By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
September 19, 2015
We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, express our warmest greetings of solidarity to theNational Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates – Youth (NNARA – Youth) as it celebrates its 20th founding anniversary.
We highly appreciate that you are making a meaningful and purposeful celebration by holding a National Council Assembly with the theme, “BIGWAS: Dalawang Dekada ng Pakikibaka para sa Tunay na Reporma sa Lupa at Pagbasag sa Pyudalismo” and undertaking a series of workshops on speakers training, theater work, propaganda writing and social media guides.
We congratulate you for all your achievements since your founding in 1995 by a group of students from the Development Studies program of the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila. Your chapters are now in UP Diliman, UP Los Baños, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and in other schools, universities and communities in Isabela, Cagayan, Negros, Davao and the CARAGA region.
NNARA – Youth has become the most outstanding mass organization of peasant youth and students who support the struggle of the landless farmers for land, economic and political rights, and progressive economic development. You have been successful in your efforts to educate, organize, and mobilize the youth, in the rural and urban areas, to integrate and march with the peasants for pro-people policy making, in people-centered production and political campaigns, and to spread a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented culture.
We commend you for maintaining a multifaceted approach in engaging the youth in your advocacy by conducting direct organizing through integration programs, education and research programs, carrying out campaign and advocacy programs and maximizing all possible ways and means to lead the youth in treading the path to advocacy for genuine land reform and all the rights and welfare of the peasants. You have used well all available channels of information and education, including the traditional and latest devices of communications.
We are confident that your National Council Assembly will be able to assess and evaluate your accumulated and recent experiences, recognize your achievements as basis for further advance and overcome shortcomings, learn lessons from both positive and negative experiences and set forth the tasks for further strengthening your organization and making greater contributions to the advancement of the peasant struggle for land within the framework of the national democratic movement.
The main content of the struggle for democracy in the Philippines is the fulfilment of the peasant demand for land. It is through genuine land reform that the peasant majority of the people are liberated economically, socially, politically and culturally. Land reform must be carried out in conjunction with national industrialization to establish and strengthen the basis for agricultural cooperatives and mechanization of agriculture and preclude retrogressions to feudal and semifeudal forms of exploitation.
The Filipino peasant masses have been victimized for so long by bogus land reform programs of reactionary regimes. The high valuation of the land and the lack of support for production and the proper sale of products have always predetermined the failure of reactionary land reform programs. From one reactionary regime to another, the peasant masses fall prey to all forms of land reconsolidation by landlords, corrupt government officials, agricorporations and swarms of merchant-usurers.
The US-Aquino regime continues to escalate the exploitation and oppression of the people under the neoliberal economic policy and the national military campaign Oplan Bayanihan. The peasant masses suffer most from the lack of national industrialization and land reform and from the dumping of foreign surplus agricultural products on the people. The growing number of peasant youth are being forced to take low-income odd jobs in farms and in urban slums. The regime has no answer to the growing poverty, unemployment and social unrest in the countryside but to launch brutal campaigns of military suppression.
The growing number of toiling masses, without land to till and without industrial jobs, and the dependence of the Philippine economy on foreign debt, portfolio investments, import-based consumption, raw material exports, unstable semi-manufactures, call centers, upscale private construction and the export of a big part of the labor force are manifestations of a disintegrating semicolonial and semifeudal system and are increasingly favorable conditions for waging revolution.
We stand united with the NNARA-Youth in understanding and acting on the demands of the Filipino people for national independence, democracy, social justice, real economic development, a patriotic, scientific, progressive and pro-people culture and international solidarity with all the peoples and fiorces of the world that are fighting for national liberation, democracy and socialism against imperialism and reaction.###