The people celebrate 45 years of the NPA, the people will prevail!

Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas
NDFP-Eastern Visayas
March 29, 2014

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Eastern Visayas and the revolutionary masses salute the New People's Army today on the 45th anniversary of its founding on March 29, 1969. Because the people have their army, they have what is needed to defend their basic interests and fight for the overthrow of the reactionary ruling system. Because of the NPA, the people of Eastern Visayas can stand up after the unprecedented disaster of Supertyphoon Yolanda and fight for genuine reconstruction through the new democratic revolution.

The forty-five fighting years of the NPA have dashed the enemy's gloating year after year. The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the reactionary government have harped on many times that the NPA is a spent force and that revolution is obsolete. Why then has the NPA leaped over time from a mere squad with inferior weapons in the early 1970s, to hundreds of Red fighters with high-powered rifles and still growing in numbers in Eastern Visayas today? This is because of the courage and self-sacrifice of the Red commanders and fighters like Efren Martires, Rodante Urtal, Arnulfo Ortiz, Sergio Lobina, and so many martyrs from the NPA and the masses who gave up their lives for the revolutionary cause. This is because of the fundamentally unchanged conditions of the semifeudal and semicolonial system that oppress and exploit the people, thus driving them into the revolutionary fold in droves.

It is the fighting duty of the NPA to raise the level of warfare and strive to reach the strategic stalemate in the people's war in a few years. This is only possible through intensifying guerrilla offensives based on an ever widening and deepening mass base. The revolution can comprehensively advance through the integral fulfillment of the armed struggle, mass base building and agrarian revolution.

But what is also to be done in the face of the sudden ruin that befell the region? The savage destruction by Supertyphoon Yolanda in the region and elsewhere showed that the reactionary ruling system is incapable of looking after the people's interests and plunged millions into untold sufferings. The US-Aquino regime never exerted enough effort to save lives apart from token warnings before the storm struck. Worse, after the storm, the regime appeared averse and inept in responding to the plight of the people, as if considering them undeserving of its time and resources. The storm exposed the rottenness of the semifeudal economy. Millions of peasants became even more impoverished and hungry as Supertyphoon Yolanda wiped out what little food crops there were for subsistence, as well as the crops for the local market and for export, and it will take agriculture a few years to recover. The  coastal communities of urban and rural poor were also devastated and more than 10,000 people may have died.

The US-Aquino regime's Reconstruction Assistance for Yolanda is a program not for the storm survivors but in favor of corrupt politicians, the big landlords and compradors, and foreign monopoly capital. The bias is for infrastructure rebuilding in favor of the compradors allied with the regime, with much less attention to agriculture and fishing on which the majority of the people rely. For this reason, so-called “no-build zones” have also been declared, displacing hundreds of thousands of urban and rural poor, while handing over much prime real estate to big business interests. The US-Aquino regime will also pursue its old “cash for work” and “food for work” schemes that, along with the conditional cash transfer program, offer palliatives without any long-term solution to the people's poverty.  The regime's reconstruction will thus only restore the old order, with the pending threats of more impositions, such as large-scale mining and US military intervention based on a new agreement between the US and Philippine governments.

The NPA in Eastern Visayas today continues to aid the people in rebuilding their lives and livelihood  till the next several months, without neglecting tactical offensives whenever possible. It is the duty of the NPA and all revolutionary forces to ensure the people's well-being amidst an unprecedented natural calamity. The people's democratic government continues to cooperate with local and international aid agencies to facilitate humanitarian assistance for the people. In the worst-hit areas of Western Samar, Eastern Samar and Leyte, the Red fighters join the peasant masses in communal farming, planting food crops and quick-growing cash crops, facilitating agricultural and fishing materials, and other immediate needs. The NPA is working to ensure the people will not go hungry in the coming months and years while they struggle to restore their livelihood. The NPA continues to organize and mobilize the peasantry for the agrarian struggle and for self-reliance even while struggling to recover. The people have every right to demand accountability from the US-Aquino regime over its criminal neglect before and after Supertyphoon Yolanda.

Supertyphoon Yolanda surely altered the people's lives for the worse. The US-Aquino regime only displays fascism, incompetence and corruption in dealing with the disaster in the region. The regime's total war plan Oplan Bayanihan is in full swing and militarization adds to the people's miseries in the hard-hit areas, where there are also vast territories of Red political power. The humanitarian aid for the storm survivors are being looted by high officials who are accumulating war chests for the 2016 election.  Whatever little aid trickles down to the people have even turned out to be rotten.

Thus, the NDFP-EV calls on the people to turn their outrage at the US-Aquino regime's criminal neglect into revolutionary fervor. The people must fight to bring the regime to account as a matter of social justice. Those whose livelihood cannot be easily restored should not think of merely migrating elsewhere to face the same oppression and exploitation. We in NDFP-EV call on the Yolanda survivors who can no longer maintain a livelihood to instead take the path of revolutionary armed struggle and join the NPA. We also call on those outside the region to join the revolutionary struggle here and help in the arduous taks to uplift the people and carry the revolution forward.

There are no better prospects for the people in Eastern Visayas than to fight for genuine reconstruction through the new democratic revolution. We must strengthen the revolutionary mass movement and fight for agrarian revolution, the main democratic demand of the people, and national industrialization. These two are the basic socio-economic reforms to realize genuine economic reconstruction. It is only though strengthening the New People's Army so we can overthrow the reactionary ruling system that we can realize such fundamental changes. Let us therefore cherish and support the NPA on its 45th  anniversary; with the NPA, the people will prevail!