Response to the News Report on the “HMB” as the alleged PKP “Armed Wing”.
July 30, 2016
PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER (PDI)
Sirs / Mesdames :
We have belatedly learned about a news report, entitled : “Heeding Duterte, 44 Reds yield in Pampanga”, by Tonette Orejas, which appeared in the July 19, 2016, issue of the PDI. We have noted that a previous PDI report on the same story, written by Frances Mangosing, mentioned that the surrenderees (dubbed as the “Sta. Ana 44”) were members of the CPP-NPA. However, the subsequent report by Tonette Orejas stated that some of them belonged to the “Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (HMB)”, which is allegedly “the armed wing of the old Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas”.
In this connection, we wish to clarify the following regarding the HMB and our party's position shunning the armed struggle :
1. The HMB had been totally and finally dissolved, as part of the PKP’s political settlement with the government, in September 1974, during the early martial law period. Thereafter, our party never maintained an “armed wing”, and any allegation as to the continued existence of the PKP's “HMB” is absurd. The use of the “HMB” name by any group, particularly those engaged in banditry and terrorism, can only serve the interests of those who wish to malign our party and denigrate the true essence of communist advocacy. Communist advocacy cannot be equated with the armed form of struggle.
2. While the Marcos martial law period saw the grave curtailment of civil and political rights, its early period also featured some new and positive developments which were to later be of serious concern to US imperialism and other factions of the local oligarchy. Among these were widespread agrarian reform in rice and corn areas, government take-over of major public utilities owned by the old oligarchy, the building up of the state sector in vital areas of the economy, the development of all-round relations with socialist countries, and closer Philippine identification with the Non-Aligned Movement. The early martial law period also featured a laudable campaign against drug lords, local warlords, and crime syndicates. It was in this general atmosphere that the PKP cautiously agreed, in June 1974, to enter into negotiations initiated by Marcos in 1973 for his declared purpose of forging a “national unity” agreement.
3. Entering into negotiations with the Marcos regime was a calculated risk for our party, but was spurred by the need to break out of the narrow confines of illegality. The Marcos overtures, which were viewed with suspicion at the start, later turned out to be the opportunity to achieve the return of the legal status that our party had long sought.
4. As a result of the negotiations, the PKP entered into a political settlement with the government in September 1974, under which the PKP finally renounced the armed struggle, dissolved the HMB and surrendered its weapons ; while the Marcos government in turn recognized the legal status of the PKP and its right to organize and propagandize freely, and amended the “Anti-Subversion Law” to remove the PKP from its purview. The Marcos government also extended government recognition to HUKBALAHAP veterans, facilitated agrarian reform in PKP-influenced areas, granted amnesty to PKP and HMB members, and released all remaining PKP and HMB political prisoners.
5. Aside from formalizing its renunciation of the armed struggle, the political settlement of 1974 did not prevent or stop the PKP from demanding the lifting of martial law, or from criticizing the pro-imperialist positions of Marcos especially as he gave in to more World Bank and IMF dictates towards the end of the 1970s. To his credit, Marcos adhered to the terms of the political settlement enabling our party to exist and function legally, even as our party took an increasingly critical oppositionist position toward his regime.
6. The surrender of arms is not a surrender of principles or an end to communist advocacy ; in fact, the PKP realized since the early 1960s that the armed struggle was already futile as a form of struggle to gain power in our country, and that the launching of a general uprising to fight state terror in the late 1940s was an adventurist blunder. Our party decided to shift from armed to legal forms of struggle in the early 1960s, leading to the resurgence of legal left organizations of different classes and sectors during that period.
7. While our party took the road of open political struggle since the early 1960s, a few of its leading cadres later became attracted to maoism. Expelled from our party in 1967, they formed the maoist CPP in December 1968, guided by Mao’s bankrupt thesis of a worldwide “revolutionary situation” which allegedly required “people’s wars” everywhere. Significantly, they were also goaded by imperialist-backed factions of the local ruling class which sought to divide the resurgent progressive movement and even divert it into a purely-anti-Marcos line. Blind adherence to the maoist prescription for armed struggles everywhere led to criminal adventurism which resulted in the death of tens of thousands of our people in the past 47 years. Splits within the maoist CPP also occurred in the 1980s and 1990s over the validity of a “continuing revolutionary situation” calling for continued armed struggle, with some “rejectionist” groups finally ditching the armed struggle dogma.
8. Since the late 1980s, the PKP had been appending its founding year  to its initials, i.e., PKP-1930, to distinguish it from the maoist CPP which was formed in 1968 and is carrying on with a futile armed struggle. The PKP-1930 remains a legal communist party advocating a peaceful road to national democracy, and eventually to socialism, for our country. The PKP-1930 continues to openly propagate its views on national liberation from imperialist control, and on social justice, self-reliant upon its members and sympathizers who are all Filipino citizens belonging to our working masses. None of its leaders and members are in hiding in the hills, or are in self-exile in some reactionary monarchies abroad. Some of its leaders and members have been elected to municipal, city and provincial councils, and others intend to run again for congressional positions in the next election. The PKP-1930 continues to condemn the intimidation of people through armed force, the extortion of “revolutionary taxes and permits-to-campaign”, the militarization of supposed “liberated areas”, and the terrorist use of alleged “revolutionary justice” through kangaroo courts, assassinations and internal purges.
9. The PKP-1930 supports the peaceful settlement of the maoist and other insurgencies, considering the end of armed struggles as the liberation from fear and even terror of many people in conflict areas in our country. Addressing the “root causes” of the armed struggle primarily calls for uprooting the ideology of maoism which is the subjective cause of the armed struggle. While communist parties in all countries have fought for legality and for the unhindered right to bring their program to the people, maoist parties are unique in their advocacy of the armed struggle as the only road to power. Maoists naturally evade and resist peace talks aimed at ending their armed struggle, invariably presenting unrealistic demands and pre-conditions, and blaming others for any breakdown of negotiations. Blind to the actual alignment of forces and the absence of a revolutionary situation, maoists constantly hallucinate that their armed might is nearing parity with government forces, and soon will have the capacity to launch a “strategic offensive” for the armed seizure of political power. It is this departure from reality which continues to feed the criminal mindset to maintain the armed struggle indefinitely. The armed-struggle dogma is the root cause of the 47 years of the bloody maoist insurgency in our country. It is this dogma which has to be uprooted in order for peace talks, and for the negotiated settlement of the maoist insurgency, to succeed.
10. Significantly, communist parties in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa, Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, Syria, the Russian Federation, Belarus, Spain and other countries, have all made progress in winning substantial roles in government while shunning any recourse to the armed struggle. In these and many other capitalist and developing countries, communist parties which shun the armed struggle have greatly contributed to the forging of a more liberal culture of tolerance of political pluralism, of aversion to religious bigotry and all forms of despotic rule, and of greater understanding of scientific socialism. It is in this same peaceful path of struggle that the PKP-1930 maintains itself.
ATTY. ANTONIO E. PARIS