Today May 5 marks the 36th anniversary of the founding of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or BAYAN. Established at the height of the struggle to overthrow the US-backed Marcos fascist dictatorship, Bayan has remained an alliance of workers, peasants, women, youth, indigenous peoples, fisherfolk, professionals, artists, and other oppressed sectors, fighting for the national and democratic aspirations of the Filipino people. Bayan is determined to wage militant struggle against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism, to usher in a truly just and free Philippine society.

Bayan has survived several regimes since Marcos, and is now confronting the Duterte regime in its last year in office. Bayan has advocated genuine land reform and national industrialization and all-around economic self-reliance for the Philippines. It has consistently upheld the interests of the poor against the big power corporations, oil companies, private water firms, and other monopolies. It has fought to lower power and water rates along with train fares and has opposed deregulation, privatization and liberalization. It has also filed cases against corrupt government officials from different regimes.

Bayan has called out the Duterte regime for its failed pandemic response and has advocated increased testing, better contact tracing, increased health care capacity, better compensation for health workers and free mass vaccination. Bayan has mobilized its members for relief operations in big calamities such as Ondoy, Yolanda, Pepeng, Ulysses, Taal eruption among others. Right now, Bayan actively supports the community pantry movement across the country, even as it fights for greater economic aid for the people.

Bayan has fought for the removal of US bases in the Philippines and has also vigorously opposed China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea. Bayan has led the biggest protests in front of the Chinese consulate. It has extended international solidarity with the struggles in the US against racism and fascism, with the democracy movements in Hong Kong, Myanmar and Thailand, and with movements against neoliberalism and imperialism in India and Latin America. Bayan has opposed US wars of aggression as well as increasing Chinese militarism.

For the past two years, Bayan and its chapters nationwide have experienced vicious attacks from State forces who are determined to suppress the people’s struggles.

Our Bicol Chair Jen Nagrampa and Cordillera People’s Alliance Chair Windel Bolinget were detained on trumped-up charges. Nagrampa’s case was eventually dismissed while Bolinget is now free after the warrant was recalled. Our Bicol secretary general Pastor Dan Balucio and Central Luzon chair Paul Viuya were arrested during questionable search warrant operations and are now detained. Our Bayan Cavite leader Manny Asuncion was killed during the Bloody Sunday police raid on his Cavite office, in a clear case of extrajudicial killing. Our Laguna coordinator Mags Camoral was also arrested in the same Bloody Sunday raid and is now out on bail. Our office in Tacloban was also raided and Mira Legion our coordinator was among those arrested. Our national leaders down to our local leaders are being subjected to red-tagging and the vilest State-sponsored propaganda, as a perverse way of justifying more attacks against the organization. Our director for campaigns Boyette Jurcalles also faces trumped-up charges of murder in a far-away place he has never even been to.

The Duterte regime tries to justify the red-tagging and attacks through the absurd, recycled garbage that it is the Left which red-tagged itself. They repeatedly cite a quote from an interview with Prof. Jose Ma. Sison who in fact makes a distinction between the armed revolution and the unarmed legal democratic forces. Nowhere in the interview does it say that Bayan is a creation of and is a front of the CPP-NPA. Only the most hopelessly idiotic and malicious minds will try to splice and twist the interview to suit the fascist narrative of the regime.
Throughout these attacks, we remain steadfast and continue to fight. What the regime and its apologists fail to grasp is that Bayan fights for the rights and interests of the Filipino people. It is the regime, not Bayan and the progressives, which has been the cause of poverty, injustice and loss of sovereignty. It is the regime, not Bayan and the mass movement, which has caused untold sufferings on the Filipino people.

Recognizing the worsening crisis in our country today, and the scheme to extend the Duterte regime beyond 2022, it is the patriotic duty of Bayan and all progressive and democratic forces to unite and to resist the forces of tyranny.

Amid the many threats we face today, we are committed to fighting for genuine freedom and democracy. We continue to trust in the Filipino people, especially the oppressed masses from which we draw our strength. Together we will face the growing challenges with a greater resolve to serve the people. #


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