Volume IV, Number 6. 31 March 2022.

The ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine affords us a front seat view of the ravages of war. Intensive and up-to-the-minute video footages, photos and field reporting of the conflict are broadcasted to every news media outlet around the world. We see up close the destruction, economic ruin, death, horrific injuries and the displacement of entire populations. Simultaneous to these, calls for ending the war reverberate, with hopes that peace will soon be restored.

Regrettably, the absence of war does not necessarily translate to peace.

Look around: there might not be armed conflict and war, but widespread and unbearable poverty, unemployment, inhuman working conditions, environmental pillage, social inequality and national oppression prevail. Indeed, the absence of armed conflict more often translates to free rein for the ruling classes and imperialist powers to exploit and suppress the vast majority of the working peoples of the world, rather than peace. The deplorable conditions suffered by the 99% are hardly ingredients for a peaceful society. These are ingredients for social unrest, armed conflict and war. Such conditions prevail in the Philippines.

53 years ago, the Communist Party of the Philippines established the New People’s Army. This signaled the resumption of the Philippine Revolutionary War for national liberation and democracy. It signaled a call to arms to the Filipino people to overthrow US neocolonial rule, feudal oppression and bureaucrat capitalism. However, unlike imperialist wars that result in the subjugation of entire nations, the CPP made a clarion call for a people’s war that will pave the road for long and lasting peace based on national freedom, social justice and democracy.

The Filipino people and the NPA have answered the call. In the last five decades, giant strides have been made towards these aspirations. Despite the brutality of the Marcos fascist dictatorship; despite the equally heinous counter-insurgency programs of pseudo-democratic regimes after Marcos; and yes, despite the utterly murderous Duterte fascist regime.

The NPA and the people’s democratic government now prevail in several hundred villages across the archipelago. The poorest of the poor, peasants and indigenous peoples, reap the fruits of agrarian reform, rural livelihood, social services, ecological biodiversity and genuine democracy. Victories of the armed struggle in the countryside have been inspiring working peoples in towns and cities to intensify their demands for social justice and their vehemence against imperialist domination, fascism and bureaucrat capitalism.

The NPA is the instrument of the Filipino people for attaining their aspirations for peace – peace based on national liberation, social justice and democracy. Paraphrasing a popular revolutionary song: “Lost loves will be rekindled, families will reunite, and from the ashes will arise fresh and new life. After war is happiness… after war is peace.”