Saturday, January 23, 2010
Philippines: 3,000 Attend CPP Anniversary Celebration in Mindanao
This article appeared in the January 7, 2010 issue of Ang Bayan (The People).
Comrades hold successful CPP anniversary celebration in Mindanao
The main celebration in Mindanao of the Party’s 41st anniversary led by Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos was a success despite brazen violations by the AFP of its own ceasefire declaration that was supposed to have been in force from December 24 to 26. Up to 3,000 people attended the colorful celebration, including people from different provinces, towns and barrios, 39 media workers and local politicians.
Ka Oris called for the allout implementation of tasks by the revolutionary forces in the next five years with the objective of raising the level of people’s war from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate.
He called for the intensification of armed struggle. He said that 90% of more than 300 high-powered firearms added to the NPA arsenal in Mindanao in 2009 alone came from tactical offensives against military and police elements. Hundreds of thousands of peasants also benefited from the fruits of agrarian revolution in Mindanao island. Areas of operations expanded in Northeastern Mindanao Region (NEMR) as well as other parts of the island.
Among the highlights of the Party celebration was a tribute to media workers who were cold-bloodedly murdered in Ampatuan, Maguindanao on November 23. After reading the tribute, Ka Oris mentioned all the names of the 31 media workers who fell victim to the Maguindanao massacre. Meanwhile, NDF-NEMR spokesperson Ka Maria Malaya and the journalist guests led a candle lighting ceremony dedicated to the martyrs from the media sector.
AFP violations of the ceasefire
Meanwhile, Ka Oris reported attempts by the AFP to disrupt the main celebration of NDF-Mindanao. Elements of the 58th IB and the 41st DRC put up checkpoints in Barangay Ganayon and Diatagon in Lianga, Barangay Poblacion and Buhisan in San Agustin and Barangay Amontay in Marihatag on December 25 to harass people, allies and friends who intended to join the celebration. They also intimidated some motorcycle drivers to extract information on the actual site of the celebration.
A day after the celebration, a company from these military units, along with two armored personnel carriers, a military tank, a military jeep and a military pick up entered the site of the Party celebration in Barangay Mahaba, Marihatag, but by then, the guerrilla forces had already left the area after the invited guests from the media and other sectors had safely exited. The guerrillas closely monitored the enemy’s movements. They were under strict orders to refrain from firing at the military units in deference to the local residents’ observance of the new year.
On the other hand, all vehicles leaving Marihatag were stopped at checkpoints and searched while videos were taken of the passengers. The media people and the masses courageously confronted these forms of harassment and intimidation. The media workers also took videos of such harassment and aired the footage on television.
Also on December 25, the 58th IB set up a tactical command post near the site of the Party anniversary celebration of Front 30 along Tago River, San Manuel, Surigao del Sur. The following day, military forces took position to prepare for an attack. As a consequence, the committee overseeing the celebration decided not to push through with the other parts of the program and transferred the guerrilla forces and the masses to safer ground. But the AFP continued to advance, resulting in a clash on the morning of December 27 between an AFP unit and an NPA unit, wounding several soldiers. The military retaliated by firing 105 mm howitzer shells that missed their target. The next day, the AFP sent two helicopters to evacuate their casualties.