Anti Imperialist Action Ireland extends its solemn condolences to the friends, family, and comrades of the victims of the South Tagalog Bloody Sunday Massacre, which took place in the Philippines on March 7th, 2021.
In the early hours of March 7th the homes of dozens of civilians were broken into by the Philippine National Police. In the ensuing chaos, 9 innocent activists of various organisations fighting for indigenous, democratic, and environmental rights were ruthlessly murdered. One man was shot up to 10 times before his corpse was dragged out. The names of those slaughtered are Manny Asuncion, Chai Evangelista, Ariel Evangelista, Makmak Bacasno, Michael Dasigao, Abner Esto, Edward Esto, Puroy dela Cruz and Randy dela Cruz. Among the survivors were the 10 year old son of the Evangelistas, 6 activists illegally arrested, and the victims who escaped, listed as “at large” by the PNP.
This massacre has become known as “Bloody Sunday” in the Philippines, an infamous name which the people of Ireland are already familiar with. For decades the Philippines, a South East Asian island nation, has been the location of a rebellion waged by the New People’s Army as part of the National Democratic Front. In their revolutionary people’s war they have fought against successive corrupt governments which have plunged the Philippines, a nation rich in natural resources, into the misery of unrestricted imperialist exploitation and occupation. This revolutionary army of tens of thousands of guerrillas under the direction of the now 150,000 member strong Communist Party of the Philippines have heroically defended indigenous and oppressed communities from land grabs, environmental destruction, forced evacuations, and imperialist mining projects.
The revolutionaries have successfully united large sections of the Filipino people into a broad movement as part of what they call the national democratic revolution. Much of the several million strong national democratic movement is composed of peaceful, non-military, unarmed activists not affiliated with the NPA. However with the expansion of the revolutionary mass support base, repression against not only the rebels, but also unarmed activists and progressives has dramatically intensified. Under the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte hundreds of civilian activists have been murdered, falsely accused of being NPA members and subsequently gunned down by the military, police, or paramilitary death squads. This process, known as “red-tagging”, showed the world its ugliest side on March 7th.
It occurred immediately after the bloodthirsty “Kill, kill, kill” order was publicly issued by President Rodrigo Duterte, who in the past has called on his troops to “ignore human rights”, shoot communists “walking around” on the spot, and mutilate the genitalia of captured communist women. This monster receives weapons from imperialists across the world who benefit from his pro-foreign investment policies. Millions of euro in arms exports have been sent to the Philippines from Britain, the EU, the USA, Russia, and China, giving Duterte the means to carry out atrocities just like the Bloody Sunday Massacre against the Filipino people. We must always remember that the blood of the innocent martyrs of South Tagalog is not just on the hands of Duterte and the PNP, but also on the hands of his wealthy imperialist sponsors. The same imperialists that Free State politicians would have us further link arms with amid calls for participation in NATO or an EU military.
Today, on the first anniversary of the massacre, thousands of activists took to the streets in the South Tagalog region to protest the widespread campaign of repression by the fascist Duterte regime against workers, peasants, fishermen, and indigenous minorities such as the Moro or Lumad. The alignment of these events with our own commemorations for the 50th anniversary of the Bogside Massacre of 1972, which is also named Bloody Sunday, brings to mind many parallels between the situations of the Irish and Filipino people. The expressions of solidarity by Filipino revolutionaries during our 50th anniversary commemorations highlight the common ground between the anti-imperialist resistance movements in both of our colonised island nations, and the common characteristics of the butchery of our imperialist oppressors.
At a time when, due to the growing inter-imperialist conflict in Ukraine, imperialist hysteria is reaching a fever-pitch, we must take a principled stand and show solidarity with the revolutionaries of the CPP-NPA-NDF on the anniversary of the South Tagalog Bloody Sunday Massacre just as they were willing to show their solidarity with Irish republicans on the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday Massacre at the Bogside. We must remember them as they remembered us. Despite our geographical and cultural differences, we share far more in common with our Filipino brothers and sisters than we share with the imperialists of Britain or the EU, who our ruling class in the Free State seek to further shackle us together with.