MARIHATAG, Surigao del Sur – Heavy rainfalls, swelling rivers and Army checkpoints did not stop the Communist Party of the Philippines in Mindanao from celebrating their 46th year anniversary.
Ka Oris, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Mindanao, said that he and several companies of New People’s Army Red fighters navigated roads and got soaked from heavy rains before they reached the venue where the CPP anniversary was held.
“Only one NPA unit got delayed from reaching the site because it failed to cross the Marihatag river last night as the river swelled,” he said.
Ka Oris said some 15,000 people attended the event from all over Mindanao yesterday December 26 even as “they braved the AFP’s (Armed Forces of the Philippines) attempts not to let them pass through.”
“Even if rains poured heavy, even if rivers swelled, even if roads were blocked with checkpoints, we are here to show unity and celebrate the anniversary of the Party, ” said Ka Oris.
On the way to the CPP event, an unmarked Army checkpoint stopped the convoy of private and rented cars, trucks and buses along the Surigao del Sur highway.
An Army sergeant interviewed by the media said he received orders from his brigade to stop the convoy because they have received information that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were laid on the road where the convoy was heading.
The attendees, who included Surigao del Sur Vice-Governor Manuel Alameda, Sr. and Bayan Muna partylist Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate, however, demanded that the soldiers clear the way immediately so the convoy can pass.
Soldiers relented after about an hour.
Smiling roadside NPA members greeted the guests and flagged down vehicles and patiently instructed drivers to go to a designated parking zone.
Upon arriving to the community where the program was to be held, one can see big tarpaulins with signature hammer and sickle prints.
Ka Oris said that NPA is “expanding and gaining strength.”
He said the NPA in Mindanao has “maintained 46 guerrilla fronts amidst 55 Infantry (Philippine Army) battalions waging anti-guerilla warfare” against them.
“Not one front was destroyed while the NPA launched 300 tactical offensive which inflicted one battalion of casualties of regular and paramilitary troops of the AFP this year,” he said.
He said the NPA’s strength has made possible an “agrarian revolution” which has “gained material benefits” for its mass base “which number in millions.”
He also said “revolutionary forces guided by the CPP are active in Mindanao urban centers.”
Ka Oris said the CPP “formed alliances with sectors in society who are against US (United States) imperialism and domestic feudalism.
“We have maintained good relationships with church groups, professionals and other sectors and Moro groups outside the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) which has turned its back on the armed struggle,” he said.
Ka Oris said the CPP “continue to propagate Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to its membership through education courses.”
He added that the membership of the CPP in Mindanao is in “tens of thousands” and are “entrusted with various important tasks for the revolution.”
Mindanao Peace Agenda
Different leaders from the ranks of farmers, workers, youth, church and peace groups invited by the NDF also presented their ‘peace agenda’ for both the NDF and the government during the event.
Bishop Modesto Villasanta of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines handed over a copy of their position paper to Fidel Agcaoili, a member of the NDF’s peace negotiating panel.
“I gladly receive your peace agenda for the NDF negotiating panel to discuss,” said Agcaoili.
Ka Oris said the panel has been conducting consultations all over the country.
Meanwhile, Vice Gov. Alameda also received a copy of the ‘peace agenda’ for the Surigao del Sur provincial government.
Other personalities in the event include former Interior and Local Government Secretary Hernani Braganza. (davaotoday.com)