GOV'T, AFP CLAIMS OF NPA WEAKENING ARE LIES -- KA ROGER
CPP spokesperson Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal has belied claims by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the AFP that the strength of the CPP's armed component, the NPA, has been halved in the last two years and that it will certainly face defeat by 2010.
BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Vol. VIII, No. 8, March 30-April 5, 2008
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) spokesperson Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal has belied claims by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that the strength of the CPP's armed component, the New People's Army (NPA), has been halved in the last two years and that it will certainly face defeat by 2010.
According to AFP chief of staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, the NPA's total strength is now down to some 5,000-6,000 fighters from more than 10,000 in 2005 and 2006.
The New People's Army (NPA), the armed component of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), turns 39 this March 29. Its founding took place just a little over three months after Jose Maria Sison led a group that broke away from the Lava leadership of the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) over ideological differences and reestablished the Party as the CPP.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the CPP quickly grew in strength and, together with the NPA, developed into one of the most effective organized forces fighting the U.S-Marcos dictatorship.
The NPA has weathered ideological rifts within the CPP, particularly in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and has remained a force to reckon with on the national scene.
But the NPA now faces claims by the Arroyo government and the AFP that it is a spent force and is pretty much on the way out.
In this interview with Bulatlat, Rosal provides the CPP-NPA's side on the issue.
Following is the full text of the interview:
What can you say about government claims that the AFP through its counter-“insurgency” campaign has been able to reduce the NPA’s total forces by half, and about President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s claim that the “insurgency” will be defeated by 2010?
They keep on prating that they are winning the war against the revolutionary forces. They claim that they have been cutting down the strength of the NPA to some 5,000 and that they have been destroying scores of revolutionary guerrilla fronts during the past few years. Again and again, as in many other things that the ruling regime has been confronted with, these are nothing but lies.
It is the demoralized fascist mercenary armed forces of the Arroyo regime that keeps suffering one defeat after another from the tactical offensives of the NPA. There have been over 500 major and minor tactical offensives from a year ago. Quite the opposite to what the Arroyo regime and the AFP are making it appear to be, the NPA is riding high with victories and continues to grow with additional recruits.
The Arroyo regime has inflicted severe sufferings on the people as a result of its gargantuan plunder and bribery, its treasonous sell out of the country’s patrimony, and its worsening of the people’s poverty, joblessness and hunger. There is also the brutality of the intensified fascist and terrorist acts of its armed forces. Because of all this the Arroyo regime has even become the Number One recruiter for the NPA.
The regime is covering up its failures against the revolutionary armed forces by carrying out an unprecedented spate of extrajudicial killings, abductions and other fascist terrorist acts against unarmed activist forces and suspected supporters in the legal arena.
How has the NPA survived and resisted the onslaughts of Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) I and II?
OBL concentrates enemy forces and applies fascist deception and atrocities on the “centers of gravity” of a score of priority guerrilla fronts. However this leaves the enemy forces thinly dispersed in much greater scores of others. The NPA takes advantage of this and shifts its forces to these other fronts. It steps up its mass work and its military operations against the isolated and weak enemy forces there.
Like other earlier “counter-insurgency” strategies applied by the enemy, OBL cannot succeed against a revolutionary movement and its people’s army that is led by the Communist Party, fights for the people’s interest, closely links with the masses, pursues the strategic line of protracted people’s war, and applies guerrilla tactics to fight the momentarily bigger enemy.
Grasping fully the excellent current revolutionary situation, the revolutionary forces systematize and speed up the arousal, education, organizing and mobilizing of the mass of the Filipino people. The revolutionary forces do not just launch tactical offensives and other military work in expanding and consolidating its guerrilla fronts and mass base. Side by side with these, they also launch anti-feudal struggles and other political, socio-economic and cultural campaigns in the interest of the people.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) only admits falling short of its targets but in reality it has utterly failed to live up to any of its bragging. Arroyo’s OBL I failed miserably and its current second version is also failing.
In how many provinces, towns and villages does the NPA have a presence now?
The revolutionary forces are solidly entrenched in 9,000 barangays (villages) in more than 70 provinces and 800 municipalities, and are advancing day by day. The enemy forces haven’t been able to dismantle even a single one of the well over a hundred revolutionary guerrilla fronts. These are the solid building blocks of relatively more stable base areas.
How close is the NPA to its objective of moving to the middle phase of the strategic defensive?
Under the leadership of the CPP, the NPA and other revolutionary forces are forging ahead with the people’s war and other forms of struggle. Its present objective is to complete the middle stage of the strategic defensive and proceed to the strategic stalemate of the protracted people’s war towards the completion of the national democratic revolution and the start of the socialist revolution right after.
Is the NPA contributing to or in any way involved in the campaign to oust the Arroyo regime?
Alongside their waging of armed struggle, the revolutionary forces welcome and support the complementary people’s open and legal struggles and mass uprisings and the withdrawal of support of enlightened and disgruntled military and police forces. The brewing upsurge of mass protests and the imminent possibility of another people power uprising to topple the extremely hated and isolated Arroyo regime will be a big boost to the advance of the revolutionary struggle as it serves the attainment of immediate relief for the suffering Filipino people.
Yet Gloria Arroyo is blinded by her own lying, criminality and megalomania. She refuses to see the handwriting on the wall and tries to ignore the people’s seething anger and their resounding demand for the immediate ouster of her rotten reactionary, puppet regime. Bulatlat