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By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
NDFP Negotiating Panel
26 April 2008

It is fitting and proper that we are exceedingly jubilant over the 35th anniversary of the founding of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines on 24 April 1973 when its 10-point Program was promulgated. Since then, the NDFP has won great victories in the application and development of the policy and tactics of the united front in advancing the people's democratic revolution against foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.

The NDFP is the most consolidated and most powerful united front of revolutionary forces in the Philippines. It has succeeded in gathering, harmonizing and coordinating the revolutionary forces and winning over the millions of people to the cause of armed revolution. It has promoted the growth of all its allied organizations, the revolutionary mass movement and the organs of political power. It has served as the base for various types of alliances.

The revolutionary forces, the people's revolutionary government and the broad masses of the people have authorized the NDFP to represent them in peace negotiations with the reactionary government. In this regard, the NDFP has upheld the integrity of the people's revolutionary government and the revolutionary movement. It has worked fruitfully for the unity of compatriots abroad and for international solidarity at the popular and diplomatic levels.

Let me discuss the current situation in the Philippines and the prospects of the NDFP

Current Philippine Situation

The character of the Philippine ruling system has remained semi-colonial and semi-feudal. This system is in chronic crisis. It is ever rife for a national democratic revolution. The Arroyo regime has aggravated and deepened the crisis by escalating the exploitation and oppression of the people under the US-dictated policy of "neoliberal globalization" and "war on terror".

It is hostile to the national and democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people and to the development of the economy through national industrialization and genuine land reform. It is extremely servile to the US and other imperialist interests. It has allowed free rein to plunder of the economy by foreign corporations and by the big compradors and landlords. It knows no bounds for its bureaucratic corruption, the practice of electoral fraud and rampant human rights violations.

It has kept an agrarian and pre-industrial economy that is dependent on the production of raw materials for export and low value-added semi-manufactures for re-export. The income from these always falls far short of import payments. The regime has engaged in a wanton spree of foreign and local borrowing, in combination with a policy of regressive taxation and the appropriation of the remittances of overseas contract workers. This is to cover the growing trade and budgetary deficits, service the accumulated debt and make false claims of economic growth and poverty alleviation.

The Arroyo regime and preceding regimes have allowed the destruction of Filipino-owned manufacturing enterprises and local food production by adopting the policy of trade liberalization. This policy has allowed the dumping of foreign products on the country even while the income from the export of raw materials and re-export of semi-manufactures has decreased due to the global glut. Now with the unprecedented deep and ever worsening economic and financial crisis of the US and the world capitalist system, the Arroyo regime is at a loss as regards to getting the funds to pay the debt service and the import of food, fuel and other necessary goods.

There is an international credit crunch that has arisen from the prolonged abuse of credit under the policy of "neoliberal globalization". The US industrial decline, unemployment, the drastic contraction of the US consumer market and the unsustainable national, corporate and household debts further cramp the global financial system. They have resulted from the ever worsening crisis of overproduction and runaway financial speculation. All these adversely impact on the Philippine economy as international credit tightens and orders for its raw material and semi-manufacture exports are drastically reduced. The export of live labor is also decreasing discernibly. The costs of imported food, fuel and other necessities are rising relentlessly.

The dramatic bankruptcies of US households and an increasing number of major US corporations, especially in the financial sector, through the mortgage meltdown have a depressing effect not only on the US economy but also on the entire world economy. They signify the grave loss of demand due to reduced income and suppressed rights of the working people and the failure of neoliberal policy to stimulate the economy with the most irresponsible expansion of the money supply and credit, tax cutbacks for the corporations and wealthy and unbridled military spending.

The worsening of the socio-economic crisis has resulted in the sharpening of the political crisis in the Philippine ruling system. The ground for amicable mutual accommodation among the reactionaries has increasingly become constricted. The Arroyo ruling clique has increasingly monopolized the spoils of power. The rising bitter rivalries within the ruling clique have resulted in the exposure of many outrageous cases of bureaucratic corruption. The intra-systemic political rivals of the ruling clique and the broad range of the opposition, including the patriotic and progressive forces, are inspired by the people's outrage and are emboldened to expose and oppose the regime.

Discontent with the Arroyo regime is ever rising even among the military and police forces. But the regime is trying hard to preoccupy and rally them with bloodthirsty calls for the strategic defeat of the revolutionary forces by 2010 under Oplan Bantay Laya 2. It is deliberately displaying and using brute force in order to maintain the loyalty of the chain of command, obtain increased US military assistance, intimidate the broad range of legal opposition and of course to whip up the psy-war against the revolutionary movement.

At any rate, the ouster of the Arroyo regime before 2010 is a distinct possibility. Despite the brutal efforts of the regime to curtail rights and suppress the opposition, the organized forces of the workers, peasants, urban petty bourgeoisie and the middle bourgeoisie are working hard to enlarge and make more frequent their protest mass actions in the national capital region and in the provinces. They invoke the democratic right to speak and assemble in order to counter the attempts of the regime to preempt, discourage and disrupt the protest mass actions.

Significant sections of the reactionary classes are already vocal and active within the broad united front against the Arroyo regime. But the most decisive event is still to come, which is the pouring out of hundreds of thousands of people into the streets of the national capital region in order to signal the anti-Arroyo military and police officers and personnel to withdraw support from the Arroyo regime and give way to a new civilian government.

While the broad legal united front of opposition forces are working hard to oust the Arroyo regime through mass mobilization in the streets of urban areas, the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People's Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines are noticeably striving to further isolate and weaken the Arroyo regime through the intensification of the revolutionary armed struggle in the countryside. The broad masses of the people expect that even as the broad legal united front does not yet succeed in ousting the Arroyo regime, the armed revolutionary movement continues to gain strength and advance against the crisis-ridden ruling system.

Prospects of the NDFP

The rapidly worsening crisis of the ruling system inflicts terrible suffering on the broad masses of the people. But it also incites the people to fight back. It serves as the favorable objective condition for the advance of the subjective forces of the revolution, particularly the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People's Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). These are the three magic weapons of the Filipino people for carrying out the new democratic revolution through protracted people's war against the oppressive and exploitative forces of foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.

In its recent message to congratulate all Party cadres and members and celebrate the 39th anniversary of the CPP, the CPP Central Committee summed up the accumulated victories of the CPP in the ideological, political and organizational fields and described these victories as the basis for still greater victories on time for the 40th anniversary of the CPP. Also in its more recent message to congratulate all Red Commanders and fighters celebrate the 39th anniversary of the founding of the NPA, the CPP Central Committee summed up the accumulated political and military victories of the NPA and described these as the basis for still greater victories in the protracted people's war along the line of the new democratic revolution on time for the 40th anniversary of the NPA.

The National Council of the NDFP has summed up the accumulated victories of the NDFP in serving as the people's instrument for developing various types of alliances and for arousing and mobilizing the people in their millions. All the 17 allied organizations of the NDFP are growing in strength and advancing. Thus, the NDFP has a solid basis for winning greater victories in further developing various types of alliances, generating mass campaigns and attracting the broad masses of the people to the revolutionary cause against the Arroyo regime and the entire ruling system. Indeed, the NDFP has bright prospects so long as it carries out the tasks that it has set forth.

The NDFP is tasked to further develop the revolutionary united front for armed struggle. In this regard, it employs the basic alliance of workers and peasants, the alliance of the progressive forces, the alliance of patriotic forces and the broad alliance with certain sections of the reactionary classes in order to rally the people in their millions to isolate and destroy the worst reactionary force at every give time and increase the capacity of all the three weapons of the armed revolution to overthrow the ruling system.

The NDFP is tasked to further develop the revolutionary mass movement in the countryside in order to support directly the armed revolutionary movement and inspire the legal democratic mass movement in the urban areas to develop on their own distinctive account. It is by ensuring, promoting and assisting the building of the revolutionary mass organizations of workers, peasants, women, youth and other related forces that the NDFP prepares the way for the building of the organs of political power from the village level upwards.

As widely reported, the current joint plan of the CPP, NPA and NDFP is to increase the number of guerrilla fronts from the level of 120-130 to a new level of 173 in order to cover every congressional district in the provinces and to start developing the leadership of regional and provincial Party committees in relatively stable base areas on the basis of the guerrilla fronts. In this regard, the special task of the NPA is to destroy the armed power of the reactionaries and build more fighting units. That of the NDFP is to facilitate, assist and oversee the further development of the revolutionary mass organizations and organs of political power at various levels.

The Arroyo regime is hell-bent on using Oplan Bantay Laya 2 to destroy or inflict strategic defeat on the revolutionary movement by 2010 and is intransigently against the resumption of formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations unless the NDFP capitulates under the guise of an indefinite ceasefire agreement. In response, the CPP, NPA and NDFP declared their determination to intensify the people's war, especially because the broad masses of the people want to overthrow the Arroyo regime and the entire ruling system.

The unreasonable and hostile position of the Arroyo regime leaves the revolutionary forces and people no choice but to intensify the armed revolution. Conditions are exceedingly favorable to them and unfavorable to the entire ruling system. They encourage and enable revolutionary forces and people to raise the people's war to a new and higher level and to make more effective demands for the resumption of formal talks in the peace negotiations.

The ceaseless worsening of the crisis of the world capitalist system and that of the Philippine ruling system is favorable to the international work of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. This involves political work among the overseas Filipinos in order to defend their rights and promote their welfare. It also involves work to further strengthen and develop solidarity and mutual support between the Filipino people and other peoples through their respective mass formations and coordinating committees. It further involves proto-diplomatic and diplomatic relations with particular governments or inter-governmental agencies.

The success of the all-round international work of the NDFP will depend upon the victories of the revolutionary movement at home and the resolve, militancy and competence of NDFP personnel abroad. In advancing the Philippine revolution, the revolutionary forces and people in the Philippines play the primary role. They need the solidarity and support of the people and progressive forces abroad. The people of the world need to unite and support each other against imperialism and reaction. These are their common enemies in the struggle for national liberation, democracy, social justice, development and peace.###

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