Reliving the lessons of resistance and recovery
On December 4, 2012, at around 3:00 in the morning, Typhoon Pablo ravaged the bigger part of Southern Mindanao. In barely four hours, decades of the masses’ hard work came undone, their communities, farms and livelihood were laid to waste.
When the dust settled and the masses were confronted by the extent of the damage wrought by the calamity, they did not lose hope. Instead of begging for crumbs from the reactionary government, the masses courageously launched a historical campaign of resistance and recovery.
They rejected the mentality that they were mere victims; they demanded accountability from the US-Aquino regime, they barricaded the national highways and raided the various warehouses of the reactionary DSWD and landlords in order to confiscate rice and other relief goods that were hoarded there.
They identified the true culprits of the widespread destruction that resulted in the wake of the natural disaster; they demanded reparation from big logging and mining companies that for decades amassed obscene wealth through unmitigated abuse and exploitation of the environment.
They showed that through their collective strength, they were able to gradually rebuild their communities; they raised their homes from the ground up, cultivated their large communal farms, carried out comprehensive programs and rehabilitation campaigns and constructed public facilities such as schools, clinics and waterway systems.
Above all, they wielded their own political power; they established their revolutionary mass organizations and organs of political power in the barrio and municipal levels.
A decade has passed since Typhoon Pablo ravaged our region but a recurring calamity continues to victimize the masses: the plague of exacerbating crisis of the backward economy still reeling from the effects of the pandemic in the midst of the worsening fascism of the US-Marcos II regime.
Pasa Bilis! believes that the lessons we learned from our comprehensive program during the relief and rehabilitation period after Typhoon Pablo are very much relevant in our present campaign to intensify armed struggle and agrarian revolution and rebuild our mass bases in the region.
The basic problems of the masses have not changed, in fact they worsened, amid the blusterous claim of the enemy that it has successfully freed the region from all forms of resistance with its “insurgency-free” declaration.
And so, our paper presents this collection of choice stories, poetry, experiences and essays on the lessons gleaned by the masses, the Red army and members of the Party during the onslaught of Typhoon Pablo and the succeeding period of overcoming, resistance and recovery.
In the final analysis, the experiences of the masses in rising above the challenges of Typhoon Pablo’s onslaught prove that the revolutionary mass movement of holding the reactionary regime accountable, of intensifying armed struggle and agrarian revolution and of developing the people’s political power are key to resolving any crisis, calamity or temporary failures or setbacks. (Pasa Bilis! Special Issue, December 4, 2022)