A Situationer, February 7, 2021
by Luis G. Jalandoni
Dear Friends and Comrades,
Good afternoon! This is a happy occasion for us. We are launching the book of Ka Joma entitled Resist Neoliberalism, Fascism and Wars of Aggression. Selected Writings, 2019
Of course, we heartily congratulate Ka Joma for this new book. We expect it will be received with enthusiasm, just like his many other writings.
We also are happy because tomorrow, February 8, is his birthday So we all wish Ka Joma, a very Happy Birthday! May you have many more! Mabuhay ka, Ka Joma!
Now, Comrades and Friends, here is the situationer, I have the honor to present.
Revolutionary forces grow significantly all over the country. The guerrilla fronts of the New People’s Army (NPA) have increased their strength. The 110 guerrilla fronts of the NPA have expanded in 73 provinces, out of a total 81 provinces in the country. New guerrilla fronts have been organized. The Duterte regime has failed to destroy a single guerrilla front. In fact, in the face of intensified attacks by the fascist military and police, many new recruits from the youth and students, women, the peasants and workers, and indigenous people, as well as some in the middle sectors of the population have joined the armed revolutionary movement. President Duterte, just like his predecessor, dictator Marcos, has become the principal recruiter for the New People’s Army.
Moreover, revolutionary forces in the broad legal front, have also strengthened themselves. In the workers’ movement in the different provinces, the militant workers continue to organize and launch militant actions to defend their rights and further develop their organized strength. Peasants continue to develop their militant organizations and undertake actions to broaden and strengthen themselves. They proclaim their right to pursue genuine land reform, oppose massive land-grabbing, and participate in the further strengthening the people’s army.
The workers’, the youth and students, the women, and the indigenous people are developing further their organizations and resistance. So are the middle sectors among the population, the lawyers, teachers, journalists, scientists, including the progressive church are taking the side of the oppressed and exploited.
In the face of the people’s resistance, the Duterte regime and its military and police have intensified their acts of fascism. Militant workers, peasants, youth and students, women and indigenous people have been killed, red-tagged, arrested on trumped-up charges, and detained. Many are tortured and some have disappeared.
In July 2020, the regime enacted the Anti-Terror Law (ATL) imposing further heavy impositions on the people. The ATL allows warrantless arrests for up to 24 days, and the anti-terrorism Council appointed by Duterte can declare individuals and organizations as “terrorists”, have them arrested, tortured and killed or detained on trumped-up criminal charges. Red tagging, the naming of organizations and individuals as Communists and “terrorists” has become rampant.
There was the horrible massacre of the indigenous Tumandoks in Panay who were firmly opposing the Jalaur Dam which would engulf their ancestral lands. Nine of them were killed on December 30, 2020 and 27 others arrested and detained. In condemnation of the massacre, eight bishops, including a Cardinal, issued a joint pastoral letter.
When seven labor leaders, including one woman journalist, were arrested in December in Metro Manila, the International Labor Unions condemned it and called for International Unions to organize an investigation.
The recent “shoot to kill” order issued by the Philippine National Police Commander in the Cordillera Region against Windel Bolinget, Chairperson of the Cordillera People’s Alliance has been strongly condemned. Mr. Bolinget denies the trumped-up charge leveled against him and has declared that he wants the right to defend himself in court.
The ATL of Duterte was met with an unprecedented 37 legal challenges by prestigious organizations and individuals. They are calling for the declaration of the ATL as unconstitutional. The prestigious Itegrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)and the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) and Former Senior Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio are among those who are condemning the ATL. Hearings of the legal challenges of the 37 organizations, placed into various groups, are still in the process.
In addition, the utter failure of the Duterte regime to respond to the urgent call for mass testing and provision of medicines for the rampaging Covid-19 infection has further intensified the condemnation of the regime’s criminal negligence and corruption. Furthermore, in the face of the successive typhoons which hit the Philippines, again the Duterte regime did nothing for the communities that suffered great damage. It was the revolutionary forces which undertook community actions to provide effective support to the affected communities. Youth and students in the urban areas organized support actions for the communities affected. They also condemned the Duterte government for its negligence in providing any kind of support.
Internationally, the Duterte regime is also increasingly becoming isolated. In a report last December, International Criminal Court Prosecutor declared there is “reasonable basis to believe” that crimes against humanity were committed in the government’s anti-narcotics campaign. Indeed, Duterte is becoming more isolated, not only in the Philippines. It is also true internationally.
The people’s resistance is growing stronger, while the regime is becoming more isolated. We can very well expect more victories and achievements of the revolutionary forces in the coming years.
(Delivered during the cyber launch of Prof. Jose Ma. Sison’s Resist Neoliberalism, Fascism and Wars of Aggression, February 7, 2021.)