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On the NDFP’s 45th anniversary, the resounding call: RESIST TYRANNY, SUSTAIN THE GAINS OF THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION!

in Mainstream
by Angel Balen

On April 24 the National Democratic Front of the Philippines observes its 45th founding anniversary.

There is every reason for the revolutionary forces, mass base, allies and friends to celebrate the momentous occasion.

Today the NDFP stands justly proud, yet humble, as the veritable embodiment and official political-diplomatic representative of the consolidated national united front of the 18 allied organizations that—in nearly 50 years—have unrelentingly carried on the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation.

As envisioned at its founding, the NDFP over the years has endeavored to become the most consolidated organizational expression of the unity of all the anti-imperialist and democratic forces in the country and among progressive Filipinos working/living abroad as well as solidarity groups in various countries. It is through the NDFP that national unity has been “assiduously, perseveringly developed under the class leadership of the proletariat and firmly founded on the basic alliance of the workers and peasants.”

Over almost half a century the struggle has achieved significant gains infused with the selfless martyrdom and immense sacrifices of revolutionary cadres and Red fighters.

Significant strides since the 70s

Three years ago, on the 42nd anniversary of the NDFP, Ka Oris, then the spokesperson of the NDFP-Mindanao, gave a succinct but comprehensive review of the significant developments in the national democratic revolution’s advance since 1973, with the NDFP and the New People’s Army (NPA) working together closely in 120 guerrilla fronts in strategic areas of the countryside.
Highlighting the interweaving roles of the NDFP and the NPA, under the guidance of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), in building up the revolutionary forces and mass bases Ka Oris, in a video publicly shown at the anniversary celebration on August 25, 2015 at the University of the Philippines Bahay ng Alumni, declared:

“It is imperative that we remember what history has taught us: that in the advance of the NDFP, the NPA also made strides, and when the NPA and the armed struggle gained strength, the NDFP became more prestigious and its capacity to unite various political forces was amplified. This also showed that the NDFP served as the shield in the armed struggle and the NPA, as the sword to cut down the main pillar of the reactionary state. In addition, this demonstrates the NDFP’s role in waging diplomatic struggle as a weapon of [the people’s] war.
“History has shown the inseparability of the NDFP and the NPA under the guidance of the Party in advancing the national democratic revolution. The NDFP played a significant role in broadening the field of operations and the wellspring of recruits of the people’s army and the armed struggle. The NPA for its part made certain that the NDFP had a wide and deep foundation in the basic masses and that it possessed a weapon to achieve complete victory.

“These victories of the NDFP must be consolidated. Let us glean our positive experiences, hold fast to them and build on them, even as we repudiate our negative experiences. We are hopeful that the revolutionary movement will continue to advance nationwide due to the socio-economic and political crisis besetting the country.

“We pledge our readiness to unite and coordinate with all forces and individuals who stand for genuine liberation, democracy, and peace based on social justice. We pledge and stake our entire strength to advancing the people’s war from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate and onward to total victory.”

Since Ka Oris reported on the revolution’s advances, the NDFP has earnestly been training more cadres for deployment in the ever-widening national united front work, even as it has devoted more efforts in pushing the resumption of the long-stalled GRP-NDFP peace talks under the second Aquino government and the incumbent Duterte regime.

Such work has included organizing various types of campaigns to arouse and mobilize the broad masses of the people for the revolution; promoting and building varied forms of alliances among progressive and patriotic forces towards building the broadest alliance possible against imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism; and building underground organizations in the urban areas.

The NDFP also has paid more attention to building revolutionary strength among the national minorities for asserting their right to self-determination and defending their ancestral domains, livelihoods, cultures and traditions. Likewise, it has improved and expanded efforts to arouse, organize and mobilize Filipino overseas migrant workers and other compatriots in various countries to contribute more meaningfully to the advancement of the revolution.

Advances in Mindanao and Visayas

On the 49th anniversary of the NPA last March 29, NDFP-Mindanao provided an update on the advances made by the revolutionary movement in that whole southern part of the country. It lauded the Red commanders, fighters, people’s organizations, and members of the People’s Militia, local guerrilla and self-defense units for “effectively carr(ying) out their revolutionary tasks of defending the people’s welfare by delivering decisive blows against the fascist forces of the US-Duterte regime.”

The Mindanao revolutionary movement, the statement noted, “has taken significant strides to bring the people’s war to a new and higher level, with the end in view of ushering in the victory of the national democratic revolution towards the country’s socialist future.”

Citing the revolutionary masses as the “weavers of the fabric of history,” the NDFP-Mindanao expressed profound gratitude to them for having “offered their good sons and daughters to take conscious and active part in the undertakings of the true army of the people, the NPA.”

With equal fervor towards allies, the NDFP Mindanao said: “We thank all our allies as well, who, throughout the years, despite the all-out vain efforts by the ruling classes and [their] reactionary government to malign and crush the revolutionary movement, have not waivered in their support.”

Backing up with data the advancement of the people’s war in Mindanao, the statement said:

“The NPA in Mindanao continues to surge in an all-round way. Despite the all-out attacks of the US-Duterte regime, the NPA is making headway in 46 guerrilla fronts in Mindanao, where its units are operating in more than 2,500 barrios in over 200 municipalities in 20 provinces in the island. In these areas, hundreds of thousands are directly organized, while tens of thousands are covered by the people’s revolutionary government (PRG) at the barrio level, and a few at municipal levels.”

“NPA platoons and companies in Mindanao are now spread all over their base areas, helping the masses to defend themselves from impending attacks of enemy forces, recovering those (areas) relatively disrupted by enemy troops, and reinvigorating revolutionary mass organizations into launching agrarian reform campaigns and participating in meaningful activities that help advance the people’s war.

“We encourage NPA units in Mindanao to make their every political and military undertaking this year as a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the reestablished Communist Party of the Philippines.”

In the Visayas, the CPP Panay regional committee has reported similar advance in the people’s war despite the intensified repressive actions by the US-Duterte regime. Julian Paisano, regional party spokesperson, reported the following:

More youths have joined the NPA, most of them from peasant families who mainly endure the burdens of poverty and class exploitation. In 2017, the NPA in Panay added one oversized platoon to its fighting forces. At the same time, more peasants have joined units of the People’s Militia which principally assume responsibility for defense and maintenance of peace and order in their respective communities and provide direct support to the fulltime units of the people’s army.

Much-improved ideological, political and organizational work within every unit of the NPA, Paisano noted, has resulted in the enhanced spirit of discipline and capacity of the fighting units in carrying out their primary tasks: base-building (done in tandem with the NDFP), agrarian reform, and launching tactical offensives (TO). Consequently, more than 20 TOs were successfully launched in 2017. These resulted in the confiscation of various-caliber firearms from the enemy, inflicting casualties (10 killed and 20 other enemy troops wounded). Three Red fighters sacrificed their lives in the encounters.

The People’s Democratic Government

For the past 32 years, reckoning from the initial GRP-NDFP peace talks in 1986-87, the NDFP has firmly stood for and carried the political authority of the people’s democratic government (PDG), constituting of the organs of political power at the barrio level, in some areas at municipal or section level.

The PDG is painstakingly being built to educate the organized masses on the principles, ways and means of collective self-governance, and to enable their democratically elected local leaders to assume responsibility and hone their leadership capabilities through practice for safeguarding and advancing the people’s welfare, while helping advance the revolutionary struggle. The perspective is for the PDG to ultimately replace the reactionary, oppressive and exploitative rule of the imperialists, the big landlords, and big bourgeois compradors.

Understandably not one of the post-Marcos dictatorship administrations of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines has shown the courage or political will to explicity recognize the PDG’s political authority—and consequently recognize the existence of dual political power in the country. They have all been wary of adopting an attitude, much less taking any action that would enhance the prospects of the revolutionary movement attaining a status of belligerency.

Nonetheless, in varying degrees, the administrations of Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Gloria Arroyo, Benigno Aquino III, and Rodrigo Duterte tacitly acknowledged the political authority of the NDFP when they acceded to sit down with the latter on the negotiating table—based on the principle of parity of status—and hammer out a just and lasting political settlement of the prolonged armed conflict.

Fidel Ramos stands out as the only GRP president who sustained (though with many interruptions) the peace negotiations throughout his term of office. Joseph Estrada (who succeeded Ramos) spurned the peace negotiations and opted for a “total war” policy. Yet he did a signal role (though he didn’t seem to have been aware of it at the time). After assuming office in 1998 Estrada, as principal of the GRP negotiating panel, signed the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law or CARHRIHL. The accord, lauded as a “landmark” document by the European Parliament, was negotiated and completed under the Ramos administration.

Rodrigo Duterte could have done better than Ramos had he been hands-on in the negotiation process—as Ramos was. He came close to signing the most substantive agreement in the peace talks that would have addressed the root causes of the armed conflict: the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), which could have been followed by the completion and signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms (CAPCR).

However, buckling under the pressure of his militarist advisers, Duterte balked. He completely turned around and arbitrarily “terminated” the GRP-NDFP peace talks in November, through Proclamation 360—although that is not the prescribed mode of formally ending the peace negotiations. Initially, he tried to justify his decision by accusing the NPA of continually attacking and killing “my soldiers and policemen.”

Later Duterte rationalized his action by claiming he couldn’t agree to share power through a “coalition government” with another political authority that he said had no mandate from the Filipino electorate. By that stance he showed a narrow, even erroneous, understanding of certain principles in peace negotiations, specifically that the two negotiating parties shall have joint/shared as well as separate responsibilities in the implementation of signed agreements.

(A “coalition government” could probably come into fruition only after a final peace accord should have been signed—which would entail the cessation of hostilities and disposition of the armed forces of both sides—and the political forces under the NDFP should have decided to participate in the elections for a new government that should see after the full implementation of all the peace agreements.)

Proscribing the CPP/NPA as Terrorist

Beyond seeking to terminate the GRP-NDFP peace talks, Duterte also issued Proclamation 374 declaring the CPP and the NPA as “terrorist organizations.” Again, no matter that it carried the president’s authority, the proclamation by itself is not legally binding. The anti-terrorism law (euphemistically titled “The Human Security Act of 2007”) on which the proclamation is based, requires the government, through its department of justice, to petition a regional trial court to declare as terrorists the two revolutionary organizations.

The procedure is called proscription, wherein the judge must hear both the side of the petitioner (DoJ) and those of the respondents (CPP and NPA). The court must find as sufficient and verified to be factual the documentary or testimonial evidence submitted by the DoJ to satisfy the grounds, specified under the Human Security Act, before it can issue a ruling declaring the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations.

The petition has already been challenged, in a motion filed by Saturnino C. Ocampo, one of the persons whose names are listed in the petition as allegedly the “known officers” of the CPP-NPA with known addresses. Besides refuting the imputation that he is a “terrorist” and the allegation he is an officer of the CPP-NPA, Ocampo urges the court to dismiss the petition because it fails to satisfy the stiff requirements of the Human Security Act in determining if an organization is in fact terrorist.

It is important to note that both in Proclamation 374 and in the judicial petition, the Duterte regime isn’t seeking to tag the NDFP as a terrorist organization along with the CPP and the NPA, which are its two leading affiliate organizations. One can only speculate on the reason(s) behind the exclusion/omission.

Reminiscent of Martial Law

Another important point to note is that the NDFP celebrates its 45th anniversary under political conditions eerily reminiscent of those prevailing at the time it was founded: seven months after Ferdinand E. Marcos had declared martial law nationwide and installed himself as fascist dictator for nearly 14 years.

Martial law has been in effect in the whole of Mindanao for over a year now. It was originally intended to enable the reactionary state’s security forces to quell an alleged rebellion in Marawi City by Muslim militant groups which the US and the Philippine governments associate with the Islamic State. After that was accomplished, largely with aerial bombings guided by American spy planes and drones that destroyed much of Marawi, Duterte had the martial rule extended until the end of 2018, adding the NPA as its target for annihilation. He has threatened, should the NPA further escalate its counteroffensives against the state forces, to declare martial law nationwide.

In this regard, the NDF-Mindanao statement on March 28 described the US-Duterte regime as “seething with fascism, employ(ing) militarism and other draconian measures to suppress any and all forms of opposition and dissent.” Leaders and members of legal and legitimate mass organizations have become targets of brutal attacks, warrantless arrests and filing trumped-up charges, detention and torture, surveillance and profiling of targeted individuals, enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killing.

Moreover, of the more than 600 names and aliases listed as “officers and members” of the CPP-NPA in the proscription petition filed in court by the DoJ, more than half of them are allegedly from Mindanao.

The regime, the statement added, seeks to wipe out the NPA by the end of 2018 through Oplan Kapayapaan, which employs “vile military and psywar tactics rehashed from previous failed operation plans.”

To create in the public mind a false perception that these tactics have been succeeding, the AFP/PNP has resorted to “subterfuge, perfidy and black propaganda.” They orchestrate the murder of civilians, make it appear like it was executed by “terrorists” and impute the crime on the NPA. Then through trolls, the statement noted, the US-Duterte regime poisons both the social and mainstream media with such false news.

The AFP has also stage-managed the gathering of hundreds of fake surrenderers in Davao City and flew them to Manila aboard military transport planes, for touring at the Luneta and other urban tourist spots, capped by dinners at Malacanang with President Duterte. Duterte has even offered the women “surrenderers” government-funded tours in Hong Kong and China so they could observe firsthand the economic progress supposedly achieved after the former “socialist China” embraced the capitalist road to development.

Following the issuance of Proclamation 374, the statement pointed out, Duterte has gone further to “almost sociopathic proportion” as to offer P25,000 to P100,000 bounty for every NPA fighter killed and to order that women Red fighters who may be captured be “shot in their vaginas to render them useless.”

Also it must be noted that, against strong popular protests, in November 2017 Duterte rammed the political rehabilitation of the deposed dictator Marcos by facilitating the burial of his remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Now he appears to be implacably set to replicate the prolonged Marcos tyrannical rule, using as conveyance, through charter change, a shift in the form of government from the current unitary to a federal type that is yet to be fully defined.

The looming restoration of that reviled fascist dictatorship invests the observance of the NDFP’s 45th anniversary with an urgent popular behest: Resist the rising tyranny of the US-Duterte regime; sustain the gains of the National Democratic Revolution!

Revolutionaries Not Terrorists

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Breaking Away from the Usurious Farm Traders

in Mainstream
by Priscilla de Guzman

The road leading to the village was mostly rough and muddy, with a few meters of cemented portion after every few kilometers. Where there was a cemented road, harvested corn crops were spread over it on plastic sheets to dry under the sun.

“You were lucky, kadua (comrade in the Ilokano language),” Ka Efren told me as he expertly maneuvered his motorcycle through the muddy parts of the road. “It has been raining for weeks. The rain stopped only two days ago, he said.

Ka Efren’s community occupies a public land, a forested area, where titling is not allowed by the government. However, some enterprising local government officials and trader-usurers have been able to acquire land titles through sheer bribery. The public lands have been home to most of the farmers, such as Ka Efren, since birth.

As we passed through another batch of harvested corn being dried, Ka Efren muttered how low the prices that the traders pay for their produce. “I don’t know how much I’ll earn this harvest season, our corn harvest was not properly dried because of the rains,” he lamented.

Embracing victory

Ka Jong, the other motorcycle driver, quickly reminded Ka Efren that, just two days ago after the rains had stopped, a farmers’ organization in a Cagayan Valley municipality won its battle against the usurious traders. The good news, he said, had spread like fire in the neighboring communities, towns, and even in other provinces in the region. Ka Efren’s face immediately lit up. Yes, he suddenly remembered.

Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid

We arrived at the community where the farmers had gathered as members of a local chapter of the Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magsasaka or PKM (National Peasants Association), one of the founding member-organizations of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines [NDFP]). They were exultant over the victory of the mass action-cum-dialogue with the traders—a victory won through a militant show of unity in demanding that the traders pay justly for the farmers’ produce and do away with their usurious practices.

The peasant leaders who joined them can understandably claim much of the credit for the triumph. They were fired up in narrating their collective action, what they had gone through before they achieved victory. They took turns in pointing out how they had been exploited by the trader-usurers. The latter had monopoly and control of everything the farmers needed from planting to harvesting. They also dictated the prices of their corn and cassava produce. It had been a full cycle of exploitation.

The peasant organization’s victory of getting a fair shake from the traders meant the following: reduced interest rates on their loans, higher selling prices for corn and cassava crops, reduced prices of the sacks used in packing their produce, and a reprieve from interest payments they had incurred during the super typhoon Lawin that hit the region in 2016.

Monopoly of the traders

For a long time, loans and interest payments had chained the farmers to the trader-usurers. Without capital to buy seedlings of their choice, the farmers were compelled to plant BT-corn and cassava for cash crops used as animal feeds.

The seedlings were sourced as loans from the traders, who also provided them with fertilizers and herbicides as loans. During harvest, these same traders bought the farmers’ produce at a price they practically dictated, based on their own grading and weighing systems—wherein trickery was usually employed. After the harvest, the farmers ended up practically with nothing in their pockets, or worse, with another sheet of paper where their additional loans and interest payments were listed down.

Most atrocious was the trading of sacks used to pack the harvests. The farmers buy the sacks at Php10.00 each from the local traders who bought these for Php5.00. Per harvest, they have to buy 300 sacks costing Php3,000. The farmers use the sacks to bring their produce to the local traders who, in turn, use these when they sell to the buying stations. These sacks were never returned to the farmers. Thus, when another planting-harvest season starts, the farmers would again spend for the sacks.

Cagayan Valley is the country’s top producer of BT-corn, with genetically modified organisms (GMO), and farmers like Ka Ludy and many others in his community had contributed much to its propagation, at their expense.

The Department of Agriculture introduced the BT-corn in the early 2000 but the people widely rejected it. Not long after the trader-usurers were acting as aggressive conduits for its propagation, leaving no choice for the penniless peasants but to accept, as BT-corn was the only available seedling the traders would loan to them.

“It’s as if the traders got to hire planters and laborers without salaries,” said Ka Ludy. There was a time, when there was no available food for them, some farmers tried to eat BT-corn to find out if it was fit for human consumption. Result: they developed allergies.

Breaking away from the traders

Energized by the recent victory of the farmers, the PKM members are more determined to go on with the plans they had laid out during the AgRev (Agrarian Revolution) conference held in the last quarter of 2017. The conference was a joint project by local members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA), and the various revolutionary mass organizations in the guerrilla front.

During the conference, the peasants resolved to vigorously push for the palit tanim (literally, changing plants) campaign. As an initial step, the PKM collectives in the different villages would start planting food crops to ensure food on their tables as they moved to break away from the trader-usurers’ dictates.

“The seedlings were donated to us by friends and we will divide these among the collectives in the different villages,” Ka Ludy explained. With a steady supply of food on their tables, the farmers can then start planting cash crops of their choice, sell directly in the market individually or collectively, and earn what they have worked for.

“In the long run, this will allow us to do away with the seedlings supplied by the traders and gain freedom from their monopoly and exploitation,” he said.

Land distribution and communal farms

The 2017 AgRev conference was the first held in this guerrilla front after more than a decade. In the conference, the revolutionary organizations also lined up plans on maximizing the utilization of idle lands in their communities and those nearby. The local Party and NPA units and the PKM plan to distribute some 50 hectares of land among the 30 poorest peasant families.

“The comrades in the NPA are helping us come up with policies and guidelines in the land distribution, especially on who should be prioritized—those landless and those who lack lands to till,” said Ka Iling, a participant in the AgRev conference.

Aside from the individual effort to plant food crops in their palit tanim campaign, a substantial portion of the land for distribution will be allotted for communal farming and food production for the needs of the revolutionary mass organizations and the NPA units.

“There have been already existing communal lands in different villages, probably for more than 10 years now. But the lands are too small for our needs,” Ka Iling pointed out. “So, aside from these existing communal farms, we could work on a bigger piece of land to augment our needs,” he continued. The members of the Party branches and revolutionary mass organizations, he said, could work together and produce more crops.

Minimum and maximum program of agrarian revolution

The efforts of Ka Ludy, Ka Iling, Ka Efren, Ka Jong and other members of the PKM in this community exemplify the unity of the peasants nationwide to carry out the agrarian revolution led by the Party, the people’s army, and the NDFP.

Already, almost a million PKM members have benefited from the Party and the NPA’s maximum agrarian reform program where more than 44,000 hectares of land were confiscated and redistributed all over the country. Millions of others have benefited from the campaigns for lower land rent, end to usury, just harvest proceeds, increased farm gate prices, and elimination of trickery when produce are weighed and priced.

Only the revolutionary movement led by the CPP-NPA-NDFP can proudly lay claim that, in its almost 50 years of existence, it has slowly but steadily freed the peasants from the hundreds of years of feudal bondage.

Mindlessly Mishandling the GRP-NDFP Peace Negotiations

in Mainstream
by Leon Castro

Like a poker game that he plays all by himself, whimsically rigging the rules, is how Rodrigo R. Duterte now apparently treats the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. He has mindlessly cast aside all the hard work that both his government’s negotiating panel and that of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) have painstakingly undertaken.

Twice did Duterte arbitrarily cancel the fifth round of formal negotiations, in May and August 2017. But in both instances (as he had done earlier) he subsequently resorted to back-channel talks and agreed to continue the negotiations.

Up till the last minute, all looked rosy for the peace talks. In two discreet back-channel discussions in October and early November—to which Duterte had given explicit go-signal—the GRP and NDFP panels worked furiously to hammer out three draft documents. They had agreed, at the minimum, to refine and initial the documents at the fifth round and, at the maximum, to finalize and sign them at the sixth round in early 2018. The heads and members of both panels were already in Oslo, Norway, when Duterte’s order to cancel the talks came.

The three draft documents were: a draft agreement on agrarian reform and rural development and on national industrialization and economic development (the prime aspects of a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms or CASER); a draft Coordinated Unilateral Ceasefire Agreement; and a draft General Amnesty for political prisoners.

Had the fifth round of formal negotiations proceeded and achieved its set objectives, 2017 would have ended with high hopes for continuing peace negotiations. And the Duterte government would have looked good in the eyes of the Filipino people.

Hundreds of hours of meetings cum negotiations by the Reciprocal Working Committees for Social and Economic Reforms (RWCs-SER) went into the drafting of the first document, which could have accelerated the entire peace process towards addressing the root causes of the nearly 50 years of armed conflict and attaining just and lasting peace in the country.

Common agrarian reform and national industrialization drafts

Over seven months of peace talks with four formal rounds of negotiations, the NDFP and the GRP panels were able to forge ahead in crafting common drafts for agrarian reform and rural development and for national industrialization and economic development. They held bilateral meetings during the second, third and fourth rounds—in Oslo, Norway (October 7-8, 2016); Rome, Italy (January 22-24, 2017); and Nordwijk an Zee, The Netherlands (April 4-5, 2017), respectively. In addition, there were no less than 10 bilateral meetings in the Philippines and abroad by the NDFP and GRP RWCs-SER between April 25 and November 17 last year.

On agrarian reform and national industrialization, there were nine sections in the common draft signed in Manila by the RWCs last November 20 and witnessed by the Royal Norwegian Government third party facilitator. These are:

Free distribution of land to tillers, farmers, farmworkers and fisherfolks and writing off of the arrears in amortization payments by earlier land reform beneficiaries;

The agreement includes coverage of plantations and large-scale commercial farms with leasehold, joint venture, non-land transfer schemes (e.g. stock distribution option);

  • Immediate and expedited installation of farmer beneficiaries;
  • Implementation of agrarian support services on production, harvest, post-harvest, insurance, credit and free irrigation;
  • Elimination of exploitative lending and trading practices;
  • Fisheries and aquatic resources reforms;
  • National land and water use policy aligned with agrarian reform;
  • Develop rural industries and domestic science and technology; and
  • Building of rural infrastructure, such as irrigation, post-harvest, transport, communication, power facilities.

Signed on the same day, the NDFP and the GRP RWCs common draft on national industrialization listed 10 agreed-on sections, as follows

  1. Use of the term “national industrialization”;
  2. Explicit mention of economic planning;
  3. Development of specific industries, industrial sectors, and industrial projects;
  4. Nationalization of public utilities and mining;
  5. “Filipinization” of minerals processing and trade;
  6. Regulation of foreign investment;
  7. State intervention and regulation;
  8. Creation of workers’ councils;
  9. Breaking foreign monopoly control of industrial technologies; and
  10. Financing through higher taxes on the rich and lower on poor, as well as revenues from gambling, luxury goods, tobacco/alcohol, and tariffs. The parties also agreed to set up an industrial investment fund.

The agrarian reform and rural development and the national industrialization and economic development accords, are parts of the prospective Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) Part III, under the title Developing the National Economy. These are mutually acknowledged by the NDFP and the GRP as the most important aspects of the peace negotiations. When finally approved by the principals and implemented, they are expected to alleviate poverty and inequality in the country—addressing the root causes of the armed conflict.

From both sub-agreements, the social and economic reform negotiations are expected to move on to the next issues, which are environmental protection, rehabilitation and compensation. The other parts of the CASER agenda include the following:

Part IV. Upholding people’s rights 
A. Rights of the working people
B. Promoting patriotic, progressive and pro-people culture
C. Recognition of ancestral lands and territories of national minorities

Part V. Economic sovereignty for national development 
A. Foreign economic & trade relations
B. Financial, monetary & fiscal policies
C. Social & economic planning

Part VI. Overall implementing mechanism

Part VII. Final provisions

Negotiations on the above issues are expected to be easier and faster, compared with those on agrarian reform and national industrialization which are deemed to be the hardest part of the entire negotiations.

Volatile GRP president

Apparently, all it took for Duterte to mindlessly cast aside these great achievements of the negotiations was his seeing on television militant activists protesting US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Philippines for the Asean summit last November. Were imagined personal slights arising from such protest action against one he probably considered a soul mate, more important to him than assiduously working to achieve peace?

Not long after seeing ASEAN protest videos on television, Duterte ordered his negotiators to cancel “all planned meetings with the CPP/NPA/NDFP.” Subsequently, he issued Proclamation 360 (November 23) terminating the GRP-NDFP peace talks. This was followed by Proclamation 374 (December 5) declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as “terrorist organizations” under both the Human Security Act of 2007 (RA 9373) and the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 (RA 10168).

Under the law, the proscription of the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations doesn’t instantly take effect. The government needs to first file a petition with a Regional Trial Court to proclaim the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations, which petition will have to undergo hearings before the court can issue a ruling. Yet Duterte’s proclamation and his military minions’ relentless campaign to slander the revolutionary organizations have opened the gates to more human rights violations, as happened in his notorious Oplan Tokhang against suspected drug users and peddlers.

His ordering the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the reactionary government’s intelligence branches to arbitrarily list down suspected officers and members of underground revolutionary organizations and of their alleged aboveground “fronts” can only be interpreted as orders for increased intimidation, abduction, torture and murder of legal democratic activists and other civilians.

In the latter part of 2017, Duterte did these things that expose himself as a fraud and a liar disinterested in peace as well as a tyrant in the exact mold of his idol Ferdinand Marcos.

NDFP determined to fight for just peace

Duterte’s lies and slander against revolutionary organizations, however, failed to gain traction among the Filipino people. The people have become aware of and disgusted over Duterte’s mass murder of suspected drug users and peddlers. More and more have also wisened up to his obvious subservience to capitalist and foreign interests, plunder of the environment, attacks against peasant and national minority communities, and his own family’s connections with underworld groups. And his lies against the revolutionary forces are increasingly being dismissed as hot flashes of a drug-addled mind.

NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison has remarked that the US-directed Duterte regime is daydreaming that it can discredit and destroy the sovereign revolutionary will of the Filipino people by proscribing the revolutionary forces as terrorist organizations, by requiring them to submit themselves to the sham processes of the reactionary state, and by unleashing gross and systematic crimes of terrorism and human rights violations.

The Filipino people and the revolutionary forces, he said, are determined to fight for national and social liberation, people´s democracy, economic development, cultural progress and just peace.

While the Duterte fascist regime may have terminated the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, Sison pointed out, “it cannot be too sure that it will last long [in power] because the Filipino people and even those in the GRP detest the monstrous crimes of the regime, especially mass murder, corruption and puppetry to the US.” The crisis of the ruling system continues to worsen and the resources of the regime for violence and deception are limited.

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