In the face of the intensified brutality of Duterte’s total war in the countryside, the peasant masses with their revolutionary forces must unleash a widespread land reform movement as an important backbone of the people’s all-out resistance against the rampaging fascist regime.
Employing absolute powers, Duterte has imposed a reign of terror across the country. Over the past months, he has set loose hordes of military and police troops to lay siege on entire communities, ransack homes and commit abominable terrorist atrocities. They target villages where peasants are actively fighting for their rights. The attacks have been extra vicious in Negros and Samar provinces, as well as in Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental.
More than 20 rural village leaders have been hunted down and murdered in cold blood since December. Residents are arbitrarily accused of being members or supporters of the New People’s Army, rounded up and falsely presented as “surrenderees.” Men are conscripted to join paramilitaries and forced to render labor to set up military detachments.
The ruthlessness with which Duterte conducts his war aims to weaken the people’s will to resist and make them surrender to his tyranny. His attacks are bound to become more depraved as he is set to rig the upcoming the elections and accelerate preparations to establish a naked fascist dictatorial rule.
We must smash Duterte’s brutal war and frustrate his aim of crushing the people’s resistance to his tyrannical regime and scheme to establish a fascist dictatorship. He and his accomplices must be made accountable and punished for their innumerable crimes against the people. We must expose the lies and illusions being peddled by Duterte and his military and police officers and expose all their barbarities.
To defeat Duterte’s total war against the people, it is crucial that the people in the countryside rise up in large numbers and wage both economic and political struggles. Their antifeudal, as well as anti-imperialist economic struggles are inextricably linked with, are at the base of, and provide the impetus to their antifascist political struggles to defend their democratic rights. We must pay attention to the economic difficulties of the peasant masses and address their well-being in order to stir their revolutionary fervor to resist Duterte’s brutal war.
It is important to arouse and mobilize the peasant masses in large numbers to carry out widespread mass campaigns to reduce rent and interest, raise wages, ensure fair prices of farm produce and increase production through basic forms of cooperation. These are the key components of the Party’s minimum program for land reform. The maximum program for land distribution can be carried out in revolutionary base areas where it can be administered and defended.
These land reform campaigns demonstrate in plain terms the difference between the fascist regime and the revolutionary movement, between those forces which oppress and burden the peasant masses and those who seek raise their standards of living and an end to their oppression.
These mass campaigns thoroughly expose the fakery of Duterte’s “land reform” and his policy of widespread land-use conversion and landgrabbing in favor of big landlords and big mining and plantation companies. These also expose the band-aid and deceptive nature of the reactionary regime’s welfare measures such as the conditional-cash transfer program (4Ps), the PaMaNa and the Kalahi-CIDSS which offer cosmetic projects that merely conceal the grave social and economic diseases afflicting the people.
These campaigns must be carried out alongside other campaigns to demand a stop to the liberalization of agricultural imports that bears down on rural production and income, to clamor for state subsidy and debt relief amid drought conditions, to demand a return of the coco levy fund, to resist the entry of megadams, airports and other destructive infrastructure projects, to resist land reclamation in coastal areas, to oppose plantations and mining operations, to demand respect for ancestral lands and other campaigns to uphold the rights and welfare of the peasant masses and minority peoples.
Over the next few months, we must carry out these campaigns more fervently. Party cadres at various levels of leadership must be assigned to ensure that tasks in waging mass struggles are carried out. We must better our past efforts and aim to bring peasant struggles to levels higher than before.
To carry out these mass campaigns, we must help the peasant masses organize themselves into revolutionary peasant associations or strengthen existing ones. These must be built at the village, intervillage, municipal and district levels to raise the capability of the peasant masses to organize and coordinate their actions and gather the greatest possible collective strength. To help raise production, peasant associations can build mutual-aid teams or work collectives as well as other forms of production cooperation. Funds can be collected, raised or alloted to help boost production.
We must see to it that these campaigns are successfully carried out. This should be measured in palpable terms, where the peasant masses enjoy the benefits of higher income, greater supply of food and better living conditions attained through collective struggle. There must be accompanying campaigns for literacy and numeracy, public health, cultural advancement and other campaigns to address peasants’ urgent concerns.
In waging these campaigns, the peasant masses are galvanized to resist the fascist campaign of suppression being mounted by the reactionary armed forces in connivance with local despots and warlords. They are stirred to defend their rights to assert their demand for land reform and better economic conditions. They become more militant in defending their democratic rights and further encouraged to wholeheartedly take part in the armed struggle and provide it with boundless support.
A powerful peasant antifascist movement must arise across the country, as part of the broad united front against Duterte’s tyranny. It must vigorously defend democratic rights and resist Duterte’s all-out war of suppression in the countryside. There must be concerted effort and coordination, between the peasants in one village and another, in one province and another, within a region and across the country. Without these, Duterte will continue to have the temerity to commit one fascist act after another. Every village being attacked by the fascists must be defended by all. Every fascist atrocity must be exposed and condemned by all. Every fascist act and its perpetrators must be made to answer for their crimes.
In waging antifeudal and antifascist struggles, the peasant masses are harnessing power from their organized strength. Peasant associations, together with other rural mass organizations of youth, women, children and cultural activists serve as foundations for building barrio revolutionary committees which are basic units of the people’s democratic government. These serve to wage agrarian revolution as well as to take part in armed struggle. From among the peasant associations arise self-defense units which help enforce policies and ordinances enacted by the local revolutionary committees. Units of the people’s militias are built as local units of the NPA to carry out mass guerrilla warfare to wage widespread armed resistance against the rampaging fascist troops of the enemy.
While helping the peasant masses wage mass struggles, the NPA must boldly intensify guerrilla warfare and deliver bigger and more frequent blows against the enemy. It must target the worst of the fascist murderers to punish them for their crimes and puncture their overweening arrogance. The NPA must continually seize tactical initiative. It must apply the tactics of dispersal, shifting and counter-encirclement and concentration to frustrate enemy offensives. It must carry-out well-planned tactical offensives to wipe out isolated and vulnerable units of the enemy and take away their weapons.
By waging widespread peasant mass struggles and advancing the armed revolution, the people and their revolutionary forces will surely surmount and defeat Duterte’s brutal war and his scheme for a fascist dictatorship.