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.” #