Philippines: Revolutionary movement in Leyte advances
Posted by n3wday on December 14, 2008
This article was published by Philippine Revolution.
Revolutionary movement in Leyte advances
December 7, 2008 issue of Ang Bayan
The Mt. Amandewin Command (New People’s Army-Leyte) has vehemently belied claims by the reactionary Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) of having defeated the NPA and having crushed the revolutionary movement in Leyte. In an interview with Ang Bayan, various NPA units in Leyte described how armed struggle, agrarian revolution and other mass struggles have been advancing in the island despite the enemy’s intense militarization.
Antifeudal struggles have, in particular, benefited residents of the third district of Leyte in a big way.
A striking example was the occupation by thousands of farm workers of vast tracts of abandoned sugarcane fields and ranches owned by big landlords.
Up to 800 hectares of these lands are owned by the Larrazabal family, one of the biggest landlord clans in Leyte.
The farm workers successfully struggled for their right to plant rice and corn on these lands.
Other forms of antifeudal struggles have also been launched to reduce land rent, raise farm workers’ wages and retrieve lands that have been seized from the peasants.
It is these victories that serve as the foundation for the NPA’s continued ability to build its strength and maintain its close links to the people on the island despite the brutality of Oplan Bantay Laya 2 (OBL2).
With the big landlords shaken by the people’s antifeudal struggles, the enemy attempted to use OBL2 to sow terror and destroy the revolutionary movement.
Human rights violations worsened and became more widespread.
The military vented its ire on farmers living in areas where antifeudal struggles were strong. In some cases, feces and urine were forced into the victims’ mouths. The victims were then punched to induce swallowing. Some peasants were forced to reveal the NPA’s whereabouts.
According to partial reports, three heinous massacres were brazenly perpetrated by the military, claiming the lives of 20 farmers. For simply going to their farms, many of the peasants were accused of being NPA supporters, beaten up and ordered to leave the village. The military also killed the peasants’ farm animals. One of the NPA commanders interviewed by AB said, “The enemy’s military campaigns are really a bane to the farmers’ livelihood.”
Contrary to the enemy’s expectations, however, the brutalities inflicted on the peasants have only strengthened their resolve to support the people’s army and the revolutionary movement. They have remained steadfast and have even tightened their links to the NPA. They have not wavered in giving what they can to support the people’s army, including voluntarily providing rice and other foodstuff. They monitor the presence and movements of the enemy and report this to the NPA.
The masses gave invaluable help to the people’s army in the 17 tactical offensives launched since the AFP began OBL2 in the area. The NPA was able to seize 49 firearms and kill 56 enemy forces. Twelve Red fighters, on the other hand, were martyred.
The NPA was also able to recruit more Red fighters and conduct other forms of military work, aside from cultural, educational and production activities. Party branches and mass organizations in the localities were able to fulfill their revolutionary tasks clandestinely. OBL2 has failed to put a stop to these activities.
These victories, which have all been achieved despite the enemy’s atrocities in Leyte prove how the people ardently support the armed revolutionary movement. They are an indication of the extent to which the revolution has expanded and the depth by which it has taken root among the people.