Photo by Carlo Manalansan/Bulatlat
November 30, 2023
Today, November 30, we mark not just the birth of national hero and revolutionary Andres Bonifacio; above all, we commemorate his courageous leadership of the Katipunan and the armed revolution they waged for national liberation against Spanish colonial rule.
Nevertheless, the Filipino people’s struggle for national liberation persists to this day precisely because its causes are still unaddressed: rampant landlessness, worsening poverty and joblessness, continued kowtowing to foreign and imperial interests, brazen impunity and injustice, and elite rule.
Administration after administration have tried to end the decades-long armed conflict in the country through various forms of state fascism and repression. The previous Duterte administration formed the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and enacted the draconian Anti-Terrorism Act, but these measures have utterly failed in their aims to crush the ongoing armed revolution in the country. Instead, they are engendering the worst forms of human rights violations, war crimes, and injustices — thus giving the people more compelling reasons to rise in resistance, just like Bonifacio and the Katipunan did more than a century ago.
Our call for the attainment of just and lasting peace therefore remains unwavering — and in light of the recent joint statement of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, Karapatan welcomes the affirmaton of both parties’ commitment to discuss the framework of priorities for the resumption of peacetalks.
It is especially significant now on the day of Bonifacio’s birth to recognize that only by seriously addressing the socio-economic and political issues that lie at its roots can armed conflict be resolved. Upholding previously signed agreements and enacting relevant socio-economic and political reforms would bring about not only much-needed changes in our country: they will also also allow our people to unite and strongly assert our national independence and sovereignty against the many forces and powers that threaten and undermine it.
To resolve the roots of armed conflict and to attain just peace, therefore, is to struggle to defend and uphold the Filipino people’s sovereignty and dignity. Indeed, only when every Filipino has a home, food on their tables to feed their families, and decent jobs and living wages can they truly enjoy the exercise of their basic rights and fully live their lives as citizens of the country. Only then can we truly call ourselves a free and independent Philippines. ###