Set ablaze the revolutionary struggle of the Ilocano people against the martial law! Crush the tyranny of the US-Marcos II!

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This day, September 21 is the 50th year of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s declaration of Martial Law in 1972. Contrary to all the efforts of the Marcos II regime to douse the ember of the revolutionary struggle and wipe off in the hearts and minds of the Filipino people the callousness of the fascist dictatorship of its patriach, their fury and desire to crush the tyranny and advance the national democratic revolution is raging.

In marking the 50th year of the declaration of Martial Law, let us honor all martyrs, who sacrificed their lives in fighting the fascist US-Marcos regime, as well as the veterans who until this day are serving as stalwart fortresses in the continuing revolutionary and democratic struggle of the Filipino masses.

Despite the unfathomable grief that the fascist dictatorship had caused us, we are honored that here in the Marcos dynasty’s bulwark, the struggle of the Ilocano people was ignited. We take pride that Ilocano revolutionaries and militants emerged and took part of the First Quarter Storm (FQS) in 1970-1972 that shook the US-Marcos dictatorship. These veterans became instruments of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in laying the people’s war in Ilocos and Northern Luzon.

Honor the martyrs of the struggle in Ilocos against the US-Marcos dictatorship

Cesar “Tatang” Lacara, a veteran of the labor movement and one of the founders of the new CPP in 1968 was among the first organizers of the revolutionary movement in the countryside of Ilocos and Northern Luzon after the rebuilding of the CPP. Tatang wrote in the book “Sa Tungki ng Ilong ng Kaaway ” his experiences in founding the Party in the difficult time of the Marcos fascist dictatorship.

Brothers Armando “Mandrake” and Romulo Palabay from San Fernando, La Union were student activists produced by the FQS and responded to the Party’s call of expanding the revolution to the countrysides. The brothers became organizers of the Tingguians of Abra to resist the destructive logging of Cellophil Resources Corporation. They also initiated the student-youth organizing work in La Union. When Martial Law was declared, the brothers were detained and tortured. They martyred as Red fighters of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Danilo Ben of San Fernando, La Union was one of the pioneers of the NPA in Northern Luzon who challenged the Marcos regime. Danilo Ben’s leadership of the CPP and NPA in Cagayan Valley until his demise in 1997 was a factor in the strengthening of the armed struggle in the region.

Fr. Zacharias Agatep of Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur organized peasants in the province to fight for the reduction of land rent and usury in the early period of 1970s. Fr. Agatep became renowned in the country for leading the peasants in initiating the agrarian revolution and opening the first guerilla zone and formation of the first NPA unit in Ilocos. Marcos sent him to prison and the regime plotted to murder him in 1982 in Salcedo, Ilocos Sur through two state agents that infiltrated into the NPA unit that he led.

Alfredo Cesar of Pangasinan was a deacon of the Catholic Church that helped Fr. Agatep in carrying-out the Party’s call to prepare and direct the opening of the guerilla zone in Ilocos Sur in the 2nd part of 1970s. Through his leadership, the CPP and NPA and the armed struggle were strengthened and expanded in Ilocos. He was murdered along with Fr. Agatep by the infiltrator agents of the Marcos’ fascist state.

Fr. Nilo Valerio also organized the Tingguians of Abra to fight the logging operation of the Cellophil in 1970s. He was assigned in Ilocos in the early part of 1980s to help in the expansion of the region’s guerilla zone. In 1985, they were attacked by the fascist military in Bakun, Benguet. After killing them, Fr. Valerio and other two comrades (Resteta Fernandez and Soledad Salvador) were beheaded by the barbaric soldiers of the Marcos regime, afterwhich their heads were paraded to the community.

Isabelita “Ka Elvira” del Pilar from Laguna was a student activist in Baguio city in 1970s. She joined the NPA in Cordillera in 1973. She also organized workers and helped a lot in building workers’ unions in La Union. She died of an illness in 2000.

Purificacion Pedro of Laoag City was a Catholic lay social worker who volunteered to organize the Cordillera tribes to oppose the Chico Dam Project of the US-Marcos regime in 1970s. She was wounded in a military operation and was murdered by the Marcos troops while undergoing treatment in a hospital.

Bishop Antonio Mabutas of Agoo, La Union who was an archbishop of the Catholic Church, was a vocal critic of the Marcos regime for its infringement of human rights, such as the tortures and killings of church workers. He became prominent as the first Roman Catholic archbishop who wrote a pastoral letter condemning the human rights violations of the Marcos dictatorship.

Atty. David Bueno was a lawyer who staunchly defended the human rights of the Ilocano people in the latter period of the Marcos dictatorship, until he was assassinated by the state agents of Cory Aquino in 1987.

Joseph “Ka Jongjong” Joaquin and his family in Apayao were victims of fascist violence and were aroused during the martial Law period. In 1984, he followed his parents and sibling who joined the NPA earlier. He became a valiant commander pf the NPA in Ilocos and fell in a firefight in Badoc, Ilocos Norte in 2005.

The aforementioned martyrs are just a few of the numerous victims and became heroes of the struggle in Ilocos against the Marcos fascist dictatorship.

Feudalism and Martial law: fertile ground that spawned and spread the revolution in Ilocos

Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law in 1972 was an indication of the worsening crisis of the semifeudal and semi-colonial crisis and intensifying class struggle between the exploited and ruling classes in the Philippine society. The heightening feudal exploitation and fascism of the Marcos regime was the fertile ground that bred the revolutionary struggle of the Ilocano people. In the entire period of the Marcos dictatorship, feudal exploitation and despotic rule of the landlords and tobacco traders exacerbated. Lands and tobacco trading were controlled by Marcos’ loyalist warlords such as Fariñas, Benemerito, Singson, Crisologo, Encarnacion, Quema, Ortega and Aspiras. That time, the peasants dealt with the landlords and tobacco traders at gunpoint, to pay for exorbitant land rent and debt interests and to sell their tobacco products at the cheapest price.

Because of the viciousness of the Martial Law, the peasants realized that they can not fight for their rights unless they take up arms. They linked the peasant struggle to the revolutionary armed struggle that laid the people’s war in Ilocos. The “solid bulwark” of the Marcos dictatorship in the north was shattered.

Harnessing the “Ilocano loyalty” and fascist violence

The Ilocano people were blinded by the Marcoses by tugging their loyalty. The Marcoses deviously harnessed the “Ilocano loyalty” by giving them false hopes that they would be prioritized from the benefits they would gain under his rule. Those who resisted suffered the fascist violence of Martial Law that to this time have not yet given justice. In their home province in Ilocos Norte, a massacre of eight civilian people happened in Bangui in 1983. Salvagings, ejection, burning of communities, hamletting happened in Dumalneg, Adams, Pagudpud, Vintar, Marcos as well as in Bantay, Ilocos Sur and many other towns and communities in the region.

From the FQS, the Marcos regime was continuously trembled by the people’s war and huge crowds of militant protest actions. Fascism intensified to defend the business and landgrabbing of the big capitalist companies, the exploitation of the landlords and the regime’s bureaucratic corruption. The people’s rage reached its boiling point that ousted the Marcoses in 1986, where Ilocanos actively took part. In Ilocos and Northern Luzon, the people cried “Crush the Marcos’ Solid North! ” that reverberated with the offensives of the NPA.

When he was overthrown in 1986, Marcos’ bust in Tuba, Benguet was unmoved, because of the Cory Aquino regime’s lack of political will to wipe off all remembrances of the Marcos dictatorship. The NPA in Ilocos-Cordillera blasted the Marcos bust in 2002, to demonstrate the unwavering repudiation of the Ilocano and national minority people of Cordillera to the deposed dictator and delete all traces of his brutal crimes against the Filipino people.

The Marcos regime failed in its aim of purging the CPP and the Filipino revolution

The advancement of the Filipino revolution from the time of Marcos dictatorship to the present is a confirmation of its failure to impose Martial Law to purge the CPP and the revolutionary and democratic struggle of the Filipino. On the contrary, during the fascist dictatorship from the early part of 1970s, the Party rooted deeper and broadened among the majority of impoverished and oppressed masses of workers and peasants, the NPA expanded across the country and giant mass protests and NPA offensives culminated from the early part of 1980s and were sustained until the Marcoses were toppled in 1986.

Recall and pursue the heroic struggle of the Ilocano people against the Martial Law and fascism

We should demonstrate to the current Marcos regime, the reason why inspite of imposing the Martial Law to exterminate the CPP and the armed revolution in the Philippines, its foundation strengthened and spread all throughout the country. This is because the CPP is guided by the most advanced ideology in the world – Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and because the crisis of the semifeudal and semi-colonial Philippine society deteriorated further by the Marcos’ regime’s rabid puppetry to the imperialist US that plundered the land, resources and wealth of the country in connivance with the big bourgeois compradors and landlords and by imposing military rule.

At present, the Marcos II regime imposes an undeclared Martial Law. We must show the current regime that the legitimate and democratic mass movement which were curtailed by the dictator Marcos Sr. were forced to go underground and the masses were pushed to the path of armed struggle. We must remind the current Marcos regime the struggle against the Chico Dam and Cellophil in Cordillera and the anti-feudal struggle in Ilocos steeled numerous activists, Party cadres and Red fighters that led and advanced the national democratic struggle of the Filipino people.

Lessons and inspiration that we could draw in the Filipino struggle against the fascist dictatorship of US-Marcos I are abound. The primary lesson here is – the people’s struggle is comparable to the gushing water that while impeded is surging all the more. The ember of the revolutionary struggle, while being fomented by fascism flares up all the more.

The Marcoses returned to power in the face of worsening hardships of the majority of the Filipino people due to deepening poverty, unemployment, skyrocketing oil prices and basic commodities and services, landlessness and landgrabbing, importation, shooting taxes and burgeoning debt of the regime burdened upon the people. All of these are due to constricting dictates and control of the monopoly capitalists being served by the current Marcos regime.

Undoubtedly, in the face of aggravating socio-economic crisis, the Marcoses will be frustrated in securely pursuing their vicious aim of further enriching and empowering themselves in returning to power through tyranny. Like their old regime, their present regime will be shaken by constant militant actions and armed struggle that would advance the people’s democratic revolution.

The NDF-Ilocos urges the youth to fervently study the history of the Philippine revolution, how it was founded and flourished in the dark period of the Marcos’ fascist rule. Discuss with the Martial Law veterans, study their lives and struggles and draw inspiration from them to set your revolutionary fervor aflame to topple the tyranny of the US-Marcos II regime and advance the people’s democratic revolution.#

Set ablaze the revolutionary struggle of the Ilocano people against the martial law! Crush the tyranny of the US-Marcos II!