Fascist rule further inflames the people’s resistance

Forty-seven years ago, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos imposed Martial Law. During the dark days of his reign of terror and wanton plunder of our resources, the Cordillerans like the rest of the national minorities in the country fell victim to his monstrous crimes against the Filipino people. Now under the equally brazen dictatorial rule of the Duterte regime, no amount of historical makeover by this Marcos fascist protégé could ever expunge the scar of oppression and the ensuing unified resistance in our own history and consciousness as a people.

Since the same rotten semi-colonial and semi-feudal ruling system that Marcos once steered is now in serious decomposing stage under Duterte, the latter is doing his best to avert its impending collapse, at least until his term ends. Hence, his silly obsession to end the national democratic revolution. Despite the fact that he has not officially declared martial law, Duterte’s civilian-military junta is in place using the full force of his fascist machinery, Unsurprisingly, Duterte in his four years of presidency has already surpassed the ignominious record of his idol Marcos in terms of human rights violations, criminal death counts, corruption and national treason.

Here in our region, amidst the health crisis because of the Covid-19 pandemic, our people are subjected to even graver forms of national oppression. While we have long suffered from the lack if not inadequate health services to confront this pandemic, the military and police forces in the NTF-ELCAC are making daily life doubly hard. Continued psywar nicknamed community support program operations, and combat operations are without let-up under the Oplan Kapanatagan’s so-called whole-of-nation approach. Quarantine, checkpoints and lockdowns are being used to further harsh control of the civilian population. These measures have turned entire communities into virtual hamlets, imposing food blockade, enforcing stringent travel restriction, prohibiting freedom of movement even in tending to crops and farm animals, hunting, gathering of forest products and fishing.

On orders of their corrupt officials, the mercenary fascist troops in the field are rudely pushing for the uninterrupted implementation of the Enhanced Community Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). Under this dubious surrender program, they have been accusing, forcing and faking civilians to ‘surrender’ as NPA rebels or supporters. Obviously, they race with time before the dwindling E-CLIP funds get exhausted, lest nothing more goes to the pocket of thieving officers. They boast of better life for surrenderees when the reactionary government cannot extend even measly relief assistance to the needy communities locked down.

The fascist Duterte regime is in dearth of funds in addressing the pandemic problem with medical and health solutions. On the other hand, it squanders people’s money on his militarist solution to COVID-19 through military operations complete with air and artillery support. It can hardly afford to provide protective equipment and hazard pay for all medical frontliners and civilian volunteers, but the military and police forces are given combat allowance and other perks contentedly. Worst of all, people’s money are robbed in billions of pesos by the corrupt minions of the tyrant such as the Philhealth scandal, unaccounted SAP funds, overpriced health equipment and many others.

In the entire Cordillera region, since March until today, there are military and police presence in 61 barangays in 18 municipalities. Numerous human rights violations have been reported. So far, among the recent reports are the strafing of civilian communities, the holding of ‘war games’ inside barrios, workplaces and production areas, stealing and destruction of food crops, sexual harassment, grave threat, manhandling, puncturing of pipes of the community’s water system, encamping in public infrastructures such as barangay halls, and disturbing the peace and order in the community through their drinking sprees. Contrary to the unreasonable restrictive measures forced upon local population, troops engaging in combat and psywar operations freely move around combing the neighborhood, interrogating, coercing and prying secretly on the normal daily activities of residents and at times in the dead of the night.

Duterte’s police and military spokespersons from higher echelon down to the lower ranks count up on lots of Cordillera youth filling up the roster of their conscripts. Indeed, their number is quite high. What a sinister scheme to further divide and rule our tribes! However, the sad part is the fact that Cordillerans gamble their young lives in the counter revolutionary war defending the oppressors and exploiters of this country and their foreign masters. It is a painful reality that our children are sacrificed in meaningless and unnecessary deaths instead of genuinely defending our country, our tribes and ancestral lands.

Poverty and especially financial hardships are being exploited by the regime to dangle the lure of salary among the youth and conscript them to military and paramilitary service. In areas where encampments of military are located, economic, political and cultural lives of national minorities are disrupted and trampled upon. Free movement are curtailed, farmers are constantly being harassed and even family life is being devastated. Men and youths who are coerced to be recruited as paramilitary CAFGUs or as CPLA members are being indoctrinated in fascist mindset, resulting to abuses and tribal conflicts. Some of them are also being introduced to illegal drug use.

The more than one decade of Martial Law under the US-Marcos dictatorship was an intolerable scourge that brought extreme suffering for the minority people. But in all its barbarity, it did not succeed in cowing our people into submission. Instead, the difficult situation obliged us to unite, strengthened our ranks and advanced the revolutionary armed struggle and people’s resistance against tyranny and greed. The history of the Cordillera people have shown that the great mass campaigns against the plunderous Chico Dams and Cellophil logging projects were among the people’s struggles that shook the core of the Marcos dictatorship, which contributed to its downfall. Duterte’s employment of the same kind of dictatorship against the people will certainly meet the same fate. The Cordillera People’s Democratic Front, together with all revolutionary mass organizations is all the more obliged to further strengthen and expand our ranks and advance the people’s war to a higher level. The victory of the people’s democratic revolution with a socialist future is the only solution to end the historical injustices committed against the oppressed and exploited.

Strive to further advance the national democratic revolution!
Stop the plunder of our ancestral lands!

Oust the fascist US-Duterte regime!

Fascist rule further inflames the people’s resistance