ni Viel Santos 45 lanterns for the Party’s anniversary!

This article is available in Bisaya

HINTERLANDS OF DAVAO DEL NORTE—After a couple of hours of traversing hills and seemingly circuitous routes, from some distance, one can already see the lights emanating from the venue. And from the nearby river, one can hear the hubbub from the place—laughter, claps and ruckus of agitation from the masses and the comrades.

It’s still the night before the anniversary, yet it already seemed like a fiesta because of the joyous celebration from the attendees. Just like a fiesta, and not just because of the pig and the carabao that were slaughtered for the celebration; it’s a feast of victory and successful achievements in overcoming difficulties and expanding the base, a year after the onslaught of Typhoon Pablo and exacerbated by the relentless attacks of the enemy in the area.

Hardly anyone slept. Even at the strike of midnight as December 26 rolled around, one can still hear the laughter and merriment. The activities that day was back-to-back—the basketball tournament participated in by seven teams from each barrio revolutionary committee (KRB) and one team from the Red army; a mass wedding of seven couples officiated by the Party.

At dawn on December 26, the merriment reached its peak as 45 lanterns had been lit and flown at the basketball court. One masa exclaimed as she hurriedly woke her sibling, “Hurry! Wake up! It’s marvelous! The lanterns are like fireflies!” Smiling and clapping, they gazed at the floating lanterns in the sky, as the entire scene was backed by the beating of drums. According to a comrade, the lanterns symbolized the life and struggle and the bright future of the revolution. Yes, the Communist Party is now 45 years old!

The celebrations for the Party’s 45th anniversary was formally opened here with a tribute to all the martyrs who gave their lives to the revolution. With songs and presentations, the masses and the comrades gave salute to the martyrs for their highest form of sacrifice—dedicating their lives.

After the tribute to the martyrs, the anniversary    program immediately followed. The oppression against and the resistance of the Filipino people were highlighted through songs and cultural presentations from the masses and the Red fighters. More so the sacrifices, struggle and victories of the masses and comrades in order to expand the base and advance the revolution. After the program, the basketball tournament continued, followed by several parlor games.

The celebration continued well into the night. Each KRB presented its own cultural number. And after all the long list of presentations, a makeshift movie house was erected where videos about the revolution were screened.

By one comrade’s account, even though enemy movement was relentless, this did not deter the expansion of the guerilla base (bager) and the increase in new NPA recruits and Party members. And to think the enemy carried-out brigade-directed operations in these hinterlands. The enemy deployed DRC-sized [The Armed Forces of the Philippine’s elite Division Reconnaissance Company—Ed.] troops in the three fronts here since July.

But this did not perturb the comrades and the mass base. For one comrade, “Despite being attacked by numerous enemy troops in the area, being bombarded by artillery, being bombed from above by Bronco helicopters, or when we hardly had anything to eat, the Red fighters survived. It’s because the comrades could see and feel the tireless and fearless support of the masses. The deep support of the masses made all the difference in the Red army’s continued endurance!”

And yes, amid the brigade-directed operations of the enemy, Red fighters carried out 22 tactical offensives. Neither the intense military operations nor the enemy’s superior war materiel and training defeated the Red army’s guerilla warfare.

The fascist troops sustained 41 casualties, while only four Red fighters were martyred. In fact, two new NPA platoons were added in this subregion.

While the Red army actively faced the fascist troops, the mass base continued to expand. This year, sixteen KRBs were established. The Municipal Revolutionary Committee (KRM) was also organized.

Strengthening economic work among the masses became key in establishing the base—food production through widespread communal labor and antifeudal mass campaigns. In fact, through the comrade’s campaign to ban logging and prioritizing “food in our backyard,” overcoming the difficulties brought about by Typhoon Pablo became easier for the masses in these areas. Other KRBs (Barrio Revolutionary Committees) have already harvested their crops several times; others are now excited to harvest their many hectares of corn, vegetables and fruits.

Mobilizing the masses in their great number became possible through massive recruitment of Party members from the ranks of the mass organizations. And in 2013, two new sub-section committees were built here. “The number of Party members who work to advance the revolution increased,” said one comrade.

And true enough, the reactionary government’s Oplan Bayanihan and its attack against the revolutionary movement certainly failed.

Like the 45 lanterns that were flown at sunrise during the Party’s anniversary, it’s evident that the future and inevitable victory of the revolution is bright!

First published in Pasa Bilis! March 2014 issue
(Pasa Bilis! Special Issue, December 4, 2022)

45 lanterns for the Party’s anniversary!