More than 120 Filipinos and their international friends in Europe gathered to celebrate 50 years of struggle for social and national liberation in the Philippines on 31 March 2019. Billed as a “Tapestry of Resistance,” the event in Amsterdam, the Netherlands resonated with many other gatherings in the Philippines and overseas that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the founding of the New People’s Army.
In his speech, founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Prof. Jose Maria Sison emphasized that the NPA has already spread nationwide in a majority of the country’s provinces and is deeply rooted among the toiling masses. Sison traced the NPA’s history from its foundational years (1969-1977) to the period of growth, conservatism and upsurge (2002–2019), noting that it has frustrated all operational plans by the Philippine government (GPH) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Luis Jalandoni, Chief International Representative of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), narrated the important role of international solidarity friends during the long years of struggle against the Marcos regime, and how they helped in isolating the dictatorship both domestically and internationally.
In view of the “fast developing reality of the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation and the increasing danger of US imperialist intervention and even war of aggression”, Jalandoni said there is a need and opportunity “to launch and build the Friends of the NDFP” as a “systematic and organized way to develop a powerful solidarity” for the Filipino people’s struggle.
Three short films highlighted the celebration: on the NPA not only as fighting army but an army that works, lives with and embraces the aspirations of the people; on the agrarian revolution in response to the peasantry’s demand for land; and on how the masses exercise their rights and fight for their interests through the organs of political power of the People’s Democratic Government being built today in thousands of villages and towns in the country.
Photos on the everday life of NPA warriors captured thru the lens of freelance photographer Boy Bagwis and paintings of Parts Bagani, and the art and poetry of Felix Salditos aka Maya Daniel, were also exhibited. Similar themes were showcased by cultural presentations of Filipino migrants.
The speeches, messages, cultural performances, exhibits and films were all presented as a “tapestry” that helped explain and visualize the Filipino people’s continuing struggle.
One Dutch artist and supporter said attending the celebration made even clearer to her that in its 50 years, the whole Philippine revolutionary movement has continued to grow and achieve important victories for the people. ###