economic crisis today will ignite mass struggles . The peasantry must persevere in the campaigns against hunger, poverty and repression in the countryside, and demand and bring to account the Arroyo regime for these. They must continue the antifeudal struggles, for genuine agarian reform and against rising landlessness and landgrabbing under the Arroyo regime. The workers, semi-proletariat and urban poor, teachers, professionals, students and others who are poor, exploited and oppressed in the region must launch their own campaigns and struggles. All of these must support each other, unite and target the Arroyo regime as the principal cause of the deepening crisis today in its pushing of the policies of imperialist globalization and other anti-people policies.

In 2010, the people must also face the reactionary election as a form of struggle. The masses of the people desire change, while the reactionary politicians deceive the people in the ostensibly democratic election process, where the people are prevented by force from meaningful participation. It is important to expose the utter rottenness of the reactionary political system in the country and rouse the masses of the people that revolution is the only real road to genuine change. At the same time, they must energetically promote the patriotic and progressive candidates and parties who have been proven to advance their interests, isolate the die-hard reactionaries, and achieve the maximum concessions favorable to the people and the revolution. There must be also vigilance against the repression of the Arroyo regime and its desperate attempts to remain in power.

The Party organization in the region is confident that it can resolutely lead the people in these endeavors in the coming year, in a way that accumulates solid strength for the revolution. The advances both in armed struggle and mass struggles must redound to consolidation, growth, and the expansion of reach and the raising of capabilities of the guerrilla fronts, NPA units, revolutionary mass organizations, and the democratic and progressive forces. The rapid growth of the Party membership and the raising of many cadres and others to follow who have been sharpened in struggle must be ensured. In the midst of and after the advances in the various struggles, the ideological and political consolidation of the revolutionary forces must be ensured.

In 2010 and onwards, the Party and the revolutionary movement in the region are solidly determined to contribute more to the comprehensive effort to raise the revolutionary struggle in the whole country to a new and higher elevel.#

22 December 2009

8th ID offensives in Western Samar complete failures in 2009



Press Release
Dec. 22, 2009

Ka Vicente Magbuhat, Tagapagyakan
Arnulfo Ortiz Command
New People's Army-Western Samar

The New People's Army in Western Samar today said that it defeated all of the 8th Infantry Division's 17 major offensives in the province from January to October. “The 8th ID pretends to be peace-loving today in recently announcing its compliance with the Arroyo government's unilateral ceasefire during the Christmas tradition,” said Arnulfo Ortiz Command spokesperson Ka Vicente Magbuhat. “In fact, the 8th ID has been carrying out brutal military operations under Oplan Bantay Laya. We defeated 17 offensives up to October; we are still assessing the last quarter, though there has been no major changes.. But civilians have been coming out in the media, asserting that violations of human rights and international humanitarian law were rampant during the 8th ID operations. Thus, what is there to trust in the so-called unilateral ceasefire announced by Lt. Col. Armando Rico, when the 8th ID routinely breaks the laws of war?

“Moreoever, the AOC is aware that the military still conducts regular patrols despite any ceasefire during this time. The military actually wants to dissuade peasant supporters from attending the celebration of the anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines. But to no avail: thousands of peasants and other supporters are expected to gather as usual in different places throughout the region to congratulate the Party in political and cultural gatherings.”

The AOC spokesperson also dismissed the military's allegations that the CPP anniversary is celebrated with violent attacks by the NPA. “Only a crude and fascist propagandist like Col. Rico can say that the CPP anniversary is a bloodthirsty occasion. The NPA does not need to mount attacks to highlight the CPP anniversary; tactical offensives are always part of the NPA's political and military work. Meanwhile, the CPP anniversary program typically recognizes the recent revolutionary victories as well as the challenges, and affirms the Party's leading role in the Philippine revolution.”

According to Magbuhat, the CPP and the NPA made significant gains in the province this year. “From January to October, the 8th ID mounted 14 battalion-level offensives, two (2) brigade-sized operations, and one (1) division-level offensive. But the NPA stood up to this: no NPA unit was dismantled, not even the smallest, and the Red fighters were able to mount counter-offensives and raise their fighting capability. The NPA carried out 32 tactical offensives from January-November, capturing 18 high-powered rifles, and inflicting losses of 21 killed in action and 10 wounded in action among the enemy.

“The 8th ID operations also tried to sow terror among the people. But the peasant mass organizations were tempered in struggle, and anti-fascist campaigns exposed the military's human rights violations. Moreover, the NPA's area of operations was never constricted by the enemy, but even further expanded.”

Ka Vicente Magbuhat said that there was thus good reason for the people, the NPA and the CPP to celebrate the Party's anniversary on Dec. 26. “Our growing strength has forced the 8th ID to concede that it cannot meet its ridiculous deadline to defeat the revolutionary movement by 2010. We have contributed to weakening the political and military strength of the despicable and overstaying Arroyo regime. We therefore look forward with confidence to more challenges and victories ahead, especially the struggle to oust and punish the Arroyo regime.”#

14 December 2009

Arroyo government backs and tolerates private armies in Western Samar



Ka Vicente Magbuhat, Spokesperson
Arnulfo Ortiz Command
New People's Army-Western Samar

The Arnulfo Ortiz Command of the New People's Army in Wester Samar said today that private armies in the province are almost impossible to dismantle because the Arroyo government supports them. “The Arroyo government pays lip service to dismantling private armies and stopping election violence,” said Ka Vicente Magbuhat, spokesperson of the Arnulfo Ortiz Command. “The reality is that these private armies are often composed of paramilitaries from the Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) and Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU). Additionally, there are also criminal elements involved – although more often than not, criminals and CVO/CAFGU are one and the same. There are also regular police and military elements who are hired by certain politicians.

“As can be seen, these private armies are usually made up of government forces who also carry out the “counter-insurgency” Oplan Bantay Laya campaign. Thus the military's insinuation that NPA forces are in the pay of certain politicians is simply untrue – it is government forces forces that are.”

Magbuhat also identified the areas where there are politicians who maintain significant private armies. “These are Calbayog City, Catbalogan, Daram, Gandara and San Jose de Buan. In fact, there has been a furor over election-related bloodshed in Calbayog City. That is because those who are behind the violence are the police and military themselves who are on opposing sides. One private army run by powerful politicians is backed by the Police Provincial Mobile Group. The other one maintained by rival politicians is backed by the 20th Infantry Battalion.

“In Daram Island, the politicians in power maintain a private army composed of CVO/CAFGU and criminal elements recruited from other towns and provinces. In Catbalogan, criminal and military elements are in the pay of those in power. In Gandara, the private armies are mainly plain criminals. And in San Jose de Buan, the incumbent is running a private army composed of the CVO/CAFGU.”

The AOC spokesperson said that the private armies indeed sow terror and mayhem in their locales. “Though there has not been single incident on the same scale as the Maguindanao massacre, the total number of innocent civilians recently killed by private armies is almost equal to that. These mercenaries also engage in harassments and extortions. They contribute to the climate of fear in the province created by the impunity for human rights violations of the police and military in carrying out Oplan Bantay Laya.”

Ka Vicente Magbuhat added that to really dismantle the private armies, the main sources of reactionary violence must first be punished and dismantled. “The private armies are thriving because these are merely extensions of government forces and thus also serve as instruments of political repression. It is thus farcical for the police and military in the region to talk about doing away with these private armies – and in fact, many of their own personnel are closely involved. As far as the NPA is concerned, any politician who wishes to campaign inside the revolutionary territories can only bring a certain number of security detail as defined by the revolutionary government. They cannot bring their private armies to terrorize the people into voting for them. Security details that exceed regulation, as well as armed groups that harass the people in behalf of politicians running for office, are suject to arrest and confiscation of weapons by the NPA.

“Private armies that actually join military and police operations against the NPA are duly regarded as enemy combatants and therefore legitimate targets. In the long run, the real solution to the private armies is the NPA's defeating and smashing of the military and police, the fascist state machinery that abets them.”

10 December 2009

Arroyo must be removed to attain real justice for the victims of human rights violations






Fr. Santiago Salas, Spokesperson
NDF-Eastern Visayas


The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today expressed solidarity with the observation of International Human Rights Day and said that the Arroyo regime must go to attain real justice for the victims of human rights violations. “The Nov. 23 massacre in Maguindanao and the subsequent martial law imposition there have exposed the belly of beast,” said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas. “Impunity reigns with the killings of innocent civilians abetted by the government, and with Arroyo's reliance on the military for self-preservation. In the same way, the people of Eastern Visayas suffer gross and widespread human rights violations under Oplan Bantay Laya, as well as the state of virtual martial rule wherever there are intense military operations.”

Fr. Salas said that human rights violations abound because of the Arroyo regime's greed for continuing power in the face of the people's hatred of its corruption, fascist terrorism and puppetry to foreign interests. “In Eastern Visayas, the Arroyo regime's Oplan Bantay Laya drew condemnations for political killings such as that of Fr. Cecilio Lucero and Dr. Bartolome Resuello this year in Northern Samar. Other victims have even gone to the media to expose much more rights violations in the countryside. These include extrajudicial killings, torture, harassment, economic blockades and other violations in Silvino Lobos, Las Navas, San Jose de Buan, Basey and other areas in Samar, and parts of Northern Leyte as well. Many peasants have themselves trooped to Tacloban to expose abuses against civilians such as in Gen. MacArthur, Eastern Samar, as well as the bombings of civilian communities in Basey. The people's denunciations expose the 8th Infantry Division's cowardly attacks on civilians and help explain why the New People's Army is growing stronger with more support and recruits, to the point lately that the military is virtually admitting Oplan Bantay Laya's defeat.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson urged the people to struggle for Arroyo's removal to end the climate of impunity, achieve justice for the victims of human rights violators, and punish the perpetrators up to the very top. “The country is in political crisis because of Arroyo's martial law and brazen drive to remain seated. This will certainly mean more political repression and human rights violations ahead. But the people's movement for change can remove Arroyo, whether or not through the election. Thus the people must remain vigilant and pursue the various means of struggle to bring Arroyo to account and to realize justice for her many victims. Pursuing the armed struggle also has the longer perspective of finally ending the recurring tyrannies exemplified by Marcos and Arroyo and establishing a democratic government of the people.”#

Resist Arroyo's martial law and brazen attempts to remain in power





Fr. Santiago Salas, Spokesperson
NDF-Eastern Visayas

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today called on the people to resist Gloria Arroyo's proclamation of martial law in Maguindanao as well as her brazen attempts to remain in power. “Gloria Arroyo's martial law in Maguindanao is an attack on the people, not serving justice on the Ampatuan clan, and thus must be confronted with a strong movement of the people,” said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. “It is in line with Arroyo's avowal to remain in power, through running for congress and other opportunist acts in her favor. The people must thus do their utmost and fight Arroyo and martial law today and in the coming months. The people must raise the clamor for Arroyo's ouster the more she remains intransigent.”

Fr. Salas averred that the martial law proclamation was a ploy in Arroyo's favor. “Declaring martial law will not render justice to the victims of the massacre or make the election better in Maguindanao, where many believed the Ampatuans and Arroyo connived in 2004 and 2007 for their mutual interests. It is instead an act of the superior taking charge over the messy affairs of the subordinate to ensure the survival of their common interests, especially keeping Arroyo in power.

“The Ampatuan clan accused of responsibility for the massacre of over 50 people is closely allied with the Arroyo government. The mass killing is attributed to the clan's private army, largely composed of state-sponsored paramilitaries.Confiscating a staggering amount of guns and ammunition from the Ampatuans in fact has the marks of a charade: the government just taking back what it had given in the first place. It is also a grim message to the people that the real lethal armed force is not that of the Ampatuans, but of Arroyo and her military.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson said that the martial law proclamation boded ill for the people. “With Arroyo's record of lies and underhandedness, today, it is Maguindanao, tomorrow it could be the whole country. Martial law gives Arroyo the undue advantage, if not in totally imposing a dictatorship, then in greatly manipulating the election that she wants to be a launchpad for prime ministership. Thus the people must not only actively prepare to cast their ballots, but even more actively take to the streets and other protest actions to register their strong resistance. As an expression of support, the New People's Army will also continue to step up tactical offensives to prevent Arroyo from focusing the military on coercing the people, and to pave the way for the overthrow of the reactionary ruling system so the people themselves can seize political power.”#

Struggle of heroes urged against Oplan Bantay Laya's attacks on civilians, maneuvers to keep Arroyo in power





Fr. Santiago Salas, Spokesperson
NDF-Eastern Visayas

Fighting Oplan Bantay Laya is a heroic struggle that will prevail, the National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas said today in refuting the military's claim it will reduce the revolutionary movement in the region into inconsequence by 2010. “The 8th Infantry Division's civil-military chief, Maj. Leo Madroña, virtually admits that Oplan Bantay Laya is a major failure, by pitching the much lowered expectation of reducing the NPA instead,” said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. “If the military could not reach the deadline to defeat the people's army, it is laughable for them to even claim the ability to diminish the NPA. In truth, the intentions of the military today are to intervene in the 2010 election by stepping up attacks against civilians especially the political opposition, and also serve as the vanguard in Gloria Arroyo's striving to remain in power.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson explained that Oplan Bantay Laya had never strategically weakened the revolutionary movement. “It is absurd for the 8th ID to boast of how much territories it has gained and the NPA has lost. The NPA is a guerrilla army – it is flexible in winning or ceding territories based on the existing conditions. While the military may hold one village, there are ten villages elsewhere that the NPA can move on to for political and military work. Certainly, the NPA also suffers casualties to fighting, but being an army of the people there are always many voluntary recruits to increase the number of Red fighters. It can also call on militia units that are reserve forces many times the size of the NPA. Thus all the military's talk of “reducing the NPA” are disconnected from reality. The NPA is growing stronger, it is present in all strategic areas in the region, it is ready to raise warfare to a new and higher level.”

Fr. Salas also suggested that the military may be playing down Oplan Bantay Laya because it is gearing to ensure Arroyo's continuation. “Oplan Bantay Laya used to be projected as coterminous with Arroyo, but what if Arroyo wants to stay? In the 2004 and 2007 elections, there were criticisms that the military had been instrumental in election cheating especially in Mindanao that ensured victory for the present administration. Moreover, Oplan Bantay Laya and other state-sanctioned violence have targeted not only armed resistance movements such as the NPA and MILF, but all forms of political opposition. This led to the Maguindanao massacre committed by an Arroyo ally who was key to previous election victories for the administration.

“Meanwhile, in Eastern Visayas, Maj. Madroña claims that they will take Oplan Bantay Laya to the schools and comunities. The next few months will be the election campaign period. Is the military's real purpose then is to campaign for Arroyo and against the political opposition, especially progressive candidates who endure political killings and other attacks?”

Fr. Salas added that it is for the good of the country to fight Oplan Bantay Laya and oust the Arroyo regime. “The past few months saw the country struggling against natural calamities, economic difficulties and human rights violations. The people will continue to suffer the mounting blows of hunger, poverty and repression as long as the Arroyo regime and its Oplan Bantay Laya continue. Today on the birthdate of national hero Andres Bonifacio, the NDF-EV thus urges the people to wage revolution for national freedom and democracy. Let us fight like heroes against the concentrated evil of the Arroyo regime's corruption, puppety and fascism. Let us fight like heroes against the unjust, unprincipled and cruel Oplan Bantay Laya.”#

NDF-EV condemns Maguindanao massacre, hits similar warlordism in Eastern Visayas






Fr. Santiago Salas, Spokesperson
NDF-Eastern Visayas

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today joined the universal outrage and condemnation over the massacre last Nov. 24 in Maguindanao of at least 57 people by henchmen of a political warlord close to the Arroyo regime. “We support the calls for justice over the mass murder of defenseless civilians including women, lawyers and at least 29 journalists,” said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. “This is probably the worst incident of election-related violence in Philippine history, and also an unprecedented number of journalists killed in a single day in the line of duty. Many Muslims and Christians in the region hail from Mindanao and are aware, if not themselves victims, of the ceaseless reactionary violence committed by the Arroyo regime and its local and foreign allies.”

Fr. Salas likewise expressed alarm at the rising atrocities of warlordism and the Arroyo regime's impunity for human rights violations. “Eastern Visayas is infested with warlords, if not on the same monstrous level in Maguindanao. The big politicians in the region all have their own private armed groups, and benefit from allying with the Arroyo regime to protect their political, economic and criminal interests. Moreover, the military and police look the other way in exchange for the politicians' support for their “counter-insurgency” Oplan Bantay Laya. Top civilian officials betray the people by ignoring complaints of the military's human rights abuses, actively establishing the paramilitary CAFGU in their bailiwicks, and joining the 8th Infantry Division in promoting Oplan Bantay Laya. In fact, many CAFGU paramilitaries also double as goons of certain politicians.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson also did not believe that justice would be easily obtained for the Maguindanao massacre or that warlordism would be solved soon. “The Arroyo regime and the warlords who are its allies have intertwined interests and band together in institutional violence against the people. The corrupt regime and the political warlords both want to stay on in power, both will use each other to get the votes, and both are willing to oppress the people to have their way. Furthermore, the warlords are emboldened to butcher because they also see and support the impunity enjoyed by Arroyo's military and police in committing human rights violations under Oplan Bantay Laya. There are tens of thousands of victims of political killings, enforced disappearances, torture, bombardments of civilian communities, forced evacuations and other human rights abuses under Oplan Bantay Laya. Thus, Arroyo's declaration of a “state of emergency” in Maguindanao will only add fuel to the fire. There is danger in deploying troops whose human rights abuses have gone unchecked, and in giving Arroyo control of a situation that she could grab to her benefit in the 2010 election.”

Fr. Salas said that the people's vigilance and struggle are more important than the Arroyo regime's tokenisms to justice. “The people should monitor the developments and press on with the demand for justice, not only for the Maguindanao massacre, but also for the Arroyo regime's gross and widespread human rights violations under Oplan Bantay Laya. The people can also use the electoral struggle by campaigning against election violence and cheating, and hailing candidates who are striving for fundamental changes. Because of the Arroyo regime's worsening oppression and exploitation of the people, increasing numbers are also joining the New People's Army to escape persecution and engage in revolutionary armed struggle to do away entirely with the reactionary ruling system.” #

24 November 2009

NPA ambush on 52nd IB elements: 2 CAFGUs killed, 4 firearms confiscated











People's War Bulletin

Ka Karlos Manuel, Spokesperson
Efren Martires Command
New People's Army-Eastern Visayas

The New People's Army in Eastern Visayas said today that the NPA successfully ambushed 52nd IB elements on military operations last Nov. 16 in Brgy. Dawo, Oquendo District, Calbayog City, Western Samar. Red fighters under the Nida Cantong Command carried out the ambush at 5 a.m., killing two elements of the 52nd IB and seriously wounding another. The NPA confiscated one M16 rifle, one M14 rifle, one M1 Garand rifle, and an M1 carbine. Contrary to the black propaganda by 8th Infantry Division spokesperson Lt. Col. Armando Rico, the NPA did not suffer a single casualty.

Media reports name the enemy casualties as Renato Bagarenio and Restituto Aniban who were killed in action, while Sgt. Jaime Bayquin was wounded in action. The 52nd IB is responsible for training and handling the abusive and much-hated CAFGU in the region. The NPA's continuing tactical offensives show that Oplan Bantay Laya is on a losing course, and serve to punish the 8th ID for its many human rights violations such as the murder of Fr. Cecilio Lucero and other political killings and terrorist acts.

The Nida Cantong Command is based in Northern Samar but parts of the border with Western Samar are within its area of responsibility.#

18 November 2009

Military misuses government projects for war purposes and electioneering



Fr. Santiago Salas, Spokesperson
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Eastern Visayas


The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today scoffed at the 8th Infantry Division for pretending to fulfill government projects, but in reality using these for war purposes and in electioneering in behalf of the Arroyo government. “The 8th ID and other Arroyo government officials shamelessly promoted former defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro at the inauguration of the Lapinig-Jipapad road connecting Northern and Eastern Samar last Nov. 14,” said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. “The road, a mere five kilometers funded by Malacañang but suspiciously took the 53rd Engineering Brigade four years to complete, fittingly resembles Teodoro: insignificant, too late, and with a whiff of corruption to boot. Despite the lip service that the road will help the people, 8th ID chief Maj. Gen. Arthur Tabaquero stated blatantly that the road will be used to facilitate military operations.”

Fr. Salas also noted that Tabaquero and other civilian and military officials later had another high-profile media event in the conclusion of construction projects by the Philippine Army's Kalayaan sa Barangay Program in Paranas, Western Samar. “Projects as simple as school buildings and street lights should be basic government services. For the military to claim these as “accomplishments” shows they have a hidden agenda. The military's Kalayaan sa Barangay Program strives to cosmeticize the government's otherwise ruinous Oplan Bantay Laya campaign as for peace and deveopment. Such is small consolation to the people who today suffer under the government's brutal war and the economic crisis. The people are not easily fooled especially when there is nothing in the pot and there are soldiers in the fields making farming impossible.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson said that for all the image makeovers by the military and the Arroyo regime, the gloves are still off. “The appointment of the national security adviser, Norberto Gonzales, as acting defense secretary means there will be more bloodshed to come under Oplan Bantay Laya. Gonzales and his cofrere, Fr. Romeo Intengan, have been exposed as rabid anti-communists and fascists in the National Security Council, who indocrinate the military to commit gross and widespread human rights violations under Oplan Bantay Laya. As Oplan Bantay Laya will conclude in a matter of months, Gonzales and the military will surely become more brutal and desperate to claim a victory that is not theirs. Moreover, the Arroyo regime will also be more desperate to cling to power through its stooge, Teodoro, and other unscrupulous and fascist means. The people must remain vigilant and continue the armed and unarmed struggles to end the regime and make it pay for its various crimes.”#

06 November 2009

NDF-EV urges people to act on utilities crisis and not rely on squabbling politicians



PRESS RELEASE
November 06, 2009

Fr. Santiago Salas, Spokesperson
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Eastern Visayas


The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today expressed solidarity with the people over the crises in electricity and water in Tacloban and the rest of Leyte and the region. “The people of Tacloban are struggling to get such basic needs as electricity and water,” said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. “But the Petilla and Romualdez political dynasties not only ignore this, they add further to the mess by squabbling over water administration as one of the political spoils at stake in the 2010 election. Meanwhile, the people are fuming at the lack of water and furthermore anticipate a power rate hike on top of that problem. Poor water and electricity services are not unique to Tacloban but widespread in the region because of government neglect.”

Fr. Salas noted that bad governance worsen the water crisis in Tacloban. “Leyte Gov. Jericho Petilla and Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez are known allies of the Arroyo regime; they thus fight bitterly over who would be favored by the national government in the election. They serve the unpopular regime and themselves, not the people. They engage in politicking and watching out for their political turfs rather than buckling down to solve the issue. It is possible to fix and upgrade Tacloban's water service, but the politicians are the ones who are making it impossible at present.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson urged the people to unite and act for their own welfare in the midst of the water crisis. “The matter of clean and potable water supply for Tacloban is a public need, and should not be tied to the political fortunes of bickering politicians. The people can push their own initiative forward to demand an immediate solution as well as the accountability of both the Petilla and Romualdez camps. Furthermore, the election campaign period will be high time for the people to mobilize and demand concrete solutions to their problems such as the water crisis, an impending power rate hike, continuing oil price hikes and other important socio-economic issues.”

Fr. Salas added that mass struggles during the favorable political climate can go on to tackle more comprehensive issues as well as long-term solutions. “Utilities such as water and electricity that the public needs not only suffer from poor infrastructure and corrupt management. There is also the trend under the Arroyo regime to privatize state-run utilities, even though these are vital to the public's interests, because of its commitment to international financial institutions like the IMF-World Bank. These include the assets of the National Power Corporation and the Local Water Utilities Administration that are in the process of being sold out to big businesses and foreign monopoly capitalists. Thus the water and electric cooperatives in the region are at the mercy of such a trend.

“It is therefore important for the people not only to confront the immediate issue of the water crisis, but in the long run to struggle against the corrupt and pro-imperialist Arroyo regime, and to strive for fundamental changes. The future is bright for revolutionary changes in the economy and in politics, towards achieving a sovereign and self-reliant economy, and a people's democratic government that advances basic interests and needs such as public utilities.”#

28 October 2009

Military supremacy leading to human rights violations and electioneering in Eastern Visayas



­PRESS RELEASE
October 28, 2009
­
Fr. Santiago Salas, Spokesperson
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Eastern Visayas

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas charged the 8th Infantry Division today of pushing its Oplan Bantay Laya campaign by intimidating the public and dominating the civilian government in the region. “The military is intimidating the public by coming out with an order of battle or liquidation list, and then going into schools and communities to conduct witch hunts and commit other human rights violations,” said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas. “What's more, the military dominates the regional and provincial peace and order councils to bully the civilian government and other institutions into supporting Oplan Bantay Laya despite many complaints of human rights violations. All these show widespread political repression to shore up Oplan Bantay Laya and entrench the Arroyo government beyond 2010.”

Fr. Salas noted the recently exposed order of battle in Northern Samar and the plight of the University of Eastern Philippines, as well as that of various communities in Gen. MacArthur, Eastern Samar. “The 803rd Infantry Brigade, as it admits in a recent statement, summoned and confronted UEP school officials and student leaders last Aug. 20 to conduct a witch hunt against government critics. The brigade is also pressing for a military detachment in the campus, which has several civilian communities. The 8th ID repeats this witch hunting in various secondary schools as well as in colleges and universities regionwide. Moreover, aside from defending the military's order of battle, the 803rd Ibde is setting the stage for more political killings by linking the leaders and members of Karapatan and other unarmed and peaceful organizations to the armed revolutionary movement. Many victims of political killings, such as Fr. Cecilio Lucero, were first demonized as supporters of the New People's Army before being murdered by the military's death squads.

“Meanwhile, in Gen. MacArthur, despite being confronted by 600 people in a dialogue attended by several communities, the 14th Infantry Battalion arrogantly refused to be held accountable for various human rights abuses, as well as sign a memorandum of agreement to end such violations. The villagers complain also that the soldiers do not inform civilian officials of their presence, and also pretend to be members of the NPA while abusing the people. These complaints are likewise true in other areas where there are military operations.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson added that the military is also asserting itself over the civilian government, and oblige the latter to bolster Oplan Bantay Laya rather than truly address the people's needs and grievances. “Gen. Arthur Tabaquero manipulates civilian officials in the regional and provincial peace and order councils to support the military. He also applauds those who support the Social Integration Program for NPA surrenderees, which has actually been for a long time a conduit for corruption by military and civilian officials. But the real problems of the people are widespread human rights violations, hunger and poverty. The peace and order councils turn a blind eye to the people's plight and go along with the military's abuses that worsen the people's suffering under the present socio-economic crisis.

“If the civilian officials think that they benefit from being in the military's good graces, they should beware. The military resorts to vicious machinations in local politics to push Oplan Bantay Laya. In a stark example, the NDF-EV is aware that the military was behind the assassination last July 16 of Mayor Carlos de la Cruz of Matuguinao, Western Samar. The military was furious with De la Cruz because he refused their demands to stop his constituents from actively trooping to the media and exposing human rights violations by government forces. To add insult to injury, the military hypocritically uses the De la Cruz murder to strengthen its influence over the peace and order councils by using the issue of election-related violence. Such maneuvering of the military for supremacy over the civilian government was echoed in Congress last September by Gen. Jovito Palparan. The former 8th ID chief and now Bantay party-list representative met strong opposition when he called for military control of Calbayog City during the 2010 election because of alleged political violence.”

Fr. Salas warned that the 8th ID will be increasingly desperate and emboldened to intimidate the people and even the political candidates as the 2010 election and Oplan Bantay Laya's deadline loom. “The NPA has been carrying out more and more offensives since 2007, and it is clear even this early that the 8th ID is unable to stop this and will not be able to declare Oplan Bantay Laya a success in 2010. But the Arroyo government rabidly pursues the military solution by extending the war even against civilians. The people must thus continue to unite, organize and mobilize against political killings and other acts of fascist state terrorism. Furthermore, they can use their votes to withdraw support from politicians who go along with the military's abuses, and turn instead to those who can really address the present problems of poverty, hunger and repression. While the people can gainfully use the ballot and other means of parliamentary struggle, the increasingly vicious oppression by the military convinces even many more of the armed struggle as the principal form of struggle towards ending not only the Arroyo regime but the ruling system itself.”#

Erratum



In the Oct. 17 people's war bulletin by the Efren Martires Command, it was erroneously reported that a tactical offensive occurred last Oct. 2 in Pagsangjan, Western Samar. The tactical offensive referred to is actually that in Sta. Margarita, Western Samar last Oct. 1 as mentioned in the same statement. Sorry for the oversight.

NDF-EV Media Office

21 October 2009

NDF-EV on Leyte Landing commemoration: Honor the Filipino resistance movement, not the return of US imperialism



PRESS RELEASE
October 20,2009

Fr. Santiago Salas, Spokesperson
National Democratic Front of Philippines
Eastern Visayas


The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today remarked that the Oct. 20 Leyte Landing commemoration does not do justice to the Filipino guerrillas of World War II and instead gives undue importance to the return of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and US imperialism. “The big politicians like Gloria Arroyo and others in the region give only token recognition to the Filipino guerrillas, while lavishing attention on the US,” said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. “The patriotic Filipino guerrillas proved that the people can successfully wage armed resistance against a foreign invader. Unfortunately, the armed struggle against the Japanese Occupation did not develop into a war for national liberation against the US reoccupation and neocolonialism. Today, the real heroes who were the Filipino guerrillas are not genuinely honored but play second fiddle to the US. The Arroyo regime preserves the colonial mentality that liberation is a reward by a foreign country, and toasts the US though it was in fact returning to its economic, political and military interests in the Philippines.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson added that the US continues to further its interests by taking advantage of the country's backwardness and the servility of the Arroyo regime. “The US intends to set up permanent military bases in the country and intensify its military intervention against the Philippine revolution. This was made clear to the people of Eastern Visayas by the secretive holding of Balikatan joint exercises in Samar last August by the 8th Infantry Division and the US Special Forces. There are already indications that the US military may be joining combat operations with Arroyo government forces through the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines in Mindanao. Thus, while the US military may have gotten media attention for joing the relief operations for victims of recent typhoons in Luzon, its real and long-term intervention in the country is far more selfish, anti-people and violates the national sovereignty.”

Fr. Salas said that the Leyte Landing commemoration will become irrelevant in the future because there are new guerrillas who are continuing the Filipino armed resistance. “Liberation is not something given by a foreign country, because it is the people who must set their own selves free. For more than a hundred years guerrillas have been thriving in Eastern Visayas, from those who fought in the Balangiga Uprising to the anti-Japanese resistance to the New People's Army of today. The day will come when there will be no longer praises for a foreign country here, but for our own courage and determination to have a country that is free from foreign intervention and truly sovereign and self-reliant. Let us resist the US military interventionists who are the foreign invaders of today, let us support the New People's Army in fighting for our country and for democracy.”#

19 October 2009

Persevere in the struggle for justice for Fr. Lucero and all victims of fascist state terrorism in Northern Samar



PRESS RELEASE
October 19, 2009

Fr. Santiago Salas, Spokesperson
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Eastern Visayas

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today expressed support for a recent national fact-finding mission of various sectors and the Catholic Church that accused the military of involvement in the Sept. 6 murder of human rights advocate Fr. Cecilio Lucero in Northern Samar. “We respect the national fact-finding mission for standing up and denouncing the reign of terror by the military in Northern Samar that claimed Fr. Lucero's life,” said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas. “Their investigation and demand for justice stand out against the insincere efforts of the Philippine National Police and the Commission on Human Rights. At the same time, we denounce the 8th Infantry Division for harming the national fact-finding mission, especially in the abduction and enforced disappearance of Ruth Gecaro by suspected 63rd IB elements in Catubig, Northern Samar last Oct. 5. Gecaro was participating in the mission and was supposed to bring victims of human rights violations in Lope de Vega town.”

Fr. Salas also charged the ongoing investigation of the PNP's Task Force Lucero of being “a farce and covering up for the 8th ID”, and asserted that the PNP may have a hand in the killing. “The PNP is acting like an intriguer rather than as an investigator, by straining to pin the killing on the New People's Army or the political opponents of Fr. Lucero's brothers. But the PNP knew very well that Fr. Lucero's life was in danger because of death threats stemming from the military, and had in fact assigned a police escort for him. Why then is the PNP evading investigation of the 8th ID? How come also that Fr. Lucero's police escort, PO2 Eugene Bation, emerged unscathed from the ambush and the nearest police station responded only one hour later even though it was merely a minute away?”

The NDF-EV spokesperson likewise scored the Commission on Human Rights for its “bureacratic pettiness and obliviousness” in the midst of the people's suffering. “The CHR looks away while Fr. Lucero's killing cries out to be solved, and while people in Northern Samar are being killed, tortured or abducted. Worse, its regional director, Paquito Nacino, appears to be a callous bureaucrat and an apologist for the 8th ID in ignoring the human rights violations in Northern Samar and diverting to nonsensically charging the NPA with using minors. The CHR seems to be more concerned with helping the 8th ID wash its hands in public than in addressing real human rights concerns.”

Fr. Salas added that the 8th ID's Oplan Bantay Laya campaign remains paramount for the Arroyo government despite the increasing number of civilian victims and increasing losses to the NPA. “The 8th ID is oppressing the people rather than defeating the NPA. More ominously, the Oplan Bantay Laya campaign seeks to perpetuate the Arroyo regime by persecuting government opponents. The national fact-finding mission revealed that it even obtained evidence of the 8th ID's “order of battle” or liquidation list, which actually targets activist and progressive party-list organizations. Included in the list were Dr. Bartolome Resuello and Fr. Cecilio Lucero, who both became victims of political killings. The 8th ID is also harassing activists at the University of Eastern Philippines and is pushing to set up a military detachment in the campus.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson called on the people to unite and stand up to Oplan Bantay Laya. “There will be no end to the political killings and other human rights violations as long as Oplan Bantay Laya continues. The 8th ID should be held responsible for the murder of Fr. Lucero and other victims of fascist state terrorism. A broad movement for justice for Fr. Lucero and all victims of human rights violations in Northern Samar can bring together various sectors and institutions against the 8th ID's reign of terror in the province. The struggle for justice for Fr. Lucero is also a struggle as well to end and bring to account the Arroyo regime for gross and widespread human rights violations, corruption and puppetry. Meanwhile, the revolutionary movement will continue to increase guerrilla offensives to punish the human rights violators and to further weaken and oust the despised Arroyo regime.”#

17 October 2009

Four successful tactical offensives in Eastern Visayas in first two weeks of October


People's War Bulletin

October 17, 2009

Ka Karlos Manuel, Spokesperson
Efren Martires Command
New People's Army-Eastern Visayas

The Efren Martires Command of the New People's Army in Eastern Visayas reports that there were four successful tactical offensives in the first two weeks of October.

On October 1 at 10 a.m., Red fighters of the Serafin Pasimos Command ambushed 23 troops of the 63rd IB in Brgy. Ligaya, Matuguinao, Western Samar. The armed engagement lasted for about 10 minutes. At least two soldiers were killed and another wounded, while there no casualties on the NPA's side. The Red fighters confiscated one M16 rifle. The 63rd IB troops were demoralized and continued firing indiscriminately until evening, long after the Red fighters had withdrawn safely. On the other hand, the guerrilla offensive raised the morale of the Red fighters and the people, who rejoiced at the punishment of the abusive troops. The NPA became aware of the enemy operation only a short time before, and was able to respond quickly and decisively with the help of the people's militia.

Also on Oct. 1, Red fighters of the Arnulfo Ortiz Command raided without firing a shot the fishpond of a despotic landlord in Brgy. Inoragyaw, Sta. Margarita, Western Samar. The raid was a punishment after many people complained of the despotic landlord's landgrabbing, anti-worker practices such as low wages and lack of job security, and disenfranchisement of the fisherfolk who lived nearby. The NPA confiscated from the fishpond's security guards four shotguns, a carbine, a .45 cal. pistol and a .38 cal. pistol, and two pumpboat engines. The Red fighters explained the reasons for the raid to the security guards and and reiterated these in a letter left for the fishpond's administrator.

Meanwhile, there is an initial report that the Arnulfo Ortiz Command successfully carried out a tactical offensive against government forces in Pagsangjan, Western Samar last Oct. 2. At least seven firearms of various calibers were confiscated by the Red fighters.

In Brgy. Gibunawan, Silvino Lobos, Northern Samar, there is an initial report that Red fighters of the Rogelio Bantilo Command successfully ambushed 63rd IB troops last Oct. 11. At least eight soldiers and the commanding officer, Lt. Joash Pramis, were wounded in action. The 8th Infantry Division spokesperson, Lt. Col. Armando Rico, tried to cover up the demoralizing defeat with a media statement that it was a chance encounter and there were three NPA fighters killed in action. In fact, the Rogelio Bantilo Command successfully planned and carried out the armed engagement as part of stepping up offensive operations against the enemy's small and isolated units of Reengineered Special Operations Teams. #

15 October 2009

NDF-EV commends NPA for tactical offensive in Northern Samar, dismisses Palparan's call for capitulation



PRESS RELEASE
October 14, 2009

Fr. Santiago Salas, Spokesperson
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Eastern Visayas

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today commended the Rogelio Bantilo Command for a successful tactical offensive against operating troops of the 63rd IB last Oct. 11 in Silvino Lobos, Northern Samar. “We salute the Rogelio Bantilo Command for punishing the 63rd IB, a fascist unit implicated in many human rights violations including the murder of Fr. Cecilio Lucero,” said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas. “The NPA did not suffer any casualty, while at least eight soldiers and the commanding officer, Lt. Joash Pramis, were wounded. We call on the public to be wary of the 8th ID spokesperson, Lt. Col. Armando Rico, who is once again doing the usual psywar routine about alleged NPA casualties to deceive the people and cover up another demoralizing defeat.”

Fr. Salas said that the Silvino Lobos offensive showed the NPA is reaping victory after victory, and shrugged off the statement of Gen. Jovito Palparan that the revolutionary movement should surrender by 2010. “Gen. Palparan is not in any position to make demands of capitulation because he is serving a regime that is beginning to go down,” he said. “The Arroyo regime coddled Palparan and others who carried out gross and systematic human rights abuses under Oplan Bantay Laya. Thus Gen. Palparan fears what will happen in 2010, because if the Arroyo government ends, happy days might be over for him as he will most certainly be made to pay for his crimes. Various sectors will support the families of his victims who were murdered, tortured or forcibly disappeared, in strongly demanding of the new government that Palparan be arrested, prosecuted and punished. ”

The NDF-EV spokesperson added that while the revolutionary movement is going strong, the Arroyo government is showing signs of collapse. “The people are angry. There is widespread hunger, poverty and repression in Eastern Visayas. Meanwhile, in Metro Manila and northern Luzon, the Arroyo government showed its incapability to help the people after recent storms pushed hundreds of thousands into long-term suffering. The Arroyo government is increasingly isolated and uneasy because the people are raging against its criminal neglect, massive corruption that emptied the calamity and contingency funds, promotion of US military intervention in the guise of humanitarian assistance, and misgovernance that accelerated homelessness, joblessness and landlessness.”

Fr. Salas also suggested that Palparan may be showing support for Gen. Arthur Tabaquero because the latter will soon be joining “the club of losers, the commanding generals of the 8th Infantry Division who all utterly failed to stop the revolution”. “It was Palparan who led the extermination campaign against progressive activists and alleged civilian supporters of the revolutionary movement. This led to many political killings during his tour of duty such as that of lawyers Felidito Dacut and Norman Bocar, as well as Rev. Edison Lapuz. Gen. Tabaquero is following Palparan's footsteps with additional political killings, the most recent being that of Dr. Bartolome Resuello and Fr. Cecilio Lucero. But the killings only raised an outcry and even convinced many to join the New People's Army, which is now increasing guerrilla offensives. The revolutionary movement has nothing to fear in 2010; it is Oplan Bantay Laya and the Arroyo regime that are bound to be defeated.” #

About SIRANG



“Sirang” literally means “RISING”. It is also the image of the people's hope for a better future that this blog of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Eastern Visayas wishes to impart. The National Democratic Front of the Philippines represents the 16 organizations of the revolutionary movement. Although one of the poorest regions in the Philippines, Eastern Visayas is also a place where the national democratic revolutionary movement is surging. Fr. Santiago Salas is the spokesperson of NDF-Eastern Visayas. This blog will post Fr. Salas's statements as well as that of other member organizations of the NDFP in Eastern Visayas. Other relevant articles will also be posted as needed.