NPA fighters to stand in military formation on April 27, to honor Lapulapu in Battle of Mactan 500 years ago
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY –– All units of the communist-led New People’s Army (NPA) will stand in formation and raise their weapons on Tuesday, April 27, to honor Lapulapu and thousands who fought the Spanish colonizers in the Battle of Mactan 500 years ago.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said, in a statement, that it has declared April 27 this year as “National Day of Armed Valor” to commemorate the Filipinos’ first resistance against colonizers.
The Duterte administration has tagged the CPP as a terrorist group,
The underground rebel group also drew parallel with Lapulapu and the series of resistance and revolts waged by Filipinos against Spain and American colonizers.
“All the Filipino armed revolutionaries of the past, like the NPA, have been vilified by the ruling oppressors. They have been condemned as ‘insurectos’ and ‘bandidos,’ just as today they are reviled by those who exploit and feed on the people’s miseries,” the CPP said.
“Indeed, if Lapulapu or any one of those who rose in arms to defend the people’s dignity and the nation’s freedom were alive today, they too would be reviled as ‘terrorists,’” the statement said.
The CPP said the NPA drew inspiration from the “armed valor of Lapulapu and their victory in the Battle of Mactan” 500 years ago.
It recalled the Battle of Mactan as “the day that the yet inceptive Filipinos stood valiantly and resisted the colonizers who sought to make them bow to their armed might and pay tribute to the Spanish king.”
Although the Spanish aggressors eventually colonized the archipelago that was later named the Philippines after King Philip of Spain, Lapulapu’s valor inspired successive generations of Filipinos to fight back and resist colonial oppression, the CPP said.
“At different times during the colonial period, Filipinos rose in arms against the colonizers who grabbed their lands, demanded tribute, imposed high land rent and heavy taxes, exacted unpaid labor, seized crops and subjected the masses to cruel punishment,” CPP said.
As the Spaniards ruled the country, numerous armed revolts erupted across the entire archipelago, the statement added.
“These revolts were invariably labeled as banditry and quelled brutally but would produce heroes of the Philippine revolution such as Lakandula, Rajah Sulayman, Palaris, Diego and Gabriela Silang, Francisco Dagohoy, and tens of thousands of nameless others,” the CPP statement said.
“They were all filled with the indomitable spirit of Lapulapu and his ardent desire to be free from foreign invaders,” the statement said.
From the scattered revolts of centuries, the group said the Filipinos ultimately raised their weapons and fought as one under the red flag of the Katipunan and the leadership of Andres Bonifacio.
“Rising as one nation, the Filipino people waged widespread guerrilla warfare against the Spanish colonial forces and liberated large parts of the country from foreign control,” it said.
Driven by their desire for a free nation from fighting the Spaniards, Filipinos rose against the American colonial regime, which bought the Philippines as a colonial possession from Spain and took away the country’s freedom by force.
“From Batangas to Balangiga (in Samar) and across the country, the Filipino people fought valiantly, even as they were brutally suppressed as ‘bandits’ by the American forces armed with superior weapons,” the CPP said.
The group recalled the more than a million Filipinos, who died in the armed resistance against the US colonial invaders, and as a result of disease and hunger during the war of suppression until the early 1900s.
“Imbued with the heroic spirit of all armed heroes of the past, the NPA and all the forces of the people’s democratic revolution are determined to carry forward the struggle,” said the group.
The CPP had been waging more than five decades of war against the government. Its on and off talks with the administration had been stalled since 2017 when President Duterte suspended the negotiations.
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