Intensify service to the people and revolutionary struggles in the face of disasters

The Filipino people rage with anger at the rotten and corrupt Arroyo regime which exhibited complete disregard, incompetence and inutility in preparing for and managing the disaster.

By Communist Party of the Philippines

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People's Army (NPA) and all revolutionary forces thoughout the country express their deepest sympathy with the millions victimized since the end of last week by the raging flood waters and landslides brought about by Typhoon Pepeng whose suffering has been aggravated by the inconsequential rescue and relief operations of the inutile reactionary government.

Last week's disaster came close on the heels of the massive destruction wrought by Typhoon Ondoy two weeks ago. We grieve with the families of several hundreds whose lives were lost in these latest disasters.

A big majority of the victims of last week's calamities are peasant masses among whom the CPP, the NPA and various revolutionary mass organizations are rooted. Party members, NPA Red fighters and other revolutionary forces were among the people when raging flood waters deluged their communities, homes, farms and fishing grounds.

Units of the Party and the people's army as well as local revolutionary forces promptly exerted all-out efforts to assist in evacuating people to safer ground and rescue those caught in the floods and landslides. They are currently helping organize the masses in their struggle to survive the disaster, recover their bearings and resume production. NPA tactical offensives in adversely affected areas in the Ilocos-Cordillera, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon regions have been suspended to enable Red fighters and revolutionary forces to concentrate on assisting in the people's rehabilitation efforts.

The Filipino people rage with anger at the rotten and corrupt Arroyo regime which exhibited complete disregard, incompetence and inutility in preparing for and managing the disaster.

Arroyo and her coterie's thievery whittled down the national government's P2 billion calamity fund for the year to a mere P24 million before Typhoon Ondoy struck. Thus, by last week, the Arroyo government's disaster relief infrastructure and efforts were utterly inconsequential in the face of widescale destruction. Its incompetence in saving victims in Metro Manila, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan and other areas hard hit by Typhoon Ondoy's floods and landslides was repeated when it again failed to preposition sufficient disaster teams adequately equipped with watercraft, high-chassis trucks and helicopters to assist victims of Typhoon Pepeng. The complete incompetence of the Arroyo regime provided the opportunity for the US military to strengthen its presence in the Philippines. The US deployed several hundred of its interventionist troops in the guise of rescue operations to justify its increasing interventionism, permanent presence and the continuation of the Visiting Forces Agreement and similar one-sided military agreements.

The people are particularly infuriated at the culpability of Arroyo's disaster officials in the widespread destruction. Wide swathes of land, especially in La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan Valley, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and Bulacan were submerged by the sudden last-minute release of water from the San Roque, Pantabangan and other dams, which caused rivers and waterways to breach their banks, wreck dikes and flood lowlands. After several days' rains, the Arroyo government should have gradually released water earlier instead of waiting for water to reach critical levels before suddenly releasing a deluge. Warnings to the people in the flood-threatened areas were made too late if at all. Arrangements to secure the people, their homes and livelihood were absent.

The series of recent disasters is a direct result of the plunder and devastation of mountains, forests and watershed areas, as well as the siltation and destruction of lakes and rivers by foreign mining corporations, commercial loggers and pollution-spewing establishments. Overlogging and overmining in the Sierra Madre and Cordillera mountain ranges have destroyed the denuded mountains' capacity to hold water. Highly-silted rivers and lakes can no longer retain the rush of water from denuded mountains.

The people hold the Arroyo regime responsible for opening the doors wide open for the plunder of our natural resources and destruction of our environment by foreign mining, commercial logging companies and heavily-polluting establishments. These plunderers generously line the pockets of Arroyo and her cabal of insatiable officials. These big imperialists, big compradors and big bureacrat capitalists greed for profit knows no bounds. The people are left to suffer the deleterious results of their plunder and destruction.

It is thus just and necessary for the people, especially in areas which suffered from the floods and landslides, to demand reparation for the destruction of their homes and livelihood. The Arroyo regime must be made to pay for its responsibility in the widespread devastation.

The widespread destruction of agricultural lands, fisheries and livestock has dealt a great blow on the already impoverished peasant masses. The disaster wrought by the floods and landslides amplify the poverty and hunger of the peasantry who have long suffered from various forms of feudal, semifeudal and imperialist exploitation.

It is thus urgent for the people to intensify their national-democratic revolutionary struggle in order to smash the social system that makes them victims of imperialist, feudal and bureacratic exploitation, oppression and disregard, and renders them vulnerable to natural and man-made calamities. More than ever, the peasant masses need to vigorously wage agrarian revolution. The CPP and the revolutionary forces under its leadership will assist in every way to organize the peasant masses in their demand for a greater share of their produce, for a halt to usury and for higher farmgate prices.

At the same time, the CPP and the revolutionary forces are rallying the proleratian and semiprolerian masses and the middle classes in Metro Manila and regions affected by the recent disasters in the struggle for jobs, living wages, livelihood, humane working conditions, decent living quarters, lower prices of basic commodities, and for relief and social services.

In the face of the recent disasters and the reactionary puppet regime's incompetence and inability to handle the devastation and assist the people, there is a growing clamor for greater efforts at disaster prevention and preparedness. There is a mounting demand to put an end to the appropriation of up to 50% of the national budget for debt servicing and payments and a reduction in massive military spending in order to allocate more resources to disaster mitigation and rescue-and-relief operations, as well as to rehabilitate damaged public housing, schools, hospitals and other public facilities.

There is a heightened demand to repeal the Mining Act of 1995 and to put a stop to the plunder of our forests and mountains. For its part, the CPP and the New People's Army will continue to enforce its policy of banning destructive large-scale commercial mining and logging operations by big foreign and comprador firms.

In these times of grave disasters, the revolutionary forces and the people do not lose sight of the pressing need to intensify the revolutionary struggle. They are preparing to launch bigger political and military offensives in order to make the rotten Arroyo regime pay for its corruption and crimes and the disasters it has caused, and bring to greater heights the struggle to put an end to the sufferings of the Filipino people perpetuated by the ruling neocolonial and semifeudal system.