A decade of triumphs in Mindanao

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The revolutionary movement in Mindanao achieved a decade of brilliant victories despite brutal and relentless attacks by Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) and Oplan Bayanihan (OPB) due to the determined and correct leadership of the Communist Pary and the wide and strong support and participation of the people. The New People’s Army (NPA) continues to seize the initiative, despite its being the priority focus of the AFP amid the declining Moro armed resistance. 

Party growth. From the first Party branch organized in 1971, the Communist Party of the Philippines is now widely and deeply rooted among the workers, peasants, Lumad, youth, women and the middle forces in the five regions in almost all provinces in Mindanao. This year alone, Party membership increased by almost 50%.

The Regional Party Committees have been strengthened further to even more effectively direct the war. The regional committees have been making thoroughgoing studies on the balance of forces, the enemy situation and how to wield initiative and flexibility in the ever-changing developments of the war.

The theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism are widely and deeply rooted unlike any other time in the history of the revolutionary movement in Mindanao. Almost all fulltime Party members have completed the basic course, most section committees have taken the intermediate course, and some regional level cadres have finished the advanced course. This year, there has been a marked increase in the number of local Party branches that have completed the Basic Party Course.

Guerrilla warfare. Guerrilla warfare has become stronger and more widespread based on an ever widening and deepening mass base. In 2007, for instance, the AFP Eastern Mindanao Commmand was forced to shift its attack from Northeast Mindanao Region (NEMR) to Southern Mindanao Region (SMR) because of the bigger, more frequent tactical offensives in the latter region. The North Central, FarSouth and West Mindanao Regions also launched tactical offensives, so that the enemy’s troops were not limited to SMR and NEMR alone. Within SMR and NEMR, tactical offensives were also launched more frequently and on a broader scale. While enemy forces concentrated on two or three regions, the other regions in Mindanao were given the latitude to regain the strength of their forces and reinvigorate their tactical offensives and mass movement.

The enemy’s offensive campaigns and operations were met with active defense. The NPA was able to launch more than 100 annihilative military actions in 2012, seizing more than 150 high-powered rifles. Almost 300 attritive actions were also launched, including sniping, harassment and punitive actions. The NPA also figured in 40 defensive actions where the Red fighters were able to seize the initiative from the attacking enemy forces, killing the equivalent of around a battalion of enemy troops, aside from the numerous wounded.

The capability level of the NPA has been elevated in terms of tactics and technique, coordination and formation, and operating with complicated targets. This has been manifested in the number of large-scale military actions that have been launched during OBL and OPB. Inter-regional tactical offensives have been conducted, such as the raid on the Earthsaver Security Agency in Butuan City; OMC Mining in Rosario, Agusan del Sur; PICOP in Bislig City; and the PNP station in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur. There have also been multiple target operations using company-size and undersize battalion formations, such as the raid on Taganito Mines (TMC) and San Roque Minerals Inc. (SRMI); the raid in Siargao Island; the raid on the PNP station and the ambush in Lingig, Surigao del Sur, among others. The Davao Penal Colony was also successfully raided, garnering at least a hundred high-powered rifles.

The NPA grew by 10% each year. The people’s militia and barrio defense units now number by the thousands, both of which serve as direct support and reserve force for the NPA fulltime guerrillas.

Spread across the five regions of Mindanao are the NPA’s 44 guerrilla fronts, more than 40% of which are company-size. Nearly 20% of NPA guerrilla forces are center-of-gravity forces of either the region or sub-region.

The organization of the people’s army has been strengthened across the island. There now stands a territorial Regional Command of the NPA (ROC) separate and distinct from the Regional Party Committee.

Revolutionary bases have been established and the revolutionary mass movement advanced. Guerrilla bases have been rapidly expanded and strengthened in the entire island. More municipalities have been covered from the more than 200 towns originally listed the previous year. Hundreds of barrios have also been added to the 2,000 barrios of the same period. Twenty-five percent (25%) of these have been consolidated from the level of Barrio Organizing Committee (OC) to the level of Balangay.

Land reform, which is the main content of the people’s democratic revolution as well as the key link to mass work in the countryside has been waged repeatedly in numerous barrios of the island. Hundreds of thousands of farmers and their families have benefited from the different forms and levels of antifeudal struggles and other mass campaigns.

Cooperativization such as labor exchange, communal farms, consumer and marketing cooperatives continue to be developed and practiced in the peasant associations. Self-reliant war economies are being developed in relatively strong guerrilla bases.

The antifascist and anti-imperialist mass movement has been strengthened. In numerous instances, abuses perpetrated by the operating troops in the countryside have been openly protested and condemned. A series of multisectoral protests has been waged against the direct intervention of US troops in Mindanao and in the entire country. The mass movement against imperialist-owned mines and plantations like Dole-Stanfilco, Del Monte and Sumifru has gained ground. The NPA has conducted punitive measures against these highly destructive imperialist mining and agribusiness companies.

In general, the correct coordination between armed struggle as the main form and parliamentary struggle as the secondary form has been grasped. This has greatly helped in exposing and fighting enemy attacks against agrarian revolution and the anti-imperialist mass movement. As a result of a wider and more dynamic mass movement in the urban areas and a resurgence of the youth-student movement, many young activists have decided to join the NPA.

Alliances have become broader and stronger. This is concretized in the political and material support given by the religious, teachers and other professionals, including business people. Many from the local reactionary government units and politicians have reached out to the revolutionary movement.

The revolutionary movement in Mindanao has maintained its linkage with the MILF. Despite the Framework Agreement signed by the MILF with the Aquino government, the Party has continued to urge the MILF to be cautious so as not to fall into the trap of the reactionary US-Aquino regime. It has also linked with other legitimate Moro groups that continue to genuinely fight for the Bangsamoro’s right to self-determination.

Using all these victories as stepping stones, the Party and the entire revolutionary movement in Mindanao are ever determined to complete the last substage of the strategic defensive and go on their unstoppable advance towards the next higher stage of the strategic stalemate.