CPP Marks 42nd Year with ‘Grandest’ Celebration Ever
December 28, 2010
By RAYMUND B. VILLANUEVA
Ka Oris, spokesman of the CPP-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Mindanao, said President Benigno S. Aquino III’s new counter-insurgency program dubbed “Oplan Bayanihan” will become another “failure” like the Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) 1 and 2 of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration.
EASTERN MINDANAO — The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) held what it called its grandest anniversary celebration ever somewhere in the Caraga region on Dec. 26, marking its 42 years of existence.
Jorge Madlos, also known as Ka Oris, spokesman of the CPP-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Mindanao, said that at least 8,000 individuals from four regions in Mindanao attended the event. About 30 large vehicles brought peasants, workers, students, religious, lawyers and the media to the event that threaded through several military and police checkpoints to reach the venue — a mere kilometer away from the provincial highway.
“Checkpoints were setup by the 4th Infantry Division all over the Caraga region in a desperate attempt by the AFP to prevent the people from joining the celebrations of the CPP anniversary,” said Ka Oris.
Listen to Kodao Productions’ audio coverage of the Communist Party of the Philippines’s (CPP) 2010 anniversary celebration and press conference with NDF Mindanao spokesperson Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos. (Photo by Raymund B. Villanueva / Kodao Productions/bulatlat.com)
According to a press release sent by NDF-Mindanao, traffic built up to around two kilometers along the main highway leading to San Agustin town, Surigao del Sur, because of the checkpoints set up by military and police operatives. “The military and police unreasonably blocked the people’s free movement insisting on listing all the license numbers of vehicles, asking for registration papers and checking the license of drivers,” Ka Oris said.
The vehicles were only allowed to proceed when reporters and cameramen from local and international media outfits arrived, said Ka Oris. “The attempts to stop people from joining the celebrations of the CPP violated the spirit and intent of the simultaneous ceasefire which, among others, was meant to allow personnel of both sides to be with their families and friends to hold celebrations during the holidays,” added Ka Oris.
Despite the harassments at the checkpoints, the participants to the celebration were able to proceed to the venue.
The Communist Party of the Philippines held its grandest anniversary celebration ever on December 26. (Photo by Raymund B. Villanueva/Kodao Productions/bulatlat.com)
From about nine in the morning, the crowd freely mingled with at least two full companies of New People’s Army (NPA) fighters and having their pictures taken with the uniformed guerillas armed with high-powered assault and sniper rifles. Children were carried on their parents’ shoulders to get a clear view of the speakers and the performers on the elevated stage while several “kitchen teams” were preparing lunch under tents, evoking a town fiesta atmosphere. Makeshift toilets around the main venue were also constructed in anticipation of the huge crowd even as surrounding houses opened their doors to strangers in search of other toilets.
A pass-in-review by an NPA company -– three platoons of 25 fighters each — at the beginning of the program had the crowd surging forward to be as close to the rebels, some with colorfully painted faces in preparation for their own “cultural performances” later in the program.
In his speech, Ka Oris congratulated the CPP as it established three new guerilla fronts in Mindanao from last year’s 39. He said that each front has platoon or company-sized rebel formations on top of “people’s militias.”
The rebel spokesman also announced that the NPA launched 250 tactical offensives in 2010, seizing about 200 high-powered firearms from government troops and achieving a “casualty ratio” of 10 government soldiers for every rebel killed in action.
Ka Oris criticized President Benigno S. Aquino III’s new counter-insurgency program dubbed “Oplan Bayanihan,” calling it another “impending failure” like the Oplans Bantay Laya (OBL) 1 and 2 of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration.
“Instead of being decimated by OBL 1, the whole revolutionary movement has grown bigger and stronger. OBL 2 failed not only in reducing the revolutionary forces to inconsequentiality but in stopping the continued advance of the people’s war,” he said.
Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan is a rehash of old counter-insurgency programs that seek to deodorize the brutality of the “fascist government” with human-rights rhetoric, psy-war lies, dole-out campaigns, so-called community organizing for peace and development, and other political gimmickry, Ka Oris added.
The NDFP-Mindanao spokesman urged the CPP to “boldly expand and strengthen” itself and the NPA “to annihilate its enemies and seize more weapons.” He also called on the CPP to fulfill the requirements for completing the strategic defensive stage of its Maoist revolution in the next five years to achieve the stage of “strategic stalemate” against the government of the Philippines.
The celebrations included a “peace forum” where Ka Oris explained the NDFP’s “peace Agenda” as he reiterated that the impending formal peace talks between the NDFP and the Philippines in Oslo, Norway, in February follow the Joint Hague Declaration of 1992. Representatives from the religious, peasant, workers, legal, and youth sectors, indigenous peoples, and local government units took turns in expressing support to the formal peace talks. He also answered questions about local peasant struggles against foreign-owned plantations and environment issues.
A pass-in-review by an NPA company -– three platoons of 25 fighters each — at the beginning of the program marking the 42nd anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines. (Photo by Raymund B. Villanueva/Kodao Productions/bulatlat.com/ bulatlat.com)
He also drew enthusiastic applause when he said that the NPA was the first to recognize gay rights as human rights, in response to a question posed by a group of gays in the audience.
In the succeeding press conference, he refused to be baited into badmouthing President Aquino, saying “it is bad form to do so when we are about to talk to his government across the negotiating table.”
Ka Oris instead praised the appointment of lawyers Alex Padilla and Pablo Sanidad to the negotiating panel of the GRP in its talks with the NDFP.
The rebel leader also tried to be diplomatic against the Philippine Army’s 401st Infantry Brigade, describing its harassments on civilian participants and the media as “unfriendly,” even as journalists were incensed at being interrogated at checkpoints and military camps causing some of them to miss the start of the celebrations.
“We thank the media on its steadfast defense of the people’s right to be informed to important political events such as these unprecedented celebrations of the CPP’s anniversary in terms of attendance,” he said.
He denied that they invited the media to act as human shield against possible attacks by government troops to disrupt the celebrations.
“Apart from the harassments, we think that it would be bad for the reactionary army to attack this large mass gathering. But should they indeed attack the NPA in this area has decided earlier to just withdraw rather than engage the enemy. This is to spare the civilians from possible harm,” he explained.
“In all my 30 years as a revolutionary guerilla I have never seen an (CPP) anniversary celebration as huge as this. It is 3:30 in the afternoon and, as you can see, the people are still here having a good time,” Ka Oris said.
He said the CPP invites civilians and supporters to guerilla zones during anniversary celebrations not for its sole benefit. “We are doing this because the masses want to celebrate the anniversary of the party and its army that genuinely serve them. They want these celebrations as much as we do, as you can see for yourselves,” he told the members of the media.
After most of the local and national media as well as church and local government representatives have left delegations from five neighboring provinces in Eastern Mindanao tried to outdo each other with their own “cultural performances.” Revolutionary songs performed by children drew the loudest roars of approval from the crowd and the rebels. The humid air was constantly punctured with shouts of “Long live the Communist Party!” during and after each performance.
The celebration was reluctantly ended at about four in the afternoon, after the emcees explained that the 50-square meter stage had to be dismantled and the venue cleaned by the rebels before it got dark.
As a steady stream of trucks, buses and jeepneys turned from the village road to the provincial highway Philippine Army and Philippine National Police personnel tried to take videos of plate numbers and people’s faces. More checkpoints and road blocks were set up on roads leading from one of the biggest gatherings inside a guerilla zone in history.