Philippine Society And Revolution
- July 30, 1970
- (PDF) "[A]n attempt to present in a comprehensive way from the standpoint of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought the main strands of Philippine history, the basic problem of the Filipino people, the prevailing social structure and the strategy and tactics and class logic of the revolutionary solution — which is the people's democratic revolution."
- Preface To The Sixth Edition
- Chapter I: A Review Of Philippine History
- I. The Philippines And The People
- II. The People Upon The Coming Of The Spanish Colonialists
- III. Spanish Colonialism And Feudalism
- IV. The Philippine Revolution Of 1896
- V. The Filipino-American War
- VI. The Colonial Rule Of US Imperialism
- VII. The People's Struggle Against Japanese Imperialism
- VIII. The Present Puppet Republic Of the Philippines
- IX. The Reestablishment Of The Communist Party Of The Philippines
- Chapter II: Basic Problems Of The Filipino People
- I. A Semi-Colonial And Semi-Feudal Society
- II. US Imperialism
- III. Feudalism
- IV. Bureaucrat Capitalism
- Chapter III: People's Democratic Revolution
- I. Basic Character Of The Philippine Revolution
- II. Classes In Philippine Society
- III. Class Basis Of Strategy And Tactics
- IV. Basic Tasks Of The People's Democratic Revolution
- V. Perspective Of The Philippine Revolution
Integrating Marxist-Leninist theory with Philippine practice is a two-way process. We do not merely take advantage of the victories achieved abroad so that we may succeed in our own revolution. But we also hope to add our own victory to those of others and make some worthwhile contribution to the advancement of Marxism-Leninism and the world proletarian revolution so that in the end mankind will be freed from the scourge of imperialism and enter the era of communism.— Amado Guerrero
I am elated that the Struggle for National Democracy (SND) and Philippine Society and Revolution (PSR) are republished in both English and Pilipino in order to celebrate the 50th founding anniversary of Kabataang Makabayan (Patriotic Youth).
These two books are historical documents of the period when they were first published. At present and in years to come, they have continuing relevance and validity. They shed light on the persistent semi-colonial and semi-feudal ruling system of the big compradors and landlords under US hegemony. They confront the problems of foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism, and they point to the people's revolutionary course of action.
SND is composed of articles and speeches that I wrote in the 1960s. Most of these were done in my capacity as the Chairman of the Kabataang Makabayan. Subsequently, the book became a basic reading material for all KM members. It became known figuratively as the bible of the KM and the youth movement for national liberation and democracy. To this day, it is read and studied avidly by the young men and women interested in fundamental social transformation though the national democratic revolution.
PSR, which I wrote in 1969, is a comprehensive and thorough presentation of the essential history of the Filipino people, the three basic problems that afflict them and the people's democratic revolution as the solution. The general line of people's democratic revolution through protracted people's war is clearly set against the semi-colonial and semi-feudal ruling system. The motive forces and the enemies of the revolution are clearly defined. The socialist perspective of the revolution is made clear.
The motive forces of the Philippine revolution include the working class as the leading force, the peasantry as the main force, the urban petit bourgeoisie as the swing force and the middle bourgeoisie as an additional supplementary force in a national united front. They confront and struggle against the local reactionary classes of big compradors and landlords in a revolutionary civil war and are prepared to wage a war of national liberation against the escalation of US military intervention to the level of an aggressive war.
The basic alliance of the working class and the peasantry is at the foundation of the revolutionary united front. The urban petit bourgeoisie is one more progressive and revolutionary force and the middle bourgeoisie is one more patriotic and positive force in the united front. Under certain conditions, the united front may be further broadened to take advantage of the contradictions among political forces of the exploiting classes and hasten the isolation and defeat of the reactionary die-hards who are the enemy.
As the most progressive political and productive force in Philippine society, the working class leads the national democratic and socialist stages of the revolution. By winning the national democratic stage in combination with the peasantry through people's war, the working class acquires the strength to proceed to the socialist stage of the revolution.
Through the people's democratic revolution, under the leadership of the working class and the Communist Party as its advanced detachment, the people's democratic state system is built, economic development is propelled through land reform and national industrialization, a national, scientific and mass culture flourishes and international solidarity is promoted for the just cause of peace and development against imperialism and reaction.
Since the first editions of SND and PSR in 1966 and 1969 respectively, there have been great advances in the development of the people's democratic revolution and in the further production of revolutionary literature enriched by the actual life and death struggle between the self-reliant revolutionary forces and the reactionary forces that enjoy the fruit of oppression and exploitation and the support of US imperialism.
The new editions of SND and PSR must be read and studied in connection with the practical and theoretical development that has been achieved. This point cannot be missed if we keep in mind at the very start that many of the activists of Kabataang Makabayan that were guided by SND proceeded to study PSR thoroughly and advanced to become proletarian revolutionaries. Guided by both SND and PSR, the KM expanded nationwide and took roots among the youth, including the students and the young workers, peasants and professionals.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) owes much to the KM for its role as assistant of the working class and as the training school for revolutionaries. Those who took the lead in reestablishing the CPP under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought in 1968 came from the KM. And many of those responsible for expanding the CPP nationwide and taking deep roots among the toiling masses of workers and peasants came from the KM.
The KM has been enlightened and motivated by SND and PSR. Thus, it has become a major part of the revolutionary struggle of the people and has contributed greatly to its advance. The revolutionary victories achieved by the KM and its veterans have been paid for with hard work and sacrifices. The record of the KM is outstanding in fighting the Marcos fascist dictatorship, the succeeding pseudo-democratic regimes and the ruling system as a whole since the 1960s.
Despite the fall of the Marcos fascist regime, the KM has remained in the urban revolutionary underground and in the field of armed struggle. It continues to play the role of the Communist Youth League and make significant contributions to the development of the revolutionary struggle.
I am glad that in this foreword I have the opportunity to cite the historic role and brilliant achievements of Kabataang Makabayan in connection with the celebration of its 50th founding anniversary and the latest editions of the Struggle for National Democracy and Philippine Society and Revolution.
— Jose Maria Sison, KM Founding Chair
Changes in society, are due chiefly to the development of the internal contradictions in society, that is, the contradiction between the productive forces and the relations of production, the contradiction between classes and the contradiction between the old and new; it is the development of these contradictions that pushes society forward and gives the impetus for the supercesion of the old society by the new.— Mao Zedong
The Philippines is an archipelago with a tropical climate and a mountainous terrain. It is located a little above the equator and bounded by the Pacific Ocean, the China Sea and the Celebes Sea. It lies some 600 miles southeast of the coast of mainland Asia and is strung on the north-south axis, bounded by China to the north and Indonesia and North Kalimantan to the south.
The geographic position of the Philippines makes the Filipino people literally close to the center of the world proletarian revolution and part of a gigantic wave of a powerful revolutionary movements in Southeast Asia. Though the Philippines seems surrounded by a moat and is at the outer rim of Asia directly facing US imperialism, the Number One enemy of the world's peoples, the Filipino people can rely on a great invincible political rear made up of the People's Republic of China and all revolutionary peoples of Asia.
The Philippines consists of 7,100 islands and islets with a total land area of 115,000 square miles. The two largest islands which are at the same time principal regions are Luzon and Mindanao. The former has a total land area of 54,000 square miles, and the latter has 37,000 square miles. The third principal region is the group of islands and islets called the Visayas in the central part of the archipelago. The irregular coastline of the whole country extends to a little less than 11,000 miles. All the islands are seasonally inundated by river systems flowing from mountains. The plains and valleys are well-populated.
The mountains, many of which are volcanic in origin, the extensive river systems and the tropical climate endow the Philippines with extremely fertile agricultural lands suitable for a wide variety of crops for food and industrial use. It has vast forest, mineral, marine and power resources. Its forests cover a little over one-third of the land. Its mineral resources include iron, gold, copper, nickel, oil, coal, chrome, and so many others. Its principal rivers can be controlled to irrigate fields continuously and also to provide electricity to every part of the country. It has rich inland and sea fishing grounds. Numerous fine harbors and landlocked straits are available for building up the maritime industry.
If the natural wealth of the Philippines were to be tapped and developed by the Filipino people themselves for their own benefit, it would be more than enough to sustain a population that is several times bigger than the present one. However, US imperialism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism prevent the Filipino people from making use of their natural resources to their own advantage. As of now, US imperialism and all of its lackeys exploit these natural resources for their own selfish profit and according to their narrow schemes at the expense of the toiling masses.
Based on the 1970 Census, the Filipino people now number about 37 million and they are increasing at the annual rate of 3.5 percent. Seventy-five percent of them live in the countryside under backward and feudal conditions. If the population were not subjected to foreign and feudal exploitation, not only could it become self-reliant economically, but it could also excel in all fields of social endeavor. It could be a massive force for progress instead of being a "problem" interpreted in the Malthusian way by reactionaries who constantly prate about "overpopulation" to cover up the basic problems that are US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
The Filipino people have been generated by several racial stocks. The main racial stock is Malay, which accounts for more than 85 percent. Other significant factors in the racial composition of the people are Indonesian and Chinese. The Arab, Indian, Spanish, American and Negrito factors are present, but only to a marginal degree.
There are many theories on the peopling of the archipelago in prehistoric times. We can cite what are currently the most accepted ones.
The aboriginal inhabitants of the Philippines were the Aetas or Negritoes, small black people, who first came to the Philippines on land bridges about 25,000 to 30,000 years ago in the Pleistocene era. They were followed by the first Indonesian wave of immigrants who came bringing with them an early stone age culture from Southeast Asia about 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. The second Indonesian wave came about 1,500 B.C. from Indochina and south China bringing with them a late Neolithic or bronze-copper culture.
What would later compose the main racial stock of the Filipino people, the Malay, came in three major waves. The first wave of the Malays came from a southern direction between 300 and 200 B.C. bringing with them Indian cultural influences. The second wave came between the first century and the 13th century and became the main ancestors of the Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Pampangos, Visayans and Bicolanos. As they were equipped with a system of writing, they were the first to leave historical records. The third wave of Malays who came between the latter half of the 14th century and the 15th century came the Arab traders and religious teachers who laid the foundation of Islam in Sulu and in mainland Mindanao.
The national minorities of today comprise at least 10 percent of the population. They inhabited the greater part of the archipelago until a few decades ago when land grabbers started to dispossess and oppress them. They have been set apart from the rest of the people principally by Christian chauvinism employed by Spanish colonialism and US imperialism, as in the case of the Muslims in Mindanao and the non-Christian mountain tribes all over the country. There is also Malay racism bred by foreign and feudal exploiters of the people. This is often directed against the Chinese and the Aetas.
To this day, there are more than 100 languages and dialects. The nine most widely spoken are Tagalog, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Sugbuhanon, Bicol, Pampango, Pangasinan, Samarnon, and Maguindanao. Tagalog is the principal base of the national language, which can now be spoken by the majority of the people with varying degrees of fluency.
Before the coming of Spanish colonialists, the people of the Philippine archipelago had already attained a semi-communal and semi-slave social system in many parts and also a feudal system in certain parts, especially in Mindanao and Sulu, where such a feudal faith as Islam had already taken roots. The Aetas had the lowest form of social organization, which was primitive communal.
The barangay was the typical community in the whole archipelago. It was the basic political and economic unit independent of similar others. Each embraced a few hundreds of people and a small territory. Each was headed by a chieftain called the rajah or datu.
The social structure comprised a petty nobility, the ruling class which had started to accumulate land that it owned privately or administered in the name of the clan or community; an intermediate class of freemen called the maharlikas who had enough land for their livelihood or who rendered special service to the rulers and who did not have to work in the fields; and the ruled classes that included the timawas, the serfs who shared the crops with the petty nobility, and also the slaves and semi-slaves who worked without having any definite share in the harvest. There were two kinds of slaves then: those who had their own quarters, the aliping namamahay, and those who lived in their master's house, the aliping sagigilid. One acquired the status of a serf or a slave by inheritance, failure to pay debts and tribute, commission of crimes and captivity in wars between barangays.
The Islamic sultanates of Sulu and mainland Mindanao represented a higher stage of political and economic development than the barangay. These had a feudal form of social organization. Each of them encompassed more people and wider territory than the barangay. The sultan reigned supreme over several datus and was conscious of his privilege to rule as a matter of hereditary "divine right."
Though they presented themselves mainly as administrators of communal lands, apart from being direct owners of certain lands, the sultans, datus and the nobility extracted land rent in the form of religious tribute and lived off the toiling masses. They constituted a landlord class attended by a retinue of religious teachers, scribes and leading warriors.
The sultanates emerged in the two centuries prior to the coming of Spanish colonialists. They were built up among the so-called third wave of Malay migrants whose rulers either tried to convert to Islam, bought out, enslaved or drove away the original non-Muslim inhabitants of the areas that they chose to settle in. Serfs and slaves alike were used to till the fields and to make more clearings from the forest.
Throughout the archipelago, the scope of barangays could be enlarged either through the expansion of agriculture by the toil of the slaves or serfs, through conquests in war and through inter-barangay marriages of the nobility. The confederations of barangays was usually the result of a peace pact, a barter agreement or an alliance to fight common internal and external enemies.
As evident from the forms of social organization already attained, the precolonial inhabitants of the Philippine archipelago had an internal basis for further social development. In either barangay or sultanate, there was a certain mode of production which was bound to develop further until it would wear out and be replaced with a new one. There were definite classes whose struggle was bound to bring about social development. As a matter of fact, the class struggle within the barangay was already getting extended into inter-barangay wars. The barangay was akin to the Greek city-state in many respects and the sultanate to the feudal commonwealth of other countries.
The people had developed extensive agricultural fields. In the plains or in the mountains, the people had developed irrigation systems. The Ifugao rice terraces were the product of the engineering genius of the people; a marvel of 12,000 miles if strung end-to-end. There was livestock-raising, fishing and brewing of beverages. Also there was mining, the manufacture of metal implements, weapons and ornaments, lumbering, shipbuilding and weaving. The handicrafts were developing fast. Gunpowder had also come into use in warfare. As far north as Manila, when the Spaniards came, there was already a Muslim community which had cannons in its weaponry.
The ruling classes made use of arms to maintain the social system, to assert their independence from other barangays or to repel foreign invaders. Their jurisprudence would still be borne out today by the so-called Code of Kalantiyaw and the Muslim laws. These were touchstones of their culture. There was a written literature which included epics, ballads, riddles and verse-sayings; various forms and instruments of music and dances; and art works that included well-designed bells, drums, gongs, shields, weapons, tools, utensils, boats, combs, smoking pipes, lime tubes and baskets. The people sculpted images from wood, bone, ivory, horn or metals. In areas where anito worship and polytheism prevailed, the images of flora and fauna were imitated, and in the areas where the Muslim faith prevailed, geometric and arabesque designs were made. Morga's Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, a record of what the Spanish conquistadores came upon, would later be used by Dr. Jose Rizal as testimony to the achievement of the indios in precolonial times.
There was interisland commerce ranging from Luzon to Mindanao and vice versa. There were extensive trade relations with neighboring countries like China, Indochina, North Borneo, Indonesia, Malaya, Japan and Thailand. Traders from as far as India and the Middle East vied for commerce with the precolonial inhabitants of the archipelago. As early as the 9th century, Sulu was an important trading emporium where trading ships from Cambodia, China and Indonesia converged. Arab traders brought goods from Sulu to the Chinese mainland through the port of Canton. In the 14th century, a large fleet of 60 vessels from China anchored at Manila Bay, Mindoro and Sulu. Previous to this, Chinese trading junks had been intermittently sailing into various points of the Philippine shoreline. The barter system was employed or gold and metal gongs were used as medium of exchange.
The absence of a political unity involving all or the majority of the people of the archipelago allowed the Spanish conquistadores to impose their will on the people step by step, even with a few hundreds of colonial troops at the start. Magellan employed the standard tactic of divide-and-rule when in 1521 he sided with Humabon against Lapu-lapu. He started a pattern of inveigling certain barangays to adopt the Christian faith and then employing them against other barangays which resisted colonial domination. However, it was Legazpi who in 1565 and thereafter succeeded in hoodwinking a large number of barangay chieftains typified by Sikatuna in quelling recalcitrant barangays with the sword and in establishing under the cross the first colonial settlements in Visayas and subsequently in Luzon.
The kind of society that developed in more than three centuries of Spanish rule was colonial and feudal. It was a society basically ruled by the landlord class, which included the Spanish colonial officials. The Catholic religious orders and the local puppet chiefs. The masses of the people were kept to the status of serfs, and even the freemen became dispossessed.
It was in 1570 that the Spanish colonialists started to integrate the barangays that they had subjugated into larger administrative and economic units called the encomiendas. Wide areas of land, the encomiendas were awarded as royal grants to the colonial officials and Catholic religious orders in exchange for their "meritorious services" in the conquest of the native people. The encomienda system of local administration would be phased out in the 17th century when the organization of regular provinces was already possible and after it had served to establish the large-scale private landownership of the colonialists.
Under the guise of looking after the spiritual welfare of the people, the encomenderos collected tribute, enforced corvee labor and conscripted native soldiers. They arbitrarily extended the territorial scope of their royal grants, usurped ownership over the lands previously developed by the people and put more land to cultivation by employing corvee labor. It was convenient for the colonialists to convert into agricultural lands the clearing made from the forests as a result of the timber-cutting necessitated by various construction projects.
Public building, private houses, churches, fortifications, roads, bridges and ships for the galleon trade and for military expeditions were built. These entailed the mass conscription of labor for quarrying, timber-cutting, hauling, lumbering, brickmaking and construction work in nearby or faraway places.
The central government was set up in Manila to run the affairs of the colony. Its head was the Spanish governor-general who saw to it that the Filipino people were compelled to pay taxes, render free labor and produce an agricultural surplus sufficient to feed the parasitic colonial officials, friars and soldiery. On the one hand, the governor-general had the soldiery to enforce the colonial order. On the other, he had the collaboration of the friars to keep the people in spiritual and economic enslavement. He enriched himself fast within his short stay in office by being the chief shipper on the Manila-Acapulco trade galleons and by being the dispenser of shipping permits to merchants.
The Manila-Acapulco trade in certain goods coming from China and other neighboring countries yielded high revenues for the central government and the business-minded religious orders from the late 16th century to the early 19th century. It eventually declined and was replaced by the more profitable export of sugar, hemp, copra, tobacco, indigo and others on various foreign ships after the first half of the 18th century and all throughout the 19th century. The large-scale cultivation of these export crops was imposed on the toiling masses to provide more profits for Spanish colonialism.
At the provincial level was the alcalde-mayor as the colonial chieftain. He exercised both executive and judicial powers, collected tributes from the town and enjoyed the privilege of monopolizing commerce in the province and engaged in usury. He manipulated government funds as well as drew loans from the obras pias, the friars' chest for "charities," to engage in nefarious commerce and usury.
At the town level was the gobernadorcillo, the top puppet official formally elected by the principalia. The principalia was composed of the incumbent and past gobernadorcillos and the barrio chieftains called the cabezas de barangay. It essentially reflected the assimilation of the old barangay leadership into the Spanish colonial system. Membership in the principalia was qualified by property, literacy, heredity and, of course, puppetry to the foreign tyrants.
The most important regular duties of the gobernadorcillo and the cabezas de barangay under him were the collection of tribute and the enforcement of corvee labor. Their property was answerable for any deficiency in their performance. However, the gobernadorcillo usually made the cabezas de barangay his scapegoat. To avoid bankruptcy and keep themselves in the good graces of their colonial masters, these puppet officials also made sure that the main burden of colonial oppression was borne by the peasant masses.
In the classic fashion of feudalism, the union of church and state suffused the entire colonial structure. All colonial subjects fell under friar control from birth until death. The pulpit and the confessional box were expertly used for colonial propaganda and espionage, respectively. The catechetical schools were used to poison the minds of the children against their own country. The Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas was established as early as 1611 but its enrollment was limited to Spaniards and creoles until the second half of the 19th century. The colonial bureaucracy did not find any need for natives in the higher professions. Among the masses, the friars propagated a bigoted culture that was obsessed with novenas, prayer books, hagiographies, scapularies, the passion play, the anti-Muslim moro-moro and pompous religious feasts and processions. The friars had burned and destroyed the artifacts of precolonial culture as the handiwork of the devil and assimilated only those things of the indigenous culture which they could use to facilitate colonial and medieval indoctrination.
In the material base as well as in the superstructure, friar control was total and most oppressive in the towns situated in vast landed estates owned by the religious orders. In the colonial center as well as in every province, the friars exercised vast political powers. They supervised such diverse affairs as taxation, census, statistics, primary schools, health, public works and charities. They certified the correctness of residence certificates, the condition of men chosen for military service, the municipal budget, the election of municipal officials and police officers, and the examination of pupils in the parochial schools.
They intervened in the election of municipal officials. As a matter of fact, they were so powerful that they could instigate the transfer, suspension or removal from office of colonial officials, from the highest to the lowest, including the governor-general. In line with their feudal interests, they could even murder the governor-general with impunity, as they did to Salcedo in 1668 and Bustamante in 1719. As they could be that vicious within their own official ranks, they were more so in witch-hunting and suppressing native rebels whom they condemned as "heretics" and "subversives."
Throughout the Spanish colonial regime, revolts broke out sporadically all over the archipelago against the tribute, corvee labor, commercial monopolies, excessive land rent, land grabbing, imposition of the Catholic faith, arbitrary rules and other cruel practices of the colonial rulers, both lay and clerical. There were at least 200 revolts of uneven scope and duration. These grew with cumulative strength to create a great revolutionary tradition among the Filipino people.
The most outstanding revolts in the first century of colonial rule were those led by Sulayman in 1564 and Magat Salamat in 1587-88 in Manila and by Magalat in 1596 in Cagayan. At the beginning of the 17th century, the Igorots in the central highlands of Northern Luzon rebelled against attempts to colonize them and used the favorable terrain of their homeland to maintain their independence. Almost simultaneously in 1621-22, Tamblot in Bohol and Bankaw in Leyte raised the flag of revolt. Revolts also broke out in Nueva Vizcaya and Cagayan in 1621 and 1625-27, respectively.
The most widespread revolts that occurred in the 17th century were those inspired by Sumuroy in the southern provinces and Maniago, Malong and Almazan in the northern provinces of the archipelago. The Sumuroy revolt started in Samar in 1649 and spread northward to Albay and Camarines Sur and southward to Masbate, Cebu, Camiguin, Zamboanga and Northern Mindanao. The parallel revolts of Maniago, Malong and Almazan started in 1660 in Pampanga, Pangasinan and Ilocos, respectively. Malong extended his revolt to Pampanga, Ilocos and Cagayan. A localized revolt also broke out in 1663 under Tapar in Oton, Panay.
All throughout the Spanish colonial rule, the Muslims of Mindanao as well as the mountain people in practically every island, especially the Igorots in Northern Luzon, kept up their resistance. Aside from these consistent anti-colonial fighters, the people of Bohol fought the foreign tyrants for 85 years from 1774 to 1829. They were first led by Dagohoy and subsequently by his successors. At the peak of their strength, they were 20,000 strong and had their own government in their mountain bases.
Despite previous defeats, the people of Pangasinan and the Ilocos provinces repeatedly rose up against the colonial rule. The revolt led by Palaris in 1762-64 spread throughout the large province of Pangasinan and the one led by Diego Silang in 1762-63 (and later by his wife, Gabriela, after his treacherous assassination) spread from the Ilocos to as far as Cagayan Valley northward and Pangasinan southward. These revolts tried to take advantage of the British seizure of Manila and the Spanish defeat in the Seven Years' War.
In the 18th century, the anti-colonial revolts of the people increasingly took the character of conscious opposition to feudalism. Previously, the hardships and torment of corvee labor were the frequent causes of revolt. The arbitrary expansion of friar estates through fraudulent surveys and also the arbitrary raising of land rent inflamed the people, especially in Central Luzon and Southern Luzon. Matienza led a revolt outrightly against the agrarian abuses of the Jesuits who had rampantly grabbed land from the people. This revolt spread from Lian and Nasugbu, Batangas to the neighboring provinces of Laguna, Cavite and Rizal. In other provinces of the archipelago outside of Central Luzon and Southern Luzon, revolt came to be more often sparked by the monopolistic and confiscatory practices of the colonial government towards the end of the 18th century and during the 19th century. In 1807, the Ilocanos revolted against the wine monopoly. Once more they rose up in 1814 in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte and killed several landlords.
In quelling all the revolts precedent to the Philippine Revolution of 1896, the Spanish colonialist conscripted large numbers of peasants to fight their own brothers. Military conscription thus became a major form of oppression as the development of revolts became rapid and widespread.
The 19th century saw the intensification and ripening of the colonial and feudal system of exploitation. The Spanish colonial government was compelled to draw more profits from its feudal base in the Philippines to make up for the decline of the galleon trade and to adjust to the increasing pressures and demands of capitalist countries. The British victory in the Seven Years' War, the Napoleonic wars and French occupation of Spain, the expansionist maneuvers of the United States and the rise of national independence movements in Latin America, and the sharp struggle between the "liberal republicans" and "absolute monarchists" in Spain had the total effect of goading colonial Spain to exploit the Filipino people further.
Under the strain of increasing exploitation, the national and democratic aspirations of the broad masses of the people rose. As oppression was stepped up, the spirit of resistance among the ruled, especially the peasant masses, became heightened until the Philippine Revolution of 1896 broke out.
The fullest development of feudalism under Spanish colonial rule was made. The peasant masses were compelled not only to continue producing a surplus in staple crops to feed and keep the colonial and feudal parasites in comfort, but also produce an ever-increasing amount of raw material crops for export to various capitalist countries. The large-scale cultivation of sugar, hemp, tobacco, coconut and the like in some areas in turn required the production of a bigger surplus in staple food crops in other areas in order to sustain the large numbers of people concentrated in the production of export crops. Rice was imported whenever a general shortage occurred.
Thus, the expansion of foreign trade made by the Spanish colonialists entailed the acceleration of domestic trade and the wearing-out of a self-sufficient natural economy towards a commodity economy. The exchange of agricultural products within the archipelago, as well as the delivery of export crops to Manila and other trading ports and the provincial distribution of imported goods that served the wealthy, necessitated the improvement of transportation and communications.
The intensification of feudal exploitation included the adoption of the hated hacienda system, the rampant seizure of cultivated lands, the arbitrary raising of land rent and levies by both landlords and bureaucrats. The practice of monopoly, which meant dictated prices for the crops, further impoverished the peasants and enriched the bureaucrats. Landowning peasants either found themselves bankrupt or their lands arbitrarily included in the legal boundaries of large landlord estates. From 1803 to 1892, eighty-eight decrees were issued ostensibly to make landownership orderly but these merely legalized massive land grabbing by the feudalists.
The improvement of transportation and communications aggravated by feudal exploitation of the people. Exercising their colonial powers, the Spaniards ordered the people in increasing numbers to build roads, bridges and ports and paid them extremely low nominal wages. Big gangs of men were taken to distant places to work. At the same time, the improvement of transportation and communications paved the way for wider contacts among the exploited and oppressed people despite the rulers' subjective wish to use these only for their own profit. Also the introduction of the steamship and the railroad in connection with foreign and domestic trade contribute a great deal to the formation of the Filipino proletariat.
It was in the 19th century that the embryo of the Filipino proletariat became distinct. It was composed of the workers at the railroad, ships, docks, sugar mills, tobacco and cigar and cigarette factories, printing shops, breweries, foundries, merchandising firms and the like. They emerged in the transition from a feudal to a semi-feudal economy.
The economic prosperity enjoyed mainly by the colonial rulers was shared to some extent by the principalia, especially the gobernadorcillo. The local puppet chieftains either had landholdings of their own or become big leaseholders on the landed estates of friars or lay Spanish officials. They engaged in trade and bought more lands with their profits in order to engage further in trade. In Manila and other principal trading ports, a local comprador class emerged correspondent to the shipping, commercial and banking houses put up by foreign capitalist firms including American, British, German and French ones.
A nascent Filipino bourgeoisie became more and more distinct as agricultural production rose and as the volume of exports likewise did. The port of Manila was formally opened to non-Spanish foreign ships in 1834, although foreign trade with capitalist countries was actually started much earlier. From 1855 to 1873, six other ports throughout the archipelago were opened. In 1869, the opening of the Suez Canal shortened the distance between the Philippines and Europe and thus accelerated economic and political contracts between the two.
In the second half of the 19th century, the entry of native students into the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas and other colonial-clerical colleges became conspicuously large. Though these natives could afford college education, they were still the object of racial discrimination by their Spanish classmates and friar mentors. They had to suffer the epithet of "monkey" as their parents were referred to as "beasts loaded with gold." The creoles or mestizos were caught in the middle of a situation charged with the racial antagonism between the indios and the Spaniards. This racial antagonism was nothing but a manifestation of the colonial relationship. Even among the Spaniards, there was the foolish distinction made between the Philippine-born Spaniards and the Spanish-born Spaniards, with the former being derisively called Filipinos by the latter.
As more and more indios joined the ranks of the educated or the ilustrados, there came a point when the colonial authorities were alarmed and they entertained fears that they would be taken to task on the basis of the colonial laws whose idealist rhetoric they did not all practice. What appeared to the colonial rulers as the first systematized movement among the native ilustrados to attack the social and political supremacy of the Spaniards was the secularization movement within the clergy. The overwhelming majority of those who participated in this movement were indios and creoles and they demanded taking over the parishes held by the religious orders whose members were overwhelmingly Spanish.
When the Cavite Mutiny of 1872 occurred, Fathers Burgos, Gomez and Zamora who were the most outspoken leaders of the secularization movement were accused of conspiring to overthrow the Spanish colonial regime and were garroted. The mutiny was essentially an act of rebellion of the oppressed masses initiated by workers at the Cavite naval stockyard who were subjected to low wages and various forms of cruelty. Many of the rebellious workers and their genuine supporters were tortured and murdered. The three clerics who were condemned by the Spanish governor-general and the friars pleaded their innocence until their end. The style of pleading political innocence characterized the ilustrados from then on.
Nevertheless, even as the yoke of colonial oppression was carried mainly by the toiling masses, the principalia also suffered political and economic oppression at the hands of the colonial tyrants. The principalia joined in the exploitation of the toiling masses but in turn it was subjected to certain oppressive demands made by the governor-general, the provincial governor and the friars who increasingly reduced its share of exploitation. These colonial tyrants arbitrarily increased the quota in tribute collection, the taxes for the privilege of engaging in commerce, the land rent on lease holdings, the quota in agricultural production and interest on loans. Failure to keep up with ever-increasing levies resulted in bankruptcy especially among the cabezas de barangay. The employment of civil guards for the confiscation of property and the enforcement of colonial laws became a common sight. Towards the end of the 19th century, the principalia became most offended when it was forcibly ejected from its leaseholds on friar lands because the friars preferred to turn over the management of their lands to various foreign corporations.
The extremely frequent change of governors-general in the Philippines during the 19th century reflected the sharp struggle between the "liberal republicans" and the "absolute monarchists" in Spain. This had the general effect of aggravating the Filipino people's suffering. Every governor-general had to make the most of his average short term of a little over a year to enlarge the official as well as his personal treasury.
The ilustrados became increasingly dissatisfied with the colonial regime and some of them fled to Spain where they hoped to get higher education and gain more sympathy from Spanish liberal circles for their limited cause of changing the colonial status of the Philippines to the status of a regular province of Spain. They were desirous of representation in the Spanish parliament and the enjoyment of civil rights under the Spanish Constitution. In carrying out their reform movement, they established the newspaper La Solidaridad. It was the focus of activity for what would be called the Propaganda Movement, of which the chief propagandists were Dr. Jose Rizal, M.H. del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena and Antonio Luna.
The Propaganda Movement failed and was condemned as "subversive" and "heretical" by the colonial authorities. Trying to carry out propaganda work in the Philippines itself, Rizal organized the short-lived La Liga Filipina which called on the Filipino people to become a national community, and yet failed to state categorically the need for revolutionary armed struggle to effect separation from Spain. Putting his trust in the enemy, he was subsequently arrested and exiled to Dapitan in 1892. When the Philippine Revolution of 1896 broke out, he was held culpable for it by the colonial tyrants, and yet he betrayed it by calling on the people to lay down their arms a few days before his execution.
The clear revolutionary call for separation from Spain was made by the Kataastaasang Kagalang-galang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan. It was secretly founded in the proletarian district of Tondo by its leader Andres Bonifacio immediately after Rizal's arrest in 1892. In its first year, it was composed of only 200 members coming mainly from the toiling masses. In the next few years, it consciously recruited members who could start revolutionary struggle in various parts of the country so as to be able to wage a war of national liberation. At the same time, it recruited its members mainly from the ranks of the oppressed masses to ensure the democratic character of the revolution. After its Cry of Pugad Lawin on August 23, 1896, signaling the start of armed warfare against the colonialists, its ranks swelled to several tens of thousands and rallied the entire Filipino people to rise in revolt.
The Philippine Revolution of 1896 was a national-democratic revolution of the old type. Though Bonifacio came from the working class, he was not in possession of proletarian ideology. The guiding ideology of the revolution was that of the liberal bourgeoisie. Its classic model was the French Revolution and Bonifacio himself was inspired mainly by its ideas. At any rate, the revolution asserted the sovereignty of the Filipino people, the protection and promotion of civil liberties, the confiscation of the friar estates and the elimination of theocratic rule.
At the Tejeros Convention of 1897, the ilustrados who were mostly from Cavite decided to form the revolutionary government to replace the Katipunan and elected Emilio Aguinaldo president, thus replacing Bonifacio as the leader of the revolution. When an ilustrado strongly objected to Bonifacio's election as minister of interior on the ground that he was of lowly origin and had no education as a lawyer, the latter declared the convention null and void in accordance with a previous agreement requiring respect for every decision made by the convention. The convention manifested the class leadership of the liberal bourgeoisie and likewise the divisive effect of regionalism. The attempt of Bonifacio to form another revolutionary council led to his arrest and execution by the Aguinaldo leadership.
Within 1897, the revolutionary government suffered defeat after defeat. The ilustrados showed their inability to lead the revolution. The liberal-bourgeois leadership finally succumbed to the offers of general amnesty by the colonial government through the mediation of the scoundrel Pedro Paterno. The Pact of Biak-na-Bato was signed to consummate the surrender of Aguinaldo and the payment of P400,000 as the first installment to his council of leaders.
While Aguinaldo was in exile in Hong Kong, US agents approached him and proposed to him to take advantage of the imminent outbreak of the Spanish-American War. They pretended to help the Filipino people liberate themselves from the Spanish colonial rule. The US imperialists schemed to make use of Aguinaldo to facilitate their own seizure of the Philippines. Thus was Aguinaldo brought back to Cavite aboard an American cutter after Dewey's naval squadron had sailed to Manila Bay to destroy the Spanish fleet.
Taking advantage of the Spanish-American War, the Filipino people intensified their revolutionary armed struggle against the Spanish colonial rule. Spanish power collapsed throughout the archipelago except in Intramuros and a few negligible garrisons. Even the Filipino soldiers in the Spanish military service took the side of the Philippine Revolution. A situation in May 1898 emerged in which the Filipino revolutionary forces encircled on land the colonial seat of power, Intramuros, and the US naval fleet stood guard in Manila Bay. The Filipino revolutionaries took the policy of laying siege to starve the enemy into surrender while the imperialist navy waited for troop reinforcements from the United States.
On June 12, 1898, Aguinaldo made the Kawit proclamation of independence which carried the unfortunate qualification, "under the protection of the Mighty and Humane North American nation." Unwittingly, he declared the so-called First Philippine Republic to be a mere protectorate of US imperialism.
US troop reinforcements started to arrive at the end of June. They were landed to take over under various pretexts positions occupied by the Filipino revolutionary forces in the encirclement of Intramuros. Position after position was relinquished to the US imperialists by the weakling Aguinaldo until all the revolutionary forces were relegated to the background.
When Intramuros was already completely surrounded by the US naval and land troops, diplomatic negotiations were secretly conducted by Admiral Dewey and the Spanish governor-general through the Belgian consul. These negotiations led to the agreement of staging a mock battle to justify the turnover of Manila to the US imperialists by the Spanish colonialists and were parallel to negotiations being held abroad towards the general settlement of the Spanish-American War through the mediation of the French government.
On August 13, 1898, the mock battle of Manila was staged by the US imperialists and the Spanish colonialists. After a few token shots were fired, the latter surrendered to the former. The US imperialists made it a point to prevent Filipino troops from entering Intramuros. It was thus that the Filipino revolutionary forces were conclusively deprived of the victory that was rightfully theirs. From then on, however, hatred of the US imperialism became more widespread among the Filipino masses and their patriotic troops.
The Philippine revolutionary government shifted its headquarters from Cavite to Malolos, Bulacan in September in anticipation of further US imperialist aggression. Here the Malolos Congress was held to put out a constitution that had for its models bourgeois-democratic constitutions. During the same period, the US imperialists kept insisting in diplomatic terms that Filipino troops withdraw further from where they had been pushed. The US aggressors maneuvered to occupy more territory around Manila.
Attempts of the Aguinaldo government at diplomacy abroad to assert the sovereign rights of the Filipino people proved to be futile. On December 10, 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed by the United States and Spain ceding the entire Philippines to the former at the price of $20 million and guaranteeing the property and business rights of Spanish citizens in the archipelago. On December 21, US President McKinley issued the "Proclamation of Benevolent Assimilation" to declare in sugar-coated terms a war of aggression against the Filipino people.
On February 4, 1899, the US troops made a surprise attack on the Filipino revolutionary forces in the vicinity of Manila. In the ensuing battles in the city, at least 3,000 Filipino were butchered while only 250 US troops fell. Thus, armed hostilities between US imperialism and the Filipino people began. The Filipino people heroically stood up to wage a revolutionary war of national liberation.
Before the Filipino-American War was decisively won by US imperialism in 1902, 126,468 US troops had been unleashed against the 7,000,000 Filipino people. These foreign aggressors suffered a casualty of at least 4,000 killed and almost 3,000 wounded. Close to 200,000 Filipino combatants and noncombatants were slain. In short, for every US trooper killed, 50 Filipinos were in turn killed. More than a quarter of a million Filipinos died as a direct and indirect result of hostilities. However, an estimate of a US general would even put the Filipino death casualty to as high as 600,00 or one-sixth of the population in Luzon then.
The US imperialist aggressors practiced genocide of monstrous proportions. They committed various forms of atrocities such as the massacres of captured troops and innocent civilians; pillage of women, homes and property; and ruthless employment of torture, such as dismemberment, the water cure and rope torture. Zoning and concentration camps were resorted to in order to put civilians and combatants at their mercy.
As US imperialism forced the Aguinaldo government to retreat, it played on the weaknesses in the ranks of the ilustrado leadership of the revolution. The imperialist chieftain McKinley dispatched the Schurman Commission in 1899 and then the Taft Commission in 1900 and issued to them instructions for the "pacification" of the country and cajolement of capitulationist traitors.
The liberal-bourgeois leadership of the old democratic revolution once more proved to be inadequate, flabby and compromising. Aguinaldo failed to lead the revolution effectively. He turned against such anti-imperialists as Mabini and Luna and increasingly relied on such capitulationists as Paterno and Buencamino. These two traitors who in previous years were notorious for their puppetry to Spanish colonialism had sneaked into the revolutionary government and usurped authority therein. They headed a pack of traitors who were deeply attracted to the siren song of "peace," "autonomy" and "benevolent assimilation" which the US imperialists sang as they butchered the people.
In every town occupied by the US imperialist troops, puppet municipal elections were held and dominated by the old principalia. These puppet elections excluded the masses who could not comply with the property and literacy requirements. These sham elections were used mainly to break off the principalia from the revolution and to attract its members into becoming running dogs in the same way that the Spanish colonialists had done.
As soon as traitors led by Paterno and Buencamino were in the hands of the US imperialists, they were used to serve imperialist propaganda, chiefly to call on the people to lay down their arms. Under the instigation of the aggressors, particularly the US army intelligence, Trinidad Pardo de Tavera organized the Partido Federal in 1900 to advocate the annexation of the Philippines by the United States. At the same time, the imperialists promulgated laws to punish those who would advocate independence.
The people and their revolutionary leaders who refused to take the oath of allegiance to the US flag were persecuted, imprisoned or banished to Guam. Mass organizations, especially among the workers and peasants, were suppressed every time they surfaced.
In 1901, Aguinaldo himself was captured by the imperialists with the help of Filipino mercenaries. From then on, the treacherous counterrevolutionary forefathers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines were systematically organized and employed to help complete the imperialist conquest of the Filipino people. The first puppet constabularymen were used extensively in "mopping up" operations against persistent revolutionary fighters in Luzon and Visayas, as well as in the subjugation of Mindanao.
Even when the main detachments of the Aguinaldo government had been defeated, armed resistance against US imperialism still persisted in practically every town of the entire archipelago. The people of Bicol continued to wage armed struggle until 1903, when their leader Simeon Ola betrayed them by surrendering. In the Visayas, particularly Cebu, Samar, Leyte and Panay, the Pulahanes fought fierce battles against the US aggressor troops and the puppet constabulary. So did the masses of Cavite, Batangas, Laguna and Quezon even after a general amnesty was issued. In Central Luzon, a religious organization, the Santa Iglesia, also waged armed resistance. In the Ilocos, associations that proclaimed themselves as the New Katipunan conducted a guerrilla war for national independence against US imperialism. As late as 1907, puppet elections could not be held in Isabela because of the people's resistance. The most prominent of the final efforts to continue the revolutionary struggle in Luzon was led by Macario Sakay, from 1902 to 1906 in Bulacan, Pampanga, Laguna, Nueva Ecija and Rizal. It was only in 1911 that guerrilla war completely ceased in Luzon. However, the fiercest armed resistance after 1902 was waged by the people of Mindanao until as late as 1916.
For some time, US imperialists succeeded in deceiving the Sultan of Sulu that his feudal sovereignty would be respected under the Bates Treaty of 1899, which he signed. When the foreign aggressors begun to put what they called the "Moro Province" under their administrative control, they had to contend with the Hassan uprising of 1903-1904; Usap rebellion of 1905; Pala revolt of 1905; Bud Dajo uprising of 1906; Bud Bagsak battle of 1913 and many others. This heroic resistance of the people was quelled with extreme atrocity.
The Sedition Law of 1901, the Brigandage Act of 1902 and the Reconcentration Act of 1903 were passed by US imperialism to sanction military operations against the people as mere police operations against "common criminals." Patriots were called bandits. People in extensive areas were herded into military camps in order to separate them from the patriotic guerrillas.
The war expenditures of US imperialism in the conquest of the Philippines were paid for by the Filipino people themselves. They were compelled to pay taxes to the US colonial regime to defray a major part of the expenditures and the interest on bonds floated in the name of the Philippine government through the Wall Street banking houses. Of course, the superprofits derived from the protracted exploitation of the Filipino people would constitute the basic gains of US imperialism.
The bestial conquest of the Filipino people by US imperialism meant the continued status of the Philippines as a colony. US imperialism came to frustrate the national and democratic aspirations of the Filipino people and to impose the will of the US monopoly-capitalist class by force of arms and double-talk. In the United States, the imperialist politicians and their capitalist masters boasted of their filthy work as a noble mission to "civilize" and "Christianize" the Filipino people.
US imperialism had been interested in the Philippines as a source of raw materials, a market for its surplus product and a field of investment for its surplus capital. Moreover, it needed the Philippines as a strategic foothold for carrying out its expansionist drive to convert the Pacific Ocean into an "American lake" and to increase its share of loot in the despoliation of China and Asia in general.
By the treaty of Paris in 1898, US imperialism took over the role of Spanish colonialism as the colonial ruler of the Filipino people. The victor in the Spanish-American War acted as the rising capitalist power, capable of paying off the old colonial government and accommodating those property and business rights established previous to the treaty. Thus, feudalism was assimilated and retained for the imperialist purposes of the United States.
After the Filipino revolutionary forces had been defeated, US imperialism drew from the country an increasing quantity of such commercial crops as sugar, coconut and hemp, aside from other raw materials such as logs and mineral ores. Sugar centrals, coconut oil refineries, rope factories and the like were built. The hacienda system of agriculture was further encouraged and reached its full development under the US colonial regime. The purchase of a mere portion of the friar lands by the US government in 1903 from the religious corporations was a token act which did not solve the land problem. Persons other than those who had little or no land, especially the top running dogs of the colonial government, were the ones who were able to take advantage of the land policy. Landlords in authority combined with American carpetbaggers in titling to themselves public lands of commercial, agricultural and speculatory value.
As a result of the more rapid growth of a commodity economy under the US colonial regime, the peasantry became more impoverished and the owner-cultivators who became bankrupt sold off their lands to old-type and new-type landlord usurers, merchants and rich peasants. The evils of the Spanish colonial regime were carried over to the US colonial regime. A new feature of the economy was an increase in the number of proletarians. Soon enough a huge reserve army of labor and a relative surplus of population, mainly emanating from the peasantry, arose.
In exchange for the Philippine raw materials, US finished goods were imported free of tariff duties under the Payne-Aldrich Act of 1909. In 1913, quota limitations on Philippine raw materials exported to the United States were completely lifted. The free trade between these two types of commodities perpetuated the colonial and agrarian economy. The increasing avalanche of finished goods into the country crushed local handicrafts and manufacturers and furthermore compelled the people to buy these finished goods and to produce raw materials mainly.
US surplus was invested in the Philippines both in the form of direct investments and loan capital. Direct investments went mainly into the production of raw materials and into trade in US finished products and local raw materials. Minor processing of raw materials was also introduced. Mineral ores were extracted for the first time on a commercial basis. On the other hand, loan capital served to support foreign trade and cover trade deficits, convert pesos into dollars for profit remittances, pay salaries of American bureaucrats and business personnel, and cover the needs of the colonial government for various equipment and the like. Every year, raw material production and, therefore, the exploitation of the people had to be intensified by the colonial regime in order to increase its rate of profit.
US imperialism improved the system of transportation and communications as a means to tighten its political, economic, cultural and military control of the Philippines. US corporations derived huge profits from public works contracts in the construction of more roads, bridges, ports and other transportation facilities. These public works in turn widened directly the market for US motor vehicles, machinery and oil products. The colonial exchange of raw materials and finished products was accelerated. Troop movement for the suppression of the people also became faster.
The establishment of an extensive public school system and the adoption of English as the medium of instruction served not only to enhance the political indoctrination of the Filipinos into subservience to US imperialism but also to encourage local taste for American commodities in general. It also opened the market directly for US educational materials. The mass media was developed not only to spread imperialist propaganda but also to advertise all kinds of US goods and, in particular, to sell various kinds of printing and communications equipment. Even the campaign for public sanitation and hygiene was a means to speed up the monopoly sales of US drugs, chemicals and medical equipment. In the first place, the depredations of the US aggressors troops in the Filipino-American War had resulted in various kinds of pestilence and epidemics, especially cholera, which threatened the health of the imperialist conquerors themselves.
On the basis of the economic conditions bred by US imperialism, a certain social structure was built up in the Philippines. The US imperialists merely adopted as their principal puppets those exploiting classes which had collaborated most with the Spanish colonial rulers in the 19th century and retained them at the top of the Philippine society. These were the comprador big bourgeoisie and the landlord class. From the ranks of these exploiting classes, the US imperialists chose their top political agents and trained them to become bureaucrat capitalists sharing in the spoils of the colonial government. At the base of the society were the toiling masses, workers and peasants who comprised more than 90 percent of the people. During the US colonial rule, the proletariat increased in number to the extent that the semi-feudal society became reinforced with the quantitative increase of raw material production, trade, transport and communications facilities and minor manufacturing. But the peasantry remained the majority class in the entire society.
In the middle section of Philippine society were such strata as the national bourgeoisie and the petit bourgeoisie. The national bourgeoisie was an extremely tiny and hard-pressed stratum because of the enormous dumping of US finished products and the concentration of financial power in the hands of the comprador big bourgeoisie and the imperialist firms. The petit bourgeoisie which had maintained its status by sheer property ownership that made it self-reliant increasingly took interest in formal education. Of the many small landlords and rich peasants who became bankrupt, some held on to a petit-bourgeois status by acquiring a college education and getting into salaried service in the colonial bureaucracy and in private companies and others fell to the status of the proletariat or the semi-proletariat.
US imperialism built up an educational system as a major instrument of colonial control. Its main content was directed against the Philippine Revolution and was intended to cultivate political subservience to US imperialism. As soon as an area was conquered in the course of the Filipino-American War, the imperialist aggressor troops posed as teachers in order to spread the imperialist propaganda that they had come to bring "democracy" and to prepare the Filipinos for "self-government." The first American teachers from the soldiery were soon reinforced by the Thomasites, hundreds of civilian teachers from the United States. They systematized the colonial public schools and put up teacher-training schools and agricultural schools. In addition, American Catholic and Protestant missionaries came to help in the colonial indoctrination of the people, especially in the hinterlands.
To make their propaganda pervade every field of culture, the aggressors never hesitated to employ force to suppress any attempt to express the national-democratic aspirations of the people. As late as 1907, the Flag Law was enacted to suppress any patriotic attempt of Filipinos to advocate independence or display the Philippine flag. Such newspapers as El Renacimiento and El Nuevo Dia, despite their basically compromising liberal-democratic views, were harassed by the US colonial authorities. Patriotic literature and dramatic presentations were banned and their authors were severely punished.
Reflecting the subordination of feudalism to US imperialism at the material base of society, the new colonial culture and education were characterized by the superimposition of comprador ideology upon the feudal ideology within the superstructure. The Catholic Church shifted its loyalty from Spanish colonialism to US imperialism. The homilies of the priest were bent to the slant of the US press. The US colonial regime established the University of the Philippines in 1908 to attract mainly the petit bourgeoisie, even as the University of Santo Tomas, together with the convent schools, continued to prefer teaching an exclusive clientele of students from the exploiting classes who could afford to pay exorbitant matriculation fees. US imperialism was bent on recruiting a large number of intellectual agents from the ranks of the petit bourgeoisie in order to raise the level of scientific and technical competence for servitude in an expanding bureaucracy and in the proliferating imperialist corporations. To further establish its ideological hegemony in the Philippines, the US colonial government also recruited from 1903 to 1914 a large number of students for training in the United States. These pensionados subsequently functioned as the most reliable puppets of US imperialism inside and outside the colonial bureaucracy. They always mistook their indebtedness to US imperialism as that of the entire Filipino people and they were blind to the fact that through them US imperialism could oppress and exploit the broad masses of the Filipino people, especially the workers and peasants.
In establishing the colonial government in the Philippines, US imperialism first relied on the most notorious betrayers of the Philippines Revolution. They were afforded the spoils of bureaucrat capitalism, which enlarged their comprador and landlord interests. Their political party, the Partido Federal, served to endorse the new colonial rule. Their leading representatives were accommodated in the Philippine Commission, the leading legislative and executive organ of the regime. This was headed by the American governor-general and included other American officials.
When in 1907 they declared the first national elections for the puppet Philippine Assembly in accordance with the Philippine Bill of 1902, the US colonial officials allowed the Partido Nacionalista to compete with the Partido Federal in the elections. Realizing that the US colonial officials themselves actually scorned the idea of making the Philippines a US state and that the Filipino people were vigorously desirous of national independence and democracy, the barefaced traitors in the Partido Federal relabeled themselves as the Partido Progresista and advocated "eventual independence" after the people had supposedly shown their capacity for "self-government." By adopting the slogan of "immediate, absolute and complete independence", the Partido Nacionalista won overwhelmingly in the puppet elections over the Partido Progresista. Old puppets were replaced by new puppets led by Sergio Osmena and Manuel Quezon. Though their winning slogan sounded attractive, the new traitors were no different from the old ones in that they too accepted the treacherous notion that genuine independence could be peacefully and graciously granted by US imperialism.
Osmena prevailed as top puppet chieftain from 1907 to 1922, first as president of the Philippine Assembly and then as speaker of the House of Representatives. He took orders from the American governor-general. The Philippine Assembly was subject to the Philippine Commission and was mainly an instrument for facilitating the collection of taxes from the people and the appropriation of government revenues for colonial administration. It was a glorified principalia with pretensions larger in scale than those of its antecedent. It was composed of the political representatives of the landlord class and the comprador big bourgeoisie.
One glaring example of Osmena's puppetry was his campaign for the suspension of any kind of agitation for Philippine independence in 1917 when US imperialism joint the first global inter-imperialist war. He also offered 25,000 Filipino mercenaries, a submarine and a destroyer to serve with the US armed forces in Europe and maneuvered for the subscription of $20 million worth of Liberty Bonds and the contribution of $500,000 to the American Red Cross by the impoverished Filipino people.
By the middle part of the second decade, the number of Filipino bureau chiefs had markedly increased. The US imperialists prated about "Filipinization" of the colonial government. They had already trained a big number of puppets to assume administrative responsibility on behalf of US monopoly capitalism in addition to the interest of the local exploiting classes. In 1916, the US imperialists issued the Philippine Autonomy Law, which dissolved the Philippine Commission and in its place created the Philippine Senate. The Philippine Assembly became the House of Representatives. The law further encouraged the US bureaucrats to retire so that they could be replaced with Filipinos.
By being elected to the presidency of the Philippine Senate, Quezon gained a position from which he was to catapult himself to the top of the puppet bureaucracy. He claimed responsibility for the enactment of the autonomy law and, therefore, for the "Filipinization" of the colonial government. To boost his political capital, he posed as a champion of Philippine independence in the manner approved by his imperialist masters. He led the first mission to beg for "independence" in Washington in 1918. He slowly undermined the prestige of Osmena who was speaker of the House of Representatives until 1921 when he attacked the latter on his method of leadership but not on the substance of leadership. In 1922, both ran for the Philippine Senate and were elected on two separate wings of the Nacionalista Party. It was Quezon who was once more elected president of the Senate. Osmena was elected president protempore. From then on, Quezon became the top puppet chieftain.
Consistently, Quezon played the game of orating for the Philippine independence while obsequiously acting as the top puppet politician in the country. Feigning dissatisfaction with the result of the independence mission to the United States, he formed in 1926 the Supreme National Council and launched a national prayer day for "independence" on Washington's birthday. These he used as a mere device for getting "non-partisan" support for his puppet leadership.
Like all the bureaucrat capitalists whom he headed, Quezon enriched himself through graft and corruption and was able to amass wealth in agricultural land, urban real estate and corporate stocks. During the third decade, when the US capitalist crisis occurred and sharpened the suffering of the people all over the world, Quezon acted as an efficient instrument of colonial rule by raising the slogan of "social justice" while at the same time launching the most brutal attack against the people.
At the onset of the decade, the broad masses of the people were greatly agitated by the unremitting colonial and class oppression imposed on them by US imperialism and its local lackeys — the comprador big bourgeoisie, the landlord class and the big puppet bureaucrats. The Communist Party of the Philippines was established on November 7, 1930 by Crisanto Evangelista in response to the growing demand for national and social liberation. It strived to integrate the universal theory of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete conditions of Philippine society and raised the level of the Philippine Revolution to a new type of national-democratic revolution in the era of imperialism.
The ceaseless struggle of the proletarian and peasant masses against US imperialism and feudalism reached a new high with the founding of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Trade unions and peasant associations had emerged since the beginning of the century despite the efforts of the US colonial regime to suppress them with outright force and sabotage them with tactics of infiltration and misrepresentation of the people's interests. In the preceding decade, the discontent of the masses was frequently expressed by spontaneous violence, as in industrial strikes in Manila and peasant strikes in Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The Colorums waged a revolt in two provinces in Mindanao in 1923-24. On a lesser scale, they also rebelled in Negros, Rizal, Batangas, Laguna, Pampanga and Tarlac. In all cases of mass protest, the US colonial government employed the most violent measures to attack the masses.
On May 1, 1931, a people's march organized and led by the Party was ruthlessly attacked and dispersed by the puppet constabulary under the orders of the US imperialists. Party leaders and members were arrested. In the following year, the puppet Supreme Court outlawed the Party and meted out sentences of imprisonment to Party leaders. Nevertheless, despite the banning of the Party, spontaneous peasant uprisings occurred like those of Tayug, Pangasinan in 1931, and the Sakdals in 1935 over certain areas in Central Luzon and Southern Luzon.
US imperialism was compelled by grave circumstances within the Philippines, in its own heartland and in the whole world to create the illusion that it was willing to grant "independence" to its Philippine colony. The crisis of imperialism heightened the national struggle for independence and the class struggle in the Philippines. In the United States, US farm capitalists made an outcry against Philippine sugar and coconut oil; and the yellow labor leaders of the AFL-CIO denounced the immigration of Filipino workers to the United States. Under these circumstances, the US Congress passed the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Law in 1933 granting sham independence to the Philippines.
A mission led by Osmena and Roxas brought home this sham independence law. Afraid that the two puppet politicians would make political capital out of it, Quezon attacked it as inadequate and led another mission to Washington to ask for another sham independence law. In place of the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Law, the Tydings-McDuffie Law which was no different, except in minor rephrasing, was enacted in 1934 by the United States. This new colonial law would serve as Quezon's credentials for becoming the first president of the puppet commonwealth government.
The Tydings-McDuffie Law paved the way for the framing of a constitution that was subject to the approval of the US president and for the formation of the commonwealth government in 1935. It pledged to grant full "independence" to a bogus republic ten years after the ratification of this constitution. The law made sure that among so many imperialist privileges, US citizens and corporations would retain their property rights in the Philippines, that the US government would be able to station its troops and occupy large areas of Philippine territory as its military bases and that the United States and the Philippines would maintain free trade.
US imperialism rigged up the Constitutional Convention of 1935. Delegates came overwhelmingly from the comprador big bourgeoisie and the landlord class. Like all colonial documents, the constitution that they framed was adorned with high-sounding phrases to hide substantial provisions as well as meaningful omissions sustaining the political and economic power of US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism in the Philippines. The constitution placed no restrictions on US and other foreign investments, except in the areas of land ownership, natural resources and public utilities where the restrictions were nevertheless flimsy. It also contained special provisions (Art. XVII) in favor of US imperialism. In 1939, the first ordinance would be appended in order to ensure further the all-round dominance of US imperialism, even after the proclamation of sham independence.
The National Defense Act was the very first legislative act of the puppet commonwealth government. This act conceived the organization of the reactionary armed forces and adopted the Filipino mercenaries of US imperialism as the main component of the puppet state. The Philippine Constabulary became the First Regular Army under the US Army in 1936. Quezon, the first president of the puppet commonwealth, designated Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur as "field marshal" of these mercenaries.
In the face of the rampaging fascism of Japan, Germany and Italy, Communists all over the world called for a popular front with all anti-fascist forces. Afraid of being isolated from the broad masses of the Filipino people, the US imperialists and the puppet commonwealth government saw the necessity of putting out of prison the leaders of the Communist Party whom they had persecuted. As soon as these leaders were out of prison in 1936, the Party intensified the anti-fascist movement among workers and peasants under the banner of the Popular Front.
In an attempt to increase its membership and mass support rapidly, the Communist Party of the Philippines merged in 1938 with the Socialist Party to form the Communist Party of the Philippines (Merger of Socialist and Communist Parties). In the congress that ratified the merger, agents of the bourgeoisie who had crept into the Party and usurped authority therein while Party leaders were in prison succeeded in having themselves formally elected to responsible positions, especially in the so-called second line of leadership. These unremolded petit-bourgeois elements represented by Vicente Lava conspired with some anti-communist elements in the Civil Liberties Union and League for the Defense of Democracy in inserting into the 1938 constitution of the merger party counterrevolutionary provisions supporting the colonial constitution of the puppet commonwealth government.
These counterrevolutionaries who had crept into the Party consistently misrepresented the Popular Front policy as a policy of subservience to US imperialism and the puppet commonwealth government. These anti-communists disguised as communists maneuvered the Party leadership into submitting a shameless memorandum to US High Commissioner Sayre, Gen. MacArthur and Quezon in December 1941, pledging all-out support and loyalty to US imperialism and the puppet commonwealth government. The three colonial officials relished this beggarly act and firmly rebuffed the prayer for arms.
In the period following World War I, US and British imperialism assigned Japan the role of being their special sentry at the backdoor of the first socialist state and principal Asian collaborator in the colonization of the Asian peoples. Japan was accorded the privilege of holding on to its old colonies and acquiring new ones, so long as it did not challenge the Anglo-American hegemony. In the Philippines, Japanese enterprises were encouraged by US imperialism to participate in the exploitation of the Filipino people, especially in Mindanao. However, the world capitalist crisis of the thirties shook the balance of power among and within the imperialist countries, and fascism rose to power in a number of capitalist countries, including Japan, to threaten the peoples of the world.
Like all other fascist powers, Japanese imperialism decided to wage a war for redividing the world as a desperate means of saving itself from economic depression. It had the ambition of monopolizing Asia, even against the wishes of its erstwhile Anglo-American masters. It launched a massive invasion of China in the thirties before it took on other countries in the course of World War II.
On December 7 and 8, 1941, the Japanese made a sudden air attack on US military bases all over the Pacific Ocean and the China Sea, including those in Pearl Harbor and in the Philippines. The puppet commonwealth government immediately took orders from the US military authorities and Manila was declared an "open city" on December 26 and was occupied by the Japanese on January 2, 1942. At the very start, it was obvious that the US military strategy was to attend to Europe first and allow the Japanese to overstretch itself in Asia.
As the Japanese invaders had expected, MacArthur foolishly concentrated the USAFFE (US Armed Forces in the Far East), composed of US troops and Filipino volunteers, in Bataan and Corregidor. The Japanese imperialist troops freely invaded the Philippines from several points. Thus, they were able to encircle the USAFFE which surrendered in Bataan on April 9 and in Corregidor on May 7. The resistance put up in Bataan was of little value except to cover the flight of the US colonial officials and the puppet commonwealth government from Corregidor. The US generals surrendered their forces only to be forced into a death march from Bataan to the concentration camp in Capas, Tarlac.
The bureaucrat capitalists, puffed up by the US imperialists, chose between two alternatives: to maintain their allegiance to US imperialism or to shift it to Japanese imperialism. Such was also the choice to which the comprador big bourgeoisie and the big landlord class limited themselves. They did not consider at all that the fascist invasion, the result of inter-imperialist contradictions, was an occasion to assert the sovereignty of the Filipino people against both Japanese imperialism and US imperialism. The comprador-landlord Nacionalista Party, which had practically monopolized the puppet bureaucracy, split into two factions, with one serving US imperialism and the other serving Japanese imperialism. The bureaucrat capitalists who chose to side with US imperialism either fled to Washington or joined the USAFFE, which fought the people more than it did the Japanese fascists and their puppets.
Japanese imperialism came with the catchphrase "greater East Asia co-prosperity sphere" in the same fashion that US imperialism had come with "benevolent assimilation." The fascist invaders turned the Philippines into a colony and put up their own puppet government under the big traitor Jose Laurel. This was supported by the comprador big bourgeoisie and the landlord class. On October 14, 1943, the Japanese imperialists granted "independence" to the Philippines and rigged up a puppet republic in an obvious attempt to outbid the US imperialists, who had already pledged to do the same sham on July 4, 1946.
As late as three weeks after the Japanese occupation of Manila, the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines was still in Manila. The Party leaders were arrested while they were meeting in the city. This event manifested in the clearest manner the lack of ample preparation against war. It showed the damaging influence of the agents of US imperialism led by the Lavas and Tarucs who had maneuvered to preoccupy the Party leadership with bourgeois parliamentarism, pacifism and civil liberties.
Nevertheless, the revolutionary cadres and members of the Party succeeded in holding the Central Luzon Bureau Conference on February 6, 1942 and decided to fight the Japanese aggressors with a people's army. Thus, the Party acquired the honor of being the only party that decided to fight the fascist invaders and assert the sovereignty of the Filipino people. It created the Anti-Japanese People's Army (Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon-Hukbalahap) on March 29, 1942 and rallied the people to armed resistance. The patriotism of the Communists and the Red fighters was demonstrated in heroic feats of combat against the enemy. These patriots aroused and mobilized the people and led them to gain a large measure of democratic power, particularly in Central Luzon and certain areas in Southern Luzon.
Within the Party, however, the bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas and Tarucs kept on sabotaging the people's war. It spread the line of limiting the people's struggle to one exclusively against the Japanese and hailing the return of US imperialism and its puppet commonwealth government. At the height of the anti-fascist war, it adopted the cowardly line of "retreat for defense" which was no different from the "lie-low" policy of the USAFFE. The bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas and Tarucs contravened the line of the Third International to conduct unity and struggle in the united front at all times and use the anti-fascist popular front to establish a people's democratic government.
The "retreat-for-defense" policy, the breaking up of Hukbalahap squadrons into miniscule units of three to five persons was exposed as erroneous by events. It hindered the growth and advance of the people's army. Under the pressure of the revolutionary cadres and masses, the Party Central Committee repudiated this policy only in September 1944. The repudiation of the policy was timely to the extent that it paved the way for the victorious advance of the Hukbalahap even only in Central Luzon and parts of Southern Luzon. In the succeeding month of October, the US imperialist forces were already trying to recapture the Philippines.
Despite the efforts of the agents of US imperialism to weaken them from within, the Party and the Hukbalahap distinguished themselves as the fiercest and most effective fighters against the Japanese fascists and their puppets. They made it difficult for the enemy to get their food, especially rice, from Central Luzon. They stood out as the strongest single guerrilla force with the greatest popular support and widest territory after the war.
In its ignoble scheme to recapture its colonies and seize new ones, US imperialism engaged in naval and air battles with Japan just when the latter's troops were already being wiped out in great numbers by every national liberation movement in Asia, especially in the great expanse of China. The most decisive defeats of Japanese imperialism in the entire anti-fascist war in Asia were inflicted by the Chinese Communist Party and the People's Liberation Army led by Comrade Mao Zedong. It was China which ate up the main bulk of Japanese aggressor troops that had been overextended in its immense territory since 1937. To the great Chinese people, the peoples of Asia owe the turning of the tide of war against Japanese imperialism as 1945 approached. It was a stupid, gangster and racist act of US imperialism to use the atomic bomb on the Japanese people in an effort to claim victory over Japan.
The entire people of the world, especially the people of Europe, owe the Soviet Union under the great leadership of Comrade Stalin the turning of the tide of the entire world war against fascism. It was the battle of Stalingrad that weakened the Axis powers to the core. From then on, the Soviet Red Army advanced and the fascist forces were annihilated and disintegrated without letup.
To themselves principally, the Filipino people owe their liberation from the Japanese imperialist invaders in their own country. It was the total effort of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the Hukbalahap and other patriotic guerrilla forces all over the country which broke the back of the Japanese invading and puppet forces. They were the ones who forced out the Japanese from garrisons in cities and towns and annihilated them in the flames of guerrilla warfare in the countryside. It was not US imperialism which liberated the Philippines. US imperialism merely returned to reimpose its colonial rule. In fact, it concentrated its air bombardment and artillery fire on the Filipino people and their homes in late 1944 and early 1945 to pave the way for their resubjugation. The Japanese imperialists competed with the US imperialists in inflicting mass slaughter on the Filipino people. As soon as it returned, US imperialism maneuvered to attack and disintegrate the Hukbalahap and other guerrilla forces that were independent of the USAFFE.
By waging a people's war and building a people's army against the Japanese fascists and their puppets, the Communist Party of the Philippines achieved the status of being a powerful instrument of the Filipino people and the position of being able to play a significant role in Philippine history. Before US imperialism landed its troops in Luzon, the Hukbalahap under the leadership of the Party had liberated almost the entire region of Central Luzon, had organized provincial and municipal governments and had dispatched armed units to Manila and Southern Luzon.
There was however no ideological and political preparation against the return of US imperialism and the reimposition of feudalism in the countryside. Consistently acting as the instrument of US imperialism within the Party, the bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas and Tarucs harped on loyalty to the US government and the puppet commonwealth government and hoped to engage in parliamentary struggle under the dispensation of these monsters. Yet, US imperialism and the local exploiting classes were determined to attack the Party, the people's army and the people with real bullets as well as with sugar-coated ones.
Misled by the bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas and Tarucs, the Hukbalahap welcomed the US imperialist troops that marched through Central Luzon from Lingayen in 1945. Some units of the people's army fought together with the US imperialist troops in dislodging the Japanese troops from the Floridablanca Airfield, but were surprised when after the battle the US troops turned their guns on them and disarmed them. In Manila, the imperialist aggressors also disarmed and turned back units of the Hukbalahap that had preceded them. Squadron 77, a unit of the people's army, was massacred in Malolos, Bulacan while on its way from Manila after having been disarmed.
To suppress the Filipino people, US imperialism put together under its Military Police Command its USAFFE puppets and the erstwhile pro-Japanese Philippine Constabulary. It encouraged the traitor landlords to take back full control over the lands that they had left during the war, to demand rent arrears from the peasants and to organize private armed gangs, then known as the civilian guards, to enforce their class rule in coordination with the military police. In their attempt to dissolve the provincial and municipal governments established by the Party and people's army, the US imperialists and the landlords unleashed a campaign of white terror against the people. The general headquarters of the Hukbalahap in San Fernando, Pampanga was raided by the US Counter-Intelligence Corps. Mass arrests and imprisonment of Party cadres, Red fighters and common people were made all over Central Luzon. Massacres, assassinations, torture and other forms of atrocities were perpetrated by the military police and civilian guards.
So incensed were the people that they wanted to fight back and continue the people's war. But the bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas and Tarucs insisted on the line that the people were tired of war and that a campaign for "democratic peace" was called for. The hidden traitors within the Party hailed the fake independence promised by US imperialism in their desire to occupy high positions in the puppet reactionary government. So the headquarters of the Party was moved out of the countryside to the city. They organized the Democratic Alliance so that it could help US imperialism put up a sham republic. They converted the Hukbalahap into the Huk Veterans' League and thus put the people at the mercy of the enemy. The people's committees, tempered by the anti-fascist war, were turned into mere chapters of a legal peasant association, and these were used to spread the false illusion that land reform could fall from the palms of the enemy.
The bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas and Tarucs regarded as the top item in its agenda of parliamentary struggle the question of turning the Communist Party through the Democratic alliance into a mere adjunct of either the Nacionalista Party or the Liberal Party in the 1946 elections. It chose to put the Democratic Alliance on the side of the Nacionalista Party against the Liberal Party, which had only been recently a mere faction of the Nacionalista Party. There was no basic difference between the Liberal Party and its mother party.
Osmena, the presidential candidate of the Nacionalista Party, had in his capacity as president of the puppet commonwealth government participated in absolving Roxas, the founder of the Liberal Party, of the charge of pro-Japanese collaboration. In accordance with the orders of his imperialist masters, Osmena convened the prewar Congress, the majority of whose members had become pro-Japanese collaborators during the war. This assemblage of traitors elected Roxas, the former top rice collector of the Japanese imperial army, to the position of Senate president, a position from which he could challenge the puppet leadership of Osmena. This puppet Congress even collected back pay services it had rendered to the Japanese fascists.
1. The Roxas Puppet Regime, 1946-48
As predetermined by the heavy financial and propaganda support extended by US imperialism to his electoral campaign, Manuel Roxas was elected as the last president of the puppet commonwealth government in April 1946. He became automatically the first president of the puppet republic of the Philippines upon the proclamation of nominal independence on July 4, 1946. His imperialist masters favored him because he could be threatened with prosecution for his pro-Japanese collaboration and he could therefore be bound to bat for the unequal treaties that they wanted to extort in return for a general amnesty exculpating him and others of the ruling classes from the charge of treason.
The newly established Liberal Party prevailed in the reactionary elections over the Nacionalista Party but, despite the fraud and terrorism perpetrated by the military police and civilian guards, six congressional candidates in Central Luzon and three senatorial candidates who had run under the DA-NP alliance and who were known to be opposed to the unequal treaties being prepared by US imperialism won. Their number was enough to prevent a three-fourths majority necessary for ratifying treaties in Congress and so they were prevented from taking their seats in Congress on the first day of its session on the trumped-up charge of committing electoral fraud and terrorism in Central Luzon.
On the very day that the sham independence of the Philippines was granted and the puppet republic was inaugurated under a proclamation enacted by a foreign government, the puppet president Roxas had to sign the US-RP Treaty of General Relations nullifying Philippine independence. This treaty empowered the US government to retain its supreme authority over extensive military bases which it could expand at will, guaranteed the property rights of US corporations and citizens as being equal to those of Filipino corporations and citizens and put Philippine foreign relations under US government direction.
Under the Roxas puppet regime, other major treaties and agreements were made to elaborate on the basic colonial subservience of the Philippines to US imperialism. These were the Property Act, the Bell Trade Act, the US-RP Military Bases Treaty, and the US-RP Military Assistance Pact. The Property Act provided that all real estate and other property acquired by the US government or its agencies before and after July 4, 1946 would be respected. The Bell Trade Act explicitly required the Parity Amendment in the colonial constitution to enable the US monopolies to plunder at will Philippine natural resources and operate public utilities, prolonged free trade relations between the Philippines and the United States and placed Philippine tariff and peso currency under US dictation. The US-RP Military Bases Treaty gave to US imperialism extraterritorial rights for 99 years in US military bases at more than twenty strategic points in the Philippines. The US-RP Military Assistance Pact provided for continued US control over the local reactionary armed forces through the JUSMAG, which would advise and lend or sell weapons and other equipment to them.
The Tydings Rehabilitation Act required the ratification of the Bell Trade Act, with the Parity Amendment, before the US government would pay war damage claims exceeding $500. Also, the Vogelback Treaty turning over US war surplus property to the Philippine puppet government made it an obligation for the latter to accept the Bell Trade Act and other unequal treaties. When the war damage payments were made, these went mostly to the US monopolies, the comprador big bourgeoisie, the landlord class, the bureaucrat capitalists and religious organizations. In the disposition of the US war surplus property, there was rampant graft and corruption similar to that in the disposition of relief goods during the Osmena puppet regime.
Aside from being responsible for the imposition of unequal treaties upon the Filipino nation, the Roxas puppet regime was responsible for the extremely vicious attacks against the peasant masses which were intended to strengthen landlord power in the countryside. The Maliwalu massacre and the Masico massacre were some of these heinous crimes. And yet, the bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas and Tarucs persisted on the line of bourgeois parliamentarism. It caused the Pambansang Kaisahan ng mga Magbubukid to submit a memorandum to Roxas begging for land reform, the dissolution of the civilian guards, and the recognition of the right of peasants to bear arms for self-defense. The tricks of the shyster were being employed in a life-and-death struggle instead of implementing a firm policy of arousing and mobilizing the people for revolutionary armed struggle.
The most blatant act of obsequiousness perpetrated by the bourgeois gang of the Lavas and Tarucs was its support for the "pacification" campaign launched by the Roxas puppet regime against the Party, the army and the people. Party cadres were put under the custody of the military police and went around asking the people to lay down their arms. This act of sabotage of the Lavas and Tarucs cost the lives of so many people, cadres and Red fighters. The Lavas and Tarucs spread the lie among cadres that the "pacification" campaign was a mere speaking tour. It was in fact a campaign of terror against the people, the Party and the people's army. Workers in the city and peasants in the countryside fell victims to this campaign.
The people could not be cowed. They were eager to defend themselves and as a matter of fact did so in a spontaneous way against the depredations of the enemy. But every time they raised a clamor for armed revolution, the bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas and Tarucs would seize the initiative within the Communist Party and pretend to respond to the clamor. In 1947, it removed Pedro Castro as general secretary on the grounds that he proposed to convert the Party into an open mass party on an equal footing with the Nacionalista Party and the Liberal Party. But in his place it put Jorge Frianeza who was even worse because he openly advocated all-round cooperation with the Roxas puppet regime notwithstanding the brazen acts of fascist terror against the Party, the army and the people.
Knowing no bounds in its hatred of the people, Roxas' puppet regime outlawed the Hukbalahap and the Pambansang Kaisahan ng mga Magbubukid by presidential edict on March 6, 1948. On behalf of US imperialism and the local reactionary classes, the Roxas puppet regime never hesitated to attack the people.
2. The Quirino Puppet Regime, 1948-53
After the death of Roxas in April 1948, Elpidio Quirino who was then his vice-president served the rest of the presidential term. Fearing the onrush of the revolutionary mass movement, Quirino acted to inveigle the people with an offer of amnesty to the Hukbalahap and a pledge to reinstate and pay the back salaries of the Democratic Alliance congressmen who had been ousted in 1946. The principal condition set for the granting of such concessions was the surrender of arms and the registration of the Red fighters of the Hukbalahap.
Even as the Party leadership represented by Jorge Frianeza had been removed in May 1948 due to its rightist support for the Roxas puppet regime, the Party leadership now represented by Jose Lava allowed the traitor Luis Taruc in June 1948 to discuss the sell-out of the revolution to the Quirino puppet regime. The flimsy excuse peddled within the Party was that Taruc would merely make use of the negotiations to make propaganda. The surrender negotiations turned out to be propaganda in favor of the enemy. When an amnesty agreement was reached and Taruc reclaimed his seat in the reactionary Congress, the troops and secret agents of the Philippine Constabulary were allowed to mingle with the Red fighters of the Hukbalahap and enjoyed safe conduct in the barrios of Central Luzon. The most reliable cadres of the Party were exposed to the enemy who came to facilitate the surrender of arms and the registration of Red fighters.
The Taruc-Quirino amnesty agreement did not even last for two months. Even as the reactionary armed forces were once more ferociously attacking the people, the Jose Lava leadership again made a mockery of the revolutionary integrity of the Party in December 1948 when it prepared a memorandum for the Committee on Un-Filipino Activities (CUFA) which was read by Mariano Balgos, posing as the Party general secretary. The submission of the memorandum was another act of conceding to the authority of the reactionaries. Furthermore, the text of the memorandum contained such counterrevolutionary views as that the Party would always continue to support the colonial constitution of the reactionary government and that the new-democratic revolution would have a capitalist basis.
In 1949, the Jose Lava leadership repeated the counterrevolutionary practice of directly participating in the puppet elections by campaigning for a particular reactionary faction and becoming a tail thereof. It supported Laurel against Quirino, that is to say, the Nacionalista Party against the Liberal Party. It obscured the dark record of Laurel as the top puppet of Japanese imperialism and ballyhooed him as a nationalist and a democrat. While Quirino campaigned on a platform of complete loyalty to US imperialism, Laurel declared lamely that like Roxas his puppetry to Japanese imperialism had also been a form of loyalty to US imperialism with the secret blessings of Quezon. At any rate, Quirino employed fraud and terrorism to ensure the electoral defeat of Laurel.
After the 1949 elections, the Jose Lava leadership took the line that it could seize power within two years and for this purpose prepared a timetable of military operations and rapid recruitment into the Party. Without relying mainly on the strength of the Party and the people's army and without rectifying a long period of unprincipled compromises with US imperialism and the local reactionaries, the Jose Lava leadership considered as basic factors for the victory of the Philippine Revolution such external conditions as the "certainty" of a third world war, the economic recession in the United States and the liberation of the Chinese people. Within the Philippines, it overestimated the struggle between Quirino and Laurel as a basic factor for the advance of the revolutionary mass movement. In January 1950, the adventurist line of quick military victory was formally put forward by the Jose Lava leadership through resolutions of the Party Political Bureau.
All units of the people's army were ordered to make simultaneous attacks on provincial capitals, cities and enemy camps on March 29, August 26 and November 7, 1950. The attacks of March 29 and August 26 were executed. But these overextended the strength of the people's army. On October 18, the enemy counterattacked by raiding all central offices of the Party in Manila, arresting among others the Politburo-In led by Jose Lava. Subsequently, campaigns of encirclement and suppression were launched in the countryside against the thinly spread people's army. Overextended lines of supply and communications of the People's Liberation Army became easy targets of the reactionary armed forces. Because of its putschist orientation, the Jose Lava leadership brought the most crushing defeats on the Party and the people's army.
The principal service rendered by the Quirino puppet regime to US imperialism and the local exploiting classes was the crushing blow it inflicted on the Party and the people's army. The writ of habeas corpus was formally suspended to enable the fascist military led by Ramon Magsaysay to make the most unbridled abuse of democratic rights. The objective conditions for waging a protracted people's war were extremely favorable, and yet the Jose Lava leadership chose to exhaust and overextend the revolutionary forces under an adventurist policy. It thwarted the advance of the people's democratic revolution by violating the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism.
Towards the end of the forties, the funds derived by the puppet republic from war damage and rehabilitation payments, relief goods, sale of war surplus materials, expenditures of US military personnel and veterans' payments were already being exhausted by the unrestricted importation of consumption and luxury goods, by public works, by the reconstruction of agricultural mills, offices and palaces of the comprador-landlords and by rampant graft and corruption. Import controls had to be imposed in 1949 to conserve the dollar reserves of the reactionary government. In 1953, an entire system of foreign exchange controls was applied to further put a brake on the depletion of the financial resources of the puppet government.
Taking advantage of the political and economic difficulties of the Philippines, the US government dispatched the Bell Mission to make an economic survey and make recommendations to the Quirino puppet regime. The Bell Mission paved the way for the imposition of the Economic and Technical Assistance Agreement of 1951 which required the placement of US advisers in the strategic offices of the puppet government to ensure the perpetuation of the colonial policy. The newly established Central Bank, desperately in need of dollars, became a ward of the US Export-Import Bank and other US banks.
In the guise of complying with resolutions of the US-controlled United Nations, the Quirino puppet regime sent expeditionary forces to the Korean War to help US imperialism in its war of aggression against the Korean people in 1950. The representative of the puppet president signed the San Francisco Treaty in 1951 in accordance with the wishes of US imperialism to revive Japanese militarism as its principal partner in Asia. At that time, Japanese monopoly capitalism was being rapidly revived with contracts directly related to the Korean War.
In 1951, the Quirino puppet regime had the US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty ratified, allowing the United States to intervene arbitrarily in Philippine affairs under the pretext of mutual protection. In 1953, Quirino signed the agreement extending indefinitely the effectivity of the US-RP Military Assistance Pact, which was first signed in 1947. Also in 1953 the Agreement Relating to Entry of US Traders and investors was signed, facilitating the entry of US capital and managerial personnel into the Philippines. To the end of his term, Quirino remained a rabid puppet of US imperialism despite the fact that the Central Intelligence Agency was particularly interested in replacing him with Magsaysay as puppet president.
3. The Magsaysay Puppet Regime, 1954-57
As secretary of national defense under the Quirino puppet regime, Magsaysay was credited by US imperialism and the local exploiting classes with the defeat of the revolutionary mass movement. The US propaganda mills misrepresented him as the "man of the masses" and "savior of democracy" and gave all-out support to his bid for presidency in exchange for his brutal suppression of the masses and trammeling of democratic rights. Quirino, on the other hand, became most blamed for the state of civil war, the imposition of martial law and the rampant graft and corruption in the reactionary government.
Magsaysay transferred from the Liberal Party to the Nacionalista Party to run against Quirino in the 1953 elections. By this act, US imperialism exposed the absence of any basic difference between the two reactionary parties. Magsaysay became the third president of the puppet republic despite the efforts of Quirino to manipulate government resources and facilities in his own favor. The US monopolies through the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines brought the full weight of their money behind Magsaysay in an unprecedentedly expensive and corrupt election. Using the authority of the JUSMAG as an excuse, US military officers went as far down as the company level in the reactionary armed forces to see to it that their pet running dog would be elected.
In his brief reign, Magsaysay completed the evil work of crushing the Party and the people's army by taking advantage of the anti-Marxist and anti-Leninist policies of the Jesus Lava leadership which had automatically replaced the Jose Lava leadership in 1951. Refusing to learn from the errors of the previous Party leadership, the Jesus Lava leadership continued to dispose of the people's armed forces in an adventurist way. It chose to describe the stage of armed struggle it was in as the stage of strategic "counteroffensive." Acting beyond the correct mass line in practically every place, units of the People's Liberation Army became isolated and resorted to grave abuses merely to get food for themselves. More political isolation only resulted in more disastrous military defeats.
The traitor Luis Taruc surrendered to Magsaysay in 1954. Consistently unable to conduct a protracted people's war correctly, the Jesus Lava leadership swung from adventurism to capitulationism. In 1955, the Jesus Lava leadership prepared to abandon the countryside by announcing that the main form of struggle was parliamentary struggle. It dissolved the units of the people's army it could influence and converted them into so-called organizational brigades.
In 1954, the Magsaysay puppet regime sabotaged the ceaseless popular demand for the abrogation of the Bell Trade Act by negotiating for its mere revision. Thus, the Laurel-Langley Agreement was made. This new treaty aggravated the economic subservience of the Philippines to US imperialism by allowing the US monopolies to enjoy parity rights in all kinds of businesses. Adjustments in the quota system and preferential treatment for Philippine raw materials were made only to deepen the colonial and agrarian character of the economy. The formal assertion of the independence of the peso currency did not remove it from the actual control of the US dollar.
The foreign exchange controls showed conspicuously the subservience of the Philippine peso to the US dollar. Having a semi-colonial and a semi-feudal economy, the Philippines had to make use of its dollar earnings from its raw material exports to get finished commodities from abroad, chiefly the United States. To circumvent the priorities set by the foreign exchange control regulations and the tariff laws for the importation of "essential" commodities, the US monopolies and the compradors disassembled US finished commodities before bringing them into the country and labeled them as raw materials for local processing. Reassembly and packaging plants were put up to create the illusion of local industrialization and import substitution.
The Magsaysay puppet regime signed the first Agricultural Commodities Agreement with the United States in 1957. This agreement was designed to make use of US agricultural surplus to help perpetuate a colonial pattern of economy in the Philippines, keep local agricultural production at the mercy of US imperialism, control intermediate industries requiring imported agricultural raw materials and support US imperialist propaganda.
To cover up his puppetry to US imperialism, Magsaysay resorted to the old colonial and chauvinist trick of attacking Chinese retailers who merely ranked third (after American and British) among merchants of foreign nationality engaged in domestic trade. At the same time, he continued to make it difficult and expensive for foreign nationals of Chinese descent to become Filipino citizens. The Chiang bandit gang and the local bureaucrat capitalists extorted heavily from them. At any rate, Magsaysay allowed all foreign businessmen, especially the direct representatives of US monopolies and the big compradors, to bring capital out of the country at their whim.
To cover up the anti-national and anti-democratic character of his regime, Magsaysay reluctantly allowed the enactment of the Noli-Fili Law requiring the study of Rizal's writings. This law would after all propagate only the old type of national democracy, which had been valid only during the pre-imperialist era of bourgeois democracy. At the same time, he plotted with the CIA and the American Jesuits in preparing the Anti-Subversion Law, which was intended to whip up a counterrevolutionary atmosphere of anti-communism and to trammel the people's democratic right of assembly and expression.
Magsaysay had a law passed ostensibly to guarantee the tenure of poor tenants. Its actual purpose was to assure the landlords of their privilege to retain their vast landholdings and uphold the state policy of keeping the Philippines an agricultural appendage of US imperialism. Magsaysay continued the program of land settlement but this merely disguised land grabbing by the exploiting classes in frontier areas. The Agricultural Credit and Cooperative Financing Administration was created with the avowed purpose of helping the peasantry in general but it turned out to be a mere device for enabling the landlords, merchant-usurers, bureaucrats and rich peasants to control fake cooperatives and cheat the poor and middle peasants.
At one time during the Magsaysay puppet regime, the US government issued the Brownell opinion making a formal claim of ownership over the US military bases in the Philippines. The entire Filipino people were so enraged by this imperialist claim that the reactionary Supreme Court was compelled to make the pretense of denying the claim. However, the court left unquestioned the imperialist privilege of the United States to actually occupy the military bases, enjoy extraterritorial rights, and violate the territorial integrity of the Philippines.
In 1954, the Magsaysay puppet regime sponsored in Manila the conference which put out the treaty forming the imperialist-dominated Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). The majority of the member-governments (United States, Britain, France, New Zealand, Australia and Pakistan) in the treaty organization do not even belong to Southeast Asia. The SEATO arrogated unto itself the privilege of attacking the sovereignty of the peoples of Southeast Asia and of defending reactionary governments. In this regard, the SEATO is another flimsy excuse for imperialism to intervene in Philippine affairs and manipulate the Philippine puppet government against other peoples of Southeast Asia. At the same time, the SEATO allows US imperialism to bring its allies into the Philippines and attack the people under the pretext of regional defense.
In line with the US policy of aggression in Vietnam, the Magsaysay puppet regime recognized the bogus Republic of South Vietnam in flagrant and direct violation of the Geneva Agreements. US military bases in the Philippines were used to launch the interventionist and aggressive activities of US imperialism all over Asia. Filipino agents of the CIA were fielded all over Indochina in the guise of technical personnel under such sinister outfits as the CIA-funded Operation Brotherhood and Eastern Construction Company.
US imperialism ordered the Magsaysay puppet regime in 1956 to make an agreement with Japan on war reparations and to ratify the San Francisco Treaty. The Ohno-Garcia reparations agreement was made, enabling Japan to penetrate the Philippine economy through the system of delivering reparations goods. While bowing its head to the US-Japan partnership, the Magsaysay puppet regime was fond of making bellicose statements against national liberation movements and socialist countries, particularly the People's Republic of China, and of endorsing every aggressive act of US imperialism throughout the world.
The Magsaysay puppet regime was shamelessly proud of the fact that its chieftain Magsaysay was a running dog of US imperialism. The regime tried futilely to label its slavishness as "positive nationalism" when faced with the anti-imperialist criticism made by Senator Claro Mayo Recto.
4. The Garcia Puppet Regime, 1957-61
Carlos P. Garcia as vice-president assumed the presidency of the puppet republic upon the death of Magsaysay in 1957 and was elected to the same position under the banner of the Nacionalista Party in that same year. He was basically a puppet of US imperialism and the chief representative of the local exploiting classes. His regime never took any decisive step to break the colonial and feudal chains that bind the Filipino people. Instead, it allowed these to remain.
As a result of foreign exchange and import controls, the middle bourgeoisie became politically assertive in favor of what it called nationalist industrialization. Some Filipino manufacturers using local raw materials were enraged by the establishment of reassembly and packaging plants by the US monopolies and the compradors to circumvent the tariff wall that was supposed to restrict the importation of commodities already locally produced. Even those manufacturers reliant on imported raw materials in various degrees also recognized the advantages of protection and clamored for more.
The political aspirations of the national bourgeoisie were best articulated by Recto who was also able to attract to some extent the interest of the petit bourgeoisie in joining the anti-imperialist movement.
The Garcia puppet regime raised the slogan of "Filipino First" as an apparent concession to a growing anti-imperialist movement among the people. But it did so only in order to cover up its basic puppetry to US imperialism. The slogan meant nothing more than giving preference to Filipino businessmen in the allocation of US dollars for import-export operations over foreign businessmen of a nationality other than American. The basic assumption was still that Filipino businessmen should be subservient to the US dollar. Though there were laws and priority lists encouraging "new" and "necessary" industries and restricting the importation of certain goods that could be locally produced, these only served to encourage the establishment of a limited number of assembly and packaging plants by US subsidiaries which took to misrepresenting as raw materials the finished goods that they imported.
Though the Garcia puppet regime was conspicuously encouraging Filipino merchants to push out merchants of Chinese nationality from the retail business, especially in the rice and corn trade, it allowed the big Kuomintang compradors to have a big share in the import-export and wholesale business and to bring their capital to Taiwan. All Chinese residents in the Philippines were coerced to manifest their allegiance to the Chiang bandit gang or else face reprisal.
In line with the scheme of US imperialism to revive Japanese militarism, the Garcia puppet regime hurriedly negotiated and agreed with Japan on the Japan-R.P. Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation. Though ratification of the proposed treaty was held back because of great popular opposition, Japanese companies were already extensively using the reparations agreement as an excuse for setting up liaison offices, making surveys in the country and participating in the import-export business.
Towards the end of the fifties, US imperialism exerted pressure on the Garcia puppet regime to remove foreign exchange controls. Foreign exchange controls had been permitted by US imperialism as a mere tactical and temporary device for putting a brake to the rapid depletion of US dollars and for helping prevent the complete breakdown of the colonial economy at a time when the revolutionary mass movement was on the upsurge. Now, US imperialism wanted a more "favorable climate" for foreign investments in the Philippines and the unlimited remittance of its superprofits. It wanted to counteract its uneven balance-of-payments problem by intensifying the export of its surplus products, by extending usurious loans and making the type of direct investments that would rapidly fetch superprofits. Furthermore, the lifting of foreign exchange controls would pave the way for the prolongation of imperialist privileges in the colonial economy despite the 1974 termination of the Laurel-Langley Agreement.
US imperialism used the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to make an economic survey and recommend the adoption of immediate and full decontrol as the cornerstone of "development." Due to the resurgent anti-imperialist movement, Garcia could not immediately lift foreign exchange controls. US imperialism had to subject him to a virulent attack for perpetrating graft and corruption in dollar allocations and also to a coup d'état threat by the CIA gang closely associated with the late Magsaysay in order to pressure and compel him to adopt partial decontrol in December 1960. It was a step calculated by Garcia to appease US imperialism in anticipation of the 1961 presidential elections. However, US imperialism had already decided to depose him and to replace him with another puppet politician who would not hesitate to follow its orders to the letter.
The sly character of the Garcia puppet regime was also evident in the negotiations hoax concerning the reduction of the 99-year period of US control of the military bases in the Philippines. Though it was publicized that an agreement between the Philippine and US panels was reached reducing US tenure on such bases to 25 years, the US-RP Military Bases Treaty was never amended and in later years it would be reported that minutes of meetings pertaining to the reduction of US tenure could not be found in the files of the Department of Foreign Affairs. The negotiations hoax had been put on as a mere tactic to meet the growing anti-imperialist demand for the complete withdrawal of US military bases. The demand had risen especially when US military personnel repeatedly committed the crime of murder on Filipinos in US military bases and base commanders prevented the prosecution of the culprits by asserting US jurisdiction.
During the Garcia puppet regime, the US military bases continued to be used in launching aggression against the peoples of Southeast Asia. In 1958, these were used to support the rightist rebellion against the Indonesian people and to step up US intervention in Indochina. Flaunting the slogan of "Asia for the Asians," the Garcia puppet regime tried to establish the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA) under the pretext of fostering regional cooperation in the economic and cultural spheres. Actually, the ASA was a device for coordinating a free trade zone for US imperialism and for reinforcing the SEATO, which was already wracked by severe contradictions between US imperialism and Pakistan and also between US imperialism and France.
The resurgence of the anti-imperialist revolutionary mass movement became most conspicuous during the Garcia puppet regime when on March 14, 1961 a powerful demonstration led by young men and women broke into the halls of the puppet congress and literally scuttled the anti-communist hearings being conducted by the Committee on Anti-Filipino Activities (CAFA). This mass action marked the beginning of a cultural revolution of a national-democratic character after more than two decades, during which the bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas surrendered initiative to the reactionaries. The CAFA was thwarted in its attempt to employ the Anti-Subversion Law as a measure for cowing students, teachers, and the people in general from expressing their national-democratic aspirations.
As early as 1958, the Anti-Subversion Law had been enacted with the evil purpose of dealing a deathblow to the Communist Party of the Philippines. At about the same time, parallel to the anti-communist maneuver of the reactionary government, Jesus Lava abused his position as Party general secretary by deciding all by himself to liquidate the Party with his "single-file"-policy, a policy of destroying even the least semblance of democratic centralism within the Party. The reactionaries in the country so dominated the superstructure that they would immediately denounce as "communist" any intellectual trend opposed to the anachronistic "free enterprise" ideology most rabidly espoused by the Grand Alliance led by such CIA agents and clerico-fascist diehards as Manahan and Manglapus.
All the cultural devices established by US imperialism and the Catholic Church at the beginning of the puppet republic persisted and expanded. The CIA kept on manipulating fanatics of this most numerous church through the Manahan-Manglapus clique and the American Jesuits. In 1961, the US Peace Corps was brought in by US imperialism as an additional device to aggravate the cultural and political subversion of the Philippines.
5. The Macapagal Puppet Regime, 1962-65
Enjoying the political and financial support of the US monopolies, Diosdado Macapagal defeated Garcia in the presidential elections of 1961 despite the latter's use of government resources and facilities in the campaign. In the era of modern imperialism, Macapagal inanely ran on a platform of "free enterprise" and "decentralization." The Liberal Party of which he was the principal candidate coalesced with the Grand Alliance to form the United Opposition. This coalition shamelessly echoed the US imperialist dictation made through the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, besides the usual run of US advisors.
The first executive act performed by Macapagal when he assumed the puppet presidency in 1962 was to proclaim immediate and full decontrol. Local US firms were enabled to remit huge profits even without having to conceal them any more through overpricing of goods and services bought from their mother and sister companies in the United States or elsewhere abroad. The comprador big bourgeoisie and the big landlord class gobbled up their dollar income from the export of raw materials and freely converted their pesos into dollars for the import of finished commodities. Graft and corruption shifted from the Central Bank to the Bureau of Customs and the long seacoasts of the archipelago as the system of dollar allocations was replaced by a readjusted tariff system intended to draw government revenues.
Upon the exhaustion of the dollar reserves of the reactionary government, the peso was devalued from the previous fixed rate of P2.00 per dollar to P3.90 per dollar. To maintain this rate, the Macapagal puppet regime had to accept onerous "stabilization" loans from US banks. With the new peso-dollar rate, the broad masses of the people had to suffer high prices which cut down their real income. There was not a single commodity in the Philippines unaffected by the higher cost of importing finished goods, raw materials, spare parts, fuel and the like from the United States. While the peso was devalued to the extent of almost 100 percent, the statutory minimum wage level was raised by only 50 percent and could be had by wage-earners only through mass struggle.
The Macapagal puppet regime used the very economic crisis caused by US imperialism as the excuse for advocating an "open door" policy for US investments. The volume of US investments increased but not any higher than the huge profits being remitted. US investments were made only to aggravate the unevenness of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal economy. US investors took over enterprises which could no longer pay their foreign debts and made new investments in plantations, fertilizer plants and the like. Conforming to their own policy of restraining the outflow of dollars from the United States, the US monopolies employed the tactic of sucking up Filipino savings and loan capital taken by the Philippine government from US-owned and US-controlled hanks. Thus, even with the very little capital that they actually brought into the country, they could enlarge their capitalization through local borrowings. All these were facilitated by the puppet president through the Program Implementation Agency, an office created especially for this purpose. New lending agencies were also created to facilitate the rapid depletion of foreign loans.
Government corporations were made to borrow directly from the World Bank. Private corporations and banks were encouraged to get loans directly from US and other foreign banks and to use government banks to make the guarantees. During the time of Macapagal, it was extremely clear that burdening the reactionary government with foreign loans was deliberately being done to reduce to complete absurdity the illusion of the bourgeois nationalists that they could make use of the puppet state to help them take over US assets in the Philippines.
A program of public works projects which was mainly intended to exhaust foreign loans and abuse the local currency and the whole economy was initiated. It was launched despite the fact that the Macapagal puppet regime could not get from Congress the tax measures it wanted for raising government revenues so as to cover increased government expenditures. A nonsensical agency like the Emergency Employment Administration was put up to conduct sham public works and create the illusion of more employment at a time of mass layoffs.
In an attempt to dissimulate its brazen puppetry to US imperialism, the Macapagal puppet regime had "independence day" changed from July 4th to June 12th. The fable that the United States "granted" independence to the Filipino people was supplanted by the equally arrogant fable that the United States "restored" it. It became a vogue among puppet politicians to pay lip service to the events and heroes of the old democratic revolution so as to give a superficial local color to their puppetry. Romulo, an old running dog of US imperialism, was put in the University of the Philippines to be always on hand for consultations with Macapagal in the embellishment of pro-imperialist policies and also to refurbish the state university as a tool of US imperialism and the local exploiting classes.
To further make itself appear progressive and to swindle the peasantry, the Macapagal puppet regime enacted the Agricultural Land Reform Code. This code piously declares share tenancy as "contrary to public policy" and makes the false promise to emancipate the tenant masses. Underneath all the bombast about emancipating the tenant masses is the full assurance to all landlords that if a piece of land is to be expropriated from them by the reactionary government, they shall be given "just compensation." The tenant masses would not be able to afford the redistribution price and the reactionary government would not have enough funds to go beyond a few token instances of expropriation.
The code also provides that before there can be any expropriation of land from the landlords, the tenant masses should first become "leaseholders," paying a fixed land rent amounting to 25 percent of the average annual net crop based on the three normal crop years preceding the landlord-tenant "leasehold" agreement. The tenant is obliged to shoulder all agricultural expenses and to deliver to the landlord the fixed rent whatever the outcome of the crop, come floods, drought or crop epidemics. "Leasehold" does not actually reduce the land rent; it is nothing but one more form of share tenancy. But the code makes it appear that merely adopting this form of share tenancy means the abolition of share tenancy.
The Philippine claim on Sabah and the Maphilindo (Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia) plan were initiated by the Macapagal puppet regime ostensibly to carry out an irredentist policy but in reality to facilitate the recognition of the Philippines as an intervenor in and supporter of the Anglo-American concoction that is "Malaysia." The Maphilindo was nothing but an imperialist trick to outwit the Sukarno government of Indonesia and to extort more privileges for US monopolies in Malaya and North Kalimantan. In pretending to take an independent course in Philippine foreign relations, Macapagal even had the US-RP Treaty of General Relations abrogated, but he allowed all other unequal treaties elaborating on this treaty to continue.
It was anomalous that, whereas the Macapagal puppet regime could not assert Philippine sovereignty and jurisdiction over the US military bases within the Philippines, it sought to acquire more territory outside. When the number of murder cases involving US military personnel and their Filipino victims increased, the Macapagal puppet regime conspired with the US ambassador in the old trick of negotiating the amendment of the US-RP Military Bases Agreement. The amendments agreed upon actually enlarged the jurisdiction of the US base commander. However, no serious step was ever taken to submit these to the Philippine Senate for ratification.
The Macapagal puppet regime thoroughly exposed to all the Asian peoples its puppetry to US imperialism when it rabidly campaigned for the sending of Filipino mercenary troops to participate in the US war of aggression against the Vietnamese people. Filipino CIA agents who had gained substantial business interests in the US war of aggression in Indochina were most vociferous in joining Macapagal's call for sending Filipino mercenary troops to Vietnam. The first mercenaries to be sent there under an act of the puppet Congress took the guise of engineering and medical teams.
To promote the imperialist partnership of the United States and Japan in exploiting the peoples of Asia and strengthen Japan's role as the regional puppet chieftain of US imperialism in Asia, the Macapagal puppet regime sponsored the conference which led to the formation of the US-Japan-controlled Asian Development Bank and offered to make Manila its headquarters. The Asian Development Bank is one more financial institution designed to manipulate the Philippine puppet government into perpetuating a semi-colonial and semi-feudal economy for supplying raw materials principally to both the United States and Japan. During the time of Macapagal, the share of Japan in Philippine foreign trade had already gone up to around 20 percent.
In opposition to the reactionary policies of the Macapagal puppet regime, the revolutionary mass movement in the city surged forward. Increasingly bigger protest demonstrations were staged by workers, peasants, students and other patriots. On October 2, 1964, workers and students demonstrated against US parity rights and the US military bases in front of the US Embassy and then in front of Malacanang Palace where they battled the presidential guards. The most militant demonstrators subsequently became charter members of the Kabataang Makabayan. The Kabataang Makabayan was founded on November 30, 1964 to become a consistent major factor in the struggle for national democracy.
On December 25, 1964, the people of Angeles City and adjoining towns held a big meeting to denounce the murder of Filipinos inside the US military bases and demand the withdrawal of these bases. On January 25, 1965, twenty thousand people composed of workers, peasants, students and the unemployed marched to the puppet Congress and then to the US embassy to expose in a comprehensive way the workings of US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. Demonstrations were also repeatedly made against the Anglo-American concoction of "Malaysia" and the US war of aggression in Vietnam.
These demonstrations were preceded and followed by study meetings at several places in order to discuss the issues thoroughly. Altogether, the militant demonstrations and study meetings constituted a further development of the cultural revolution of a national-democratic type signaled by the anti-CAFA demonstration of 1961. The youth played a vanguard role in these mass actions. The workers and peasants could have immediately played an even bigger role were it not for the more than one decade of sabotage perpetrated by the bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas and Tarucs in the revolutionary mass movement.
In the countryside, Red commanders and fighters who refused to heed the call of the Jesus Lava leadership for liquidating the armed struggle persisted in their revolutionary efforts. However, in the absence of a definite Marxist-Leninist leadership capable of striking down the counterrevolutionary leadership of the bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas and Tarucs, those who persisted in revolutionary armed struggle in the countryside were susceptible to the outlook of the roving rebel band and were prey to the usurpation of leadership by the Taruc-Sumulong gangster clique. Despite the usurpation of leadership by both the bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas and the Taruc-Sumulong gangster clique, the broad masses of people clamored for a correct proletarian revolutionary leadership.
The one-man Jesus Lava leadership exposed its completely bankrupt character when it forwarded letters of support to Macapagal for its policies, especially the Agricultural Land Reform Code, and when it subsequently arranged its surrender in May 1964. Before his surrender, Jesus Lava vainly tried to sow disorder in the ranks of the revolutionary mass movement by making arbitrary appointments that appeared to recognize the independent kingdom of the Taruc-Sumulong gangster clique and yet encouraged certain kinsmen of his to claim Party leadership even as they were isolated from the masses and were actually accomplices in his surrender.
The independent kingdom of the Lavas based in Manila took to using a reformist peasant organization, the Masaka, to assert its fake authority in the revolutionary mass movement and also to comply with Jesus Lava's commitment of supporting the sham land reform program of the reactionary government.
Soon after the surrender of Jesus Lava to Macapagal, Marxist-Leninists emerging from the revolutionary mass movement rose up to criticize and repudiate the counterrevolutionary acts of the Lavas and Tarucs. At first, expressions of criticism and repudiation were spontaneous. Then these matured into a full-scale rectification movement. The rectification movement would still entail some years to develop towards the stage when the Revolutionary School of Mao Zedong Thought could be formed and the Communist Party of the Philippines could be reestablished under the great red banner of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. The long dynastic rule of the Lavas and Tarucs in the Party could not be done away with overnight.
6. The Marcos Puppet Regime, 1966-
What Magsaysay had done in 1953, transfer from the Liberal Party to the Nacionalista Party to become no less than the presidential candidate, Ferdinand Marcos did in 1965 without having to account for any change of political principles, thus exposing once more the absence of any basic difference between the two puppet reactionary parties. Marcos had been no less than the president of the party he had left and the close associate of Macapagal.
Marcos defeated Macapagal in the election of 1965 to become the sixth president of the puppet republic. After one term, he ran for reelection in 1969 and won over Sergio Osmena, Jr. of the Liberal Party. Each time in the two presidential elections, he faced an opponent raucously claiming to be the more efficient running dog of US imperialism. On the other hand, US imperialism wanted a puppet of the Marcos type, one who could most effectively make use of counterrevolutionary dual tactics in a period marked by the rise of the revolutionary mass movement in both city and countryside.
While sounding "nationalist" interested in the economic emancipation of the Filipino nation and pledging to let the Laurel-Langley Agreement, particularly parity rights, lapse in 1974, the Marcos puppet regime enacted as early as 1967 the Investment Incentives Law which declares it the state policy to encourage foreign investments and defines a corporation with a maximum foreign equity of 40 percent as a "Philippine national." By this definition, the US imperialists can create a system of interlocking corporations by which a "Philippine national" already bearing and camouflaging 40 percent equity invests in another corporation and actually increases foreign equity in the latter corporation beyond 40 percent. The law, however, clearly allows foreign equity to exceed 40 percent in an old or new corporation registered with the Board of Investments and to remain so indefinitely as long as "Philippine nationals" do not buy the shares of stock offered in the stock exchange on the eleventh year after registration. In guaranteeing the property rights of foreign investors, the Investment Incentives Law goes to the extent of guaranteeing the right of non-expropriation and exposes the primacy of foreign investments over any pretension of the present puppet state to sovereign rights. The "incentives" offered by the law are unprecedentedly abusive of the sovereign Filipino people and are geared to aggravating the colonial status of the Philippines.
An insidious propaganda drive supporting the perpetuation of the interests of the US monopolies in the Philippines has been unleashed by the counterrevolutionaries, especially by the CIA and the American Jesuits through the Manglapus-Manahan gang. Brandishing their slogans of "peaceful revolution," "constitutional reform" and "profit-sharing," the Christian Social Movement, the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism, the Congressional Economic Planning Office and several other reformist groups spread the mendacious line that the nationalization of the economy could be advanced through legislation and through the stock market. The workers are told that they can become capitalists and can participate in joint ventures with foreign investors by going to the stock market to buy their own shares and putting a mortgage on their future wages. This is akin to the old lie repeatedly told to the landless peasants that they can become landowners by buying land from the landlords.
There has been so much ado about another colonial Constitutional Convention. It is publicized as a channel for changing the status quo. The actual purpose of the Constitutional Convention, however, is to adjust the wording of the colonial constitution to such a law as the Investment Incentives Law and the treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation between the US and the Philippines, which is now being prepared. The broad masses of the people are reminded at every turn that they have to attract and be hospitable to "dollar-bringing tourists," meaning, the US monopolies. Every town or barrio is made to expect itself as a possible tourist spot in a clever campaign to counteract the growing sentiment of the people against US imperialism.
Rendering completely inutile the reformist view that the economic interests of US imperialism could be taken over by the reactionary government or Filipino businessmen in accordance with "due process" and "just compensation," the Marcos puppet regime has faithfully followed the dictation of US imperialism to exhaust the financial resources of the reactionary government and to overburden the people with inflation and repeated devaluation. Despite the raising of taxes, the internal debt of the reactionary government has risen to the level of at least P6.0 billion because of the profligate spending on projects that merely deepen the semi-colonial and semi-feudal character of the economy. On top of this internal debt, an external debt of more than $l.9 billion has been incurred mainly with US imperialism. Thus, the nation is severely afflicted with a financial crisis of unprecedented proportions. The broad masses of the people have to suffer steeply rising prices as a result of the rapid erosion of the purchasing value of the peso from within and from without.
Taking advantage of the financial plight of the Philippine puppet government, US imperialism through the International Monetary Fund has dictated the devaluation of the peso at the expense of the broad masses of the people. At the beginning of 1970, the value of the peso sank to the level of more than P6.00 per US dollar from the previous level of P3.90 per US dollar. This is the second time in only eight years that devaluation has been imposed on the people without any corresponding increases in their income. Since 1962, the prices of many basic commodities have gone up by more than 150 percent. There is not a single commodity in the Philippines that is not affected by the rising costs of imported fuel, equipment, spare parts, raw materials, and the like. The Filipino national bourgeoisie is daily facing bankruptcy because its products are being squeezed out of the local market and it cannot avail itself of adequate credit assistance from a bankrupt puppet government.
As a result of the peso devaluation, the value of US assets in the Philippines and also of Philippine foreign debt has automatically increased. It is idle and downright stupid to expect the reactionary government or private Filipino stock buyers to be able to buy out the US monopolies. On the other hand, the reactionary government has become worse as a beggar of usurious foreign loans and Filipino-owned enterprises have become more than ever subject to takeover, assimilation or crushing by the US monopolies. Devaluation has only made the Philippines more dependent on the US dollar and has only served to aggravate the semi-colonial and semi-feudal character of the economy.
Though the Marcos puppet regime has flamboyantly declared many towns in the country, especially in Central Luzon, as land reform areas, the reactionary government is simply bereft of the financial resources to carry out what it hypocritically labels a land reform program. In the countryside of the Philippines, it has become too clear that only by waging a people's war can the peasantry achieve agrarian revolution. In the city, the proletariat is pressed hard by mass layoffs and by the inflation caused by the workings of imperialism within and without the country.
Only the reactionary classes in Philippine society have shared in the exploitative privileges and gains enjoyed by US imperialism. The comprador big bourgeoisie and the big landlord class have been extremely favored by the automatic increase of the peso equivalent of their dollar earnings on their raw material exports. They are the principal beneficiaries of the various public works projects facilitating the movement of raw material exports and finished manufacture imports. They have received various forms of "export incentives." They have been extended the biggest loans in constructing and reconstructing milling facilities. Playing up to the trick of US imperialism of using preferential trade for sugar as a lever for increasing its privileges in the Philippines, the Marcos puppet regime has extended the biggest loans for the construction of new sugar mills at so many points in the country. In the disposition of government funds and the granting of government approval for business projects, the bureaucrat capitalists led by Marcos have aggravated the economic crisis by exacting kickbacks on all sorts of government contracts.
As a rabid puppet of US imperialism, Marcos has outdone Macapagal in sending Filipino mercenary troops to participate in the US war of aggression in Vietnam and Indochina in general. Despite the worsening bankruptcy of the reactionary government, he dispatched the Philcag (Philippine Civic Action Group) to South Vietnam. Until now, there have been Filipino mercenaries there who merely carry other labels, the Philcon, Operation Brotherhood and engineering firms. US imperialism brazenly uses its military bases and Philippine skies and waters to conduct its wars of aggression in Asia. On US military bases here, US military personnel continue to murder, rape, and commit all kinds of abuses against the Filipino people and yet the Marcos puppet regime, like all previous puppet regimes, has conspired with the US imperialists in holding "negotiations" that end in upholding the latter's extraterritorial rights. Instead of fighting for the people's sovereignty, the reactionary government unleashes its police and troops to attack the anti-imperialist protest actions of the people.
The Marcos puppet regime has echoed every "new" policy and followed every "new" step taken by US imperialism. It follows Nixon's "new Asia policy" of "making Asians fight Asians." It rabidly supports the US-Japanese partnership in the Pacific and the troublemaking activities of this partnership in Asia. It bows to the US imperialist policy of reviving Japanese militarism and making it play the role of fugleman for US imperialism in Asia. Resurgent Japanese militarism is being promoted as the "regional leader" of Asia through the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Pacific Council (ASPAC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Southeast Asian Ministers Economic Council (SEAMEC), the "Asian Forum" and the like.
Even before the ratification of the unequal Japan-R.P. Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation, the Marcos puppet regime has encouraged the Japanese monopolies to invade the Philippines. They now rank as the second biggest foreign investor. Japanese commodities are being dumped into the country and Japanese investments are penetrating every major field of business activity. Japan today is next only to the United States in getting Philippine raw materials and ranks first in getting copper concentrates, logs, molasses and iron ores. Japan's share of Philippine foreign trade is now more than 30 percent. Its military vessels and fishing fleets do not respect the territorial waters of the Philippines. In a desperate attempt to hoodwink the Filipino people about Japan, the Marcos puppet regime is bandying about the lie that Japan is a benevolent aid-giver and actually begs for loans from it in exchange for the plunder of Philippine natural resources and exploitation of the people. Its war reparations payments which have been grabbed by the local reactionaries for themselves are even misrepresented as gracious aid to the people. The strategic Pan-Philippine highway is obsequiously called the Japanese Friendship Highway.
The Marcos puppet regime has also steadily opened the way for trade and diplomatic relations with Soviet social-imperialism and other revisionist countries in line with the US imperialist policy of maintaining a global alliance with the Soviet Union in opposing China, the people, revolution, and communism. In a futile attempt to deflect attention from itself, US imperialism is raising the joint oppression and exploitation of the Filipino people by the United States, Japan and the Soviet Union. In this connection, there is an imperialist scheme to whip up the evil wind of modern revisionism inside the country. The local agents of modern revisionism, the bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas, are being accommodated in the arena of bourgeois parliamentarism in the imperialist scheme to sabotage the revolutionary mass movement.
In carrying out its reactionary policies, the Marcos puppet regime has inevitably laid out its fascist character. Unable to cope with the political and economic crisis into which it has pushed the nation and also unable to deceive the people with such hypocritical slogans as "this nation can be great again" or "new Filipinism," it has ruthlessly employed the apparatuses of the state to suppress the broad masses of the people through selective and mass terrorism. In conducting its anti-democratic campaign, it cynically waves the banner of "liberal democracy".
Through the JUSMAG, US imperialism is supplying more military equipment to the reactionary armed forces and is egging them on to launch counterinsurgency campaigns, that is to say, to attack the broad masses of the people. Through A.I.D., US imperialism is also providing communications and anti-riot equipment to attack mass organizations and disperse protest actions. US military personnel have even taken to the field of supervising police and military operations. The buildup of local fascism by U.S. imperialism is clearly intended to quell the growing revolutionary mass movement inflamed by the rapid deterioration of the ruling system.
As fascism is on the rise, private armies and official murder units, such as the "Monkees," "BSDU," "Home Defense Forces," "Special Forces," "provincial strike forces" and the like brazenly commit atrocities against the people. Even as the tyrannical character of the reactionary government has clearly emerged, the counterrevolutionaries rig up reformist groups to whip up confidence in the reactionary government and slander the revolutionary mass movement.
Massacres, mass arrests, kidnappings, assassinations, rape, arson, extortion and looting of homes have characterized the Marcos puppet regime. The Culatingan massacre, Corregidor massacre, Lapiang Malaya massacre, Capas massacre, the Mendiola massacre and the Tarlac massacre are blatant proofs of its fascist character and they typify the many more atrocities inflicted on the workers, peasants, students, intellectuals, and the national minorities. In the last presidential elections, it made use of fraud and terrorism on an unprecedented scale to ensure its continuance in power. Government funds and facilities and both the reactionary government armed forces and the warlord gangs were employed on an unprecedented scale to keep the Marcos fascist clique in power.
Under the Marcos puppet regime, the revolutionary mass movement has risen to new heights. In 1966 repeated mass protests against Philippine involvement in the US war of aggression in Vietnam culminated on October 23 and 24 when the Manila summit attended by the US imperialist chieftain Johnson and the Asian puppet chieftains were dealt powerful blows by a multitude of workers, peasants and students. In 1967 powerful demonstrations condemned the economic enslavement of the people by the US monopolies; the US military bases and the atrocities being committed therein; and the US war of aggression in Vietnam. In 1968 militant demonstrations broke out all over the country against the US-RP negotiations preparing the extension of "national treatment" to US monopolies beyond 1974, against US military bases, against the further Americanization of the University of the Philippines and the entire educational system and against Anglo-American support for "Malaysia."
The whole year of 1969 was spanned by student and teacher rebellions against the reactionary educational system, by peasant demonstrations in Manila against the landlords and the fascist rule in the countryside and by workers' strikes supported by student activists. The coming of the US imperialist chieftains Nixon and Agnew on two separate occasions was met by fiercely militant demonstrations. While militant mass actions raged in Manila and other urban centers, revolutionary workers, students and intellectuals went in larger numbers than before to the countryside to conduct rural surveys and mass work among the peasants. The cultural revolution of a new-democratic type advanced rapidly under the leadership of the reestablished Communist Party of the Philippines.
From year to year, despite fascist brutality, the revolutionary mass movement has intensified, increasing in frequency, becoming larger, spreading throughout the province and delivering a clearer revolutionary message among the people. In 1970, unprecedented mass actions involving 50,000 to 100,000 direct participants on each occasion unfolded as a great summation of revolutionary efforts in the past decade and as a striking storm signal for the entire current decade. These started with the January 26 and 30-31 demonstrations of workers, peasants, students and intellectuals. Efforts of the reactionaries to raise the counterrevolutionary slogan of "peaceful revolution" were drowned out by the revolutionary slogan of the masses of "protracted people's war" in answer to the fascist brutality unleashed against them and also in answer to the repeated threats of the Marcos puppet regime to make a formal declaration of martial law. The First Quarter Storm of 1970 marked the maturation of the cultural revolution spearheaded by the revolutionary youth oriented to Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and conscious of the people's democratic revolution. The essence of the cultural revolution clearly emerged as being the propaganda movement for the national-democratic struggle against US imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism.
Confronted with the increasingly fierce opposition of the revolutionary masses, the Marcos puppet regime has harped on formally declaring martial law notwithstanding the fact that it has wantonly practiced fascist terror in both city and countryside, especially so in the latter where uniformed troops and their goon assistants vent their ire on the peasant masses. By resorting to more counterrevolutionary violence, the Marcos puppet regime is enraging the people and is hastening the collapse of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal system.
The Marcos puppet regime can no longer attack the revolutionary masses without being counterattacked. The Communist Party of the Philippines has been reestablished under the powerful inspiration of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and has taken the road of armed revolution in order to fight for national liberation and people's democracy. The New People's Army under the leadership of the Party is vigorously establishing revolutionary bases in the countryside and is advancing from victory to victory in a protracted people's war. The Communist Party of the Philippines is today applying Chairman Mao's strategic principle of encircling the cities from the countryside.
At the end of 1969, which marked only less than a year of its existence, the New People's Army inflicted on the enemy a death casualty which was well more than 150 percent higher than the average annual death casualty of the enemy during the period of 1966-68 when the peasant guerrillas significantly raised the level of armed resistance from the level of immediately preceding years. From March 29, 1969 to March 29, 1970, the New People's Army wiped out at least 200 enemy troops, spies, local tyrants, and bad elements.
Despite the fact that they have been singled out for attack by the enemy, the Party and the New People's Army have successfully withstood enemy-assaults and have gained greater strength. That is because they are waging a revolutionary armed struggle in defense of the broad masses of the people.
The most significant development so far in the Philippine Revolution is the reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines under the supreme guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. The Party was reestablished on December 26, 1968 after several years of criticism and self-criticism conducted by both old and young proletarian revolutionaries.
Resuming the people's democratic revolution on a new and higher level, the Communist Party of the Philippines was reestablished on the theoretical basis of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, the acme of proletarian revolutionary ideology in the present era when imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is marching toward worldwide victory.
The counterrevolutionary revisionist line of the Lavas and Tarucs which had persisted for more than three decades within the old merger party of the Communist Party and the Socialist Party was thoroughly criticized and repudiated. The Party issued the document of rectification, "Rectify Errors and Rebuild the Party," and promulgated the Program for a People's Democratic Revolution and the new Party Constitution in its Congress of Reestablishment.
Under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the people's guerrillas were transformed into the New People's Army on March 29, 1969. In the meeting of Red commanders and fighters, the Taruc-Sumulong gangster clique was repudiated as a counterrevolutionary remnant of the old bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas and Tarucs. The Red commanders and fighters issued a document of rectification, "The New People's Army," and promulgated the Rules of the New People's Army.
Since the reestablishment of the Party and the formation of the New People's Army, the bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas in Manila and the Taruc-Sumulong gangster clique have plunged into new depths of treason. Aggravating its counterrevolutionary line of parliamentary struggle and subservience to US imperialism and the local exploiting classes, the bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas has formed the Monkees-Armeng Bayan-Masaka (Lava) gang in flagrant subservience to the fascist policies of the Marcos puppet regime and has committed a number of atrocities to carry out its old line of intrigue against the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army. The Taruc-Sumulong gangster clique, on the other hand, has lost all its old pretensions and has offered to surrender to the Marcos puppet regime on the condition that it would retain its handful of goons and its ill-gotten wealth.
The Communist Party of the Philippines today maintains its leadership in the revolutionary armed struggle and in the national united front. Since its reestablishment, it has heroically and correctly upheld the great red banner of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and the leadership of the Filipino proletariat in the Philippine Revolution. US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism can no longer ride roughshod over the Filipino people without being isolated and hit back by an invincible revolutionary mass movement of workers, peasants, students, intellectuals and all other patriots.
In approaching a problem a Marxist should see the whole as well as the parts. A frog in a well says, "The sky is no bigger than the mouth of the well." That is untrue, for the sky is not just the size of the mouth of the well. If it said, "A part of the sky is the size of a well," that would be true, for it tallies with the facts.— Mao Zedong
Philippine society today is semi-colonial and semi-feudal. This status is determined by US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism which now ruthlessly exploit the broad masses of the Filipino people. These three historical evils are the basic problems that afflict Philippine society.
The semi-colonial character of Philippine society is principally determined by US imperialism. Though the reactionaries claim that the Philippines is already independent, it is not in fact completely so, as they themselves give contradictory testimony that Philippine independence was merely "granted" or "restored" by US imperialism. The truth is that US imperialism persists in violating the national sovereignty of the Filipino people and in strangulating Philippine independence. Before and after the grant of nominal independence, US imperialism made sure that it would continue to control the Philippine economy, politics, culture, military and foreign relations. It has extorted unequal treaties and one-sided privileges that transgress the national sovereignty, territorial integrity and national patrimony of the Filipino people.
US imperialism continues to arrogate unto itself the privilege of giving armed protection to the local exploiting classes. Though there is now the illusion that the present government is self-determining, its basic policies and the election and appointment of its highest officials are mainly determined by US imperialism. The clearest evidence that the Philippines is still a colony of the United States consists of economic enclaves lorded over by US enterprises and also of huge US military bases. These colonial enclaves can be removed only by means of an armed national revolution to assert Philippine independence.
The semi-feudal character of Philippine society is principally determined by the impingement of US monopoly capitalism on the old feudal mode of production and the subordination of the latter to the former. The concrete result of the intertwining of foreign monopoly capitalism and domestic feudalism is the erosion and dissolution of a natural economy of self-sufficiency in favor of a commodity economy. Being dictated by foreign monopoly capitalism, this commodity economy is used to restrict the growth of a national capitalism and force owner-cultivators and handicraftsmen into bankruptcy. It is used to keep large masses of people in feudal bondage and at the same time create a relative surplus of population, a huge reserve army of labor, that keeps the local labor market cheap. In Philippine agriculture, the old feudal mode of production persists side by side with capitalist farming chiefly for the production of a few export crops needed by the United States and other capitalist countries. As a matter of fact, the old feudal mode of production still covers more extensive areas than capitalist farms. Feudalism has been encouraged and retained by US imperialism to perpetuate the poverty of the broad masses of the people, subjugate the most numerous class, which is the peasantry and manipulate local backwardness for the purpose of having cheap labor and cheap raw materials from the country. It is in this sense that domestic feudalism is the social base of US imperialism. The persistence of landlord exploitation is in turn under the counterrevolutionary protection of US imperialism. An agrarian revolution is needed to destroy the links between US imperialism and feudalism and deprive the former of its social base.
The interactive and symbiotic relationship between US imperialism and feudalism has made Philippine society semi-colonial and semi-feudal. US imperialism has no genuine interest in developing the colonial and agrarian economy to one that is truly independent and self-reliant. It is in the nature of modern imperialism to make possible only uneven and spasmodic development. The US monopoly capitalists are merely interested in making superprofits from the colonial exchange of raw materials from the Philippines and fully processed commodities from the United States, from direct investments that rake in a higher rate of profit from colonies and semi-colonies and from the practice of international usury.
The present reactionary state cannot be expected to solve the basic problems of the Filipino people because it is in the first place a creation and puppet instrument of US imperialism and feudalism. At every level of the present reactionary state, from the national to the municipal level, are the bureaucrat capitalists who serve as the running dogs of US imperialism and feudalism. Bureaucrat capitalism itself is a distinct evil that afflicts the entire nation. It plays the special role of linking up the interests of the foreign and domestic exploiters and suppressing the determined opposition of the revolutionary masses. It has been built up by US imperialism under its policy of "tutelage for self-government" precisely to function as its puppet administrator.
The bureaucrat capitalists would rather pocket the spoils from their government offices and seek concessions from their foreign and feudal masters than fight for the national and democratic interests of the Filipino people. It is futile and wrong to expect them to change the basic semi-colonial and semi-feudal policies of the reactionary puppet government. What these corrupt government officials usually do is to use counterrevolutionary dual tactics in order to deceive the people and serve the ruling classes better. They will proclaim themselves as "populists," "nationalists," "democrats" or even "socialists" and they are even capable of stealing phrases from the revolutionary mass movement. They will even misrepresent their amicable relations with the local revisionist renegades and the Soviet social-imperialists as their credentials for patriotism and progressivism. But they will never hesitate to turn to outright fascists and employ military force to quell the revolutionary masses. They are the caretakers of a reactionary state, an instrument of coercion against the broad masses of the people. Bureaucrat capitalism is the social basis of fascism.
1. The Meaning Of Imperialism
The United States decided to seize the Philippines together with other colonial possessions of Spain towards the beginning of the 20th century. American capitalism had already reached what Lenin called the final stage of capitalism, which is monopoly capitalism or imperialism. Free competition had given rise to the concentration of production and capital in the hands of a few. Unless it engaged in imperialist expansion, the American ruling class of monopoly capitalists would not be able to cope even temporarily with the crisis of overproduction. Imperialism is the last way out for the monopoly capitalists to postpone their revolutionary overthrow. It means the extension of the class oppression and exploitation within the United States into the oppression and exploitation of other nations and peoples abroad through the export of surplus products and surplus capital.
Lenin gave the most precise definition of modern imperialism when he described it as the monopoly stage of capitalism and pointed out five of its basic features: namely, 1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; 2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation on the basis of this "finance capital," of a financial oligarchy; 3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; 4) the formation of international monopoly capitalist combines which share the world among themselves; and 5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.
The Spanish-American War of 1898 was inevitable as colonial Spain stood in the path of US imperialist expansion. US imperialism had already spread its hegemony over the northern part of South America and all of Central America. It was determined to grab Puerto Rico and Cuba from colonial Spain and monopolize the whole of Latin America as its backyard. US imperialism found it convenient to declare war on a decadent colonial power so as to get the excuse for seizing the Philippines and getting an important stronghold for long-term aggression against China and the whole of Asia. As a newly-risen imperialist power then, the United States found its enemy an easy pushover.
Imperialism means war. Wars of expansion are in themselves profitable big business for the US monopoly capitalists, although in the end these are disastrous for them upon failure. These unjust wars constitute the worst kind of oppression and exploitation for the American people and also for other peoples abroad. The imperialist state pretending to pursue a "manifest destiny" or, in later parlance, defend the "free world," forces millions of American workers to intensify monopoly production and conscripts them to fight in foreign lands. The imperialist objective is to widen the field for monopoly investments abroad, make possible the disposal of huge amounts of manufactured commodities and seize sources of raw materials. It is to exact a higher rate of profit abroad in colonies and semi-colonies.
Contrary to the idealist view that the United States became a reluctant guardian of the Philippines by some "quirk of fate," such as the explosion of the Maine that supposedly ignited the Spanish-American War, the American conquest of the Philippines — directed not only against the Spanish colonialists but also against the Filipino revolutionaries — had long been determined by the internal laws of motion of US capitalism. The imperialist appetite for superprofits brought the US aggressors to the Philippines and to Asia. The expansion of US imperialism was a policy cold-bloodedly decided by the monopoly capitalist interest behind the American state.
It was principally with the use of counterrevolutionary violence and secondarily with deception that US imperialism managed to impose its power on the Filipino people. At first, it insinuated itself into Philippine affairs by pretending to assist the Filipino liberal-bourgeois leadership in fighting Spain. At the next turn, it suppressed the Philippine revolutionary government and the revolutionary masses by military force. Never abandoning its counterrevolutionary dual tactics, it offered negotiations, peace, wealth and a share of power to the bourgeois leadership of the old democratic revolution even while unleashing the full force of its imperialist might to attack the revolutionary masses.
Only after succeeding in its war of aggression was imperialism able to hold the Philippines under its direct colonial rule. During the period of its direct colonial rule, US imperialism took a firm hold of the material base of Philippine society. It saw to it that sugar mills, coconut refineries, cordage shops and mines were established to tie down the country to raw material production for US monopoly firms. It did not develop local manufacturing extensively because it was already able to draw superprofits from direct investments in colonial trade and in a few factories engaged in slight processing of local raw materials and also from the disposition of loan capital and local taxes mainly for public works to facilitate the colonial exchange of raw materials from the Philippines and finished products from the United States. The free trade formalized by the Payne-Aldrich Act of 1909 and the Underwood Tariff Act of 1913 thoroughly made the Philippines dependent on raw material exports and manufactured imports.
US imperialism took a firm hold of the superstructure correspondent to its control of the material mode of production in Philippine society. The political activity of its Filipino puppets was governed by a series of laws it enacted abroad, like the Philippine Bill of 1902, the Jones Law of 1916 and the Tydings-McDuffie Law of 1934. It extended administrative responsibilities to its local underlings in the colonial government only insofar as it had succeeded in training them under its cultural and educational system. It was always alert with its guns to quell any movement genuinely fighting for national independence and democracy. In the whole society, it relied on the collaboration of the comprador big bourgeoisie, the landlord class and the bureaucrat capitalists.
By the time that US imperialism considered granting bogus independence to the Philippines during the 1930s, it anticipated the resurgence of the revolutionary mass movement for national independence and democracy in the Philippines. The crisis of imperialism that eventually led to a global war and the rapid spread of Marxism-Leninism as the beacon light for the liberation of all oppressed peoples clearly imperiled the very existence of US imperialism. Thus, it had to make a pretentious pledge of granting independence that only the sovereign Filipino people could actually fight for.
After World War II, it was even more clear to US imperialism to make no delay in granting sham independence to the Philippines. Otherwise, it would risk being buried under the tidal wave of a national liberation movement as was already the case with other colonial powers in other countries. At any rate, though the world capitalist system had weakened as a whole due to the inter-imperialist war, the growing strength of the first socialist state and the prairie fire of national liberation movements, US imperialism emerged as relatively the strongest power among the imperialist powers which had fallen into shambles in the course of World War II. In dealing with the people's demand for independence in the Philippines, therefore, US imperialism could still cleverly employ dual tactics of coercion and chicanery. Besides, it had long gotten the commitment of the bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas and Tarucs to support the sham independence it was willing to grant. In that case, it had its saboteurs in the revolutionary mass movement.
2. Bogus Independence And The Unequal Treaties
US imperialism did grant "independence" to the Philippines. But the Philippine Constitution came into full operation without any expressed prohibition against imperialism, colonialism and neocolonialism. On the very day that this bogus independence was granted, the puppet president signed the US-RP Treaty of General Relations which recognized the perpetuation of US property rights and the US military bases in the Philippines. A furious struggle concerning the Bell Trade Act and the Parity Amendment ensued and exploded into a civil war. Not satisfied with what is already a colonial provision in the Philippine puppet constitution allowing 40 percent foreign equity in corporations exploiting natural resources and operating public utilities in the Philippines, US imperialism dictated on the Philippine puppet government the amendment of the colonial constitution so as to allow US investors to continue controlling such corporations without any restriction of equity. This amendment, known as the Parity Amendment, aggravated what had already been an iniquitous situation where the constitution allows US investors, including other foreigners, to control local businesses and corporations to whatever extent as they please in extensive fields outside the flimsy restrictions made by Article XIII and Section 8 of Article XIV. The constitution thus became a senseless scrap of paper, completely contradicting the principle of national sovereignty and national patrimony it so hypocritically avows. The Parity Amendment was dictated by the Bell Trade Act, which comprehensively laid down the continuance of the economic enslavement of the Filipino people by US imperialism. Aside from imposing the Parity Amendment, the Bell Trade Act extended the period of free trade and spelled out the subordination of the Philippine peso to the US dollar. Until today, there is a set of unequal treaties and arrangements reflecting the undiminished control of the Philippines by US imperialism. These are the shackles on the nation which are known as "special relations." Let us make a review of them.
a. The Laurel-Langley Agreement (Revised Bell Trade Act), 1954.
This reflects the economic vassalage of the Philippines to US imperialism. It does not only reiterate the Parity Amendment, but it also unconstitutionally extends its meaning to include "parity rights" in all kinds of businesses, including the acquisition and utilization of private agricultural lands. The revised tariff schedule and the quota system still basically encourage the export of raw materials to the United States and the import of finished products from the United States. While in this agreement the United States formally relinquishes control over the Philippine monetary system, the entire Philippine economic reality is such that it is extremely dependent on foreign loans, that the US firms in the Philippines can convert their huge peso earnings into US dollars and that all export-import transactions are in terms of US dollars. Because of the actual colonial control of the economy by US imperialism, the peso sinks the moment that the Central Bank does not have enough US dollars. A mere euphemism in legal verbiage does not change a material fact to its opposite.
b. The US-RP Military Bases Agreement, 1947
Under this agreement, US imperialism retains its control over the entire Philippine territory. The Filipino people are literally in a large prison surrounded by strategically located US land, air and naval bases. The US Air Force hovers above them. The US Navy patrols Philippine waters as it pleases. As of 1969, apart from those in transit to or from the Vietnam War, at least 50,000 US troops were reported to be stationed on US military bases. As of now, US imperialism has more than 20 military bases occupying close to 200,000 hectares. On these bases, US military personnel enjoy extraterritorial rights. Off these bases, they are also beyond the jurisdiction of the puppet government by simply claiming to be "on a specific military duty." The US military can commit crimes against the people and ignore any subpoena from the puppet government. Under the US-RP Military Bases Agreement, the US military bases could even be expanded as US imperialism may deem necessary. At any rate, the present US military bases are large enough and contain enough troops to prove that US imperialism holds the Philippines by armed force. These US military bases are launching grounds for aggression against the Asian peoples. These bases contain nuclear, chemical and bacteriological weapons of genocide.
c. The US-RP Military Assistance Pact, 1947
This unequal treaty further ensures US imperialist control over the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Through the Joint US Military Advisory Group (JUSMAG), US imperialism extends strategic and staff direction, logistics, training and intelligence coordination to the reactionary Armed Forces of the Philippines. US military advisers exercise direct control over the A.F.P. Most of the military equipment and facilities of the A.F.P. are granted on a loan basis by the JUSMAG. Within the reactionary armed forces, puppetry to US imperialism is thoroughly built in. Under a counterinsurgency program, the reactionary armed forces are continually goaded to attack and abuse the revolutionary masses on behalf of US imperialism and the local exploiting classes. The JUSMAG is actually the mastermind behind the creation of such murder units as the "Monkees," BSDU, Home Defense Forces, "special forces," and the like. US military personnel in the JUSMAG are conspicuously present in campaigns of "encirclement and suppression" against the people, the Party and the people's army.
d. Economic And Technical Cooperation Agreement, 1951
Under this agreement, the US government makes the pretext of extending economic and technical programs of assistance to the Philippine puppet government. US advisers are planted in every strategic branch of the puppet government to direct and influence policies, conduct imperialist propaganda, gather economic and political intelligence and see to it that "aid" results in quick profits for private US firms on foreign loans, grants and peso counterpart funds through huge purchases of US commodities and through excessive payments for US contractors and experts. Agents of the A.I.D. (and its predecessor agencies) have been characteristically agents of US monopolies and even of the US Central Intelligence Agency. Under the A.I.D. Office of Public Safety and its direct local agent, the Police Commission, local police forces are equipped and trained to attack and disperse patriotic mass actions against US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. The A.I.D. is actually the mastermind behind the creation of "anti-riot squads," "rondas," and "provincial strike forces" and the like.
e. The US-RP Mutual Defense Pact, 1951
This unequal treaty allows the United States to use its aggressor troops to interfere in the internal affairs of the Philippines under the pretext of securing "peace" and "mutual security." It is a redundant piece of imperialist document because there are already ample provisions in the basic military treaties on US military bases and military assistance allowing US imperialism to conduct aggression against the Filipino people at its whim. It is nonsensical for some reactionaries to beg US imperialism to include an "automatic retaliation" clause in this treaty. Whenever its own selfish interests face extinction, US imperialism never hesitates to launch aggression against the people as in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Palestine, Thailand, Dominican Republic, Cuba and so many others.
f. The Manila Pact, 1954
This treaty created in Manila the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) for the "regional defense" of Southeast Asia. It includes two puppet governments of US imperialism in Southeast Asia: namely, the Philippines and Thailand. It is dominated by imperialist powers headed by the United States. Under this treaty, US imperialism can bring along the Philippines to its wars of aggression in Southeast Asia. Conversely, US imperialism can bring along other puppet governments to conduct subversion and aggression against the Filipino people. It has been proven in the Korean War and in the Vietnam War that with or without direct reference to a specific regional defense treaty, US imperialism can easily command the Philippine reactionary to dispatch Filipino mercenary troops abroad.
g. The Agricultural Commodities Agreements
These are governed by US Public Law 480, otherwise known as Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act. Through these agreements, the United States disposes of its surplus agricultural products by dumping them on the Philippines. These are utilized to keep under control certain "intermediate" industries like flour and textile mills which depend on imported raw materials. These are also used to manipulate local agricultural production to serve the policies of US imperialism. The proceeds from the sale of these agricultural products have been used to support propaganda campaigns and educational exchange programs administered by the US Embassy in Manila. Previously, the sale of US war surplus materials had in the main supported these programs to poison the thinking of key elements among the Filipino intelligentsia.
h. Agreements Pertaining to Culture and Education
US governmental agencies like the A.I.D., the US Educational Board, the Peace Corps and foundations like Asia Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation have a decisive say in the cultural and educational system. Exchange programs for various sectors and travel, study and research grants are used to glorify the "American way of life" and propagate anti-national and anti-democratic ideas. The special educational fund drawn from the remaining war damage payments has been set aside to reinforce US imperialist control over the Philippine educational system. In extending certain loans to the University of the Philippines, the World Bank has been used by US imperialism to help keep pro-imperialist educational policies. Such a sinister agency as the CIA directly or through "cover" institutions recruits Filipino agents in the educational system and mass media. Cultural and educational institutions are being increasingly used for intelligence and counterinsurgency research. Since US monopoly firms are the biggest advertisers, they are in a position to dictate on the local mass media and to influence the political thinking of a great number of people. Reading materials, the radio and such audio-visual entertainment as Hollywood and TV films are systematically used to corrode the patriotic and progressive spirit of the people. Certain reformist and religious organizations are also subsidized by various imperialist institutions to spread ideological confusion. New and old sinister arrangements are too many and diverse for us to exhaustively relate here.
All US expenditures in connection with the above unequal treaties and arrangements are categorized as "aid" to the Philippine puppet government. In one accounting, it is claimed that US imperialism extended "aid" to the tune of $1.9 billion during the period of 1946-67. This "aid" is supposed to comprise military assistance, non-military loans, war damage rehabilitation, and such loans and grants that include US expenditures for the Peace Corps and fellowship grants.
Military assistance amounted to $512.4 million and it included the proceeds in the disposal of World War II and Korean War military surplus, the cost in the lease of military equipment, compensation for US military advisers and Filipino mercenaries in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, support for the suppression of the revolutionary mass movement and further training of the A.F.P. in defending US imperialist, comprador, feudal and bureaucrat interests. The non-military loans amounted to $375.5 million and were used mainly for US propaganda activities under the "Food for Peace" program and the A.I.D. (and its predecessor agencies) and for supporting the dollar reserves of the Central Bank under the Export-Import Bank. War damage rehabilitation amounted to $473 million and was extended mainly to US firms, religious organizations, the bureaucrat capitalists and the local exploiting classes. The other loans and grants amounted to $352.2 million and were used mainly for supporting US advisers and missions, for training a few Filipinos in puppetry through fellowship grants, for conducting a wide range of counterinsurgency activities under the guise of economic and technical assistance and services for agricultural development, for supporting the Peace Corps and for purchasing US commodities at an overprice through the A.I.D. and other US organizations. Even the propaganda activities of the US Information Agency and the Voice of America are considered "aid."
The operations of the A.I.D. and its predecessor agencies expose the utter chicanery in American "aid." During the period of 1951-68, the A.I.D. and its predecessor agencies made a grant of $54.1 million to the Philippine reactionary government. The latter was required to put up a peso counterpart fund amounting to almost P500 million during the same period. The American advisers and experts dictated the use not only of their meager dollar grant but also of the huge peso counterpart fund. They overpriced the commodities that they ordered exclusively from the United States, overcompensated themselves for their services as US propagandists and sales agents, gathered important data from the country, influenced further the local bureaucracy to stick to its puppetry, trained key police officers and agencies in counterinsurgency and publicized the lie that the US government is altruistic.
In the Philippines, Spanish colony or semi-colony dominated by US imperialism, there is the "country team" that coordinates and oversees the various agencies of US imperialism. It is composed of the US ambassador as head and the CIA chief of station, USIA director, USAID director and the JUSMAG chief as members.
In addition to its direct agencies, US imperialism manipulates various agencies of the United Nations, regional arrangements and Philippine bilateral arrangements with third countries. These supplement the direct agencies of US imperialism in subverting the national-democratic interests of the Filipino people.
3. US Monopoly Control Of The Philippines
In an uneven and spasmodic way, US surplus capital has been invested in the Philippine economy. At present the US monopolies and their local subsidiaries own or control such businesses involving petroleum, tire and rubber, drugs, fertilizers, chemicals, mining, heavy equipment, marketing, transport facilities and others. The majority of the biggest corporations in the Philippines today are American. They control at least 50 percent of the total business assets in the country. The book value of these US private assets is at least $2.0 billion, according to available sources in 1969. The market value is several times higher. These assets represent at least 60 percent of the total US private investments in Southeast Asia. Of the total foreign private investments in the Philippines, US investments constitute 80 percent. The volume and value of US investments in the Philippines are even greater today than during the period of direct US colonial rule when US private investments reached the level of P537 million or $268.5 million (based on Bureau of Census and Statistics figures).
The magnitude of US investments is not the only thing that weighs down heavily on the Filipino people. It is also their strategic position. For instance, petroleum (supplied by Esso, Caltex, Mobil, Filoil and Getty Oil) is overwhelmingly under the control of the US oil monopolies. By this commodity alone, US monopoly capitalism controls every other commodity transported or processed in the Philippines. The US oil monopolies supply more than 90 percent of the country's energy requirements. Tire production, trade in construction materials, import-export, and the wholesale trade are also controlled by foreign firms, chiefly American. They control bulk sales to end-consumers like big utility plants. Though US capitalists appear to have withdrawn from the field of public utilities, they sold a great portion of their shares in the Meralco (electricity) and P.L.D.T. (telephone) only after burdening these firms with US loans and after securing guarantees from government financing institutions. These enterprises remain as sources of huge interest payments and are increasingly subject to being retaken over through bonds floated in Wall Street.
The US imperialists own the largest commercial banks, insurance companies and other financing institutions. They therefore control the Philippine banking system. They grab the domestic savings of the people and utilize these to support US enterprises here. In this regard, an oft-cited case of Yankee cleverness is the original capitalization of the Philippine-American Life Insurance Company at less than a million pesos and its rapid growth into a billion-peso corporation in a matter of two decades after the last war. US firms secure credit not only from local US banks but also from Philippine-owned banks. Another flagrant case of Yankee rapaciousness can be seen in gold production. For a long period of time under the Gold Subsidy Law, the Central Bank bought gold from Benguet Consolidated and other US mining companies at $57 to $67 per ounce, that is to say, $22 to $32 above what was then the world price of $35 per ounce.
During the period of 1960 to the middle of 1969, foreign investors (principally American) borrowed P13.5 billion from local credit sources. For the period of 1962-68, US firms alone were able to borrow P8.0 billion in clear pursuit of old imperialist practice and also in clear application of the US policy of exhausting local credit sources in colonies and semi-colonies so as to help ease the US balance of payments crisis. A study of 108 US firms supposedly accounting for 70 percent of US investments in the Philippines, reveals that 84 percent of their capital and operational funds came from Philippine sources and only 16 percent (including reinvested profits made in the Philippines) came from the United States in the period of 1956-65. During the same period, these 108 US firms remitted home more than $386 million, close to seven times the actual total of new investments ($58.5million ) that they brought into the Philippines. The increase in paid-up capital of these firms was only $28 million from a base of $74 million in 1956 to a new level of $102.5 million in 1965 while their remitted superprofits was more than 1,300 percent of such measly increase in paid-up capital.
Central Bank statistics show that during the period of 1960-69, foreign investors, mostly American, brought in $160 million in the form of new capital investments and brought out at least $482 million in the form of capital withdrawals and profit remittances. Huge profit remittances by US firms are not a new development. When in the fifties there were foreign exchange controls and US firms were encouraged to plow back their profits into the local economy, they invested the paltry amount of $19.2 million only to remit $215.1 million. US statistics easily admit that the rate of profit from US investments in the Philippines is more than 25 percent higher than the average rate of profit from US overseas investments in general.
The profit remittances of US firms were officially reported by the Philippine reactionary government as reaching tens of millions of dollars annually during the sixties, specifically an average annual rate of a little over $40 million. Nevertheless, there were unidentifiable transactions in Central Bank records amounting to several hundreds of millions of dollars every year, ostensibly for the payment of imports, travel abroad, and several other transactions involving the disbursement of foreign exchange. According to estimates made by the Economic Monitor, the US firms holding $500 million investments in the Philippines made remittances amounting to $2.2 billion from 1962 to 1969 or an annual average of $316 million. On top of this, dollar payments for miscellaneous invisibles totaled $2.7 billion or an annual average of $304 million. The Americans for Peace in Indochina, an association of Americans in the Philippines opposed to the US war of aggression, claims that in 1969 alone, US investors remitted $3.0 billion from the Philippines.
A clever method of profit remittance by overseas US firms is the purchase of commodities and services from their mother or sister companies in the United States at an overprice. US firms engaged in export and re-export business in the Philippines underprice their goods only to get the real prices and the real profits abroad. A variation of this involves the export by US mining companies of copper concentrates and iron ores with substantial gold, silver, nickel and other components which are not fully accounted for in the country.
Because of the colonial and agrarian character of its economy the Philippines is highly dependent on a colonial pattern of trade that is to say, the exchange of local raw materials and foreign finished products, especially American. In a vicious cycle, the colonial pattern of trade which has been developed for a long period of time by US imperialism through preferential trade and the quota system has in turn served to perpetuate the colonial and agrarian character of the Philippine economy. At first glance, it looks as if free trade has been favorable to the Philippines, but on an examination of the accounts it is clear that only the US imperialists and the comprador-landlord cliques in the Philippines have been favored. At the height of free trade under the Bell Trade Act from 1946 to 1954, the United States exported to the Philippines $2.0 billion worth of goods duty-free and the latter exported to the former only $889 million worth of goods duty-free.
By the nature of its exports the bulk of which comprises sugar, logs, lumber, coconut products, abaca, tobacco and unprocessed minerals, the Philippines cannot earn enough US dollars to pay for the importation of foreign manufactures coming principally from the United States which command higher prices. As of 1968, only 8.3 percent of Philippine exports could be categorized as manufactured goods. The Philippine economy is so uneven and lopsided that it has to import even such agricultural products as poultry and dairy products, cereals and cereal preparations, which are still in the bracket of the ten top imports. In the world capitalist market, the foreign monopolies consistently jack up the price of their manufactures and other products and force down the price of raw materials that they purchase from the colonies and semi-colonies like the Philippines. The result is chronic deficit in the foreign trade of the Philippines. The annual foreign trade deficit rose from $147.1 million in 1955 to $249.7 million in 1967 and to $301.9 million in 1968. The rapid rate of increase in deficit is due to the effects of US imperialism and all other imperialist powers to squeeze out more profits from their foreign trade as a measure of facing up to their own balance-of-payments problem. They are now viciously trying to pass on the burden of their general crisis to their colonies and semi-colonies by stepping up their own exports, by exporting inflation, by forcing weaker countries to devalue their currencies and by practicing usury.
The economy has no capital-goods industry and the structure of local manufacturing has not changed at all. As of 1968, 75.5 percent of manufacturing output went into non-durables like food, beverages, cigarettes and cigars, textiles, footwear, paper, rubber, chemicals and the like. 24 3/10 percent went into the manufacture of such durables as furniture and fixtures and mere reassembly of machinery, metal products, appliances, motor vehicles and the like.
It is bandied about that during the last two years, the Philippine reactionary government made heavy dollar expenditures because it imported mainly machinery, transport equipment, fuel and raw materials for domestic processing. What is falsely implied is that the Philippines is rapidly industrializing. This is a big lie because these imports have been mainly for public works projects, construction of office buildings and sugar mills, mineral extraction, spare parts, motor vehicle and home appliance reassembly and other such so-called intermediate industries as textile, flour and steel mills that rely on imported yarn, wheat and steel sheets.
Maintaining the colonial economy in an artificial way, the Philippine reactionary government has incurred an internal debt of at least P6.0 billion and an external debt of $1.9 billion (as of June 1970) mostly from US banks at high interest and on a short-term basis. These debts have resulted in a steep inflation and devaluation. As a semi-colony, the Philippines cannot continue to operate without an adequate supply of US dollars. And yet, as it tries to acquire such, it is bogged deeper in colonial exploitation and crisis. Because of the chronically inadequate dollar earnings of Philippine raw materials, the reactionary government has to beg the US monopoly banks and the international financial institutions under US control for more loans at increasingly onerous terms. The Philippines is mortgaged and auctioned off so easily. The critical point has been reached in foreign borrowings so much so that devaluation has been repeatedly imposed on the peso currency and the reactionary government has already become hysterical even only on the matter of "restructuring" its old debts. But it must still get new loans on more onerous terms in order to be able to import the finished goods which its colonial economy does not produce. The Marcos puppet clique is bent on increasing the foreign debts of the Philippines by asking for the authority to borrow another $1.5 billion within the next four years.
4. The Scheme To Prolong US Domination
In the last 10 years, the crisis in the Philippine economy has rapidly worsened. This has been the result of the vicious maneuvers of US imperialism to shift the burden of its economic crisis at home to its colonies and semi-colonies and also to prepare for the termination of the Laurel-Langley Agreement and the Parity Amendment. The scheme of US imperialism is to put the Philippines into such a desperate financial situation as to ensure the prolongation of imperialist privileges. At the same time, all-out military and police preparations and actual operations are conducted to counteract the revolutionary mass movement inflamed by the economic crisis. Counterrevolutionary reformist campaigns are also waged to sow confusion in the ranks of the revolutionary masses.
As a result of the full and immediate decontrol of foreign exchange at the start of the Macapagal puppet regime, US business firms remitted profits heavily and the comprador-landlords used their dollar earnings as they pleased. The dollar reserves of the reactionary government were depleted and the peso sank in value from P2.00 to P3.90 per US dollar in the absence of sufficient dollars to support it. To maintain the peso at its new level, the Philippine reactionary government was extended "stabilization" loans at onerous terms. But these loans were mainly sucked up by US firms and their comprador-landlord and bureaucrat allies. The puppet chieftain Macapagal promoted the "open-door" policy on foreign investments and the idea of "joint ventures" and allowed US subsidiaries to grab the foreign loans in remitting profits, building up their local assets, taking over Filipino enterprises or overloading them with foreign loans in preparation for being taken over and the like.
During the first four years of the Marcos puppet regime, US imperialism went high on aggravating the puppet policies of the Macapagal regime. The Marcos puppet regime was even more efficient in implementing the recommendations made by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as early as 1960. It was able to increase taxes, ostensibly of those with the ability to pay, who in turn shifted the tax burden to the broad masses of the people in the form of steeply rising prices. The Marcos puppet regime profligately made expenditures on public works and other inflationary projects. The US subsidiaries and the comprador-landlords were extended the biggest government loans and guarantees. There was a splurge on luxuries, a buildup of sugar mills, mining projects and mining speculation. The bureaucrat capitalists exacted the most stupendous amounts of kickbacks on import-export contracts, especially in contracts with foreign machinery and construction firms.
At the beginning of 1970, it was clear that the Marcos puppet regime had succeeded in making the Philippines more bankrupt than ever before, with a big internal and external debt. The peso sank to another low level, at more than P6.00 per US dollar. In only eight years, the peso suffered a devaluation of more than 200 percent in relation to the US dollar. The International Monetary Fund, functioning as the agency of US imperialism, dictated the devaluation of the peso as a precondition for the rescheduling of loan payments and also for the granting of new loans by US imperialism. The automatic result of the peso devaluation was the increase in the price of all commodities and the increase in value of all foreign debts.
In February 1970, the peso value of the $1.5 billion foreign debt rose from P5.85 billion to at least P9.3 billion (at the unsettled rate of P6.20 per US dollar) excluding interest, which also rose. In June, only five months after, the foreign debts reached $1.9 billion or at least P11.78 billion excluding interest. Annual interest payments alone on these debts consumed half of the dollar earnings on Philippine raw material exports. In this process, US imperialism is the worst usurer in the whole world. The Philippines does not stop begging for foreign loans from US imperialism because it has to import many vital commodities which its colonial economy does not produce and because it has to service previous foreign debts. The rapid increase in the value of such foreign loans can only concretely mean ever cheaper raw materials and cheaper local labor for US imperialism and an ever higher cost of importing finished products from the United States and other imperialist countries. The working people are today suffering from the higher prices of commodities; their real income has gone down and no adequate adjustment has been made by the puppet government. The daily minimum wage has been re-fixed at P8.00 for industrial workers, a mere increase of 33 percent, yet the devaluation is at least 60 percent and continues to cut down real wages in a rapid way.
A puppet government that is bankrupt cannot be expected to undertake the expropriation of US assets with US dollars. It is both politically and economically impossible for that puppet government to do so. The repeated devaluation of the peso has increased the value of these alien assets and has favored their buildup in so many related ways. As a matter of fact, the US monopolies have deliberately increased their assets in the Philippines from $440 million in 1962 to at least $2.0 billion (book value) in 1969. They did so by bringing in only a small amount of direct investments and by borrowing heavily from local credit sources. They sucked up the very same laws that they had extended to the Philippine puppet government at onerous terms. The rapid buildup of US interests, inside and outside the areas of "parity rights" is obviously calculated to effect a firmer internal US political and economic control of the Philippines. It is to prepare for the termination of the Laurel-Langley Agreement and the Parity Amendment and to nullify any notion that US assets could be bought out within the framework of reactionary laws.
In the light of the financial bankruptcy of the reactionary government and the severe impoverishment of the Filipino people, it is clearly counterrevolutionary to advocate the "peaceful nationalization" of the economy or to hope that the mere formal termination of the Laurel-Langley Agreement and the Parity Amendment would automatically inaugurate economic independence. Besides, the majority of US investments (more than 50 percent are now outside the areas of "parity rights" and are therefore legally allowed to stick in business entities where US investors can own and control more than 40 percent.
In order to promote the acceptance of US investments in the Philippines, US imperialism is actually subsidizing counterrevolutionary organizations and movements spouting such nonsense as "peaceful revolution," "constitutional reform," "due process," "just compensation," "profit-sharing," "joint ventures," "hospitality to foreign guests" and other such hogwash. These counterrevolutionary slogans are all intended to slur over the viciousness of US monopoly capital and to head off the revolutionary mass movement clamoring for people's war against US imperialism and all its local lackeys.
Not even the national bourgeoisie can hope to increase its share in the exploitation of the Filipino people. This social stratum is daily facing bankruptcy. The few commodities that it produces locally cannot escape the rising cost of importing fuel, equipment, spare parts, raw materials and the like. The local sources of credit have practically dried up for the national bourgeoisie. More than this local stratum, the Japanese militarists and the Soviet social-imperialists have the better chance of joining up or competing with US imperialism in the exploitation of the people.
The Investment Incentives Law was enacted to pave the way for the continuance and aggravation of US economic control over the Philippines after the termination of the Laurel-Langley Agreement and the Parity Amendment. The Constitutional Convention now being played up by the counterrevolutionaries as a channel for "change" in Philippine society is actually a step towards allowing the US monopolies to own more than 40 percent equity beyond 1974, even in the utilization of public lands, exploitation of natural resources and the operation of public utilities. As certain as dominance of comprador and landlord delegates in the Constitutional Convention, the accommodation of the Investment Incentives Law and an unequal treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation with the United States will be carried out by the most significant amendments in the colonial constitution.
The Investment Incentives Law empowers the Board of Investments, a mere agency of the puppet president, to allow US-dominated enterprises to persist or be set up in the Philippines even without limiting their equity capital to a maximum of 40 percent in corporations as per requirements of the present constitution. Section 19, Paragraph 3 of the investments law allows foreign investors to own even 100 percent equity in local corporations provided that they merely signify their intention of selling shares of stock to Filipinos or "Philippine nationals" within 10 years from the date of registration of such corporations. On the eleventh year, these corporations are supposed to actually offer for sale shares of stock in the stock exchange. But if Filipinos and "Philippine nationals" fail to buy enough shares to reduce direct foreign equity to 40 percent, so much the better for the foreign investors because they would be permitted to continue owning equity beyond 40 percent for 20 years from the date of registration of the corporations. After one period of 20 years, these corporations may again be permitted to stay under unlimited US ownership and control for another period of 20 years.
The Investment Incentives Law sanctifies the "Philippine national," a corporation with a maximum of 40 percent foreign equity in its capital structure. Thus, there is so much talk nowadays about giving "national treatment" to US investments among the puppet politicians. The outlandish definition of "Philippine national" is calculated to allow the US monopolies to hold more than 40 percent equity even in local corporations where they are restricted to a maximum limit of 40 percent equity. For an illustration, let us have corporations A and B. If corporation A bears 40 percent foreign equity and qualifies as a "Philippine national," it can acquire and hold 60 percent equity in corporation B side by side with 40 percent equity directly headed by foreign investors. In such an interlocking relationship, corporation A actually effects 64 percent foreign equity in corporation B, if one were to do away with legal blinders. In turn, corporation B will certainly have an impact on corporation A in favor of foreign control.
It is already sufficient for the US monopolies to own and control 40 percent equity in order to control an entire corporation internally. This is easily effected by keeping solid 40 percent equity in the hands of foreign investors and keeping diffused through the stock market the 60 percent among Filipino petty shareholders. It is an old trick of monopoly capitalists to use a small but solid block of shares to control a big mass of small shareholders. It is in line with this imperialist trick that there is a huge campaign for "profit-sharing" (an obscurantist term for stock manipulation) to mislead some wage-earners and petit-bourgeois elements to surrender their meager savings and future earnings to the exploiters or allow the US monopolies and the local reactionaries to rob the Social Security System (SSS), the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and the Philippine National Bank (PNB). The US imperialists, rapacious as they are, wish to have more levers for retaining their political and economic power over the Philippines.
There are other ways by which the US monopolies could continue controlling and enjoying ownership of more than 40 percent of the capital in a corporation and also more than 40 percent of the profits even after the termination of the Laurel-Langley Agreement and the Parity Amendment. These were obsequiously explained by the Philippine panel to the American panel in the negotiations on the Laurel-Langley Agreement. The US monopolies could hold non-voting shares and bonds in corporations, exercise credit control, impose management contracts, manipulate purchase agreements and technical assistance contracts and so many others that reactionary power permits. Moreover, the Braderman-Virata negotiations have sought to perpetuate "parity rights" by simply replacing the term with a new one, "national treatment," in the treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation now being cooked up. In the communique issued by the negotiators, it is evident that the US imperialists and their local running dogs are willing to remove US "parity rights" only from the field of retail trade.
The Investment Incentives Law worsens the economic enslavement of the Filipino people and sells off every semblance of Philippine sovereignty to US imperialism. The puppet state is bound by this law never to expropriate or requisition foreign assets. It is also bound to provide US dollars to foreign investors for the repatriation of investment, remittance of earnings and payment of all foreign loans and contractual obligations. In addition to these basic privileges, the US investors through their corporations registered with the Board of Investments enjoy such "incentives" as capital-gains tax exemption, tax allowance, tax exemption on sale of stock dividends, deduction of organizational and pre-operating expenses, accelerated depreciation, net operating 1oss carryover, tax credit, tax exemption on imported capital equipment, employment of foreign nationals, deduction for expansion reinvestment, protection from government competition, preference in grant of government loans, absorption of G.S.I.S. and S.S.S. funds and special export incentives.
The Investment Incentives Law has set a pattern of legislation intended to perpetuate US ownership and control of local firms to the extent of 100 percent. The Export Incentives Law allows foreign equity up to 55 percent in export industries and up to 100 percent in pioneer industries engaged in export.
Following the dictates of their US imperialist masters, the reactionaries have also taken to creating free trade zones, like the Mariveles Free Trade Zone, to let the US monopolies have permanent economic enclaves where they are beyond the tax laws of the Philippine puppet government.
US imperialism is using both peaceful and violent methods of suppressing the Filipino people's clamor for national liberation and democracy. The CIA and other subversive agencies of US imperialism are subsidizing and manipulating various branches of the puppet government, "civic" and "reform" organizations, educational and cultural institutions and the reactionary mass media to wage a propaganda campaign designed to whip up a "climate for foreign investments" and an atmosphere of anti-communist hysteria. At the same time, all-out violent efforts are being exerted to "nip in the bud" the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army, meaning to say, the broad masses of the people who have risen to shake off their colonial shackles. Increased military supplies and training in counterinsurgency techniques are being extended to local police forces through the A.I.D. Office of Public Safety and to the reactionary armed forces through the JUSMAG. So many fascist crimes are being committed in the name of anticommunism against the people. The Marcos fascist puppet regime daily promotes the rise of fascism in an attempt to cow the people.
Whenever a dastardly crime is committed by US military personnel and there are widespread demands for justice which find their way even into the reactionary press, the puppet government goes through the motion of asking the US Embassy for renegotiations on the US-RP Military Bases Agreement. When the din dies down, talk of having renegotiations also dies down. What is made to prevail is the treacherous idea that the foreign military bases provide a dollar income for the puppet government. A measly annual income of about $130 million to $150 million from the US military bases for the puppet government and vice lords is clearly not enough to pay for the transgression of Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity and also the actual economic deprivation and sabotage resulting from the occupation of potential agricultural and mineral lands and the wanton smuggling of US goods through the US military bases.
Whenever US imperialism wages a war of aggression against another country, the Philippine puppet government never hesitates to call for or join a war council under the direction of US imperialism. The necessity for US imperialism to hold on to its military bases in the Philippines becomes more clear. These military bases are the ultimate guarantee for the protection of its foreign investments in the Philippines and also for launching wars of aggression in Asia. Despite all talks of US "withdrawal" from Asia, US imperialism repeatedly insists that it will remain a "Pacific power". Sham talk of "withdrawal" is only intended to give Filipino running dogs an occasion to beg US imperialism to stay. Whenever the demand for US withdrawal is raised by the broad masses of the people, the local diehard reactionaries say that it is untimely to "renegotiate" treaties when the Philippines is suffering from an economic crisis and is begging for foreign loans.
Being fast isolated as the Number One enemy of the world's peoples and the Filipino people, US imperialism is desperately trying to dissimulate its role as the principal oppressor and exploiter. As before, it wants to make the Philippine government appear to be begging of its own volition for investments not only from the United States but also from so-called international financial institutions and consortiums and such imperialist countries as Japan and the Soviet Union, among others. In imposing its imperialist policies on the Philippine puppet government, the United States does not only make use of the A.I.D. and its other direct agencies but also the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, international consortiums, various agencies of the United Nations and "regional" organizations. But when an internal analysis is made of the accounts, it is US imperialism that inevitably comes out as the principal bloodsucker.
Aggravating the old bilateral and multilateral treaties and agreements shackling the Philippines, US imperialism encourages the Philippine puppet government to promote such new "regional" arrangements as the Asian Pacific Council (ASPAC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Southeast Asian Ministers' Economic Council (SEAMEC) and others. These are ballyhooed as regional organizations independent of US imperialism, but are clearly composed of the puppet government bound to US imperialism in so many ways. Efforts of US imperialism to hide behind such farcical organizations are being intensified under the "Nixon Doctrine" of "making Asians fight Asians." But US imperialism can never conceal its aggressive nature; it will always keep and use its military personnel abroad as much as it can.
At any rate, US imperialism is rapidly reviving Japanese militarism to serve as its principal Asian instrument and is accommodating it in the Philippines. It has the pipe dream of retaining Japan as its fugleman in Asia. In line with the wishes of US imperialism, the Marcos puppet regime has been maneuvering to have the unequal Japan-R.P. Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation ratified. Even without this treaty, Japan is being allowed to participate in the plunder of Philippine mineral, marine, forest and agricultural resources. It is being allowed to make investments and dump its goods in the Philippine market. It now ranks second only to the United States in investments and control of Philippine foreign trade. The reactionaries wish to give Japan the special privilege of moving as it pleases its fishing fleets as well as its naval vessels in Philippine territorial waters.
US imperialism is also calculatingly compelling the Philippines to open diplomatic and trade relations with Soviet social-imperialism. Under the guise of being able to extend loans, especially in the form of capital goods, Soviet social-imperialism is trying to get a share of raw material products from the Philippines, dispose of its shoddy commodities in the Philippine market and impose usury. Like Japan, Soviet social-imperialism is being maneuvered by US imperialism to overextend itself in the defense of the world capitalist system and share in the responsibility of maintaining reactionary governments that are basically puppets to US imperialism.
US imperialism is specifically interested in allowing Soviet social-imperialism to help the local revisionist renegades sabotage the revolutionary mass movement and help the reactionary government foster the illusion that there is democracy. Eager to benefit from the accommodation being granted by US imperialism, the Lava revisionist renegades, the Philippine agents of Soviet social-imperialism, have on many occasions fed to the reactionary armed forces information against the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People's Army and the broad masses of the people. They have conducted slander campaigns and bloody forms of intrigue against the people.
The strategic alliance of US imperialism, Japanese militarism and Soviet social-imperialism into which the Philippine puppet government has been drawn is basically directed against the people, revolution, communism and China. In this arrangement, US imperialism makes use of Japanese militarism to keep in check Soviet social-imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism to keep in check Japanese militarism. While they ally themselves against their common enemies, they cannot but contend among themselves as imperialist powers for the re-division of the world. This is a self-defeating arrangement.
Though US imperialism is relatively strong in the Philippines, it has actually become weak on a world scale. It can no longer postpone its collapse. This is now the era of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, when imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is marching toward world victory.
Unlike in the last two world wars when it could take advantage of the disaster of other imperialist powers, US imperialism now finds itself being pushed to its own total disaster by the worldwide anti-imperialist struggle. By overextending itself throughout the world in order to oppress the people, US imperialism is now being struck hard by more and more people and in more and more places than it can cope with. People's wars are raging all over the world, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. At this stage, when so many oppressed peoples have risen up to make revolution the main trend, US imperialism is rapidly heading for total collapse. If it were to launch a world war, it would only hasten its own destruction. If it did not, it still would have no chance of winning its wars of aggression as those against the peoples of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and other countries. In the homeland of US imperialism, the white and black proletariat are intensifying their revolutionary struggle against the bellicose impositions of the big bourgeoisie. US imperialism makes alliances with other imperialist powers but the latter never fails to take advantage of its plight. Though it appears to be a huge monster, US imperialism is in essence a paper tiger in the throes of its deathbed struggle.
While US imperialism and its allies are heading for disaster, the Chinese and Albanian peoples are consolidating socialism and ensuring a powerful rear base for the worldwide anti-imperialist struggle. The international united front is ever expanding to isolate counterrevolutionary diehards. All oppressed peoples can look forward to a bright future as they arm themselves with the same basic weapons with which the Chinese and Albanian peoples have achieved their glorious victories. The Philippine Revolution is today illumined by the great universal truth of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. The Communist Party of the Philippines, the revolutionary party of the Filipino proletariat, has become reestablished on a correct theoretical basis to lead the people to victory.
1. The Meaning Of Feudalism
On reaching the stage of imperialism, capitalism as a world historical phenomenon has become moribund, parasitic and decadent. US imperialism exports its surplus capital to its colonies and semi-colonies not to raise the economy of these to the level of capitalist development but merely to extract superprofits by exploiting cheap local labor and drawing out cheap raw materials. Only to some very limited extent will US enterprises be set up to process on the spot certain raw materials available locally. The extent and quality of US monopoly capital injected into the Philippine economy since the beginning of the 20th century has merely caused the subordination of domestic feudalism to US imperialism. It is in the nature of US imperialism to cause uneven and spasmodic development, to maintain a few cities ruled by the comprador class and preserve a vast countryside ruled by the landlord class.
Feudalism still persists in the Philippines, although US imperialism has introduced a certain degree of capitalist development. US monopoly capital has assimilated the seed of capitalism that is within the womb of domestic feudalism, but at the same time it has prevented the full growth of this seed into a national capitalism. The persistence of feudalism and the growth of a limited degree of capitalism can be understood only by delving into history. Feudalism is a mode of production in which the principal forces of production are the peasants and the land which they till and the relations of production are basically characterized by landlord oppression and exploitation of the peasantry. The most immediate manifestation of feudalism is the possession of vast areas of cultivable land by a few landlords who themselves do not till the land and who compel a big number of tenants to do the tilling. Feudal relations between the parasitic landlord class and the productive peasantry essentially involve the extortion of exorbitant land rent in cash or kind from the latter by the former. Such basic relations leave the tenant-peasants impoverished as their share of the crop is just enough or even often inadequate for their subsistence. They are further subjected to such feudal practices as usury, compulsory menial service and various forms of tribute. The old landlord class which utilizes land rent essentially for its private pleasure and luxury is satisfied with the backward method of agriculture because it gets more than enough for its needs from the sheer exertion of physical labor with simple agricultural implements by a big mass of tenants. On the other hand, the tenant who has only his own assigned plot to till is further impoverished by the low level of technology.
It was not the Spanish colonialists who first laid the foundation of feudalism in the country. The sultanates of Mindanao, especially those of Sulu and Maguindanao, preceded the Spanish conquistadores by at least a century in doing so. These were the first to create a feudal mode of production producing an agricultural surplus to support a landed nobility of considerable membership, fighters, religious teachers and traders. The growth of feudalism under the Islamic faith was stimulated by the brisk trade that was centered in Sulu. Later on, the feudal society became further consolidated by its determined resistance to Spanish colonialism. Representing a form of social organization higher than that which obtained in other parts of the archipelago, the sultanates of Mindanao could more effectively resist the Spanish colonialists who did not represent any higher form of social organization and who were easily identified as an external enemy due to the long-standing conflict of Islam and Christianity then.
It was Spanish colonialism, however, which compelled the institution of feudalism on the widest scale in the archipelago. Under its administration, it developed the feudal mode of production to the fullest extent. In their rule of more than three centuries, the colonial authorities took two major steps to entrench feudalism in the Philippines. These were 1) the assignment of encomiendas as a royal grant, a reward for service or loyalty to the Spanish crown and 2) the compulsory cultivation of certain crops for export starting during the latter part of the 18th century.
The encomienda was a royal grant to religious orders, charitable institutions and individuals. It encompassed a large area and brought together several barangays into one economic and administrative unit. The chiefs of barangays were converted to become the chief running dogs in every locality in their capacity as tribute collectors, enforcers of corvee labor and principal devotees of the alien faith. The essential purpose of the encomienda, was indeed to facilitate the collection of tribute in cash or agricultural commodity, the enforcement of corvee labor and the indoctrination of the people in such a feudal ideology as Roman Catholicism. The colonialists used Christianity to foster docility and servility.
A surplus in agricultural production was created but only to support and feed the Spanish administrators, clergy, soldiery and the indigenous nobility. The tribute was collected as a means of supporting the foreign rulers, especially for providing them with food and luxuries. Corvee labor was employed to expand the agricultural fields, build government and church buildings, and improve communications between the villages and the town settlement where the curate set up his quarters.
Within the encomienda, Spanish laws on private property in land began to be applied arbitrarily by both the clerical and lay encomenderos. Communalism was abolished in fully colonized areas. The Spanish encomenderos claimed vast tracts of land as their private property. The indigenous nobility was also allowed to lay private claims on agricultural lands, and at the same time it was cajoled into making direct donations of land to the Catholic Church. In cases where the people resisted, the colonialists cruelly grabbed the lands from them by force of arms. All conquered lands were considered property of the royal crown, subject to arbitrary disposal by the colonial authorities. Corvee labor was used systematically to clear new lands or in cases where the people on their own volition would create new agricultural fields for their own needs, they would only be subsequently told that these did not belong to them but to the royal crown or to some encomendero who had gained title over these.
When the friars later advocated the abolition of the encomienda system, it was not really with the view of having feudal abuses eliminated. Their intention was mainly to demand the rigorous application of Spanish laws within a more orderly administrative system so that clerical and lay landlords would not collide with each other too often in their common land grabbing activities. Friar criticism of the encomienda system merely led to the creation of provinces under the central administration of Manila. The encomienda system had already taken deep roots. The religious orders had already accumulated vast lands.
Spanish lay encomenderos chose either to stay in the archipelago to breed successive generations of insulares and mestizos or to sell out to merchants and other landlords, bring gold back to Spain and retain their status as peninsulares. The native landlords had their own stratum within the landowning class. Some of them became landlords only at the expense of their fellow indios who were dispossessed through sheer land grabbing or who fell into bankruptcy through the due processes of feudalism. Chinese merchants who chose to stay in the country to conduct trade between the town center and the villages and between the provinces and Manila intermarried with the native women in order to be able to buy lands legally with the money that they earned from their trade and money-lending activities. This would explain why the family names of many landlords today still sound Chinese aside from sounding Spanish.
2. The Hacienda System
The Spanish colonialists decided to intensify feudal exploitation of the people when the galleon trade was already on the decline during the latter part of the 18th Century. The galleon trade had been the principal source of income for the central administration in Manila. With this source of income yielding less and less as a result of international developments caused primarily by the pressures of capitalism, the colonial authorities turned to large-scale cultivation of commercial crops for export. "Economic reforms" were adopted ostensibly to make the Philippines "self-sufficient", that is to say, allow the colonialists to have an alternative source of income.
The Economic Society of Friends of the Country was founded by the Spanish governor-general in 1871 to encourage the planting of certain commercial crops for export. The Royal Company of Spain was subsequently enfranchised to monopolize trade in these agricultural crops. The cultivation of tobacco, indigo, sugar, abaca and other crops was imposed. Spain was trying to adjust to the pressures of capitalism, especially British capitalism and French capitalism, during the late part of the 18th century and the early part of the 19th century. Before the formal opening of the ports of Manila to non-Spanish ships, these had already started to call on Manila during the latter part of the 18th century.
The large-scale cultivation of commercial crops started the hacienda system that still exists today. This resulted in the more vicious exploitation of the Filipino people. The colonial government dictated confiscatory prices for the commercial crops. Also, the people who planted these crops had to get their staple food, rice or corn, from other areas. Thus, specialization in agriculture was introduced and commodity production began to disturb the natural economy existing in a feudal society.
While the Spanish colonialists, particularly the friars, intensified their feudal exploitation of the people, 51 non-Spanish foreign shipping and commercial houses became established in Manila in the middle part of the 19th century. Twelve of these were American and non-Spanish European houses, which virtually monopolized the import-export trade. These would subsequently open branches at different points in the archipelago such as Sual, Cebu, Zamboanga, Legaspi and Tacloban where ports were opened to foreign trade.
The financial operations of these foreign establishments strengthened the production of export crops. The total value of agricultural exports rose from P500,000 in 1810 to P108 million in 1870. This rose even more rapidly towards the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution of 1898. The cultivation of abaca and sugar was encouraged, and these crops became the principal exports of the country. In the mid-19th century, the level of sugar production was 3,000 piculs and four decades later it reached 2,000,000 piculs. American refineries (controlled by the mammoth American Sugar Refining Company) were especially interested in sugar so that in 1885, they were already getting two-thirds of this crop or 225,000 short tons. In 1898, the American consul in Manila could boast that the value of trade under his supervision equaled that of 21 competitors combined.
The acceleration of foreign trade in agricultural crops resulted in the acceleration of domestic trade. The local mercantile bourgeoisie emerged more significantly in domestic trade. Nevertheless, it found its economic opportunities limited to investing its profits in the acquisition of lands or in the leasing of friar estates. Part of its profits went into supporting more university students who studied locally or abroad. Thus, the mercantile bourgeoisie served as the social base of the native intelligentsia.
When the United States in its imperialist greed seized the Philippines for itself, it was very conscious of the necessity of retaining feudalism so as to provide itself continuously with such raw materials as sugar, hemp, coconut and other agricultural products. In using counterrevolutionary dual tactics to deceive the ilustrado leadership of the Philippine Revolution, it was aware of the landlord and mercantile character of the right wing of such a leadership and moved to assimilate its interests. It adopted the tactics to isolate the left wing represented by Mabini which was ideologically closer to the revolutionary peasant masses and which advocated the restitution to the people of the lands taken away from them by the Spanish colonial government and the friars.
US imperialism, therefore, did not hesitate to guarantee in the Treaty of Paris of 1898 the property rights of the landlord class under the Spanish colonial regime and returned even to the most despotic Spanish ecclesiastical and lay landlords the lands that had been confiscated from them by the revolutionary masses. The continuance of feudal rights assured the US colonial government of political support by the betrayers of the revolution and of continued supply of raw materials for US industries. The Payne-Aldrich Act of 1909 admitted Philippine products, chiefly agricultural, duty-free into the United States. In 1910, the US imperialists set up a sugar mill as a signal act for the type of investments they were most interested in making. In 1913, the Underwood Tariff Act removed all quota limitations on Philippine agricultural products exported to the United States. All these steps had the single effect of tying down the Philippines to a colonial and agrarian economy highly dependent on a few export crops. During the first three decades of US imperialist rule, agricultural production for export was expanded more rapidly than ever before. By 1932, more than 99 percent of sugar exports was going to the United States.
By conquering the Philippines, US imperialism was able to create the conditions which it was less in a position to create through sheer commercial financing operations by its export-import and shipping firms under the Spanish colonial rule. It enhanced semi-feudalism in the countryside by further encouraging capitalist farming, corporate ownership of land and merchant usury. It put up sugar mills, abaca mills and coconut mills under corporate ownership and around which the landlords were organized. Aside from these measures which were effected directly in the countryside, US imperialism dumped finished products in order to tie down the economy to the production of a few export crops and to the commodity market.
The pattern of the economy and of agricultural production encouraged by US imperialism during its direct colonial rule has remained basically unchanged. As of 1957, large-scale cultivation of export crops prevailed over about 20 percent (1.5 million hectares) of the total agricultural land. Land devoted to food crops comprised about 80 percent (5.5 million hectares).
As of 1970, despite conspicuous attempts in the sixties to expand it, large-scale cultivation of export crops prevailed over about 28 percent (2.5 million hectares) of the total agricultural land. Land devoted to food crops comprised about 72 percent (6.4 million hectares). Capitalist methods of exploitation are strikingly evident in lands where export crops are cultivated, except in some few areas where mechanization has been introduced by the landlords.
Not all bankrupt owner-peasants and tenant-peasants displaced from lands converted into capitalist farms can be accommodated as workers in the industrial areas or as regular farm workers. The enterprises set up by the US monopolies and national capitalists are insufficient to absorb them. Because of extremely limited opportunities in industry and agriculture, there is excessive competition for a few industrial jobs which press down wage conditions as well as overcrowding on land.
3. Sham Land Reform
In the period of direct and indirect US imperialist rule, there has been a long list of sham land reform measures. These include laws involving land titles, disposition of public lands, resettlement, "expropriation" of large estates, "fair" crop distribution credit and "anti-usury" and "just wage" for farm workers. These laws have been adopted only at certain times when the reactionaries fear most the avalanche of peasant armed struggle and they wish to deceive the rural masses. The reactionary measures taken on the land problem from the time of the Taft Commission to that of the present puppet regime have always been expressed in high-sounding and "benevolent" terms but they have only resulted in more vicious dispossession and exploitation of the rural masses. To relate the story of reactionary land reform in the country is to relate a story of chicanery and deception in which the name of the peasantry is invoked to aggrandize the landlord class.
a. Resettlement And Land Grabbing
The earliest law pertaining to land that the US imperialists adopted in the Philippines was the Land Registration Act of 1905, which took the pretext of facilitating the issuance of land titles. The act recognized only three titles to properties that could be registered under it; i.e., the Informacion Possesseria, registration under the Spanish Mortgage Law and imperfect title or possession since 1894. The handful of top renegades of the Philippine Revolution, Yankee land speculators, landlords and bureaucrats from the municipal level and up rushed to register untitled lands as their property, including those belonging to the peasants and national minorities who were kept ignorant of the procedure for land registration during the Spanish colonial regime as well as during US colonial rule.
To the US imperialists the main purpose of the act was to determine the limits of private lands and to classify those beyond them as public lands under their arbitrary disposition and control. The Cadastral Act of 1907 was passed to carry out further the US imperialist seizure of land and not to rectify previous errors in land titles. Until now, cadastral surveys are being used as a major device for land grabbing.
A series of public land laws was passed in 1903, 1919 and 1929 under the pretext of encouraging the dispossessed peasantry to acquire public lands through homestead, purchase or lease of limited areas. The call for resettlement in so-called frontier areas was actually the fig-leaf for the large-scale acquisition of public lands by US citizens, US agricultural corporations and Filipino landlords and bureaucrats. The dispossessed peasants were attracted to these areas so as to provide labor power for clearing the land and to serve as the buffer between the dispossessed local inhabitants who usually belonged to non-Christian nationalities on one hand and the US imperialists and landlords on the other.
In an attempt to counteract the peasant movement in Central Luzon and other parts of the country, the landlord Quezon had the National Land Resettlement Administration organized in 1939 in order to operate two settlement projects in Southwestern Mindanao and one in Cagayan Valley that were designed as exile areas for rebellious peasants.
At the height of the peasant war of 1950, the Land Settlement Development Corporation (Lasedeco) was organized to resettle landless peasants. In its three years of existence, the Lasedeco resettled no more than 400 peasant families. Subsequently the reactionary military under the CIA agent and big landlord Ramon Magsaysay put up resettlement projects under the Economic Development Corps (Edcor). No more than 1,000 peasant families were resettled. The last resettlement projects were conducted under the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) established in 1954. All these resettlement projects did not improve the status of even one-tenth of one percent of the landless peasantry in the country. The settlers were merely thrown into forest areas only to suffer government neglect and be susceptible to the old evils of feudalism. The main purpose of the reactionaries was merely to have a token of "land reform" to serve their mendacious propaganda. US military advisers and the reactionary armed forces utilized the resettlement projects only as a counterinsurgency measure.
Following their own calls for resettlement during the last seven decades, the landlords together with the compradors and the bureaucrat capitalists have extended feudalism and capitalist farming to the mountains and hills. They use their surplus in agricultural production and comprador profits to acquire more lands or use their lands to get big loans to acquire more lands. They get titles to vast areas of public lands, trap settlers into clearing and cultivating them, and then eject these settlers or retain them as tenants. To comply with Article XIII, Section 2 of the Philippine Constitution, they lease vast areas of cultivable land from the public domain, each as large as two thousand hectares and misrepresent these as grazing lands or ranches. Subsequently, they acquire these lands as their own private agricultural lands. They grab even the mountains, hills and rivers. They also become logging concessionaires and subsequently acquire the land from which the timber has been cut. They not only widen their area for capitalist and feudal exploitation, but they also cause floods and soil erosion to the detriment of the toiling masses in low-lying areas.
The US monopolies have participated in the seizure of land from the people by establishing their own plantations like those of Del Monte, Dole, Stanfilco, Firestone Rubber and several others and by opening mines like those of Benguet Consolidated, Lepanto, Atlas Consolidated and so many others. These mines involve the direct seizure of land from the peasants and national minorities, and also the destruction of wide expanses of agricultural fields as a result of the flow of mineral and chemical wastes in rivers. More mines are now feverishly being opened all over the country by both the US and Japanese imperialists.
As land-extensive enterprises like mines, plantations and ranches are being set up more rapidly than before by both the US imperialists and their local lackeys, the broad masses of the people are bound to wage a fierce resistance to the end. The dispossessed peasantry and the national minorities who are now being pushed out from resettlement and reservation areas have started to fight vigorously against US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
b. Land Retention Limits And Bogus Expropriation
In all laws of expropriation that they have passed, the reactionaries invariably require "due process" (i.e., bureaucratic run-around and expensive litigation that the poor peasants cannot afford) and "just compensation" (i.e., high prices for barren lands that landlords are willing to part with). Only for token purposes have some lands been actually bought by the reactionary government from the landlords. The higher the price of the land paid to the landlord, the higher is the redistribution price for the peasants. Thus, only landlords and big bureaucrats have been able to acquire expropriated lands or these remain under state administration indefinitely.
The reactionary government helps the landlord class engage in land speculation. With so much given to them in payment, if they are willing to sell their lands, the landlords can always buy lands elsewhere or get public lands in exchange. After a short while, the reactionary government fails to appropriate funds for its "reform" program.
In an attempt to hoodwink the broad masses of the people enraged by the persistence of large friar estates, a major issue in the Philippine Revolution of 1896, the Taft Commission purchased from the religious corporations some of these estates. The exorbitant amount of over $7.0 million were paid for some 400,000 acres. Small plots were subsequently resold to 60,000 tenants and bigger portions were allocated to leading renegades of the Philippine Revolution as their bribe for collaborating with US imperialism. Within a short period of time, the recipients of these small plots sold out as they were weighed down by the heavy redistribution price and got deeper and deeper in debt.
Quezon used the slogan of "social justice" as his mouthwash at a time when the peasant masses manifested strongly their aspiration to be liberated from imperialist and feudal rule during the thirties. But, he agreed with the landlord delegates in the 1935 Constitutional Convention in putting into the colonial constitution the requirement of "just compensation" for lands that may be expropriated from the landlords and also in implying that feudal exploitation had a right to exist so long as the reactionary government could not buy out the landlords. It never came to pass under the auspices of Quezon that, as indicated in the constitution, a limit to retention of private agricultural lands would be set by law and be enforced.
The colonial constitution directly sets limits for the holding of public agricultural lands. A private corporation or association is not allowed to acquire, lease, or hold public agricultural lands in excess of 1,024 hectares. No individual is allowed to acquire such lands by purchase in excess of 144 hectares, or by lease in excess of 1,024 hectares, or by homestead in excess of 24 hectares.
A maximum of 2,000 hectares of grazing lands may, however, be leased to an individual, private corporation, or association. These retention limits are high enough to allow the landlords to expand their landholdings tremendously. But these retention limits have never been strictly required by the reactionary government. Public lands in general have always been an open field for the expansion of the landholdings of Filipino comprador-landlords and big bureaucrats as well as US agro-corporations.
Commonwealth Act No. 21 was passed in 1936 authorizing Quezon to purchase homesites on large landed estates for resale to occupants and it called for the appropriation of the measly amount of P1.0 million. It was, however, only in 1939 that he created the Rural Progress Administration to acquire and administer properties under the foregoing legislation. When this administrative body was dissolved in 1950, it had acquired a total of only 37,746 hectares equal to a mere particle of one percent of the total land area owned by the landlords in 1948.
The Land Reform Act of 1955 was another piece of deception brought out by the landlord-CIA agent Ramon Magsaysay, who misrepresented himself as a "land reformer" in his attempt to seize political initiative from the armed peasant struggle. The act created the Land Tenure Administration with the avowed purpose of expropriating landed estates whose size exceeded the maximum retention limit of 300 and 600 hectares of contiguous area for private individuals and corporations, respectively; and to make it a formal state policy for the Philippines to remain an agricultural appendage of the United States. Under the puppet regimes of Magsaysay, Garcia and partially of Macapagal, no more than 30 landed estates (including urban real estates) were expropriated. The expropriation of the few estates became an occasion for the corrupt collusion between the government negotiator and the landlord who overpriced his estate.
The Agricultural Land Reform Code passed in 1963 under the Macapagal regime is the latest of sham land reform measures. It is touted by the reactionaries as the legal instrument that would finally emancipate the tenant masses in rice and corn lands. But like all previous sham land reform laws, it declares that the reactionary government shall expropriate lands from the landlords only by giving "just compensation" and that the tenant masses shall have to pay the redistribution price of the parcels allotted to them from the expropriated lands. No poor peasant, farm worker or lower-middle peasant can afford to pay the redistribution price even on a deferred-payment basis. The redistribution price is exorbitant because it embodies the overpricing that usually goes into land purchases made by the reactionary government. Furthermore, there are administration costs, interest payments and taxes charged on the tenant who tries to pay the redistribution price.
The Agricultural Land Reform Code sets an order of priority in expropriating lands, which is as follows: 1) idle or abandoned lands; 2) those whose area exceeds 1,024 hectares; 3) those whose area exceeds 500 hectares but is not more than 1,024 hectares; 4) those whose area exceeds 144 hectares but is not more than 500 hectares; and 5) those whose area exceeds 75 hectares but is not more than 144 hectares. Giving priority to the expropriation of idle or abandoned lands is downright silly, because these lands can easily be confiscated or reverted to the public domain. Idle and abandoned lands are usually of poor quality and difficult to cultivate. The landlords themselves consider these lands uneconomic and are just too willing to part with them at an overprice they can always collude on with the reactionary government. Buying this type of land would tie down and deplete the finances of the Land Bank; and the tenant masses would not be able to afford the redistribution price and the cost of developing the land.
It will never come to the point that the reactionary government will be able to enforce a maximum retention limit of 75 hectares, which the Agricultural Land Reform Code merely suggests by its order of priority in expropriation. Even if this limit is enforced, it would still be high enough to give free rein to the landlord class. A landlord can simply distribute the excess areas to immediate members of his family or sell them in order to acquire lands elsewhere. As a matter of fact, the code encourages the landlord class to sell out where there is peasant unrest and get public lands elsewhere or buy lands elsewhere.
The landlord does not have to move out from any area. The code allows him so many brusque tricks to evade expropriation, aside from the simple act of distributing excess land areas to immediate relatives. He may coerce or deceive his tenants into signing or attesting to a declaration that he himself is the tiller. He can adopt some semblance of mechanization or actually adopt mechanization. He can adopt the wage system instead of the tenancy system. He can shift from the production of rice or corn to the production of some other crops. He can cheat his tenants on accounts and pile up debts on them so that they will be prevented from becoming "amortizing-owners." He can simply pass off his land as an educational, residential or commercial area. The code categorically exempts from expropriation lands that are already or about to be operated on a mechanized basis, or that are planted to crops outside of rice and corn. Thus, lands planted to sugar cane, coconut, citrus and others are exempted. Lands categorized as religious, educational, residential or industrial sites are also exempted.
The most important factor in the persistence of landlordism in this country is the political power behind the sham and token operation of the seven "land reform" agencies created by the code. It is impossible for the reactionary government to go against its feudal masters. The National Land Reform Council and the Land Authority, the principal policy-making agencies, are under the thumb of the landlord class. Their landlord officials have as a matter of fact grabbed more public lands for themselves than they have been able to distribute to the landless.
There was not a single landed estate purchased by the Macapagal puppet regime from the landlord class for redistribution under the Agricultural Land Reform Code. It took three years from the enactment of the code before the Land Bank, responsible for financing the expropriation of landed estates, could be organized. During the period of 1966-69, the Land Bank actually received the measly amount of P13.6 million out of the P400 million that was supposed to have been appropriated to it. During the same period, the reactionary government released several hundred times more funds (half a billion pesos annually) for the reactionary armed forces to keep the people in feudal bondage. A year of Philcag adventure in Vietnam was worth P35 million.
Under the code, the capital of the Land Bank is supposed to be P1.5 billion, with P900 million subscribed by the government and issued as preferred shares. Now that the reactionary government is more bankrupt than ever, it will find it more difficult to release funds for its bogus program of expropriation.
From 1966 to 1969, the Land Bank was able to purchase 10 agricultural estates comprising 997.6 hectares for P3.4 million. The lands were to be resold to 363 tenants. It is clear by this record that the reactionary government will never be able to buy off even one percent of landlord property.
And yet in the few areas where actual token purchases of landlord property were made by the reactionary government, the poor peasants as in previous times would never be able to afford the redistribution price. The average cost per hectare of land acquired so far by the Land Bank is P3,408. If the lands were to be redistributed to the tenant peasants, each would actually be entitled to three hectares. Computations can immediately show that the tenant will never be able to save enough to pay the principal of P10,224 and the administration costs, interest charges and taxes, even on an installment plan of 25 years. We know too well that a poor peasant cannot save P409 annually just to pay 1/25 of the principal cost of the land allotted to him.
In the six years following the enactment of the Agricultural Land Reform Code, the US imperialists were able to take over public agricultural lands at the expense of homesteaders. Even before a single agricultural estate could be expropriated, the reactionary government turned over to such US agro-corporations as the Philippine Packing Corporation, United Fruit, Dole and Standard (Philippines) Fruit Corporation tens of thousands of hectares with the option to widen them some more for planting pineapple, banana and others. Such government corporations as the National Development Corporation and the Mindanao Development Authority made up "growers' agreements" with these US agro-corporations, despite the constitutional rule that only Philippine corporations with at least 60 percent Filipino equity can hold public agricultural lands and that even these cannot hold any such land in excess of 1,024 hectares. Fifty thousand hectares of the Mt. Apo National Park Reservation was also offered to these US agro-corporations, especially the notorious United Fruit Corporation.
The landlord class has never stopped grabbing lands that are already being cultivated by the national minorities and small settlers. As a matter of fact, the reactionary government encourages the landlords to exchange their lands in more populated areas for wider fields from the public domain, especially in Mindanao. But the most striking development in the land situation since the enactment of the Agricultural Land Reform Code has been the rapid conversion of rice and corn lands into sugar lands and the considerable increase of large-scale capitalist farming and farm-mechanization. Peasants have been driven out of their farms by bulldozers, guns and court orders.
As a result of the decontrol policy and the repeated devaluation of the peso, the comprador-landlords have been in a position to acquire more lands and build up their milling facilities. The sugar landlords have been specially favored by the puppet government with the biggest financial support to expand their sugarcane fields. The puppet government has extended all the necessary dollar support for the construction of eighteen new sugar mills at various points of the country. The construction of forty more sugar mills is being considered. This is in line with the US imperialist policy of preempting the formal termination of the Laurel-Langley Agreement by exhausting the financial resources of the puppet government on projects that will reinforce the colonial character of the economy.
4. The Extent of Feudal and Semi-feudal Exploitation
a. The Magnitude of the Land Problem
The peasantry has become more impoverished during the last seven decades of both direct and indirect US imperialist rule in the Philippines. The reactionary government admits that the rate of tenancy increased from 18 percent in 1903 to 22 percent in 1918, to 35 percent in 1933, to 37.4 percent in 1948 and then to 48 percent in 1956 and to 50 percent in 1961. According to the 1960 agricultural census, 63 percent of rice cultivators are share-croppers, tilling an average of 2.6 hectares each. In 1963, eight million of the 27 million Filipino people were sharecroppers. All these figures coming from the statistical agencies of the reactionary government require verification through actual rural surveys. But they indicate the extreme plight of the great majority of the Filipino peasantry.
In 1903, only 0.8 percent of the population owned 35 percent of the total farm area. Fifty years after, a lesser percentage of people owned more lands. In 1953, only 0.36 percent owned 41.5 percent of the total farm area.
As of 1954, there were about 13,859 landlords (their names are often repeated in the list) owning 50 hectares to more than 1,000 hectares of agricultural lands. Landlords owning 50 to 200 hectares numbered 11,770; 201 to 500 hectares, 1,455; 501 to 1,000 hectares, 423; and above 1,000 hectares, 221. This handful of exploiters owned 2.4 million hectares of the 5.7 million hectares total farm area. The 221 biggest landowners owned more than half-a-million hectares or close to 10 percent of the total farm area in the country.
As of 1968, there were about 10,764 landlords (their names are again often repeated in the list) listed by provincial assessors as owning from 50 hectares to more than 1,000 hectares of agricultural lands. Landlords owning 50 to 199 hectares numbered 8,914; 200 to 499 hectares, 1,228; 500 to 1,000 hectares, 417; and above 1,000 hectares 204. The total area of their landholdings could easily come to 3,000,000 hectares or a little below 50 percent of the total agricultural area of the country today.
The number of big landlords owning 50 hectares to more than 1,000 hectares in Northern Luzon is 717; Central Luzon, 1,899; Southern Luzon, 2,827; Visayas, 3,150 and Mindanao, 2,171. These figures are still based on the listing made by provincial assessors of the reactionary government. Rural investigation in various parts of the country have revealed that there were omissions in the listing. At any rate, the listing amply shows the magnitude of big landlord property in the country.
The 25 provinces with the biggest number of big landlords are the following in their order:
- Negros Occidental
- Camarines Sur
- Nueva Ecija
- Negros Oriental
- Zamaboanga del Norte
- North Cotabato
- Mindoro Oriental
- Davao del Norte
Every Philippine province is afflicted with feudalism and has its own share of landlords and, therefore, poor peasants and farm workers. Batanes, Camiguin and Surigao del Norte, the smallest provinces in terms of population and territory have 11, 12 and 11 big landlords owning 50 hectares and above, respectively. The mountainous provinces of Kalinga-Apayao, Mountain Province, Ifugao and Eastern Samar have 11, 15, 8 and 7 big landlords, respectively. Romblon and Sulu are provinces with a small land area but which have 161 and 118 big landlords, respectively.
On a national scale, we may readily classify the owners of 50 hectares and above as big landlords. On the basis of closer knowledge of the land problem, that is to say, the concrete relations on landholdings, we can determine who are the big, middle and small landlords in areas where landlord property is generally less than 50 hectares. There is a significant number of landlords owning 10 to 49 hectares. The magnitude of landlord property is not the sole factor that makes feudalism. More important are the relations of production to be considered. This should be well remembered in analyzing the land situation in provinces where population density is high and there is relative land scarcity. Here the value of land is so high that the poor peasants and other semi proletarians have absolutely no hope of attaining the status of owner-cultivators.
Feudal and semi-feudal exploitation in such land-scarce areas as Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, the mountain provinces, Cebu and Eastern Samar is even worse than, say, in certain areas of Central Luzon where the armed peasant movement has to a certain degree seized democratic gains. The land-scarce areas are generally the source of farm workers for haciendas in other areas and of settlers in the frontier areas of the last seven decades. Farm workers in the haciendas of Central Luzon and even Laguna come in great numbers from the Ilocos provinces and in the haciendas of the Negros and Mindanao provinces, from Cebu and provinces of Panay, Samar and Leyte. In Mindanao, the land-starved Visayans and Ilocanos are also found in great numbers as homesteaders and tenants.
b. Basic Forms of Exploitation in the Countryside
The basic forms of landlord exploitation in the countryside today include the exaction of high land rent from the poor peasants and semi-owner peasants and the imposition of the extremist wage slavery on farm workers. Aggravating these basic forms of exploitation are the practice of usury, price manipulation, menial service and tribute-making. Political oppression is also necessarily the concomitant of economic exploitation. Only a concrete social investigation by the proletarian revolutionary cadres can fully expose the evils of feudalism and semi-feudalism from place to place. However, we can cite some widespread practices as the starting point for understanding the problem.
1) Land Rent, Usury and Other Feudal Evils Land
Land rent to the landlord is still as high as 80, 70, 60 and 50 percent of the crop, although it is commonly said by the less knowledgeable that the "50-50" sharecropping arrangement is the prevalent system of rent payment all over the country. In many areas, 60 percent rent is still the open rule dictated by the landlord who takes advantage of the already impoverished condition of the poor peasant and of the absence of any other economic opportunity for the latter.
Ordinarily, the landlord boasts of having a "50-50" sharecropping arrangement with his tenants. But in fact he makes them shoulder all the agricultural expenses. It is very common that mainly or only the tenants shoulder the expenses incurred in preparing the seedlings, plowing and harrowing, planting, irrigation, fertilization, pest control, harvesting and threshing. Even if the landlord were to share in such expenses "50-50," it would still be unfair and unjust to lose sight of the actual work expended by the tenants and to give the landlord a 50 percent rent on the crop. Besides, whenever he provides seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides and other such materials, he overprices and charges payment for these and thereby sucks blood from the tenants at this very instance. He also demands a high price for the use of his work animals or simply makes his tenants absorb the expenses for renting the rich peasants' work animals. Whenever he introduces some machinery to take over a part in the process of cultivation, he always manages to increase his share and reduces his tenants' share. He can unilaterally decide to "improve" the land, say the irrigation or dike system, and then require the tenants to pay back to him in the form of higher land rent the expenses which he alone had accounted. The tenants are obliged to deliver to the landlord his crop share and to stock this up in his granary without any compensation and often times even without being given a meal by him.
On sugar lands that have been converted from rice and corn lands, the tenants face such possibilities as complete displacement, conversion into farm workers or accepting a special kind of sharecropping arrangement. The sharecropping arrangement is supposed to be "50-50" between the landlord and the tenant on the net amount after the sugar central has deducted 40 to 50 percent of the milled sugar and after the landlord has also deducted for himself his supposed expenses for seedlings, harrowing, fertilizer, weeding, cutting and delivery to the sugar central. The landlord alone does all the computations for the agricultural expenses and he alone knows the quantity and the value of the sugar and molasses that come off the milling process. Oftentimes, the landlord mendaciously tells the tenant that both of them have had bad luck, while in fact the landlord has made a killing.
Usury is a major feudal device that many landlords use to increase their crop share and also to acquire more lands. They may agree to any sharecropping arrangement but in lending money to the tenants either for the cultivation of the land or for the upkeep of the tenant's family, an interest rate ranging from 100 percent in three months to 50 percent per month is demanded. The landlords take the option of demanding cash or so much of the tenant's crop share, whichever yields the higher profit at the time of the debt payment. Together with the landlords, merchants and a number of rich peasants impose usury on the poor peasants long before the next harvest. Usury results mainly from the fact that poor peasants can hardly subsist on their crop share and can offer no collateral except their crop share in the next harvest.
Crop distribution laws involving tenants only in rice and sugar lands and credit laws have been passed by the reactionary government. But these have been of no avail to the peasantry. In practice, the landlord class holds the tenants in its vice with feudal common law. Contracts between the landlords and the tenants are not even in written-form and the terms can be arbitrarily fixed or changed by the former. The tenants are under the constant threat of being ejected or shifted to inferior and smaller plots. They cannot afford to get involved in a long-drawn litigation in which they are sure to lose inside and outside the courts. The landlord's hatchetmen and the reactionary troops and police are always on hand to oust them from their tenancy in the most brutal manner possible.
It is not surprising if in many cases the tenants are made to pay wholly or partially for the share of the overseer. Oftentimes, the overseer calls them to do construction work or menial service for the landlord or for himself or for the local reactionary government without pay. Overseers and hacienda guards play the oppressive role of running dogs.
The Rice Share Tenancy Act of 1933 declared as contrary to "public policy" tenancy arrangements in which the tenant received less than 50 percent of the net crop. At the same time it provided that the law could take effect within a province only if the majority of the landlord-controlled municipal councils in the province would file a petition for implementation against their very class interests. Because of the obvious loopholes in the law, the landlord Quezon pretended to play hero by having the law amended in 1936 to empower himself to proclaim the effectivity of the law piecemeal. The result was that he made flamboyant proclamations only in ten provinces where he considered it necessary to mislead the peasants. Long after Quezon, the landlord class would still continue to exploit the peasant masses at the same rate as before.
Commonwealth Act 4113 of 1933 requires the landlords in sugar lands to show receipts from the sugar central on the amount of sugar cane harvested and on the quantity and value of sugar and molasses that come off the milling process. This has never been observed. Besides, the landlords who are often stockholders in the milling corporation can easily collude with the sugar central in cheating the tenants. The widest area for deception is allowed by this act which gives the landlord the privilege of determining the expenses incurred for planting, cultivating and harvesting.
In an attempt to deceive the peasants into accepting their feudal servitude, especially in areas where the people's army was strong, the landlord Roxas resorted to proclaiming the effectivity of the Rice Share Tenancy Act of 1933 all over the country in 1946. He even had another law passed, Republic Act 112 No. 31, which he allowed to be inaccurately called the "70-30" law in order to give the false impression that the tenants would get the bigger share. This law provided that 55 percent of the crop would go to the tenant only if he furnished the work animals and implements and landlord and tenant shared all other expenses equally. Seventy percent would go to the tenant only if he defrayed all the expenses for planting and cultivation of the land. The high land rent of more than 50 percent still stares us in the face.
Resorting to redundancy, the landlord Magsaysay had the Agrarian Relations Act of 1954 passed. The law merely fixed the land rent at 30 percent of the net crop after deducting the costs of fertilizer, pest and weed control, reaping and threshing. He who provides the work animals is entitled to five percent; farm implements, five percent; transplanting, 25 percent; and final harrowing, five percent of the net crop. This "70-30" law has been followed only in a few places. Here, the landlords manage to actually raise the land rent by overpricing their share of agricultural costs and engaging in usury and other unscrupulous activities.
The latest law involving tenancy, the Agricultural Land Reform Code, provides that share tenancy shall be "abolished" by bringing the tenant masses into the "leasehold" system in "land reform" districts proclaimed piecemeal by the National Land Reform Council. Under the "leasehold" system, the tenants enter into a "leasehold" contract with their landlord to pay in cash or crop a fixed annual land rent equivalent to 25 percent of the annual net crop computed on the basis of the three normal crop years preceding the contract. While it appears that rent reduction has been effected by the code, the truth is that there is nothing of the sort because in the "leasehold" contract the tenants commit themselves to shouldering all agricultural expenses and, worse, to paying the fixed annual rent even when the crop is bad or some calamity, like flood, drought or infestation, destroys the entire crop. It is for this reason that the peasant masses detest the Agricultural Land Reform Code like the plague. The "leasehold" system is nothing but a new form of share tenancy and is in many respects worse than the older forms of tenancy.
Several years have passed since the enactment of the Agricultural Land Reform Code, and yet the sharecropping arrangement substantially remains the same in the various parts of the country. The Land Authority has reported that from 1966 to 1969 only 13,377 tenants out of millions went into "leasehold." The National Land Reform Council itself has been extremely slow in proclaiming "land reform districts" because the reactionary government as a whole has priorities over and above its sham land reform program. The proclamation of "land reform districts" entails bigger financing for the various "land reform" agencies. Even in areas where these agencies have been well-financed, there is no letup in the feudal and semi-feudal oppression and exploitation of the peasant masses.
A long time ago, an anti-usury law was passed limiting the maximum annual interest rate to 12 percent for secured loans and 14 percent for unsecured loans. Credit institutions like the Agricultural Credit and Cooperative Financing Administration (ACCFA) and private rural banks were also established. But these credit institutions have become mere sources of capital that merchants, landlords and bureaucrats use in their commercial and land-buying operations. Victimized by usury and manipulation of the prices of commodities, owner-peasants become bankrupt and lose their lands. The rural banks often serve as instruments for rendering many owner-cultivators bankrupt. Their lands are underassessed when used as collateral. Because they can offer no collateral aside from their future crop share the poor peasants easily fall prey to the most vicious usurers.
The Agricultural Credit Administration (ACA) has taken over the functions of the ACCFA under the Agricultural Land Reform Code. There is no fundamental change; there is only a change of name. Like its predecessor, the ACA is still basically a source of capital for merchant and usury activities and for fake cooperatives controlled by the landlords, bureaucrats and rich peasants. The limited capital of the ACA basically serves the landlord class. Even assuming that this capital is actually used to serve poor peasants, it is so limited that it cannot serve even only one percent of the vast number of poor peasants. The ACA is nothing but a fig-leaf for the entire exploitative banking system, both government and private, which is controlled and manipulated by the landlord class for maintaining its class rule in the countryside.
2) Wage Slavery on Farms
Because farm workers generally come from land-scarce and one-crop areas, they are even more exploited than the poor peasants who can still subsist on the land that they tenant. Farm workers are a great part of the relative surplus of manpower in the countryside. The hacenderos and labor contractors recognize their desperate economic condition. On this basis both the hacenderos and the labor contractors engage them in the worst exploitative relations despite the fact that agricultural production for export is extremely profitable for the hacenderos.
In sugar cane haciendas, the landlord distinguishes regular from seasonal farm workers. This is his way of getting himself responsible only for the year-round employment of a relatively small number of regular farm workers. In classifying a bigger number of farm workers as seasonal or temporary workers, he can give to them the heaviest workload and pay them the lowest wages only during the few months of the cutting season. Some of these "temporary" farm workers actually reside in the vicinity of the hacienda even off-season, while others come only during the cutting season. In different areas, they get average daily wages ranging from P1.00 to P3.00. They live in subhuman quarters and buy or take on credit at high interest rates their necessities from the hacienda stores at marked-up prices.
Even at the time that U.S. demand for Philippine sugar rose and the price of this commodity rose several times over as a result of the Cuban Revolution, the farm workers were not accorded corresponding wage increases and were pressed down to their old starvation wages. Yet an ongoing inflation and the 1962 devaluation cut down their old wages.
The Agricultural Land Reform Code assured the farm workers of the minimum daily wage of P3.50 in 1963. This has not been complied with by the hacenderos. And yet the value of the peso has been rapidly eroded since then. After the latest devaluation of the currency, Congress made another formal increase of the minimum farm wage to P4.75. This increase of 35 percent is not adequate to meet the more than 60 percent devaluation of the currency. This devaluation continues unabated. And yet it is certain that the hacenderos as before will not comply with their own law unless the farm workers wage fierce and bitter political and economic struggle.
The "bill of rights" listed in one whole chapter of the Agricultural Land Reform Code assures the farm workers of the right to self-organization, to go on strike, to work for not more than eight hours daily unless they agree and unless they are given overtime pay at the regular rate plus 25 percent, to claim damages for death or injuries sustained while at work, to claim compensation for personal injuries, death or illness, and to enjoy permanent tenure. All of these have been violated with utter brutality by the hacenderos.
Without unity and revolutionary consciousness, the farm workers are easily rendered helpless by the landlords because the latter can withhold the former's wages for the first month and the labor contractor is usually a person in authority (mayor, chief of police, councilor or barrio captain) in the place where the farm workers are recruited. Furthermore, the labor contractor binds the farm workers to himself by lending money to their families and by arbitrarily accounting expenses for transportation, food and other miscellaneous things as debt to him at usurious rates as high as 300 percent while the farm workers are still in transit to the haciendas.
The labor contractor basically participates in landlord exploitation by getting a commission for every ton or day that the farm workers complete. While already in the hacienda, the farm workers are often forced to live in unsanitary quarters and are cheated of their food rations and in the weighing or counting of the sugar cane that they cut, haul or load. When they get sick, their fate is worse than a carabao's. They are merely sent away. A carabao is at least taken care of.
The condition of farm workers toiling in various areas where sugarcane, coconut, abaca, tobacco, rubber, banana, pineapple and vegetables are produced on a large scale and on the basis of capitalist farming should be closely investigated by the cadres inasmuch as the forms of exploitative relations differ from area to area. Ordinarily, however, the farm workers receive only a few tens of pesos monthly during the harvest season, whether they are paid on wage or piecework ( pakyaw) basis.
Because farm workers employed by rich peasants are also a significant lot, close attention has also to be paid to them. Their wage condition can still be improved even as their employers need to be neutralized instead of attacked as the enemy.
The preservation of feudalism in the Philippines is a matter of prime necessity for US imperialism. If landlord power were to be overthrown in the countryside, US imperialism would have nothing to stand on and it would have to face a colossal force that can drive it out of the country. So, US imperialism resorts to all kinds of measures preventing an agrarian revolution. It has a program of counterinsurgency to suppress the revolutionary mass movement of the peasantry in the countryside. Components of this program of counterinsurgency are the sham land reform measures, "civic action," reformist organizations and murder gangs like the "Monkees,"the Barrio Self-Defense Units (BSDU), the "provincial strike forces" and "special forces." US imperialism keeps on adopting old tactics of counterrevolution and calling them by new names. It will certainly bring out its own aggressor troops from its military bases to attack the people the moment the reactionary puppet troops and police become weakened or fail to suppress the people.
US imperialism has recently increased its direct interests in Philippine agriculture. US agro-corporations have opened large plantations, especially in Mindanao. The Rockefeller monopoly group has put up the biggest fertilizer plant, the Esso Standard Fertilizer and Agricultural Chemical Co., Inc. (ESFAC), and has put up the International Rice Research Institute to undertake the culture of new rice varieties which require heavy doses of fertilizers. The ESFAC today can directly determine the price of all agricultural commodities by its control of fertilizers, pesticides and all chemicals for agricultural use. The Agricultural Land Reform Code was pushed through by US imperialism as a maneuver to compel landlords to buy more farm equipment from US companies and also to convert their rice and corn lands into sugar land inasmuch as mechanization and sugar cultivation are major excuses for them to get exempted from expropriation. Dow Chemicals, the notorious manufacturer of defoliants and other chemical-biological weapons (CBW) for the US war of aggression in Indochina, is already in business in the Philippines and is frenziedly conducting research to destroy vegetation in the Philippines in the event that revolutionary base areas emerge.
The Japanese monopolies are collaborating with the US monopolies in turning the Philippines into a market for farm equipment and in investing in plantations. US imperialism today is accommodating the needs of Japan for Philippine agricultural commodities. To make sure that Japan will play second fiddle to it in Philippine agriculture, US imperialism has accelerated its own direct investments in this field. The Japanese monopolies have long prepared to operate plantations once more in the Philippines as before in World War II.
5. The Political Power of the Landlord Class
The landlord class will never surrender its ownership of vast lands voluntarily. Neither will it allow exploitative relations in the countryside to cease. It will always make use of its political power to serve its interests. At the first sign of resistance by the peasants to its authority, it never hesitates to use armed force to quell them. Woe unto the fool who relies exclusively on the Office of the Agrarian Counsel and the Court of Agrarian Relations! In all "land reform" laws adopted by the reactionary government, the landlord class has never failed to put provisions that benefit itself and worsen the plight of the peasantry. The army, police, courts and prisons are at its service. It has put up for its immediate purposes private armies not only for carrying out factional strife within the class but also for attacking the growing revolutionary mass movement. Warlordism in the provinces has steadily risen. The landlord class has its direct representatives at every level of the reactionary government, from the barrio level to the national. The landlords themselves are officials of the reactionary government. Their power extends into every agency of the reactionary government, especially the coercive apparatuses of the state. Being the big and widespread financiers of electoral campaigns, they are found in decisive positions in all the reactionary political parties.
Every time the reactionary government speaks of increasing agricultural productivity or of making export incentives, it merely wants to bring the benefits to the landlord class. So long as the landlords continue to own large estates and so long as they continue to control the relations of production in the countryside, all the improved roads, bridges, ports, irrigation systems, river control systems and even the agricultural extension services that the reactionary government may build with onerous foreign loans and high taxes can only redound to the benefit of the landlord class and the big comprador bourgeoisie.
The landlord class has various types of organizations which it can directly and indirectly use to look after its interests in every possible way within the present system. It has the millers' and producers' associations and the chambers of commerce. It has the so-called civic and charitable organizations which are used to publicize its "thoughtfulness" and "kindheartedness" and to conceal the ruthlessness and violence of its rule. It puts up fake cooperatives to manipulate the various strata of the peasantry. It has the banks serving as the centers of landlord-comprador alliances.
Among all types of organizations, the Catholic Church serves as the oldest and most reliable defender of the landlord class. It has been the most decisive and most virulent factor in the development and preservation of feudalism for over four centuries. This Church is itself a big landlord, enjoying undiminished the feudal privileges that it enjoyed in the Spanish colonial system. It is a parasitic institution enjoying the material support of the landlord class. It is an ideological and political weapon, using all kinds of tactics to advocate the "sacredness" of the right of landlords to keep their property. It has put up a big number of lay organizations dedicated to the preservation of landlordism and yet pretending to work for land reform. Even its bishops and priests and the landlords' children in sectarian schools have joined in the fun of reformism only to proscribe violently those who advocate agrarian revolution and to prescribe to the oppressed peasant masses the old recipe of faith and confidence in the reactionary government and in the landlord class.
In the countryside today, there is quite a number of peasant associations, farm workers' unions, "rural development" agencies and "cooperative" projects which are reformist and counterrevolutionary. These are organized either by the US counterinsurgency agencies, bureaucrat capitalists, religious organizations, counterrevolutionary revisionist renegades, plain crooks or the landlords themselves directly. To mention a few, these are the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), the Presidential Arm on Community Development (PACD), the Free Farmers' Federation (FFF), the Federated Movement for Social Justice and Reform (FMSJR), Malayang Samahang Magsasaka (Lava faction), Kaisahang Magsasaka (Kasaka) and the like. They share the counterrevolutionary objective of swindling the poor peasants and farm workers into believing that they can rise up from their oppression and exploitation by trusting the "land reform" program of the reactionary comprador-landlord state. They hope vainly to draw away the poor peasants and farm workers from the agrarian revolution for which the Communist Party of the Philippines is indefatigably and courageously fighting.
1. The Meaning Of Bureaucrat Capitalism
In dominating the Philippines, US imperialism, like its colonial predecessors, found it expedient at the outset to secure the assistance of local traitors. Since it had to accommodate and assimilate the comprador big bourgeoisie and the landlord class to pursue its selfish interests, it considered as its most reliable assistants in colonial administration the political representatives of these exploiting classes. US imperialism sought its first puppet bureaucrats from the ranks of the principalia. It took a special preference for renegades of the Philippine Revolution because these were very useful for scuttling the revolutionary efforts of the people and were too eager to prove their new colonial allegiance and take advantage of the bureaucratic and economic opportunities offered to them.
The pack of counterrevolutionary speculators that had crept into the leadership of the Aguinaldo government was the first group of local politicians to be permitted by US imperialism to organize a political party in the Philippines. Their Partido Federal campaigned for the annexation of the Philippines to the United States. Membership in this traitor party was proof of loyalty to the alien flag and served as a guarantee for gaining appointment to the colonial bureaucracy established by US imperialism.
When the Partido Federal became too discredited and isolated, the US imperialists procured the bureaucratic assistance of the Nacionalista Party and assigned to it the special role of lulling the people with patriotic slogans while servilely performing colonial chores. The class leadership of this new traitor party was no different from that of its predecessor.
The Nacionalista Party was so efficient in its special role of pretending to be for independence and preventing the people from asserting their sovereign rights that it was allowed to dominate puppet politics for quite a long time. After World War II, however, US imperialism saw to it that what was then the most reactionary wing within the Nacionalista Party be converted into another party so as to maintain a two-party system in which one party checks the other to stay within the bounds of a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society.
In this last quarter of a century, the Nacionalista Party and the Liberal Party have never expressed any basic difference in program with regard to the problems of US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. The stalwarts of both parties at every level can shift from one party to the other without having much to account for except in the most superficial terms. These puppet political parties have always been alike as the democratic Party and the Republican Party or Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola are alike.
There is so much muckraking between these two reactionary parties, especially on the issue of graft and corruption. But mutually they avoid bringing up the fundamental issues involving the foreign and feudal domination over the country. What bounds them above all is their servitude to US imperialism and to the local exploiting classes and their pursuit of private wealth. Their differences are at the most factional and cliquish. They are preoccupied with quarrelling over the spoils of colonial office.
The big bureaucrats are characteristically big compradors and big landlords themselves. Contrary to the liberal lie that a "poor boy can become president," no one has ever reached the rank of even a congressman without representing the exploiting classes and without in the process joining them. By the time that someone has become president in the present system, he shall have become not only the chief political representative of the exploiters but also one of the biggest among them.
With US imperialism enlarging its interests at the expense of the broad masses of the people, the colonial bureaucrats have become bureaucrat capitalists. They are capitalists by keeping the entire government as a large private enterprise from which they draw enormous private profits. They act like the local managers of the US monopolies. They serve the comprador big bourgeoisie and the landlord class, which are their internal material basis. Nevertheless, as distinguished from these two exploiting classes, the bureaucrat capitalists build up or expand their wealth through the exercise of political power. Classic statements to describe their distinctive character have come from their own mouths: "What are we in power for?", "We must provide for the future of our families!" and "We are all giant octopuses here!"
Through their political parties, the bureaucrat capitalists try to give the masses the false illusion of democratic choice. But these political parties are nothing but the external trappings of comprador-landlord dynasties perpetuating themselves in power. So far, elections have been regularly held in the Philippines but US imperialism and the local exploiting classes have always seen to it that only the political parties and the candidates subservient to their interests are politically permitted and financially capable of running for elective positions in the bureaucracy.
These exploiting interests contribute financially to both sides of an electoral contest to make sure that whichever wins, the forces of counterrevolution win and the broad masses of the people who are misled into the motion of voting lose. Oftentimes, these exploiters give vent to their preferences only by giving more funds to their favorite candidates. The general result is that the reactionary government continues to be their instrument and that the bureaucrat capitalists continue to draw their own profits from the preservation of a semi-colonial and semi-feudal order.
A party which is in control of government funds and facilities has a great advantage over an opposition party. In addition, it can also dispose at least a clique in the reactionary armed forces for fraud and terrorism. Despite all these, however, such a party that is ostensibly in power can either retain its majority position or be shoved into a minority position in the reactionary government only as US imperialism and the local exploiting classes wish. These superior powers behind the entire puppet state have more disposable funds for electioneering. They are controllers of the most powerful mass media. They can manipulate the levers of their economic and political power to unleash propaganda in favor of their own policies and interests. To put the ruling party in a ridiculous position, all that the US imperialists have to do is to withhold loan capital from the reactionary government or all that the local exploiting classes have to do is to manipulate the prices of prime commodities. Besides all these tricks, the puppet politicians have to watch out in whose favor the reactionary armed forces are being swung by US imperialism.
During the last 25 years, so-called third parties have been put up. These parties like the Democratic Party led by Carlos P. Romulo and the Progressive Party of the Philippines led by the Manahan-Manglapus gang have served mainly to firm up the puppet and exploitative class character of the two-party system and have merely ensured the granting of concessions to their chieftains. These "third parties" have been used only to tilt the balance in favor of the most reactionary candidates at a given time in the puppet elections. Romulo's Democratic Party was used to support the Magsaysay candidacy. The Manahan-Manglapus gang has continuously adapted its party to the needs of the CIA and the reactionary diehards in the Catholic Church whose support it enjoys. The Progressive Party of the Philippines became the Grand Alliance in 1959 and launched a campaign for the decontrol policy and went to the extent of threatening the incumbent regime with a coup d'état. In 1961, the Manglapus-Manahan gang formed the United Opposition with the Liberal Party to ensure the electoral success of the latter with its colonial platform of "free enterprise." Now the Manglapus-Manahan gang is running the Christian Social Movement. This latest contraption of the CIA and the reactionary diehards in the oldest colonial and feudal institution in the country is intended as before to mislead those who are disgusted with the present political system into counterrevolutionary reformism and clerico-fascism. Its comprador and landlord leaders echo the catchphrases of the discredited Christian Democratic parties of Europe and Latin America.
So far, the only "third party" with some positive aspects emerged in 1957 when the Nationalist-Citizens' Party was led by Sen. Claro Mayo Recto. It was at best, however, an anti-imperialist mouthpiece of the national bourgeoisie for a short while. It had a dual character. Its failure resulted from its adherence to bourgeois constitutionalism and parliamentarism. In the end, it served only to strengthen the present political system. Now it remains a mere name with which individual opportunists qualify themselves for concessions from the present ruling party.
2. Sources of Graft and Corruption
Graft and corruption is an integral part of a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. The bureaucracy is nothing but an instrument for facilitating the exploitation of the broad masses of the people by foreign and feudal interests. The bureaucrat capitalists merely exact their share in the profits of comprador and landlord exploitation. It is their reward. In dishing out the anachronistic jargon of "liberal democracy" or "free enterprise," they simply mean to say that private interest (individual freedom of the exploiters) is paramount to public interest.
The entire hierarchy of the Philippine bureaucracy, including the executive, legislative and judicial branches, from the time of Quezon and Osmena to that of Macapagal and Marcos, has always been ridden with graft and corruption. One has only to take note of how much property a certain bureaucrat capitalist has at the start of his treacherous career and compare it with his visible assets that accumulate from year to year to be convinced of the enormity of graft and corruption and how detestably rotten the present system is.
In the guise of collecting support for their political parties, the bureaucrat capitalists get funds and facilities from their imperialist, comprador and landlord masters. Even before winning the elections or even in losing out to their opponents, they become wealthy on account of the large campaign contributions that they get. In return for the largesse that they collect, they become bound to the class interests of their supporters.
The bureaucrat capitalists get bribe money on the adoption of laws, executive orders and court decisions. In every contract, concession, franchise or license there is a certain amount of money that is used to line the pockets of the bureaucrat capitalists. Oftentimes, they themselves are parties in private transactions directly or through trusted dummies or relatives. It is characteristic of bureaucrat capitalists today to flaunt their status as chairmen, consultants or legal counsel of private business enterprises.
Public lands, including those actually cultivated by the poor homesteaders and the national minorities, are grabbed by the bureaucrat capitalists and their collaborators. These are taken over as logging, mining or pasture areas at first under a lease or some other kind of contract with the government and subsequently converted into their private property. And public works are so designed as to raise the value of these lands.
In export-import operations peculiar to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country, the bureaucrat capitalists draw their own share of comprador profits by putting their own outfits and the bribe-givers' on the priority list in foreign exchange accommodation. In the misdeclaration of imports and exports and consequent tax evasion, they cheat their own reactionary government of revenues.
Every year enormous amounts of funds are appropriated for public works. Most of these actually go into the pockets of the bureaucrat capitalists. Public bidding for the purchase of equipment and construction materials or for the hiring of a construction firm is manipulated. The payroll is also padded to pay idle proteges and also to yield more graft for the bureaucrat capitalists.
The government banking and insurance systems have been used to build up the landholdings and capital holdings of the bureaucrat capitalists and their close collaborators. Even when loans are granted to other borrowers, large percentages of the loans grease the palms of the bureaucrat capitalists. Using funds collected from workers and government employees through the Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System, the reactionary government makes direct investments in private corporations. In the process, the bureaucrat capitalists get various concessions aside from gaining positions of authority in these private corporations.
All government corporations become milking cows in the hands of the bureaucrat capitalists. They are the sources of huge salaries and allowances. Purchase bids provide still bigger income for them. At so large an expense by the reactionary government, so-called pioneering enterprises are put up only to be sold at a losing price to private entities. Before being sold, these government corporations are subjected to all kinds of financial manipulation. Their bankruptcy becomes the rationale for their sale, that is, for another bureaucrat-capitalist killing. The bankruptcy of a government corporation is ridiculously used as an argument by the bureaucrat parasites themselves, not against state capitalism but against socialism.
In the accounting of private assets, there is a double standard: one is the book value for tax purposes and the other is the market value. Tax exemptions and all kinds of incentives are further granted to imperialist, comprador and landlord interests. Corporate bodies and fake cooperatives controlled by the imperialists, compradors and landlords are created to cheat the petit bourgeoisie and the masses in general. In all these arrangements, there is so wide an area for graft and corruption for the bureaucrat capitalists. Oftentimes, bureaucrat capitalists are directly retained by corporations and haciendas in order to insure immediate suppression of the working people.
At every turn in the history of Philippine bureaucracy, there are special sources of graft and corruption. These could be crop loans, relief goods, war surplus goods, reconstruction funds, Chinese immigration quota, import controls, price controls, dollar allocations, rural banks, fake cooperatives, Japanese war reparations, deportation threats, alien naturalization, logging and mining concessions, pasture leases, stock exchange manipulations, government loans and subscriptions to private corporations, congressional allowances, calamity and contingency funds, barrio improvement funds, subsidies and so on and so forth.
The bureaucrat capitalists also venture directly into the most starkly illegitimate activities. They are involved in smuggling, usury, plain extortion, gambling, cattle-rustling and prostitution. These are conspicuously perpetrated at the lower levels of the bureaucracy though the top bureaucrats operate their political parties as crime syndicates. In this connection, the reactionary troops and police and the private goons of local officials also grow fat on the most anti-social activities.
The sources of graft and corruption enumerated above do not yet complete the list. A particular bureaucrat capitalist may not take advantage of all these at one particular time. But he is certainly taking advantage of some. It is extremely clear that his nominal salary is not adequate to maintain the kind of living that he leads. He would pretend to dole out his monthly salary to his proteges, but in fact he gets a huge income from one stroke of the pen or one telephone call. The arch-hypocrite Magsaysay made a big show of refusing petty gifts but was in fact engaged in grand extortion. Marcos announced that he would give up his worldly goods in self-abnegation, but he actually meant to create a foundation to keep in display his USAFFE medals and "glorify" himself. The most self-aggrandizing purpose of that foundation, however, is the collection of financial "contributions."
Big bureaucrat capitalists have developed standard tricks for keeping their loot. They keep "petty cash" (in millions of pesos) in their house vaults for immediate use, deposits under numbered accounts in Swiss banks, strings of palatial houses and buildings, jewelry and all kinds of luxuries, securities in profitable corporations and land titles. To make a big joke of the Anti-Graft Law, the bureaucrat capitalists temporarily put their assets under the names of close relatives or well-known businessmen until such time that the bureaucrat capitalists can freely cite "legitimate" business ventures.
The center of fire is properly directed at the big bureaucrat capitalists who rapaciously betray the national-democratic interests of the Filipino people. No matter how they conceal their ill-gotten wealth, it will still show in so many pompous assets that they never fail to flaunt. Characteristically, they spend their money in the most wasteful and unproductive ways.
The corruption of the big bureaucrat capitalists extends downward to the lower levels of the reactionary government and the local ward leaders. But by and large, within the reactionary government, the big bureaucrat capitalists oppress and exploit lower officials and ordinary employees.
The bureaucrat capitalists perform the special function of deceiving the people with incantations of national chauvinism and bourgeois populism. They use parliamentarism to dissipate and disrupt any revolutionary movement for national liberation and people's democracy against the evils of US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. When they become desperate, they resort inevitably to the use of the state as a coercive instrument of class dictatorship. They call for "national discipline" to suppress the people's democratic rights. They hypocritically invoke the glittering generalities of the constitution and the name of the people to suppress the people and justify their most heinous fascist crimes.
Bureaucrat capitalism is the basis of local fascism. The bureaucrat capitalists are too well compensated by US imperialism and the local exploiting classes to change their oppressive character in favor of the people. They will go to every length in protecting the interests of their own clique and in keeping the sources of their graft and corruption. In the face of an opposition coming even from another clique of their own class, the bureaucrat capitalists never hesitate to make use of armed force one way or another to preserve their power.
In the face of a revolutionary mass movement, the bureaucrat capitalists are even more vicious in using their armed power. They are in the first line of defense on behalf of their imperialist and feudal masters. The reactionary Armed Forces of the Philippines and the local police forces are ever at their disposal for counterrevolutionary purposes. If they themselves cannot subdue the revolutionary mass movement, US aggressor troops are expected to come out of the US military bases and press them further into the front lines against the people.
The bureaucrat capitalists who turn into barefaced fascists take after their imperialist masters in brutality. For seven decades, US imperialism has taught them how to launch counterrevolutionary violence and has improved their weapons and techniques. Japanese imperialism has also given them three years of training in fascist rule and is again ready to give them some more. There has not been a single decade in Philippine history that is not stained by the blood of the people spilled by imperialism and its running dogs since the beginning of the century.
The present puppet republic is founded on counterrevolutionary violence, that of US imperialism and the local exploiting classes. For the US imperialists and the bureaucrat capitalists of the commonwealth government to return to power, they had to wage a ruthless war of aggression against the Filipino people. This was a repetition of the first US war of aggression at the turn of the century.
Fascism emerged in the Philippines and ravaged the motherland as the bureaucrat-capitalist clique led by Roxas took the main responsibility in combating the revolutionary mass movement. Those who refused resubjugation to US imperialism and the local exploiting classes became the target of fascist attacks. The Counterintelligence Corps, the Military Police Command and the Civilian Guards were unleashed against them.
The military suppression of the broad masses of the people raged on through the puppet regimes of Quirino and Magsaysay. The Philippine Constabulary and tens of battalion combat teams of the Philippine Army conducted the most sanguinary campaigns to uphold the supremacy of their foreign and feudal masters. The counterrevolution was capped by the formal suspension of the writ of habeas corpus (in fact a declaration of martial law) in 1950 which gave the fascist brutes more license to abuse the least semblance of civil liberty. The working class and the peasantry received the hardest blows, and even the petit bourgeoisie was subjected to the most despicable white terror. Fascism was inflicted on the people under the direction of US imperialism through such agencies as the Joint US Military Advisory Group and the Central Intelligence Agency.
Once more fascism is conspicuously on the rise under the Marcos puppet regime. Massacres, assassinations, kidnappings and arrests on trumped-up charges are being flagrantly committed by the reactionary armed forces and police. Patriotic mass actions are brutally dispersed and demonstrators are murdered, maimed and arrested en masse. Brutal steps are taken to dissolve patriotic mass organizations. Even when the writ of habeas corpus is not formally suspended, an actual state of martial law is enforced. People are detained indefinitely, tortured and killed and homes are searched, looted or even burned without the niceties of reactionary laws. All of these abuses are being perpetrated on an increasingly larger scale.
All the fascist acts of the Marcos puppet regime fall under the US program of counterinsurgency. Day and night, the CIA, the JUSMAG and the A.I.D. Office of Public Safety goad the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Police Commission, the National Bureau of Investigation and the local police forces to launch the most dastardly campaign of suppression against the people. Not satisfied with the regular army, constabulary and police formations, special murder gangs like the "Monkees," "special forces," BSDU's and "provincial strike forces" have been organized to intensify the oppression of the people. Even the Reserve Officers Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) and Preparatory Military Training (P.M.T.) are now being geared for counterinsurgency, even as large student masses are attacked in mass demonstrations. More and more youths are being compelled to report to military camps for fascist training. Trainees in "home defense" centers are being used in military operations against the people in Central Luzon and elsewhere.
Marcos himself as the chief bureaucrat capitalist in the country exercises his role as commander-in-chief in the most callous manner. Day in and day out, he shouts threats of formally declaring martial law and in fact directly plots with his minions not only the perpetration of selective terror against patriots and democrats but also of large-scale military abuses on the people. He encourages the chieftains of the armed forces to threaten the imposition of martial law even while the US imperialists never fail to motivate them with the ambition to replace even their commander-in-chief in case he fails to keep the situation in tow. The butcher officers of the reactionary armed forces have the National Defense College, the Philippine Military Academy, and their fort training in the United States to fall back on for inspiration in fascist leadership.
Under the Pentagon slogan of "civic action," the military appropriations are rapidly increasing and the reactionary armed forces are taking over functions formerly reserved for civilians. Funds appropriated for other branches of the government are being shifted to maintain the fascist machinery. For "humanitarian" purposes, the reactionary armed forces have been involved in US wars of aggression abroad.
The bureaucrat-capitalist cliques and dynasties all over the country have gained more license to kill, burn and loot as a result of Marcos' declaration of war against the Communist Party of the Philippines, patriotic mass organizations and the people in general. The formation of BSDU's and "provincial strike forces" all over the country gives them more power than ever to attack the people. Armed gangs which bureaucrat capitalists formerly camouflaged as authorized bodyguards and security agencies for their haciendas and companies have acquired more authority to extort and make depredations. The bureaucrat capitalists have been given the widest latitude for combining reactionary troops and police with their own private killers and extortionists in order to perpetuate themselves in power. The growth of warlordism is accelerated.
The rise of fascism is not actually a sign of strength. It is in essence a show of despair and weakness by the diehard reactionaries. It shows that they have ceased to fool the people with words. The increased depredations of the reactionary armed forces and the fascist armed gangs will hasten the doom of the present system. Fascism is on the rise precisely because the revolutionary mass movement is surging forward and the split among the reactionaries is becoming more violent. It is to be expected that the puppet elections in the Philippines will become more fraudulent and terroristic. The exposure of the violent character of the reactionaries will only teach the masses to defend themselves and assert their own power.
As part of the rise of fascism, the diehard reactionaries in the Catholic Church are helping the present tyrannical government misrepresent and slander the Communist Party and other organizations of a national-democratic character. The Christian Social Movement and its allied organizations are actually more concerned about stopping the people's democratic revolution led by the Communist Party than even about begging for concessions from the tyrants. They are more interested in making the people helpless before the onslaught of US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. The Opus Dei, the clerical instrument of Franco the Spanish fascist, has been imported into the country and has organized the Cursillo movement which means to arouse old clerical organizations into an anti-communist fanaticism and convert the cross into a dagger for killing people in an anti-communist crusade. Clerico-fascism is definitely an ingredient in the rise of fascism. Fascism, though it may take a priestly garb, is sure to be resisted by the masses of Catholic believers themselves and by the broad masses of the people whose historical experience has taught them the evils of friar domination.
In their moment of despair, the diehard reactionaries turn to the most backward institutions and methods for retaining their oppressive power over the people. But the internal and external conditions for armed opposition to the puppet republic have never been better. The political and economic bankruptcy of the present system is undeniable. Those who seek to defend it can only be the object of popular opprobrium. The main protector of the present rotten system, US imperialism, is increasingly being isolated inside the country and abroad and is the object of the most resolute people's wars.
4. Reformism and Modern Revisionism
The intensification of reformist and revisionist activity is complementary to the intensification of fascist activity. The diehard reactionaries will never cease to employ reformist tricks even while they commit heinous counterrevolutionary deeds. They will go to the extent of consorting with the modem revisionists. Reformism and modern revisionism are the brittle shields of fascism.
It is an absolutely foolish hope that legal possibilities can be exhausted before waging an armed revolution. There can be no end to law-making and parliamentary hocus-pocus if the reactionaries are not opposed by an armed revolution. They can even rewrite their constitution, but merely to put more embellishments on it. At this critical stage of Philippine history, the reactionaries find it convenient to rig up another Constitutional Convention and float talks of "peaceful revolution."
Certain laws of the reactionaries can be taken advantage of only for tactical purposes. He is a fool who believes that the reactionary laws could be turned all the time against their own makers, especially when the dividing line between the broad masses of the people and the oppressor minority has been clearly drawn. Any review of history will yield not a single instance when the reactionaries peacefully allowed their class privileges to be written off.
At a time when the people are clamoring for people's war to oppose the daily violence of foreign and feudal exploitation, there is an increasing use of "revolutionary" phrases even among diehard counterrevolutionaries. The spokesmen of comprador and landlord organizations and the bureaucrat capitalists in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the reactionary government talk of making "structural reforms" in every conceivable forum. All of a sudden, it seems that everyone is becoming revolutionary, including the counterrevolutionaries. But by a mere analysis of the words of the reactionaries, we can clearly see that they will permit a "revolution" only "from the top" or merely "in the heart of the individual." They reserve the bitterest words of damnation for the real revolutionaries among the broad masses of the people. They talk of "revolution" mainly to justify or slur over the fascist barbarities inflicted on the people. To prove this point, one has only to examine the pronouncements of such counterrevolutionary entities as Marcos and his minions, the Christian Social Movement and other clerical organizations, and so on and so forth.
When the most violent means are already being employed against the revolutionary masses, the reactionaries resort to the sweetest words of concern. There is more talk of "civic work," "community development," "philanthropy," "social action," "welfare state," "constitutional reform" and "profit-sharing." At the moment, there is clearly a proliferation of organizations spouting so many lies. The CIA and the American Jesuits are today extremely active in putting up and running reformist organizations. What needs only to be done is to expose the class character of the organizers and supporters behind them.
The Marcos "nationalists" and the Lava revisionist renegades are also busy nowadays trying to soften up the harsh fascist picture of the Marcos puppet regime and are collaborating to facilitate the aggravation of imperialist domination. They are working hand-in-glove in the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism, the Congressional Economic Planning Office, the U.P. Law Center and so many other organizations pretending to be anti-imperialist but always insisting that only concessions can be asked from US imperialism and the local exploiting classes and that the struggle be limited to parliamentary struggle.
The Lava revisionist renegades are being given all the liberty that they need to sabotage the revolutionary mass movement. They are at their old game, with the support of US imperialism, the Marcos puppet regime and Soviet social-imperialism. They specialize in spreading slander through the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism and committing bloody acts of intrigue through the Monkees-Armeng Bayan-Masaka (Lava) gang against the revolutionary masses. Like its social-imperialist masters, the bourgeois reactionary gang of the Lavas is shifting from the "peaceful" talk of Khrushchev to the undisguised deeds of violence of Brezhnev against the proletarian revolutionaries and the people.
The Marcos puppet regime and the Lava revisionist renegades are steadily moving towards diplomatic and trade relations with Soviet social-imperialism under the guarantees provided by US imperialism and Japanese militarism. The false hope is being dangled before the national bourgeoisie and before those who take the viewpoint of the national bourgeoisie that Soviet social-imperialism can provide anti-imperialist assistance to them.
It is all a lie that Soviet social-imperialism can extend support to the nation or even only to the national bourgeoisie. More than it can assist any section of the Philippine Revolution, Soviet social-imperialism will only be able to reinforce to some extent the presently tottering puppet state and connive with the comprador big bourgeoisie in cheating the Filipino people in the exchange of overpriced and shoddy Soviet commodities and Philippine raw materials. US imperialism is interested in allowing Soviet social-imperialism some share in the exploitation of the Philippines only because they are allied in opposing the people, revolution, communism and China.
Diplomatic and trade relations with Soviet social-imperialism is very attractive to the Marcos puppet regime. It is because Soviet social-imperialism and the Marcos puppet regime have one thing in common: they both have a bureaucrat-capitalist character. The only difference between them is that one is monopoly bureaucrat-capitalist and the other is puppet bureaucrat-capitalist. Bureaucrat capitalists can always come into relations with each other so long as there are people for them to exploit.
Bureaucrat capitalism today is trying to prolong its existence with the assistance of US imperialism, Japanese militarism and Soviet social-imperialism. It is also trying to cover up its evil deeds with the reformist endorsement of the most reactionary feudal institution in the country. But the Filipino people have learned enough of their own history and problems to be deceived.
Whoever sides with the revolutionary people is a revolutionary. Whoever sides with imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism is a counterrevolutionary. Whoever sides with the revolutionary people in words only but acts otherwise is a revolutionary in speech. Whoever sides with the revolutionary people in deed as well as in word is a revolutionary in the full sense.— Mao Zedong
Because of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal nature of Philippine society, the present stage of the Philippine Revolution cannot but take a national-democratic character. It is a national-democratic revolution, a revolution seeking the liberation of the Filipino people from foreign and feudal oppression and exploitation.
It is a national revolution principally because it seeks to assert national sovereignty against US imperialism and its local running dogs. It is a democratic revolution principally because it seeks to fulfill the peasant struggle for land against domestic feudalism, and furthermore it seeks to uphold the democratic rights of the broad masses of the people against fascism. The basic contradictions in Philippine society are those between the Filipino nation and imperialism, and those between the great masses of the people and feudalism. The fascism that is now on the rise is basically the military suppression of the people by the present counterrevolutionary state on behalf of its imperialist and feudal masters.
Because the principal objective of the present stage of the Philippine Revolution is to liberate the Filipino people from foreign and feudal oppression and exploitation, it can be said that it is a continuation and resumption of the Philippine Revolution of 1896 and the Filipino-American War, both of which ended in failure under the leadership of the local bourgeoisie, particularly under the liberal-bourgeois leadership of the Aguinaldo government.
There is however a basic difference between the present national-democratic revolution and the one that suffered defeat at the hands of US imperialism. The present national-democratic revolution is of a new type. It is so by vir-tue of the fact that since the October Revolution and the emergence of the first socialist state from the ruins of an inter-imperialist war (World War I), the national-democratic struggles against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism in colonies and semi-colonies have inevitably become part of the world proletarian revolution. Since then, the objective conditions for the national-democratic struggles against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism in colonies and semi-colonies have inevitably become part of the world proletarian revolution. Since then, the objective conditions for the national-democratic revolution of the old type in the Philippines have ceased. The world bourgeois revolution has ceased to provide the correct orientation for the national-democratic revolution. More than ever, the old ilustrado leadership has sharply divided into the three strata of the comprador big bourgeoisie, national bourgeoisie and petit bourgeoisie with clearly different political attitudes. We are now in the stage of the new type of national-democratic revolution, the people's democratic revolution.
The effective class leadership in the Philippine Revolution is now in the hands of the proletariat and no longer in the hands of the bourgeoisie or any of its strata as was previously the case in the old type of national-democratic revolution. US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism cannot be overthrown unless the broad masses of the people are led by the revolutionary party of the proletariat, the Communist Party of the Philippines, under the supreme guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. The revolutionary demands and aspirations of the working class, the peasantry, the petit bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie can be correctly brought forward and can be realized only under the class leadership of the proletariat and its party.
The Communist Party of the Philippines was established as early as 1930. But because it was seriously afflicted by bourgeois subjectivism in ideology, opportunism in politics and violations of democratic centralism in its organizational life, it did not only fail to carry out its revolutionary tasks despite extremely favorable objective conditions at certain periods, especially during the period of the anti-fascist struggle and thereafter, but it also failed to preserve itself substantially for the almost two decades that immediately preceded its reestablishment on December 26, 1968. That was mainly because the counterrevolutionary line of the Lavas and Tarucs prevailed within the Party until it was repudiated by a rectification movement inspired by Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought.
We are now in the era when imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is advancing to worldwide victory. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution has lofted high Marxism-Leninism of the present era, Mao Zedong Thought, and has transformed the People's Republic of China into an iron bastion of the world proletarian revolution. The oppressed peoples of the world now have an invincible ideological weapon to defeat imperialism, revisionism and all reaction and can look forward to a socialist future that has become a reality in a significant part of the world. The universal truth of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought is the invincible weapon directly wielded by the proletarian revolutionary parties leading the oppressed peoples of the world. There is now the Communist Party of the Philippines which is arduously striving to apply the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought to the concrete conditions of the Philippines.
There is now the New People's Army under the command of the Party to deal deadly blows against armed counterrevolution and build the iron bastions of the revolution in the countryside before the seizure of power in the cities. There is now a united front for waging people's war and isolating the enemy diehards. It is based on the alliance of the proletariat and the peasantry, comprising more than 90 percent of the people, and furthermore it embraces the petit bourgeoisie, national bourgeoisie and other patriots. The local allies of US imperialism — the big bourgeoisie, the landlord class and the bureaucrat capitalists — are coming fast to their doom.
Under the present concrete conditions of Philippine society, which are semi-colonial and semi-feudal, the Communist Party has to wage a national democratic revolution of a new type, a people's democratic revolution. Though its leadership is proletarian, the Philippine Revolution is not yet a proletarian-socialist revolution. We should not confuse the national-democratic stage and the socialist stage of the Philippine Revolution. Only after the national-democratic stage has been completed can the proletarian revolutionary leadership carry out the socialist revolution as the transitional stage towards communism.
In carrying out the people's democratic revolution, it is absolutely necessary to make a general analysis of the various classes in Philippine society. In order to know comprehensively and profoundly the internal laws and course of historical development in the Philippines, we must recognize these various classes. We have to know their political attitudes to the revolution by recognizing their respective economic status. In knowing their economic status and political attitudes, we can determine who are our real friends and who are our real enemies in the revolutionary struggle against US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
We can define the classes and strata in Philippine society by considering them as large groups of people differing from each other by the place that they occupy in a historically determined system of social production, by their relation to (ownership or non-ownership of) the means of production, by their role in the social organization of labor, and, consequently, by the dimensions of the share of social wealth of which they dispose and the mode of acquiring it. In effect, the basis for class analysis is the relationship between the exploiters and the exploited. The various classes and strata become even more defined in the course of political struggle, when revolution and counterrevolution intensify and unfold the irreconcilable conflict between the exploiters and the exploited. The question of political standpoint consequently rises in importance as a criterion in class analysis.
Philippine society is made up of the following classes and strata:
1. The Landlord Class
The landlords are owners of vast tracts of agricultural lands. They do not engage in essential labor and they exploit the peasant masses principally through the exaction of land rent. They also lend money at usurious rates, hire labor or demand menial service as a form of tribute and cheat their tenants in the accounting of expenses for seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation and the use of machine implements in order to increase land rent arbitrarily. They buy out impoverished peasants and grab lands already cultivated by small settlers and national minorities.
Those who assist the landlords in collecting rent or managing land estates and who are better off than the average middle peasant on the basis of their share in feudal exploitation can be put in the category of landlords. Such is the standing of the general run of overseers and land administrators.
Usurers who rely on usury as their main source of income and are better off than the average middle peasant are to be considered landlords. Millers and agricultural machine owners who charge excessive rates either in grain or cash from the peasants also partake of the character of landlords.
Leaseholders or concessionaires of vast tracts of agricultural lands either from the reactionary government, banks, churches, schools, or absentee landlords are also in the category of landlords since they engage in the feudal exploitation of peasants. Managers and promoters of fake farm cooperatives may be included in the category of landlords because they derive their income from feudal exploitation.
The landlord class represents the most backward and reactionary relations of production and hinders the development of the productive forces. It is the main obstacle in the political, economic and cultural development of the Philippines. It is the main social base of imperialist rule and exploits the greatest number of people in the country today. At the same time it is a mere appendage of the international bourgeoisie depending on imperialism for its survival and protection. It resists the people's democratic revolution violently and is, therefore, a target of the revolution. It supports and uses the Catholic Church as a feudal institution to protect its interests and it has political representatives in the Nacionalista Party, Liberal Party, the Christian Social Movement and other reactionary political organizations from the national level to the barrio level.
Whenever the peasants organize themselves to claim their just rights, the landlord class never hesitates to use the police, armed forces, courts and prisons of the reactionary state to suppress them. It also organizes its own armed gangs to secure its property. It can never surrender its economic and political power voluntarily. All "land reform" laws that have been made by the reactionary government have served only to aggrandize the landlord class. The "land reform" agencies of the reactionary government allow the landlords and bureaucrats to exploit the peasants further in so many ways.
For tactical purposes, we may classify the landlords in several ways. They can either be big, medium or small, largely on the basis of the amount of land that they own or control. Some wield political authority while others relatively do not. It is often the case that cliques of landlords are antagonistic to each other. Some landlords are despotic while others are relatively not. Although the landlord class as a whole is a target of the Philippine Revolution, landlords who are big, who are in authority and who are despotic, are the chief targets. These landlords lead in the suppression of the revolutionary mass movement and often incur blood debts.
The landlords who are closest to the imperialists and who are most powerful in the national center of the reactionary government are involved in the export of such agricultural products as sugar, coconut, hemp, tobacco, banana and the like. They are tied up with the imperialists through loan agreements on their mills or machine equipment and also through marketing agreements. They are a decisive force in the outcome of reactionary electoral contests because they are big campaign financiers and they themselves vie for seats in the reactionary government. Because they earn US dollars, they easily assume the role of the comprador big bourgeoisie engaging in both export and import of commodities.
The landlords in the line of crop exports are either wholly or partially engaged in capitalist farming. But, invariably, they exploit poor peasants who are rounded up seasonally by labor contractors to serve as farm workers on a temporary basis. Labor contractors and overseers aggravate the exploitation of these poor peasants and farm workers in various ways, especially usury and cheating on accounts.
2. The Bourgeoisie
The bourgeoisie in Philippine society is composed of three strata: the comprador big bourgeoisie, the middle bourgeoisie or national bourgeoisie and the petit bourgeoisie.
a. The Comprador Big Bourgeoisie
The comprador big bourgeoisie links the international bourgeoisie with the feudal forces in the countryside and has profited most from trade relations with the United States and other imperialist countries, especially Japan at the present moment. It has accumulated the biggest capital locally in its role as the principal trading and financial agent of US imperialism. Together with the big landlords to whom it is closely linked, the comprador big bourgeoisie restricts Philippine economic development because its interests lie in the persistence of imperialist and feudal domination. Its wealth is derived principally from the export of local raw materials (such as sugar, coconut products, logs, mineral ores, and the like) and the import of finished products.
In a semi-colonial and semi-feudal Philippines, the comprador big bourgeoisie inevitably has big landlord interests because its original economic base is feudal ownership of land and its persistent interest lies in the production of raw materials, the great bulk of which is agricultural. Wealth in the Philippines today is concentrated in the hands of only fifty big comprador-landlord families. Among the biggest representatives of the comprador big bourgeoisie are the Sorianos, Ayalas, Zobels, Elizaldes, Aranetas, Lopezes, Ortigases, Yutivos, Roxas-Chuas, Cojuangcos, Montelibanos, etc.
The wealthiest comprador group in the Philippines is that of the Sorianos, Ayalas, Zobels, and Roxases. It has its direct interests even as it serves as the agent of US imperialism and clerical organizations in such corporations as the Bancom, Ayala House of Investments, San Miguel Corporation, Atlas Consolidated Mining, Bislig Bay Lumber, Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines, Nutritional Products, Coca-Cola Export Corporation, Atlas Fertilizers, Phelps Dodge, Central Azucarera de Don Pedro, Soriamont, F.G.U. Insurance Group, Bank of the Philippine Islands, People's Bank and Trust Company, Industrial Textiles Manufacturing, International Engineering, Rheem of the Philippines, Herald-Mabuhay, Interisland Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Mindanao Network, STAATS, and a host of other corporations.
The comprador big bourgeoisie controls the present political system as it serves as the biggest financier in political campaigns conducted by reactionary parties like the Nacionalista Party, Liberal Party and such political organizations as business chambers, civic organizations and clerical movements. The comprador big bourgeoisie is a target of the Philippine Revolution and its political attitude is violently opposed to the national and democratic aspirations of the Filipino people. It is the class that is most virulent in promoting every political, economic, cultural, and military measure for the perpetuation and aggravation of imperialist dominance in Philippine society.
The bureaucrat capitalists are closely bound up with the compradors and landlords. These corrupt government officials provide immediate armed security to comprador rule in the cities and landlord rule in the countryside. Under such kind of rule, they can perpetrate graft and corruption and at the same time protect their own comprador and landlord interests. The reactionary state in the Philippines is essentially the joint dictatorship of the compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists.
Managers, big corporate lawyers, big accountants, labor dealers and highly paid reactionary publicists and intellectuals in the direct service of the international and local big bourgeoisie are in the category of the comprador bourgeoisie. Their political attitude towards the people's democratic revolution is as vile and vicious as that of their masters.
b. The Middle Bourgeoisie
The middle bourgeoisie is otherwise called the national bourgeoisie. It is the middle stratum between the comprador big bourgeoisie and the petit bourgeoisie. It is composed of businessmen in town and country who are interested in "nationalist industrialization." Its economic interests range from cottage industries, fishing and light manufacturing to medium marketing and transportation businesses, and "intermediate" industries highly dependent on imported raw materials. Manufactures of the national bourgeoisie include alcohol, shoes and leather, cigars and cigarettes, simple agricultural implements, fishing nets, ropes, coconut oil, flour, textiles, cement and concrete products, educational materials, lumber, scrap metal products and so many others.
The national bourgeoisie represents the capitalist relations of production in the country. It is oppressed to a great extent by imperialism which has its own direct investments in a big and strategic way, dumps its manufactures locally and manipulates the basic policies of the reactionary government regarding the whole economy, currency, fiscal policy, foreign loans, domestic credit, tariff rules and regulations, taxation and local marketing. At the same time, those who belong to the national bourgeoisie are linked in varying ways and degrees with imperialism through contracts involving credit, raw materials, fuel, patents and the like.
The national bourgeoisie is generally fettered by feudalism, but at the same time many of its members belong to the landlord class. That is because they depend on their land as collateral in getting loans from banks for their investment projects. In their relations with the reactionary government, they often complain about graft and corruption, but at the same time they are eager to join the ranks of the bureaucrat capitalists.
The national bourgeoisie has a dual character in the Philippine economy. For this reason, it has an inconsistent attitude towards the people's democratic revolution. It has a weak economic base and therefore, its political standpoint is flabby. At certain times, it joins the working people in revolution against US imperialism and feudalism to some extent. At other times, it joins the big bourgeoisie in counterrevolution.
The national bourgeoisie has the ambition of becoming the big bourgeoisie and of building a capitalist state under its class dictatorship. Its leading representatives are fond of citing the capitalist transformation of feudal Japan in Asia as an example, and they frequently talk of merging independent enterprises into giant industries.
Nevertheless, the middle bourgeoisie can still join the forces of the Philippine Revolution at certain times and to a limited extent. In the era when imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is marching toward worldwide victory, the middle bourgeoisie cannot escape nor remain independent of the intensification of imperialist and feudal oppression on one hand and the intensification of resistance by the revolutionary masses on the other. It is compelled to choose between revolution and counterrevolution. It has no more chance to develop capitalism to the full or to dominate the present state.
In having a dual character, the national bourgeoisie has a left wing and a right wing. The left wing is most oppressed by imperialist rule and is always in danger of bankruptcy due to the increasing combinations of the foreign monopolists, comprador big bourgeoisie and upper section or right wing of the national bourgeoisie. Because of its plight, it is sympathetic to the revolutionary cause of the masses. It can also win over the middle wing and prevail over the right wing when imperialism and antidemocratic forces are bearing down heavily on their class interests. But the right wing can easily swing over to the side of counterrevolution because of its fear of the masses and its close attachment to the big bourgeoisie. The Party should always take a prudent policy with regards to the dual character of the national bourgeoisie.
c. The Petit Bourgeoisie
The petit bourgeoisie is the lowest and most sizable stratum of the local bourgeoisie. It includes the vast majority of the intelligentsia like teachers, student youth, low-income professionals, office clerks and lower government officials; middle peasants; small businessmen; master handicraftsmen; carpenter contractors; fishermen with their own small motorized boats and implements; and relatively well-paid skilled workers.
Of the three strata of the local bourgeoisie, it possesses the smallest amount of property. It is mainly characterized by relative economic self-sufficiency accruing either from the ownership of a small amount of productive means or the possession of some special training or skills. In comparison with the national bourgeoisie, it has a more limited and generally fixed income and is definitely more oppressed by imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism and is, therefore, far more progressive. It is an important motive force of the Philippine Revolution in being a reliable ally of the working class.
The petit bourgeoisie deserves our close attention because its support for and participation in the people's democratic revolution is decisive in shifting the balance of forces against the national and class enemies of the Filipino people. This stratum has three levels — upper, middle, and lower — distinguishable on the general basis of income. The petit bourgeoisie at each level has a corresponding political tendency toward the Philippine Revolution.
The upper level includes those who manage to have some cash savings or grain surplus each year. They are the most affluent in the ranks of the petit bourgeoisie, and they aspire to join the middle bourgeoisie. They are, however, a small minority in the petit-bourgeois stratum. Their political tendency is markedly influenced by the bourgeoisie. Thus, they constitute the right wing of the petit bourgeoisie. They tend to be influenced by the political views of the bourgeoisie in the reactionary schools and mass media, and they echo these views as if these were their own. From their ranks are often recruited the local leaders of the reactionary parties and also the provincial members of various US-style clubs like the Jaycees, Rotary, Lions and YMCA and also such clerical groups as the Christian Social Movement, Knights of Columbus, Daughters of Isabella, Catholic Women's League, Catholic Action and the Cursillo.
The middle level of the petit bourgeoisie includes those who are in the main economically self-supporting and who earn just enough to make both ends meet. They are extremely concerned about their source of income lest they fall into difficulties. They are subject to the political influence of the upper level, but at the same time they are subject to the influence of the restless lower level of the petit bourgeoisie. They are verbally abusive of the imperialists and the local exploiters in a very personal way, but at the same time they express doubts about the effectiveness of the revolutionary mass movement. They have a strong tendency to stay "neutral" but they do not oppose revolution. Because of their great number, being at least one half of the petit bourgeoisie, they have to be won over to the fold of the revolution in order to shift the balance of forces not only within the petit bourgeoisie but also within the whole nation.
The lower level of the petit bourgeoisie includes those whose standard of living is definitely falling and are annually harassed by the deficit in their accounts. To cover their financial difficulties, they incur debts from their relatives and friends or mortgage their property to usurers. The misery of their lives is sharpened by the fact that they have seen better days. They are in great mental distress as they watch their means dwindle. This part of the petit bourgeoisie is great in number and tends to welcome and accept the wisdom of joining the revolution. It is the left wing of the petit bourgeoisie. In times of crisis or war, it becomes a distinct and a considerable force rapidly participating in the revolutionary mass movement. In its forward movement, it brings along the middle level and even the upper level of the petit bourgeoisie. Even at the initial stage, it is important to conduct political work among the semi-owner peasants who comprise the lower level and left wing of the rural petit bourgeoisie or who to an increasing degree are falling to the status of the semi-proletariat or poor peasants.
At this stage, it is already clear how important it is to arouse and mobilize the low-income intelligentsia and student youth who comprise the overwhelming majority of the urban petit bourgeoisie. In both city and countryside, the petit bourgeoisie have the common peculiar character of being economically hard-pressed because they have to send their children to high school and college as an expected means of maintaining or raising their status.
Among the various sectors of the petit bourgeoisie, the intelligentsia (student youth, teachers, low-income professionals and intellectuals) is the most important and decisive in preparing public opinion in favor of the Philippine Revolution on a nationwide scale. The student youth and teachers can join the vanguard of the cultural revolution in shattering the superstructure that stifles the nation and preserves the exploitative system. They are in a good position to undertake this task because they have a keen political sense; they are the most numerous part of the intelligentsia; they are the most widespread, and yet they are concentrated in schools at particular points in both urban and rural areas. They can easily relay revolutionary propaganda and reach the masses throughout the archipelago beyond the capability of the reactionaries to curtail the truth of the people's democratic revolution. That is why it is very important to conduct revolutionary propaganda and revolutionary work among them.
Most of those who belong to the intelligentsia have extremely limited fixed income and, thus, they are extremely oppressed by imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. Most teachers receive salaries that are barely adequate and many of them live in fear of being disemployed due to the vagaries of the system. Most students also live in fear of having to discontinue their studies or having no employment after graduation. They depend on their families, which are mainly petit-bourgeois and have nothing much to bequeath to them. There are quite a number of students in cities who labor at the same time as office clerks, menials, drivers or factory workers to earn their living and their matriculation fees; these either come from proletarian or peasant families. Low-income intellectuals and professionals have the same economic difficulties as most of those who belong to the intelligentsia. In general, the intelligentsia is extremely receptive to revolutionary propaganda.
As in the old democratic revolution when student youth were among those in the forefront of the propaganda movement, the student youth are again among those in the forefront of the propaganda movement of today's struggle for people's democracy. The previous decade of the sixties was marked by a revolutionary activism among the student youth that is now unfolding even more vigorously in the current decade of the seventies in the form of increasingly bigger militant mass demonstrations combining the intelligentsia with the workers and peasants and in the form of student propaganda and investigation teams going to factories, farms and other schools to conduct mass work on a wider scale. The student youth are an important force assisting the proletariat in the spread of revolutionary propaganda on a nationwide scale.
The people's democratic revolution cannot be advanced without the participation of revolutionary intellectuals. Nevertheless, it must be recognized that intellectuals are characteristically subjective, individualistic, impetuous or easily cowed because of their petit-bourgeois origin, living conditions and political outlook. They are susceptible to counterrevolutionary ideas, including modern revisionism centered in the Soviet Union and pseudo-revolutionary ideas as those of Che Guevara, Herbert Marcuse and Regis Debray, to say the least. They can overcome their weaknesses and shortcomings only by deeply involving themselves in mass struggles over a long period of time. Some will drop out and a few will even become enemies of the revolution, but others will revolutionize and remold their thinking and persist in the ranks of the revolutionaries. At all times, the proletariat should be alert to their weaknesses.
3. The Peasantry
The peasantry is distinguished from all other classes by the fact that all its members cultivate the land. It is the main force of the national economy. It is 75 percent of the entire Philippine population. It has three strata; namely, the rich peasants, the middle peasants and the poor peasants.
a. The Rich Peasants
The rich peasants are otherwise called the rural bourgeoisie and comprise about five percent of the rural population. They as a rule own the land that they till and have surplus land besides. Otherwise, they own only part of the land and rent the remainder or they do not own the land at all but rent a sizable amount of land. By tilling the land themselves and by exploiting others on the surplus portion of the land that they either own or rent, they derive a surplus in grain or in cash above their yearly expenses.
Although they themselves work, they engage in exploitation either by hiring farm labor or letting part of their land to poor peasants. They have more and better farm implements and also more work animals. They have more capital to improve their crops with fertilizers and pesticides and also their fields with irrigation facilities. Aside from hiring farm labor or collecting land rent, they engage in such other forms of exploitation as usury, renting out work animals and farm implements, running a local store and the like. They represent semi-feudalism in the barrios and are susceptible to echoing the views of the small landlords or the small merchants.
Rich peasants attain the status of landlords when they begin to depend wholly or mainly on their income from hiring the labor power of others, retaining tenants, engaging in usury, renting out work animals and farm implements or serving as overseers or administrators of landed estates or communal lands. When reaction is on the rise in particular areas, a handful of rich peasants also take to the style of local tyrants and become rabid running dogs of despotic landlords. The landlord class always tries to make use of rich peasants as instruments for turning the "barrio councils" as well as organizing armed gangs against the revolutionary peasants. Our policy is to frustrate the landlords' efforts and win at least the neutrality of the rich peasants in the revolution.
It must be recognized as a general rule that the rich-peasant form of production is useful for a definite period. A premature policy of liquidating it should be strictly avoided. The rich peasants can be of help to the anti-imperialist struggle of the peasant masses, and they can remain neutral in the agrarian revolution against the landlords. Rich peasants should not be indiscriminately treated as landlords or as filthy rich. On the other hand, a general policy should be adopted to encourage them to make grain or cash contributions to the revolution. At the same time, definite steps must be taken to replace their political dominance in the barrio with that of the proletariat through the Party, the semi-proletariat, and the leading activists from the middle peasants. Steps must also be taken to guard against the possibility that they turn against the revolution. However, the opportunism of the rich peasants in the face of the enemy should not be regarded automatically as treason. Those who have willfully done serious damage or incurred blood debts against the revolutionary masses must be dealt with on a case-to-case basis.
b. The Middle Peasants
The middle peasants may be called the rural petit bourgeoisie, and they comprise about fifteen to twenty percent of the rural population. They as a rule own land that more or less allows them to be self-sufficient. Otherwise, they own only part of the land and rent the remainder or they do not own land at all and rent all of it. But in any case, they rely mainly on their own labor to earn an income that allows them to be self-sufficient. They may occasionally practice exploitation, but it is only to a small extent and is not their regular or main source of income. They have adequate farm implements, cash for agricultural expenses and at least one work animal. Because of their characteristic self-sufficiency, the middle peasants do not have to sell their labor power. Some members of their families may have certain special skills, but they will earn the extra money only to be able to improve their homes or to send someone to school.
There are three levels of the middle peasants. Those who belong to the upper level have a little more than enough land or make a harvest or get a share of the harvest a little more than sufficient for their families. They aspire to the status of the rich peasants and they therefore tend to take the political attitude of the latter. Those who belong to the middle level of the middle peasants have just enough land or earn just enough to make them self-sufficient. They strive to earn a little more in an attempt to attain the status of the upper-middle peasants and to keep themselves from falling into indebtedness. They get indebted sometimes, but they manage to stay on an even keel. They tend to follow the opinion of the upper-middle peasants and rich peasants in placid times. But they easily follow the opinion of the lower-middle peasants and poor peasants in an increasingly difficult situation or when the tide of the revolutionary movement is high. Those who belong to the lower level of the middle peasants are ever troubled by the inadequacy and poor quality of their land, their shortage of cash and increasing pile of debts. The usurers are knocking at their doors to declare them in default of their mortgage and inform them of their new status as poor peasants.
The middle peasants live austerely to make both ends meet. But their lives are often upset by a poor harvest or by a serious illness in the family. As the crisis in Philippine society is rapidly worsening, however, the whole lot of the upper, middle and lower-middle peasants are going down rapidly into bankruptcy. They are being mercilessly pressed down by the rising costs of agricultural production and prices of basic commodities.
The middle peasants are willing to join the anti-imperialist struggle and the agrarian revolution because of their immediate oppressed and exploited condition. It is of great importance to conduct revolutionary propaganda among them. Their positive or negative attitude is one of the factors determining victory or defeat not only in the countryside but in the whole country. Their enthusiastic support is especially needed in carrying out the agrarian revolution, and we must remember that after the agrarian revolution, the middle peasants become the majority of the rural population. The middle peasants welcome and can accept agricultural cooperation and socialism. They are, therefore, a reliable ally of the proletariat and an important motive force of the Philippine Revolution.
c. The Poor Peasants
Together with the farm workers, the poor peasants are about 75 to 80 percent of the rural population. Together with the semi-owner peasants, the poor peasants are included in the category of semi-proletariat. They as a rule own no land and serve as tenants of feudal lords. Some of them may own a piece of land but this is utterly negligible as they depend for their livelihood mainly on their tenant status. They own a few odd farm implements and many of them merely borrow or rent work animals. The main form of exploitation suffered by the poor peasants is the regular payment of land rent that is equivalent to half their harvest or even more. It is this peasant stratum that is most subjected to usury and other forms of feudal abuses. In many cases, they are cheated by the landlords in the accounting of agricultural expenses. The poor peasants more than any other peasant stratum have to supplement their meager crop share by planting side crops, raising poultry or pigs, fishing, handicrafts, peddling, or selling their labor power as construction workers or seasonal farm workers. The poor peasants are often obliged to sell their labor power for a definite and considerable period of time unlike the middle peasants who sell their labor power only occasionally or partly. The poor peasants generally have insufficient funds for both their subsistence and agricultural expenses. They often seek the help of relatives and friends or use their crop to guarantee debts from the landlords and money lenders.
The poor peasants and the overwhelming majority of semi-owner peasants constitute the biggest motive force of the Philippine Revolution. The land problem is their essential problem. It is, therefore, the main problem of the people's democratic revolution. In the process of making the revolutionary solution to this problem, the most gigantic force in Philippine society is aroused and mobilized to smash not only the landlords but also the imperialists, the comprador big bourgeoisie and the bureaucrat capitalists. All of them have long conspired to keep the peasantry in bondage. All "land reform" laws passed by these counterrevolutionaries have been calculated to entrench the exploiters of the peasant masses in this semi-colonial and semi-feudal society.
The peasantry, i.e., the poor and middle peasants, is the natural and most reliable ally of the proletariat, and it is the main force of the Philippine Revolution. Only under the leadership of the proletariat can the peasantry achieve liberation from its oppressors, and only by forging the firmest alliance with it can the proletariat lead the Philippine Revolution to victory. Powerful armed contingents can be drawn in large numbers by the revolutionary party of the proletariat only from the ranks of the peasantry. The people's democratic revolution is essentially a peasant war because its main political force is the peasantry, its main problem is the land problem and its main source of Red fighters is the peasantry.
With the support of the peasantry, the revolutionary party of the proletariat and the people's army can take full advantage of the uneven development of Philippine society. The countryside where the peasantry toils can be turned into a vast ocean to drown the enemies of the Philippine Revolution. It is here where the revolutionary forces first defeat the counterrevolutionaries before the final seizure of power in the cities. The countryside offers the widest area possible for maneuver for the revolutionaries because the counterrevolutionaries have no choice but to concentrate their forces for the defense of their urban centers of economic and political power and also for guarding their main lines of communication and transport. Furthermore, as the revolutionary movement intensifies, factions within the counterrevolutionary ranks struggle more bitterly and more violently, thus forcing whichever faction is in power to retain its crack forces in the city or in reserve camps to defend itself from coup d'états.
The proletariat should pursue a revolutionary anti-feudal united front in order to mobilize to the fullest possible extent the revolutionary forces in the countryside. It should unite with the poor peasants, lower-middle peasants and farm workers as its most reliable allies. These in turn can win over the entire middle peasantry to neutralize the rich peasants and isolate the landlord class and other local tyrants.
4. The Proletariat
The proletariat refers principally to the industrial workers and secondarily to other wage-earners. It is a class that is dispossessed of any means of production and has to sell its labor power to the capitalist owners of the means of production. It is exploited by being forced to create surplus value while receiving in return a measly subsistence wage, far smaller than that surplus value which its capitalist employers appropriate.
Because of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal nature of Philippine society today, the Filipino industrial proletariat is small in size in comparison with the peasantry. It includes about 15 percent of the total manpower in the country. It ranges in number from 1.8 million to 2.0 million.
The industrial workers are in land, water and rail transport; mines and quarries; logging areas and lumber yards; sugar, coconut and abaca-stripping mills; public utility plants; food processing; beverage plants and breweries; tannery and shoe manufacturing; textile factories; printing presses; merchandising firms; chemical and drug factories; soap and cosmetic factories; oil refineries; flour mills; cement plants; pulp and paper manufacturing; scrap metal and steel processing plants; and several other enterprises and industrial lines. The most strategic and the biggest enterprises are owned and controlled by US monopoly firms. Otherwise, they are owned by the local big bourgeoisie and the middle bourgeoisie, with the latter playing a secondary role in the economy as a whole.
The industrial workers are extremely oppressed and exploited by US imperialism, local capitalism and feudalism. The so-called Magna Carta of Labor has not really been of help to them. It has been a mere concessionary and deceptive scrap of paper issued by the counterrevolutionaries after the brutal suppression of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Congress of Labor Organizations. The workers receive low wages which are further cut down by continuous inflation and are deprived in practice of such minimum rights as unionization, job security, compensation for death and injury, overtime pay, maternity and sick leave with pay, regular medical and dental care, retirement pension and the like. The army, police, courts and prisons are ruthlessly poised and used against them whenever they rise up to assert their rights. The excessive number of unemployed and underemployed due to the general backwardness of the economy is always used by the exploiters to threaten or cause dismissals and replacements and to press down wage and living conditions of workers.
Before the reactionary employers give any concession, they subject the workers to the most vicious deception and, when this proves futile, the brutal force of the counterrevolutionary state. The officials of the reactionary government are given retainers' fees, bribes and other special privileges to suppress the workers' strikes. Labor dealers also come into the bargain to mislead the workers either by making a straight sellout or by limiting the economic struggle to merely getting the watered-down terms of a "collective bargaining agreement" and preventing the workers from raising their class consciousness. The exploiters make concessions to a certain segment of workers only when there is no way out in the face of a powerful workers' unity. But they never stop seeking ways of taking back what they have conceded and of intensifying the exploitation of the proletariat and other working people.
In addition to the industrial workers, there are the farm workers mainly in large sugar, coconut, fiber-growing, citrus, pineapple, banana and vegetable farms. They work the longest hours, receive the lowest wages and suffer the worst conditions. They are exploited by the imperialists, landlords, labor contractors and usurers. Like the industrial workers, the farm workers are wage-earners, and own no means of production. They are the rural proletariat.
The industrial proletariat is the most advanced force of production in the country today. It is internationally associated with the most advanced force of production in the imperialist countries and the world in general. It is associated with the most advanced form of economy, socialism. In the whole history of mankind, the proletariat has emerged as the most advanced force of production by creating the modern means of large-scale production. On the basis of its economic status and political experience, the proletariat has become the most advanced political force internationally and nationally. This truth has become unmistakably clear in the era of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, when imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is marching toward worldwide victory.
The Filipino proletariat is not only a basic motive force of the Philippine Revolution, but it is also the leading force. It is the standard-bearer of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, the proletarian revolutionary ideology that guides the people's democratic revolution now and the socialist revolution subsequently. Among the toiling masses, the proletariat has the Communist Party of the Philippines to represent its class leadership. It is the class that can have a comprehensive grasp of materialist philosophy, dialectical and historical materialism, political economy, social science, people's war, party-building and the great proletarian cultural revolution.
The workers are today the most concentrated class in Philippine society; in big numbers, they work together daily. They have a strong sense of organization and discipline. They can use their strikes to temper their class leadership and prepare themselves for the seizure of political power in concert with the peasantry and other exploited sections of the people. By waging general strikes in coordination with the people's army, they can paralyze or overthrow their class enemies.
Owning no private means of production and being subjected to the most brutal oppression and exploitation, they are always willing to exercise their class leadership and strike down the oppressors and exploiters of the Filipino people.
Being young in comparison with the proletariat of the imperialist countries, the Filipino proletariat has natural ties with the peasantry, which are close and strong. Most Filipino workers come from peasant families. They can make full use of their home barrios and blood relations at various points of the whole country to launch people's war. At present, there is an increasing number of workers going to the countryside to conjoin with the peasantry in the revolutionary armed struggle. The workers in such enterprises as those found in the countryside, mines and quarries, transport lines, logging and lumbering, plantations, cement plants and others are tightly bound up with the peasant masses and are easily drawn to the revolutionary cause.
The Filipino proletariat has a splendid record of revolutionary struggle. Though still unconscious of their revolutionary ideology, Marxism, the Filipino workers led by Andres Bonifacio initiated and participated vigorously in the old national-democratic revolution. In the course of the Filipino-American War, the printing workers of the official newspaper of the revolutionary government established the first union. After the defeat of the Aguinaldo government by US imperialism, they fearlessly continued to establish trade unions despite the brutal attacks launched by the imperialists and their local lackeys to suppress them.
Unable to stop them, the US imperialists attempted to split the ranks of the proletariat by propagating locally the reactionary trade unionism of the American Federation of Labor (A.F.L.) and, after the triumph of the October Revolution, by promoting anti-Bolshevik hysteria. Despite the combined use of force and deception, the Communist Party of the Philippines was established in 1930, marking the formal beginning of the integration of the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of the Philippine Revolution. Since then, US imperialism and its local lackeys have become even fiercer in attacking the revolutionary workers and in using all kinds of subterfuge to attack them and also to make use of internal weaknesses of the Party.
Only a few months after its establishment, the Party was brutally attacked by the US imperialists with the use of the Quezon puppet clique and the puppet constabulary. In the period of 1935 to 1941, political representatives of the bourgeoisie led by Vicente Lava crept into the Party to lay the foundation of the counterrevolutionary revisionist line of the Lavas and Tarucs. This line became more distinct in 1938 when the Communist Party and the Socialist Party merged wholesale.
During the war of anti-Japanese resistance, the proletariat and the Communist Party of the Philippines achieved considerable strength by leading the peasantry in revolutionary armed struggle. But upon the return of the US imperialists in 1945, counterrevolutionary revisionist agents of the bourgeoisie, the Lavas and Tarucs, maneuvered the Party into taking the erroneous path of parliamentary struggle and allowed US imperialism and feudalism to reclaim the areas where the workers and peasants had made substantial democratic gains.
Despite the veiled opposition of the Lavas and Tarucs, the armed struggle was resumed upon the insistence of the revolutionary masses. Under the guise of trying to achieve a rapid military victory in two years' time, the counterrevolutionary agents of the bourgeoisie led by Jose Lava within the Party abandoned the principle of building the people's fighting strength step by step within a protracted period of time and thereby sabotaged the revolution in concert with the US imperialists, the comprador big bourgeoisie, the landlord class and the bureaucrat capitalists, who launched vicious campaigns of "encirclement and suppression" against the people and the Party. In 1951, the puppet state destroyed the biggest and strongest trade union movement, the Congress of Labor Organizations, by committing all kinds of terrorist abuses against its officers and rank-and-file. Only after destroying this democratic organization did the reactionaries put out the so-called Magna Carta of Labor to allow its agents to mislead those who could be misled among the workers.
After suffering disastrous military defeats, the counterrevolutionary agents of the bourgeoisie within the Party, the Lavas and Tarucs, took a series of steps towards surrender. Luis Taruc surrendered in 1954 and Jesus Lava did the same in 1964. The revolutionary mass movement became sabotaged because of the long period during which the counterrevolutionary revisionist line of the Lavas and Tarucs prevailed within the old Communist Party. The old Communist Party not only failed to seize power but it also failed to preserve itself for further waging revolutionary armed struggle.
The proletariat has been preyed upon by reactionary union bosses and other sorts of swindlers. The US labor attaché, CIA, AID, representatives of the AFL-CIO, ICFTU and ILO, US foundations (Asia, Rockefeller, Ford and the like), the Asian Labor Education Center, Institute of Social Order, Philippine Trade Union Center, Federation of Free Workers, Philippine Transport and General Workers Organization and so many reactionary outfits have for quite a long time tried to mislead the proletariat. Yet the crooks trained, fielded and subsidized by these anti-communist and anti-proletarian entities hardly control ten percent of the Filipino working class in all their fake trade unions. It is obvious that the workers can be organized and mobilized only under the theoretical guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and under the practical leadership of the proletarian revolutionary party, the Communist Party of the Philippines.
a. The Semi-Proletariat
A high rate of unemployment is a basic characteristic of a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country. With a population of 37 million, the Philippines has a reserve army of labor that is three million unemployed and seven million underemployed. The reactionary government mendaciously conceals this fact by releasing false figures concerning the state of unemployment. Artificially, it considers the millions of people who belong to the semi-proletariat as fully employed.
The huge multitude of poor and semi-owner peasants who belong to the semi-proletariat has been presented. Aside from this, there are still other sections of the semi-proletariat which comprise a sizable part of the population. The most numerous of these are poor fishermen on the sea coasts and lake shores. The rest of the semi proletarians are found mostly in towns and urban areas.
The semi proletarians suffer from dispossession, under-compensation, irregularity and insufficiency of income and insecurity. There are those who have only their simple implements like the small handicraftsmen, carpenters and masons, small photographers, ambulant repairmen and poor fishermen. There are those who have only a small amount of funds to carry on their lives as peddlers and small stall keepers. There are those who have nothing at all but their labor power to sell like provincial dock porters, market cargadores, shop assistants, apprentices in sweatshops, pedicab drivers, some jeepney drivers, house servants, restaurant helpers and the like. These are people who cannot be accommodated as regular wage-earners in industrial enterprises nor as regular tenants in the countryside because of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions.
These semi proletarians are a motive force of the people's democratic revolution. They can be formed into local associations although they are not as concentrated as the industrial proletariat. They are eager to fight the national and class enemies of the Filipino people.
b. The Lumpen Proletariat
On the basis of the high degree of unemployment in both city and countryside, the ranks of the lumpen proletariat keep on increasing. This stratum is composed of the dregs of Philippine society. It has emerged as a result of forced idleness. It is composed of thieves, robbers, gangsters, beggars, pimps and prostitutes, fakirs, vagrants and all other elements who resort to anti-social acts to make a living. They appear conspicuously in city slums. Many of them come from the provinces to look for jobs that are not available in the city. They are organized into such gangs as the OXO, Sigue-Sigue, Bahala Na and the like.
They often act as strikebreakers, disrupters of democratic actions, informers or goons for hire. Many of them go to the countryside to engage in banditry, extortion, cattle rustling, piracy and the like. Most of those being recruited by the reactionary armed forces into the "Monkees," BSDU's and other killer groups come from the lumpen proletariat. Lately, the reactionary government has adopted the malicious practice of sending into the ranks of demonstrators combined forces of secret agents and hired lumpen proletarians to attack petit-bourgeois establishments and to disrupt and prevent demonstrations from reaching the vicinity of Malacanang Palace and the US embassy.
The lumpen proletarians are an extremely unstable lot. They are easily bought off by the enemy and are given to senseless destruction. But some of them can be remolded. Their courage in combat and their hatred of the puppet state and exploitation can be put in the service of the revolutionary struggle provided safeguards are taken. When they join the revolution, they become the source of roving rebel and anarchist ideology. The Taruc-Sumulong gangster clique and the Monkees-Diwa gang typify the unremolded lumpen proletarians who try to misrepresent the people's army.
All the classes and strata presented above comprehensively cover Philippine society. It is impossible for any person in the Philippines today to claim that he does not belong to any class or to any stratum within a class. Every person belongs to a definite class and carries the brand of that class.
If the basic structure of Philippine society is to be presented graphically, a pyramid would have to be drawn with the big bourgeoisie and the landlord class, together with their biggest political agents — the big bureaucrat capitalists — at the smallest tip representing not even one percent of the national population. Immediately below this tip is an extremely thin slice representing the national bourgeoisie. This is followed by another relatively thicker slice representing what amounts to about seven percent — the share of the petit bourgeoisie (excluding the middle peasants) in the population. In the parlance of bourgeois sociology, both the national bourgeoisie and the petit bourgeoisie, including the middle peasants, are called the middle class. More than 90 percent of the pyramid from the base up represents the toiling masses — the proletariat and the peasantry.
According to the Philippine Joint Legislative-Executive Tax Commission in 1960, 88.3 percent of Philippine families earned below P2,500; 8.0 percent earned P2,500 to P4,999; 2.6 percent earned P5,000 to P9,999 and 1.1 percent earned P10,000 and over. Those who earned P100,000 and above were estimated to comprise one-tenth of one percent of Philippine families and they were known to hold the lion's share of the national income and assets. By its own figures, the reactionary government cannot cover up the great disparity of income between the exploiting and exploited classes. This disparity means the emptiness of reactionary claims to democracy. Since 1960, considering the ongoing inflation and two abrupt devaluations, the people's livelihood has worsened a great deal. The people's income has fallen far behind the rise in the prices of basic commodities.
It might occur that a certain person can be classified under two class categories or more. Because of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal character of the economy, one who belongs to the landlord class may belong at the same time to the big bourgeoisie or middle bourgeoisie. The principal class character of this person can be determined on the basis of his principal source of income. When it occurs that a landlord is at the same time a national bourgeois, his landlord interests and industrial or commercial interests are dealt with separately and properly. A member of the intelligentsia may come from a landlord, national bourgeois or rich peasant family, and yet he may in fact earn his livelihood as an urban petit bourgeois. He is essentially recognized as a member of the urban petit bourgeoisie.
However, it is not only the economic criterion that must be used in classifying individuals. The revolutionary or counterrevolutionary character of an individual is developed in the course of struggle, especially when it comes to the question of becoming a proletarian revolutionary. No one is born Red, even among the toiling people. Among the oppressed and exploited, there can be a handful of scabs whose counterrevolutionary attitude puts them on the side of the people's enemies. Among the members of the petit bourgeoisie, there may be those who can become advanced elements in the revolutionary struggle. Even among members of the exploiting classes, there may be exceptional cases of individuals who become remolded and join the ranks of the revolutionaries. Due importance must therefore be given to the criterion of political standpoint and the process of ideological remolding.
We must have a comprehensive view of the dialectical relationship between the economic base and the superstructure. In terms of classes and strata, we also need repeated class analysis in order to have a correct grasp of changes in political attitudes due to new material conditions, and vice versa. Concrete analysis of concrete conditions is the soul of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought.
c. Special Social Groups
There is no social group in the Philippines that can be excluded from class analysis. When the Party gives special attention to such social groups as the fishermen, national minorities, settlers, women and youth, it is not to obscure or discount the class content but to give due attention to certain common conditions that each social group peculiarly has or is in need of.
1. The fishermen are a peculiarly large social group because of the archipelagic character of the Philippines. Aside from sea fishermen, there are also inland fishermen along big rivers and lakes. Fishing is not only a supplementary means of livelihood for the peasantry. There are full-time fishermen and these can be divided into three sections: namely, the rich, middle and poor fishermen.
The rich fishermen fish with their own motorized boats, big nets and fishing gears, buy the labor power of poor fishermen and earn more than what is enough for their respective families. The middle fishermen fish with their own non-motorized boats, medium-sized nets and fishing gears of poorer quality than those of the rich fishermen, engage solely in municipal fishing and earn just enough for their respective families. The poor fishermen either fish with their own inferior boats and fishing gears, engage mainly in shore-fishing and do not earn enough for their respective families but have to resort to other means of livelihood, most often by tilling the land as a side occupation, or they sell their labor power to rich fishermen and fishing capitalists.
The fishermen are directly exploited by US and Japanese deep-sea fishing capitalists with their large fishing trawlers and fleets (including storage and factory ships) which deplete fishing grounds, by landlords who fence them off from fishing grounds, by local fishing capitalists and merchants who dictate prices, and by abusive government officials who arbitrarily tax them in kind or in cash. The fishermen, especially the poor and middle fishermen, can support the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggle. They are very important in linking up and defending the islands and in providing food for the people. They can enrich the theory and practice of people's war by developing sea warfare and warfare in rivers, lakes and estuaries.
2. Special recognition must be given to the need for autonomous government among the national minorities numbering about five million or about 14 percent of the population. The so-called Muslim tribes (it is more accurate to speak of them as Maguindanaos, Maranaos, Tausogs, etc.) compose the largest minority, numbering 3.5 million. They are followed by the Igorot tribes numbering half a million.
The vast majority of the national minorities live in the hinterlands and in areas most neglected and abused by the reactionary government. The national minorities have long been subjected to Christian chauvinism and oppression by the reactionaries. It will never do to impose or give the impression of imposing something beyond their autonomous needs. The Party recognizes their right to self-determination. They can be united with the rest of the Filipino people only on the basis of equality and respect for their culture or race.
The national minorities in the Philippines carry a heavier burden than the rest of the Filipino people. Until now, most of the Negritos have lived a primitive communal life and are the victims of racial discrimination. The Christian and Malay chauvinists have grabbed their lands in the plains and valleys and even the mountains to which they have been pushed. These aborigines are abused and killed at will. Even the national minorities in Mindanao who have attained a stage of social development which is not at all inferior to that attained by the rest of the Filipino people have been subjected to the most criminal abuses by the Christian chauvinists and the reactionary government. Ancestral minority lands have been taken away by the imperialists, compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists by sheer manipulation of land titles and with utter disregard for indigenous customs and laws. Land grabbing is the evil that has been viciously inflicted on all indigenous cultural minorities in the Philippines by big land speculators, loggers, ranchers, mining companies and landlords. Invariably, they have been forced out of their lands with armed power. Many of them have been pushed to the remotest areas and these can be turned into powerful bases for revolutionary warfare.
The Chinese minority is also subject to Malay chauvinism in the Philippines. Compared to the Chinese minority in other Southeast Asian countries, that in the Philippines is the smallest with barely 120 thousand. The reactionary government deliberately makes it difficult for Chinese nationals to be naturalized so that the Chiang bandit gang and Filipino bureaucrat capitalists can extort heavily from them and use them as a ready target for chauvinist attacks to divert attention from US imperialism and Japanese militarism. This is underscored by the fact that the reactionary government suppresses the people's clamor for the nationalization of all foreign enterprises, American and otherwise. The US imperialists, the Filipino reactionaries, the big bourgeois agents of the Chiang bandit gang and the modern revisionists are in cahoots with each other in the fascist plot to serve up the majority of Chinese nationals who belong to the middle and petit bourgeoisie, semi-proletariat and proletariat to the chauvinist hatred of hooligans who will take up the war cry of "nationalism" to cover up their puppetry to US imperialism.
The correct policy toward all the national minorities is always to take a proletarian standpoint and make the necessary class analysis. This is the only way by which the Party can most profoundly integrate with them. By developing Party cadres and Red fighters among the national minorities, the Party can overthrow not only the entire puppet state but also the local tyrants in the territories of the national minorities.
3. Settlers on the hilly regions and forest zones of the country are a major phenomenon due to the semi-colonial and semi-feudal character of Philippine society. They are important because they are oppressed, are of large number and occupy terrain favorable for armed struggle. It is safe to estimate that those who have resided in their new settlements for not more than twenty years are no less than ten percent of the peasant population in the entire country. In several provinces, settlers in general compose the majority of the local population. The settlers on hilly regions and forest zones are dispossessed peasants who find neither agricultural nor industrial employment in places from which they have migrated. Though they at first hold small pieces of land which they till and call their own, they ordinarily live as poor peasants or as lower-middle peasants and are prevented from gaining formal title over their land by the reactionary government and various local exploiters. They are often victims of land grabbing, government neglect, usury, merchant manipulation, special levies by local bureaucrats and bullies, and banditry. For their own benefit, landlords and officials of the reactionary government often foment communal conflicts between the settlers and the original inhabitants.
4. Women compose about one-half of the Philippine population and they cut through classes. The vast majority of Filipino women, therefore, belong to the oppressed and exploited classes. But in addition to class oppression, they suffer male oppression. The revolutionaries of the opposite sex should exert extra efforts to make possible the widest participation of women in the people's democratic revolution. They should not take the attitude that it is enough for the men in the family to be in the revolutionary movement. This attitude is actually feudal, and it would be to aggravate the old clan and clerical influence on women if they were to be kept out of the revolutionary movement. Women can perform general as well as special tasks in the revolution. This is an effective method for liberating them from the clutches of feudal conservatism and also from the decadent bourgeois misrepresentation of women as mere objects of pleasure.
5. Youth compose the majority of the Philippine population. We have already discussed at length the student youth as in the main belonging to the petit bourgeoisie. We must keep in mind that the majority of the youth belong to the working class and the peasantry. The majority of the Party cadres and regular fighters in the people's army are as a matter of course youth.
Elder people should not be arrogant to the youth, and the latter should not be insolent to the former. The revolutionary experience of the elder people should be combined with revolutionary vitality and keenness of the youth. It is important to rely on the youth in a protracted revolutionary struggle. The mobilization of the youth ensures the continuous flow of successors in the revolutionary movement.
Class analysis of Philippine society determines the strategy and tactics of the Philippine Revolution. Without a comprehensive view of the various classes from a proletarian revolutionary viewpoint, we cannot at all determine our real friends and our real enemies. It is of decisive importance in the revolution to distinguish real friends from real enemies. Otherwise, we are bound to commit serious mistakes and lead the revolution astray. Based on our class analysis of Philippine society, the motive forces or friends of the Philippine Revolution are the proletariat, the peasantry, the petit bourgeoisie and, at certain times and to a limited extent, the national bourgeoisie. They compose the overwhelming majority of the Filipino people who are oppressed and exploited by US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. On the other hand, the targets or enemies of the Philippine Revolution are US imperialism and its local lackeys, which are the comprador big bourgeoisie, the landlord class and the bureaucrat capitalists. They compose an extremely small minority of the population. They need to be overthrown in order to achieve national freedom and democracy.
By correctly pursuing a revolutionary class line, we can arouse and mobilize the most gigantic force to encircle or bear upon, isolate and destroy the enemies of the Philippine Revolution. We call upon the entire Filipino nation to wage a national war of liberation against US imperialism. We call upon the great masses of the people to wage a democratic revolution, which is mainly a peasant war, to destroy the feudal social base of imperialist rule.
1. Class Leadership And The Party
There can be no successful revolution without the correct leadership of a definite class. The leading class in the Philippine Revolution today is the proletariat. It is the most advanced productive and political force in the Philippines and in the whole world. It is the standard-bearer of the universal theory of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, without which no genuine revolutionary movement can arise in the Philippines in the present era.
Since World War I and the October Revolution, when the course of world history departed from the path of capitalism to the path of socialism, only the Filipino proletariat has become capable of fully comprehending and embracing the patriotic and progressive aspirations of the entire Filipino people. After World War II, the national liberation of the Chinese people and other peoples and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, the historic role of the Filipino proletariat as the leading class of the Philippine Revolution has become ever more clear.
In these last three decades, it is the class in Philippine society that has dared to lead the people onto the road of revolutionary armed struggle against their foreign and local oppressors and exploiters. It is the class that has gained the profoundest experience and lessons in the concrete practice of the Philippine Revolution.
By its class nature, the proletariat is capable of giving revolutionary leadership not only in the short run but also in the long run until the stage of communism is reached. It now leads the present stage of people's democratic revolution and it will also lead the subsequent stage of socialist revolution.
The Communist Party of the Philippines is the most advanced embodiment and the principal instrument of the revolutionary leadership of the Filipino proletariat in fulfilling its historic mission. It is composed of the most advanced elements of the proletariat and therefore, it is the concentrated expression of the ideological, political and organizational strength of the proletariat as a leading class.
Without this revolutionary party, there can be no revolutionary movement. It is responsible for applying correctly the universal theory of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought on the concrete conditions of Philippine society. Its practical leadership and policies determine the course of the revolutionary movement. Acting as the general staff of the Philippine Revolution, the Party sees to it that correct strategy and tactics bring the revolutionary cause forward.
Although the proletariat is relatively small in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society like that of the Philippines, the Communist Party of the Philippines as its most advanced detachment goes deep among the broad masses of the people and builds itself up as the invincible force at the core of the entire revolutionary mass movement. The Party links firmly the proletariat with the peasantry and also with other revolutionary classes and groups in the Philippines. By providing proletarian leadership to the peasantry, the Party can wield a strong people's army as its principal weapon and can develop the basis for wielding another powerful weapon, the national united front of all revolutionary classes and strata.
Keenly concerned about the danger of modern revisionism and the persistent counterrevolutionary revisionist line of the Lavas and Tarucs, the Party is indefatigably waging a rectification movement to cleanse itself of past errors as well as current ones.
2. The Main Force And The Armed Struggle
The main force of the Philippine Revolution is the peasantry. It is the largest mass force in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country. Without its powerful support, the people's democratic revolution can never succeed. Its problem cannot but be the main problem of the people's democratic revolution. It is only by acting upon this problem that the proletariat and its Party can arouse and mobilize the peasant masses.
There is no solution to the peasant problem but to wage armed struggle, conduct agrarian revolution and build revolutionary base areas. In the course of carrying out the revolutionary struggle for land as a way of fulfilling the main democratic content of the Philippine Revolution, the central task of the entire national revolutionary movement which is to seize political power and consolidate it is also carried out. The main armed contingents of the Philippine Revolution can be raised only by waging a peasant war. Thus, it is inevitable that the vast majority of the Red fighters of the New People's Army can only come from the peasantry.
It would be erroneous for a Communist Party in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country to put the principal stress of its mass work in the cities instead of in the countryside. To do so is to mislead itself into either committing the "Left" opportunist error of trying to seize power mainly on the basis of the mass strength of the proletariat in cities without adequate support from the peasantry or the Right opportunist error of relying indefinitely on parliamentary struggle and unprincipled compromises with the imperialists and the ruling classes as the local revisionist renegades are now trying to do.
It is with due respect to the uneven development of Philippine society that the principal stress should be put on revolutionary struggle in the countryside and the secondary stress on revolutionary struggle in the cities. At all times, the revolutionary struggle in the city and countryside should be well-coordinated. But we should never miss the central fact that it is in the countryside where the weakest links of the political power of the enemy are to be found and where the people's armed forces have the widest area for maneuver in eating up the counterrevolutionary armed forces piece by piece and destroying them step-by-step.
Chairman Mao's strategic line of encircling the cities from the countryside should be assiduously implemented. It is in the countryside where the enemy can be compelled to spread his forces thinly and lured into areas where the initiative is completely in our hands. Though in the beginning the enemy encircles us strategically ten to one, we can in turn encircle him tactically ten to one. In the long run, the tide of the war will be surely turned against him as his actual forces dwindle and it becomes politically difficult to replenish them. At all times, he will be compelled to deploy an exceedingly large military force even only in the static defense of his cities, major camps and main lines of communication and transport. In the long run, his parasitic and passive military forces will also become hopelessly involved in the factional struggles of the reactionary classes.
In the countryside, we can develop several fighting fronts, ranging in quality from guerrilla zones to base areas. In doing so, we should always trust and rely on the masses because revolution is a mass undertaking. We should always rely mainly on the poor peasants, the lower-middle peasants and all sections of the proletariat and semi-proletariat found in the countryside. Furthermore, we should win over the middle peasants and neutralize the rich peasants to isolate and destroy the main pillars of feudalism and all other local tyrants.
In creating our base areas, we depend on a sound mass base, a sound Party organization, a fairly strong Red army, a terrain favorable to military operations and economic resources sufficient for sustenance.
We can turn the most backward areas in the countryside into the most advanced political, military, economic and cultural bastions of the revolution. We can create the armed independent regime in the countryside even before defeating the enemy in the cities. Only on the basis of solid democratic gains in the countryside can the revolution advance. Because of the uneven development of Philippine society, the people's democratic revolution can develop only in an uneven way.
Thus, it would take a protracted people's war to bring about a thoroughgoing revolution all over the country.
3. The Basic Alliance And The National United Front
It is the basic alliance of the working class and the peasantry that serves as the stable foundation of the national united front. Only by building up such an alliance can such middle forces as the petit bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie be attracted into a national united front to isolate enemy diehards. The national united front serves the Party's political line that the Philippine Revolution is basically a revolution of the toiling masses against US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
Through the national united front, the Party extends widely its political influence and gains the widest support of the masses and other progressive classes and strata. At the base of this broad undertaking are the efforts of the proletariat to build up its independent strength through armed struggle supported mainly by the peasantry. The real united front for the people's democratic revolution is one for waging armed struggle.
There is the old poisonous idea still being circulated by the counterrevolutionary revisionists that the united front is mainly for parliamentary struggle. They wish to propagate the old error that befell the Popular Front, the Democratic Alliance and the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism. The Popular Front was limited to being a city-based campaign for the boycott of Japanese goods and a medium for the reactionary elections before the war and in the long run became a mere instrument of US imperialism and the puppet commonwealth government. The Democratic Alliance was organized mainly to support the parliamentary struggle of a Party leadership that disarmed the Hukbalahap after the war and converted it into a veterans' league and a legal peasant organization. The Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism is today an instrument of the Lava revisionist renegades and other opportunists who wish to get positions in the reactionary government on account of their "nationalist" reputation.
The counterrevolutionary revisionists are speaking demagogically of the need for "absolute" unity within a definite formal organization of the national united front. This is a wrong idea because within the real united front there is always both unity and struggle on the basis of varying class interests, and the united front does not always have to have a definite formal organization. The proletariat and the Party must always maintain their leadership, independence and initiative within the united front even as they recognize the independence and initiative of their allies and give concessions to them on condition that there is agreement on a general program which corresponds with the general line and program of the people's democratic revolution and that such concessions do not undermine the basic interests of the toiling masses.
It is with special reference to the national bourgeoisie that the Party is sharply aware of the need for unity and struggle in the united front. This class has a dual character, one aspect being revolutionary and the other aspect reactionary. It is "Left" opportunism to dismiss this class as completely counterrevolutionary, and it is Right opportunism to embrace it as completely revolutionary. The correct policy is to unite with it only to the extent that it supports the revolution at a given time and at the same time to criticize it appropriately for its vacillations or tendency to betray the revolution. This policy will always keep us vigilant.
In the course of discussing the role of the various motive forces of the Philippine Revolution, it has been made clear that the three magic weapons of the Philippine Revolution are the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People's Army and the national united front. In another manner of speaking, the Communist Party of the Philippines, representing the proletariat, wields the two powerful weapons of armed struggle and united front.
The Program for a People's Democratic Revolution in the Philippines, which is the program of the Communist Party of the Philippines, comprehensively lays down the general and specific tasks not only of the proletarian revolutionary party but also of the entire revolutionary mass movement. In another summary form, let us state the basic tasks of the people's democratic revolution.
The central task of the Philippine Revolution in the present stage is the overthrow of US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism, the seizure of political power and its consolidation. Our purpose is to liberate the Filipino nation from foreign oppression and also the great masses of the Filipino people, especially the peasantry, from feudal oppression.
1. In The Political Field
All efforts must be exerted to achieve both a national revolution, mainly against US imperialism and a democratic revolution against feudalism and fascist puppetry. The joint reactionary dictatorship of the comprador big bourgeoisie, the landlord class and the bureaucrat capitalists must be overthrown and replaced with the people's democratic state system which is the united front dictatorship of the proletariat, peasantry, petit bourgeoisie, national bourgeoisie and all other patriots.
A new-democratic republic which is under the leadership of the proletariat and which harmonizes the interests of all revolutionary classes and strata shall replace the present bogus republic which is nothing but a puppet creation of US imperialism and a coercive instrument of the exploiting classes. It shall neither be a bourgeois dictatorship nor a dictatorship of the proletariat, but a joint dictatorship of all revolutionary classes and strata under the leadership of the proletariat.
From the national level of government to the provincial or district level, there shall be people's congresses or conferences. At the lower levels, there shall also be representative governing bodies. At every level, the people's representatives shall be elected under a system of universal and equal suffrage. The principle of democratic centralism shall be the main organizational principle of the People's Democratic Republic of the Philippines.
In advancing towards the people's democratic state system, revolutionary bases must be developed in order to establish the independent regime, even while the comprador-landlord-bureaucrat state has not yet been completely overthrown in the country. The people's democratic government can be established where the people have won under proletarian revolutionary leadership. Here can be established the united front dictatorship or people's democracy. Revolutionary committees can be set up in barrios, factories, schools and other areas as the embryo or actual organs of political power all over the country.
2. In The Military Field
Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. Not until the counterrevolutionary armed forces, including foreign aggressor troops, puppet troops and all kinds of murder gangs, have been destroyed can the independent regime in the countryside or the people's democratic state system throughout the country be established.
The New People's Army shall be the mainstay of the people's democratic state system. It has now the principal task of seizing political power and consolidating it. It must always serve the people and defend them from their enemies.
All forms of the people's armed forces must have a mass character, and they must be led by the proletariat and its Party. The principal forms are the regular mobile forces, the people's guerrillas and the people's militia. They are drawn mainly from the ranks of the peasantry.
Revolutionary base areas and guerrilla zones must be created in the countryside first. It is here where the enemy has to be defeated before the final seizure of power in the cities. The New People's Army shall advance wave upon wave over a protracted period of time to destroy the enemy in the whole country.
3. In The Economic Field
The principle of self-reliance must be implemented in economic affairs even while our revolutionary forces are still creating the rural base areas and guerrilla zones. We must engage in production and not limit ourselves to the cash income and expense account based on contributions, confiscations or war bonds. We must use our resources wisely by following strictly the style of simple living and hard work.
We must confiscate the property of the imperialists, the exploiting classes and traitors to benefit the proletarian and semi-proletarian masses. The state shall run all nationalized enterprises and all sources of raw materials and power. All enterprises which have a monopolistic character shall be taken over. The state sector of the economy shall have a socialist character and shall constitute the leading force of the whole national economy. The national bourgeoisie shall be allowed to develop capitalist production, but only to the extent that it does not dominate or hamper the livelihood of the Filipino people.
The lands of the landlords shall be distributed at no cost to the peasants who have little or no land. The principle of equalizing land ownership shall be implemented. Cooperative enterprises shall be initiated among owner-cultivators and other petty producers as the first step towards socialism. A rich peasant economy will be allowed within a reasonable period of time. Even landlords who have not committed public crimes shall be afforded the opportunity of earning a living although they shall not be put in any position to make or influence decisions.
Before the nationwide victory of the revolutionary movement, the leading organs of the Party and the base government shall make the appropriate economic policies in the base areas and in adjoining guerrilla zones on the basis of the concrete situation. They will see to it that before an economic reform is undertaken in a certain area, there are enough cadres and revolutionary organizations to ensure the proper adjustments of interests among the people.
4. In The Cultural Field
The Philippine Revolution cannot advance at all without the general awakening of the broad masses of the people. The concept of people's democracy or national democracy of a new type must pervade the cultural activities of the revolutionary mass movement. A national, scientific and mass culture must overwhelm and overthrow the imperialist, feudal and anti-people culture that now prevails. The educational system from the lowest to the highest levels shall be so democratic that it shall charge no fees whatsoever from students.
A revolutionary national culture must be propagated in order to oppose imperialist oppression and uphold the dignity and independence of the Filipino nation. It must repudiate the decadent culture of colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism. It must adopt certain traditional and modern cultural forms and infuse these with content that enhances the national-democratic revolution. It must link up with the socialist and new-democratic cultures of other nations. What is progressive in foreign cultures should be assimilated and adapted to national conditions. At the same time, due respect must be accorded to the culture and customs of national minorities. The universal truth of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought can take life in the Philippines only if it is integrated with local conditions and acquires a definite national form. The use of the national language must be promoted to accelerate the propagation of a revolutionary national culture.
A scientific culture must be propagated in order to oppose the reactionary idealism dished out by imperialism and feudalism and also the superstitions that still persist. A united front of the scientific thought of the proletariat and the progressive aspects of bourgeois materialism and the natural sciences can be made. But at all times, the theory of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought must be the leading core of this scientific culture. It should serve as the guide for the practical movement of the revolutionary masses as well as for the ideological remolding of intellectuals. In the field of political action, we can have an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal united front with some idealist and even religious people, although we cannot approve of their idealism or religious doctrines. We should not allow religious controversies to hamper the advance of the revolution.
A culture that truly belongs to the broad masses of people, because it is anti-imperialist and anti-feudal, should be propagated. It should be a revolutionary and democratic culture, expressive of the heroic struggles and aspirations of the toiling masses. Cadres in the cultural field should be like commanders waging a cultural revolution with the masses as their cultural battalions. They should continually link up the higher knowledge imparted to them with the general knowledge that they impart to the masses. They should always strive to raise cultural standards, even as their basic concern is popularization. They must derive from the experience of the masses typical examples and infuse them with a higher ideological content. The revolutionary workers, peasants and fighters should be the heroes of this mass culture. Modern revisionism has no place in the revolutionary ranks and should be thoroughly combated.
5. In The Field Of Foreign Relations
In waging the revolutionary struggle, the Communist Party of the Philippines is highly conscious of fighting US imperialism, Soviet social-imperialism and all reaction under the great principle of proletarian internationalism and under the great policy of the international united front. Whenever possible, direct relations with fraternal parties, with revolutionary movements and with socialist countries like the People's Republic of China and the People's Republic of Albania must be established.
When the People's Democratic Republic of the Philippines has been established, it shall open and maintain diplomatic and trade relations with all countries which respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Filipino people and which engage in such relations for mutual benefit. It shall abide by the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. All unequal treaties and arrangements with the international bourgeoisie led by US imperialism must be immediately abrogated.
The closest and warmest relations shall be fostered with fraternal socialist states, parties and all revolutionary movements fighting imperialism, modern revisionism and all reaction.
It has already been made clear that the Philippine Revolution has two stages. The first stage is that of the people's democratic revolution. The second stage is that of the socialist revolution. The Philippine Revolution, therefore, has a socialist perspective.
The most important political factor in the transition from people's democracy to socialism is the proletarian class leadership based on the worker-peasant alliance. The proletariat through its most advanced detachment, the Communist Party of the Philippines, is responsible for creating the conditions for socialism or for transforming the people's democratic dictatorship into the proletarian dictatorship. As in the struggle for the seizure of power, the working class relies mainly on the great masses of the poor and lower-middle peasants and farm workers in the consolidation of the proletarian dictatorship and the socialist transformation of the economic base.
Under people's democracy, there shall already exist the economic factors for the construction of socialism. Such factors are the state and cooperative sectors in both industry and agriculture. They shall be promoted and advanced by the proletariat in order to create the economic base for socialism. National capitalism and the rich peasant economy will develop but only to some limited extent and will constitute only a part of the whole economy. Increasingly, the proletariat and its revolutionary party shall see to it that the workers, peasants and soldiers shall revolutionize the superstructure in order to make it correspond to the material base. We shall employ the great proletarian cultural revolution repeatedly to keep the political color of the Philippines Red.
At all times, the people's army shall be maintained as the main pillar of the people's democratic state system and subsequently of the socialist state. It shall safeguard the people and the state from external and internal enemies and it shall always give support to the proletarian revolutionaries and the masses in their struggles. It shall always remain the great school for the Filipino youth as successors to the Philippine Revolution.
We are in the era when imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is marching toward world victory. All peoples fighting imperialism, modern revisionism and all reaction are creating the conditions for the advent of socialism in more countries. The world proletarian revolution is vigorously advancing. This international factor is hastening the advance of the people's democratic revolution and thereafter the advent of socialism in the Philippines. At this stage, the universal theory of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution have already had an incalculable impact on the concrete practice of the Philippine Revolution. The revolutionization of the 700 million Chinese people has transformed the People's Republic of China into an iron bastion of socialism. We are very fortunate to be so close to the center of the world proletarian revolution and also to the main anti-imperialist battlefield that is Indochina.
Tabulation Of Landlords Owning 50 Hectares And Above (1968)
|Region / Province||50-99||100-199||200-499||500-999||1,000+||Total|
|Leyte del Sur||18||5||1||0||1||25|
|Davao del Norte||81||37||13||9||11||151|
|Davao del Sur||46||25||9||6||2||88|
|Lanao del Norte||30||21||2||3||0||56|
|Surigao del Norte||7||4||0||0||0||11|
|Surigao del Sur||81||17||3||0||0||101|
Source: Provincial Assessors
Proofreader's Note: All regional totals do not tally with calculated vertical totals; there might be a missing row/province.
Comparative Status Of Foreign Investors In The Philippines
|(In P Million)|
|Investors||Sales||Assets||Net worth||Net profit|
Source: Chronicle Research
Out of more than 3,000 Philippine firms carrying US investments, only the top 168 US firms are actually accounted for here.
1970 Industry totals of top 168 US firms in the Philippines (In P million)
|Industry||Sales||Assets||Net worth||Net profit|
|Logs and Lumber||187.78||195.37||108.27||30.20|
|Drugs and Pharmaceutical||303.73||266.99||101.88||27.68|
|Chemicals & Allied Prod.||232.95||231.76||109.60||21.70|
|Paper & Paper Products||62.35||89.45||21.65||1.47|
|Textile & Wearing App||72.25||63.89||40.64||5.24|
|Appliances & Office Eqpt.||219.55||269.65||89.39||16.69|
|Investment & Management||22.51||169.41||87.60||(0.09)|
|Firms (Mother firm in parenthesis)||Assets||US Ownership in %|
|1. First National City Bank (First National City Corporation, N.Y.)||712,754,952||100.0|
|2. The Philippine American Life Insurance||527,331,000||N.A.|
|3. Caltex Philippines, Incorporated (Caltex Petroleum Corporation)||502,547,219||100.0|
|4. Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation||469,292,118||54.0|
|5. Benguet Consolidated, Incorporated||319,891,228||68.7|
|6. ESSO Philippines, Incorporated (Esso Eastern, Incorporated)||301,109,521||100.0|
|7. Marcopper Mining Corporation||299,394,279||41.0|
|8. Bataan Refining Corporation (Esso Philippines, Mobil Petroleum)||270,997,377||100.0|
|9. Mobil Oil Philippines, Incorporated (Mobile Petroleum Company)||269,050,825||100.0|
|10. Bank of America (Bank of America, San Francisco)||257,013,200||100.0|
|11. Dole Philippines, Incorporated (Castle & Cook, Incorporated)||240,037,273||100.0|
|12. Filoil Refinery Corporation (Gulf Oil Corporation)||193,262,077||67.0|
|13. A. Soriano y Compania||142,487,513||100.0|
|14. USIPHIL, Incorporated||119,007,857||100.0|
|15. Granexport Corporation||116,199,090||100.0|
|16. Philippine Packing Corporation (Del Monte Corporation)||107,030,747||100.0|
|17. International Harvester MacLeon, Inc. (International Harvester Company)||103,232,041||100.0|
|18. BF Goodrich Philippines, Incorporated (The BF Goodrich Company)||97,569,000||100.0|
|19. Standard (Philippines) Fruit Corporation (Standard Fruit and Steamship Company)||85,701,142||66.0|
|20. Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of the Philippines, Inc. (Pepsi Co. N.Y.)||85,680,153||100.0|
|21. Bislig Bay Lumber Company, Incorporated||81,682,161||56.0|
|22. Ford Philippines, Incorporated (Ford Motor Company)||80,000,949||100.0|
|23. Union Carbide Philippines (Union Carbide Corporation, NY)||79,972,183||100.0|
|24. Procter & Gamble, PMC (The Procter & Gamble Company)||75,957,104||100.0|
|25. Honiron Philippines, Incorporated (Honolulu Iron Works)||73,872,656||100.0|
|26. Legaspi Oil, Incorporated||71,029,761||83.0|
|27. Firestone Tire & Rubber Company (Firestone Tire & Rubber Company)||60,245,528||75.0|
|28. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company of the Philippines (Goodyear International Corporation)||60,045,425||100.0|
|29. General Milk Company (Philippines), Inc. (General Milk Company California USA)||58,428,756||74.0|
|30. Theo H. Davies & Company Far East, Limited (Theo Davies & Company Far East Limited)||57,729,757||90.0|
|31. Pepsi-Cola Far East Trade Development Company, Incorporated||56,669,988||100.0|
|32. Kimberly-Clark Philippines, Incorporated (Kimberly-Clark Corporation)||53,521,708||95.8|
|33. Republic Glass Corporation (Castle & Cooke, Incorporated)||52,505,634||55.0|
|34. Singer Sewing Machine Company (Singer Sewing Machine Company)||49,661,858||100.0|
|35. California Manufacturing Company, Inc. (CPC International, Incorporated)||44,647,581||100.0|
|36. Reynolds Philippines Corporation (Reynolds International Corporation)||43,729,359||51.0|
|37. Phelps Dodge Philippines, Incorporated (Phelps Dodge Corporation)||42,770,51||61.0|
|38. General Telephone & Electronics Industries, Inc. (General Telephone & Electronics International Inc.)||42,099,981||100.0|
|39. IBM Philippines, Incorporated (IBM World Trade Corporation)||41,614,319||100.0|
|40. Mead Johnson, Philippines, Incorporated (Bristol-Myers Company, N.Y.)||40,794,651||100.0|
|41. Colgate-Palmolive Philippines Incorporated (Colgate-Palmolive Peet Company)||39,693,860||100.0|
|42. Chrysler Philippines, Incorporated (Chrysler International)||38,253,870||100.0|
|43. Zamboanga Wood Products, Incorporated (Boise Cascade Corporation)||37,725,588||86.0|
|44. Getty Oil (Philippines), Incorporated (Getty Oil Company)||33,864,946||100.0|
|45. Weyerhaeuser Philippines, Incorporated (Weyerhaeuser, Incorporated)||30,079,907||100.0|
|46. Hawaiian-Philippine Company||29,090,015||98.0|
|47. Engineering Equipment, Incorporated (Benguet Consolidated, Incorporation)||29,001,100||93.0|
|48. Coca-Cola Export Corporation (Coca-Cola Export Corporation)||27,965,942||100.0|
|49. Scott Paper Philippines, Incorporated (Scott Paper Company)||27,404,580||100.0|
|50. San Carlos Milling||26,999,564||66.0|
|51. Boise Cascade Philippines, Incorporated (Boise Cascade Corporation)||26,821,136||100.0|
|52. American Wire & Cable Company, Inc.||25,845,087||-|
|53. Columbian Carbon Philippines, Inc. (Cities Service Company)||24,291,304||79.0|
|54. General Electric Philippines, Incorporated (General Electric)||24,064,310||100.0|
|55. Philippine Appliance Corporation (Westinghouse Electric)||23,916,000||56.0|
|56. Gelmart Industries Philippines, Inc. (Gelmart Knitting Mills, Incorporated)||23,575,947||99.0|
|57. Connell Brothers Company (Philippines) (Wilbur-Ellis)||23,341,962||100.0|
|58. The Edward J. Nell Company||23,047,597||60.0|
|59. Aircon, Incorporated||22,535,531||90.0|
|60. Consolidated Philippines, Incorporated (Consolidated Dairy Products Company)||22,070,393||51.0|
|61. Insular Lumber Company (Philippines), Incorporated||20,439,300||97.0|
|62. Borden Chemicals Company (Philippines), Inc. (Borden International)||20,220,213||98.0|
|63. Pfizer, Incorporated N.Y. (Pfizer, Incorporated N.Y.)||19,118,979||100.0|
|64. Erlanger & Galinger (The National Cash Register Company)||19,114,764||70.0|
|65. Winthrop-Stearns, Incorporated (Winthrop-Stearns, Incorporated)||19,057,144||100.0|
|66. Minnesota (3M) Philippines, Incorporated (Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing)||18,211,912||100.0|
|67. Philippine Electrical Manufacturing Company||18,205,009||60.6|
|68. Bogo-Medellin Milling Company, Incorporated||17,913,039||92.0|
|69. Kodak Philippines, Limited (Eastman Kodak)||17,909,281||100.0|
|70. E.R. Squibb & Sons Philippines, Corporation (E.R. Squibb & Sons Incorporated)||16,376,832||100.0|
|71. Johnson & Johnson (Philippines) Incorporated (Johnson & Johnson International)||16,132,171||99.0|
|72. Franklin Baker Company of the Philippines (General Foods Corporation)||15,940,162||96.0|
|73. Groiler International, Incorporated (Groiler Incorporated)||15,871,870||100.0|
|74. Warner Barnes & Company Limited||15,452,528||-|
|75. Bristol Laboratories (Philippines, Incorporated) (Bristol Laboratories, International)||15,214,289||100.0|
|76. Macondray & Company, Incorporated||15,162,241||99.9|
|77. American International Underwriters (Philippines), Incorporated||15,088,065||100.0|
|78. Philippine Remnants Company, Inc.||15,073,098||100.0|
|79. Muller & Philipps (Manila) Limited (Muller & Philipps, New York)||14,572,589||100.0|
|80 Findlay-Millar Timber Company||14,344,035||100.0|
|81. Wrigley Philippines Incorporated (William Wrigley Company)||14,283,864||100.0|
|82. Ault & Wiborg Company (Far East) (Inmon Corporation)||14,115,807||100.0|
|83. Burroughs Limited (Philippine Branch) (Burroughs Limited)||13,580,687||99.0|
|84. Abbott Laboratories (Philippines) (Abbott Universal, Limited)||13,521,124||100.0|
|85. Richardson-Merell (Philippines), Inc. (Richardson-Merell, Incorporated)||12,886,225||100.0|
|86. Singer Industries Philippines, Incorporated (Singer Sewing Machine Company)||12,758,711||99.0|
|87. Inhelder-Don Baxter Laboratories, Incorporated (American Supply Corporation)||12,530,967||99.9|
|88. Everett Steamship Corporation||12,254,355||63.0|
|89. National Lead Company (Philippines) Inc. (National Lead Company)||11,806,904||51.0|
|90. Manila Cordage Company (Tubbs Cordage Company)||11,730,168||95.0|
|91. Edward R. Bacon Company, (Philippines) Inc.||11,263,694||100.0|
|92. Warner-Chilcott Laboratories Incorporated (Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical)||11,097,651||99.0|
|93. Wyeth-Suaco Laboratories Incorporated (Wyeth Laboratories, Corporation)||10,868,277||90.0|
|94. San Pablo Manufacturing Corporation||10,766,475||100.0|
|95. Parke Davis & Company, Incorporated (Parke Davis & Company)||10,003,283||100.0|
|96. Inhelder Corporation||9,988,281||99.9|
|97. Merck, Sharp & Dohme (Philippines), Inc. (Merck & Company, Incorporated)||9,460,582||100.0|
|98. Philippine Acetylene Company Incorporated||8,907,284||98.0|
|99. Air Mac Philippines, Incorporated (Air Mac International Corporation)||8,760,743||100.0|
|100. Lancaster Philippines, Incorporated (Lancaster Leaf Tobacco, Incorporated)||8,307,475||65.0|
|101. Luneta Motor Company||8,103,326||N.A.|
|102. Sterling Products, International, Inc. (Sterling Products International, Incorporated, N.Y.)||7,709,929||100.0|
|103. P.F. Collier, Incorporated (P.F. Collier, Incorporated)||7,695,775||100.0|
|104. J. Walter Thompson Company (Philippines) (J. Walter Thompson Company)||7,665,204||100.0|
|105. Oceanic Commercial, Incorporated||7,173,817||95.0|
|106. ITT Philippines, Incorporated (International Telephone & Telegraph Corporation)||6,927,057||99.0|
|107. Cyanamid Philippines, Incorporated (American Cyanamid Company)||6,888,835||70.0|
|108. S.C. Johnson & Son, Incorporated (S.C. Johnson & Son, Incorporated)||6,853,829||100.0|
|109. Atkins, Kroll & Company, Incorporated (Atkins Kroll Company)||6,720,091||100.0|
|110. Loreto F. de Henudes, Incorporated (RBS)||6,597,605||-|
|111. J.P. Heilbronn, Company||6,113,257||52.9|
|112. Conrad & Company, Incorporated||6,113,257||100.0|
|113. Rexall (Philippines) Incorporated (Rexall Drug Company)||6,074,129||100.0|
|114. Sherwin-Williams Philippines Incorporated (The Sherwin-Williams Company)||5,965,292||60.0|
|115. Shurdut Industrial Distributors, Inc.||5,609,809||80.0|
|116. Rheem of the Philippines, Incorporated (Rheem International Incorporated)||5,500,738||55.0|
|117. Eli Lilly (Philippines), Incorporated (Eli Lilly International)||5,485,590||100.0|
|118. Philippine Education Company, Inc.||5,427,863||94.0|
|119. Sanitary Steam Laundry, Incorporated||5,427,863||96.0|
|120. Liberty Aviation Corporation (Philippine American Insurance)||5,393,927||67.0|
|121. Matalin Coconut Company, Incorporated||5,168,210||100.0|
|122. Novelty Philippines, Incorporated||5,099,188||99.0|
|123. Williams Equipment Company, Limited (Williams Equipment Company)||4,955,418||92.0|
|124. Goulds Pumps (Philippines), Incorporated (GPI, N.Y.)||4,748,795||100.0|
|125. Amfil Chemical Corporation (Rohm & Haas Company)||4,635,151||100.0|
|126. Philippine Rubber Project Company, Inc.||4,634,203||100.0|
|127. Schering Corporation (Philippines), Inc. (Schering Corporation [Panama] USA.)||4,611,623||100.0|
|128. American Machinery & Parts Manufacturing Incorporated||4,568,180||67.0|
|129. Mahogany Products (Philippines), Inc.||4,503,762||88.0|
|130. Upjohn, Incorporated (The Upjohn Company)||4,123,644||100.0|
|131. Estraco Pharmaceutical Corporation (USV Pharmaceutical Corporation)||3,839,484||99.9|
|132. Mastodon Equipment Company, Inc.||3,654,145||50.0|
|133. Smith, Kline & French Overseas Company (Smith, Kline & French Overseas)||3,425,695||100.0|
|134. McCann-Erikson (Philippines), Inc.||3,189,654||99.0|
|135. C.F. Sharp & Company, Incorporated||3,179,122||50.0|
|136. Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Company||3,078,025||100.0|
|137. Fuller Paint Manufacturing Company (Philippines) Incorporated||3,015,019||40.0|
|138. Philippine American Timber Company, Inc.||2,939,222||59.0|
|139. Far East Corn Refining Company, Inc.||2,938,222||50.0|
|140. Ayerst Laboratories (Philippines), Inc. (American Home Products Corporation)||2,872,800||100.0|
|141. Royal Undergarment Corporation of the Philippines (Exquisite Form Industries)||2,582,012||99.0|
|142. Philippine Paper Products Company||2,396,340||95.0|
|143. E.E Elser, Incorporated||2,255,760||94.0|
|144. Standard Brands of the Philippines, Inc. (Standard Brands, Delaware, USA)||2,233,976||100.0|
|145. A.H. Robins (Philippines) Company, Inc. (A.H. Robins Company Incorporated)||2,226,772||100.0|
|146. Heald Lumber Company (Benguet Consolidated Incorporated)||2,128,835||100.0|
|147. Taylor Pacific (Philippines), Incorporated||2,103,426||100.0|
|148. Orion Manila, Incorporated||2,102,886||100.0|
|149. Pacific Airways Corporation||2,055,430||90.0|
|150. Bunning & Company, Incorporated (Associated Tobacco Importer)||2,008,431||99.0|
|151. Insurance Specialists, Incorporated||1,889,797||99.7|
|152. B.B. Fisher||1,861,676||88.0|
|153. Chicago Bridge (Philippines), Incorporated||1,797,012||100.0|
|154. Ingersoll-Rand, Philippines, Incorporated (Ingersoll-Rand Company)||1,723,431||100.0|
|155. Inter-Island Construction Corporation (E.E. Black Limited)||1,637,906||100.0|
|156. Solex Tool Corporation||1,548,799||100.0|
|157. Johnston Lumber Company, Incorporated||1,531,732||100.0|
|158. Philippine Handicraft, Incorporated (Cradle Toys Incorporated)||1,515,732||98.0|
|159. SPT Extract Corporation (Seven-Up Export Corporation)||1,470,558||98.0|
|160. Judy Philippines||1.208,912||98.0|
|161. Otis Elevator Company (Manila branch) (Otis Elevator Company, Delaware)||1,190,839||100.0|
|162. Philippine Chemical Laboratories, Inc.||1.118,500||99.0|
|163. Rachelle Laboratories (Philippines) Inc.||1,063,704||100.0|
|164. Newsweek, Incorporated (Philippine branch)||588,324||100.0|
|165. Philippine Gloves, Incorporated||559,390||100.0|
|166. Dean International, Incorporated||450,487||100.0|
|167. Supreme Baby Wear, Incorporated||436,870||99.0|
|168. South Seas Trading Corporation||334,446||100.0|