22 April 2023
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines’ (NDFP) joyous celebration of its 50th founding anniversary in the Netherlands, April 22-23, was joined and led by friends of the revolutionary movement and the Filipino people.
The two-day celebration, held at the Kurdish Democratic People’s Center in The Hague, bannered the theme: “Celebrate 50 years of the united front against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism” and was joined by the NDFP’s bountiful number of foreign friends from The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Spain, France Kurdistan, Turkey, Palestine, China, the US, Canada, Asia-Pacific, Korea, New Zealand, Colombia and Eritrea.
“We are very happy that you are joining us on this very significant occasion. We are most happy to welcome those who have traveled from other countries”, declared Luis Jalandoni, senior adviser of the NDFP Peace Negotiating Panel and Chief International Representative.
In his welcome address, Jalandoni related that seven months after dictator Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972, the NDFP was founded, on April 24, 1973 after a meeting of the NDFP Founders (Jose Maria Sison, Edgar Jopson, Satur Ocampo, Antonio Zumel, Monico Atienza, Hermenigildo Garcia IV and Julie De Lima).
The NDFP soon grew as the core of the people’s resistance, and today it is composed of 18 allied organizations, Jalandoni stressed. The newest organization to join the NDFP is the migrants organization, Compatriots, which represents more than 10 million migrants and their families, Jalandoni said.
“While justly celebrating the glorious 50-year history of the NDFP and people’s victories, we honor and deeply recognize the heroes and martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the people’s just struggle, and victories over so many years……..please join us in rendering the greatest honor to our martyrs and heroes, in particular……to Comrade Benito Tiamzon and Comrade Wilma Austria-Tiamzon”, Jalandoni emphasized.
The martyrdom in August 2022 of the Tiamzon couple, beloved and deeply respected leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines, was confirmed two days ago by the CPP’s Political Bureau.
“They and our other heroes and martyrs will forever remain our deep inspiration as we continue to pursue our revolutionary struggle onward to victory.
In his message welcoming solidarity activists to the 50th anniversary celebration, Robert Reid, a veteran trade unionist in New Zealand and chairperson of the Friends of the Filipino People in Struggle (FFPS), asserted that the NDFP is the genuine representative of the Filipino people.
Beri of the Kurdish Democratic People’s Center in The Hague, also gave a very warm welcome to the participants of the anniversary celebration.
A premier showing of the video NDFP@50 produced by the NDFP International Information Office was shown. The more than 3-minute video contains latest footages of the lightning protest rallies in Manila daringly launched by several member organizations of the NDFP to highlight its anniversary, the NDFP member organizations, and the NDFP’s work in the countryside, specifically in building and strengthening the organs of political power.
Julie De Lima, interim chairperson of the NDFP Peace Negotiating Panel, provided an overview of the development of the NDFP since the Preparatory Commission for the National Democratic Front (NDF PrepCom) issued its 10-point manifesto.
The manifesto, according to De Lima, states the following: “A three-fold task now faces the Filipino people: unite to oppose and overthrow the US-Marcos dictatorship; liberate themselves from US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism; and establish a coalition government based on a truly democratic system of representation. The main form of struggle in carrying out this task is armed struggle.
The NDFP, she added, issued 10-points for revolutionary action, and a call for international solidarity which was circulated in all parts of the world where the CPP had relations and contacts. The Manifesto and call for solidarity [was] were widely published internationally. Soon after, the NDFP Prep Com also issued an elaborated 10-Point Program.
De Lima related that in 1983, the National United Front Commission issued a New Katipunan Draft Program of the NDFP with the supposed objective of attracting more of the middle forces into the anti-Marcos dictatorship struggle. It proposed silence on the leadership role of the Party in the united front and that the Katipunan Draft Program would replace the Party’s Program for a Democratic Revolution (PPDR), De Lima said.
She said she brought a copy to then imprisoned Ka Joma but after reading it, he found it to be counterrevolutionary, so he made a counterdraft which was adopted as the new draft in 1985.
Elaborating on the new draft, De Lima stated: The Party often finds it necessary to explain that the national united front is mainly for promoting and advancing the revolutionary armed struggle because of the common notion that it is mainly or solely for carrying out all legal forms of struggle, including commonplace expression of political views, electoral competitions and peace negotiations. But in the carrying out the people’s democratic revolution, the Party wields the national united front as a weapon for strengthening the armed struggle by gaining political allies who can deliver arms to the NPA or can coordinate with the NPA in military operations.
“All post-Marcos regimes have followed the path of armed counterrevolution even as each of them has used peace negotiations for a stretch of six month to one year in attempts to disorient, confuse, seek capitulation of or draw intelligence information about the revolutionary movement. There has yet been no regime that sought alliance and truce against a bigger enemy or carry out social, economic and political reforms for achieving the national independence and development of the Philippines.”
De Lima concludes: “Fortunately, the people’s democratic revolution continues to grow in strength and benefits from the ever worsening chronic crisis of the ruling system. The escalating conditions of oppression and exploitation have become intolerable. In increasing numbers, the people are bound to join and support the Communist Party of the Philippines, the advance of the New People’s Army, the expansion of revolutionary mass organizations, the strengthening of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the establishment of the People’s Democratic Government in ever wider areas of the countryside.”
In a recorded interview, Ka Satur Ocampo, a founder of the NDF and former chief negotiator of the NDFP Peace Panel during talks with the Aquino regime, shared interesting insights on the NDFP and its work.
Honoring the friends of the NDFP
Coni Ledesma, international representative of Makibaka, an NDFP allied organization of women, gave tribute and recognition, by reciting their names, to individual solidarity friends who have passed away and solidarity organizations that have done heroic work for the Filipino people and the NDFP.
Panel discussion on peace negotiations and people’s war
Highlighting the celebration of the 50th anniversary was the panel discussion on the peace talks and how its complements the advancement of people’s war.
The panelists were composed of Julie De Lima, interim chairperson of the NDFP Peace Negotiating Panel, Luis Jalandoni, senior adviser of the NDFP Panel, and Coni Ledesma, member of the NDFP Peace Panel.
Replying to the question of who is the biggest stumbling block to the resumption of the peace talks, Ledesma pointedly said it the military whose only objective is to defeat the revolutionary movement.
The best way to extend revolutionary justice to the martyrdom of many revolutionaries and masses is for the NPA to go after those who owe blood debts to the revolutionary movement, according to De Lima. As the revolutionary struggle advances to victory, those with blood debts would be brought to face trial in revolutionary courts, she stressed.
Many agreements were inked during the entire process of the peace negotiations since they were started, emphasized Jalandoni. He cited the Hague Joint Declaration which is a document of parity and non-capitulation, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), and the draft Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic (CASER) among others.
Jalandoni, stated that the NDFP is against accepting the paradigm of the UN on the DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration) because it is a formula for surrender. The NDFP, he said, is also aware of so-called successful peace talks that actually led to surrender and the massacre of revolutionary forces.
Ledesma, replying to another question, explained that there can be no genuine peace unless US imperialism and their puppets are defeated in the Philippines. She added that the step by step building of socialism is being done by strengthening the organs of political power in the countryside.
Finally, de Lima commenting on whether the Philippine reactionary armed forces would resort to the so-called “Jakarta method” in order defeat the revolutionary movement, she said it would be impossible because first, the revolutionary movement has the New People’s Army (NPA), and second because the CPP is underground. They would have to kill millions of innocents in the drive to purge the communists and revolutionaries.
Asked on the prospects of the peace talks, De Lima stressed that the Marcos junior regime is opposed to pursuing peace negotiations.
She ended by stating that revolutionary solidarity is a key to defeating US imperialism.
Ka Joma tributes
The anniversary celebrations gave tribute to Ka Joma Sison, who was one of the founders of the NDFP and a leader of the revolutionary movement. A heartwarming video on Ka Joma was shown. Written tributes from Philippine political prisoners were read and a video of Carol Araullo, chairperson emeritus of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance, Bayan) giving her tribute was shown. “Mao’s Way”, an MTV of one of Ka Joma’s favorite songs was also shown.
Flag and interpretative dancing, revolutionary songs and videos, were among the cultural highlights that gave more emotional, meaningful and heartwarming substance to 50 years of achievements of the revolutionary alliance.#