Sunday, December 25, 2011
The People's Republic of the Philippines
The People's Republic of the Philippines ("Republikang Pampopular ng Pilipinas" i the vernacular) is an archipelagic nation located in Southeast Asia. Known more commonly as "The Philippines," the current communist government was founded in 1987, shortly after the ouster of transitional president Corazon Aquino.
The single governing body is known as the New Communist Party of the Philippines ("Bagong Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas") or NCPP, presided over by Chairman Jose Maria Sison.
Aside from multiple "regional commands" and sub-committees, there exists within the government structure the New People's Army, which is the unified military arm of the NCPP, and which helps consolidate the Party's control over the country. Once part of the pre-Revolution CPP-NDF-NPA tripartite group, the NPA was eventually sub-categorized under the NCPP. Foreign intelligence also confirms the existence of an unnamed secret police organization, a part of the NPA, that carries out assassinations against so-called "counter-revolutionaries."
Even before 1987, Maoist insurgents already numbered in the tens of thousands around the Philippines. When President Ferdinand Marcos was toppled during a popular uprising on February 25, 1986, a transitional government was hastily created under president Corazon Aquino, who was democratically elected to the position by a forced plebiscite election a month earlier. Her first act as president was to "free all political prisoners," including Jose Maria Sison. Emboldened by this move, Communist insurgents immediately laid seige to three key commercial centers in the north of the country, namely Laoag (in Ilocos Norte province), Dagupan (Pangasinan) and Cabanatuan (Nueva Ecija).
The Siege of Baguio
Aquino's negotiations with the Communists failed to produce even just a simple accord, and on May 4, 1986, a thousand Communist troops took the city of Baguio by force, driving out the American troops stationed at John Hay Air Force Base, which was located within the city. Though no American citizens or troops were hurt, the United States government decided to nevertheless evacuate all of its citizens from the country; within a week all military bases in the country were devoid of Americans.
On a nationwide broadcast from Baguio's "Mansion House" presidential summer palace, the Communists declared Jose Maria Sison as Chairman.
The Fall of Manila
As the months wore on, the Philippine military, already fractured by divided loyalties, watched helplessly as insurgents poured in from the wilderness and laid siege to town after town all over Luzon island. Finally, on the night of September 30, 1987, responding to news that Communist guerillas were entering the capital city Manila, President Aquino and her immediate family were quickly whisked away from the presidential palace to the airport, boarding a US C-130 plane that would eventually bring them to the USS Midway, which was docked in Guam.
The Maoists met virtually no resistance as they entered the capital the next morning. On noon of October 1, 1987, Chairman Sison appeared on the grand balcony of the presidential palace and inaugurated the People's Republic of the Philippines.
The Philippine Cultural Revolution
Following Maoist ideology, Sison implemented the Philippine Cultural Revolution in March 1989, the purpose of which was to remove supposedly "imperialist" influences. Catholic churches, prayer halls, temples and mosques were forcibly closed, while titles to vast tracts of land were declared void and redistributed to farmers in the name of "true agrarian reform." It withdrew its membership from various international organizations, including the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee, citing the "influence of imperialist doctrine" within these organizations. The highrises of Makati, once the busy financial district of Manila, were converted to residential buildings for the purpose of housing "urban communes." Once considered a bulwark of free speech and responsible journalism, the Philippine Daily Inquirer became the mouthpiece of the Revolution. Millions of people were forced from the cities into the countryside, turning jungle into farming and industrial communities. Military service became mandatory for all people fifteen years of age and above.
"Imperialism" to the Philippine Politburo meant not just American influences but Chinese ones as well; with the reforms brought about by Deng Xiaoping, Chairman Sison denounced China's trend towards capitalization and abandonment of Maoist ideology. Sison was also bitter towards Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika and the impending revolutions of Eastern Europe. With the Philippines becoming increasingly isolated from even its communist neighbors, Sison had no choice but to ally with North Korea. This led the Philippine Politburo to implement the philosophy of "Sariling Sikap" (Self-Reliance), which was similar to Kim il-Sung's juche ideals.
The Philippine Cultural Revolution also saw a massive internal purge within the Communist Party's own ranks. In 1990, Chairman Sison ordered the "silencing" of who he considered "Trotskyists" and "counter-revolutionaries." Though the exact number is unknown, up to three thousand people targeted for opposing any and all aspects of the Cultural Revolution have been imprisoned or killed so far.
An earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Ritcher scale struck Luzon island on July 16, 1990, and was recorded by scientists all over the Asia-Pacific region, but the Philippine Politburo was silent about the whole matter; it is believed that tens of thousands of people perished during the disaster. When Mount Pinatubo erupted a year later, the Philippine Politburo refused aide from the United Nations and the International Red Cross, requesting aide from North Korea instead. It is now estimated that around 150,000 people died during the eruption, although this number could not be verified by independent sources.
The Philippines Today
The People's Republic of the Philippines, with its increasingly isolationist tendencies, is still technically in a state of "Cultural Revolution." All forms of religion are banned and it is virtually impossible to gather news from rural areas. Foreigners are banned from entering the country unless they are from the Philippines only international ally and friend, North Korea.