Conditions in NCMR are fertile for armed revolution
On the anniversary of the New People’s Army (NPA) on March 29, the Communist Party of the Philippines North Central Mindanao Regional Committee ordered NPA units under its leadership to tighten their grasp on the principles of guerilla warfare. It called on NPA units to mount tactical offensives and to frustrate the enemy’s focused military operations.
In the past five years, the CPP and the NPA in NCMR confronted the intensified operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) aimed to crush the revolutionary movement in the region. The AFP mobilized thousands of troops and used modern weapons such as drones, fighter jets, helicopters and artillery. State terrorism heigtened in the region, where mothers and their babies are arrested, imprisoned and put under intense pressure, family members of martyred fighters are intimidated and charged with trumped up charges, civilians are murdered and threatened and their houses are ransacked, and where cases of illegal detention, food blockades, and many other human rights violations were recorded.
These were all done amid the livelihood crisis which has caused widespread hunger and poverty in the region. There have been widespread eviction and land-grabbing of peasant lands for commercial plantation expansion. This include eviction of peasants in Malitbog, Bukidnon to give way for San Miguel Foods Inc’s cassava plantation; demolition of peasants in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental for Del Monte’s pineapple plantation expansion; and many others. Military harassment is widespread in barangays Manalog, Kibalabag, Silae and Miglamin in Malaybalay City in line with Del Monte’s plan to seize 6,000 hectares of land for its pineapple, papaya and avocado plantation.
The low farmgate prices of peasant’s produce add to the burden they shoulder, as prices of basic commodities continue to skyrocket. In the past year, a kilo of rubber was bought at around ₱22-₱26 only. Manila hemp was at a low ₱48-₱60 per kilo only, and corn at ₱15-₱22 per kilo.
For Region X, the law mandates a ₱390 daily minimum wage for non-agricultural workers and ₱375 for agricultural workers. In reality, majority of workers only receive ₱250-₱300 due to rampant contractualization.
Many peasants in the region today continue to demand their right to land through collective cultivation and land occupation, confrontation with businesses and landlords and other means. From these struggles arise new youth fighters of the NPA. This validates the justness and importance of the people’s revolution.