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Opening speech of Robert Reid – NDF 50TH ANNIV celebration

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Comrades and friends

It is a great honour for me to give this speech today as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the National Democratic Front of The Philippines (NDFP).

It seems a long time as we look back to 1973 when the NDFP was formed as the revolutionary front uniting the many classes and sectors oppressed by the ruthless and growing fascistic rule of the US Marcos dictatorship.  At that time Southeast Asia was in turmoil with gains and losses of people fighting for national liberation and national democracy against the imperialist forces and local landlords.

The post WWII period had seen China liberate itself in 1949 from Japanese and its former imperialist masters under the leadership of Mao-Tse Tung and the Communist Party of China.

The Vietnamese people had forced French withdrawal in 1954 but had to fight another 21 years to free South Vietnam from the clutches of US Imperialism with the final victory of the Vietnamese National Liberation Front over US imperialism on 30 April 1975.

But closer to home, national democratic forces in Thailand and Malaya were defeated and in Indonesia in 1967 General Suharto seized power and mounted a bloody campaign against communist and national democratic forces that saw between 500,000 and 1 million killed and a similar number jailed in the six months from October 1965.

Ferdinand Marcos elected President of The Philippines first in 1965 again in 1969.  But at 7:17 pm on 23 September, 1972 Marcos announced that he had placed the entire Philippines under martial law, through Presidential Proclamation № 1081, which was dated 21 September, 1972.

It was against this backdrop that Ka Joma Sison under the alias of Amado Guerrero wrote Philippine Society and Revolution.  The Communist Party of the Philippines was re-established, the New Peoples Army formed and then in April 1973, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines was established.

Today we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the NDF.

But today, we see the same forces and same names in play as we did 50 years ago.  And we also see storm clouds of imperialist war once again gathering over Asia.

We now have another Ferdinand Marcos as President with the Vice President also carrying a murderous name, that of Duterte.

We see bombing of rural civilian populations, abductions, torture, murders of ordinary people, journalists, activists and also the murder of peoples martyrs such as Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, the Catbalogan 10 and others involved in the Peace Process.

We see the NDF and its constituent organisations continuing the fight for economic and social justice, against landlessness and oppression of workers and peasants.  And we also see other brave Filipinos who, while not part of the NDF, campaign on a similar programme.  These include students, trade unionists, human rights activists, lawyers and politicians.  We salute all those who “Serve the people”.

Friends of the NDF / Filipino People in Struggle was formed only two years ago.  Although the Filipino people’s struggle has enjoyed the support of a large range of solidarity groups over the years, this is the first time that a global solidarity movement has been formed to specifically popularise and support the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

We exist to explain the reality of the corrupt, semi-colonial, semi-feudal, state of The Philippines and the effect that this system has on the basic masses of peasants, workers and urban poor.

We exist to promote and explain why the Peoples War in The Philippines is still continuing more than 50 years after it was launched.  How, after 50 years the economic and social situation of the Filipino people has not improved.

We exist to explain and show that no matter how serious the NDFP is to bring about a Just Peace in the Philippines, every President since the overthrow of Marcos senior has walked away from such talks and the GRP is now hunting down and killing Peace negotiators from the NDFP who remain in The Philippines.

We campaign against the continuing extra-judicial killings, the bombing of villages on the pretext that they are protecting red fighters, the red tagging that continues unabated of anyone who has a contrary view to the President, the designation of CPP / NPA / NDF/ Joma Sisson / Luis Jalandoni as terrorist entities in most countries of the world subservient to US foreign policy, even after the Manila Regional Court has dismissed the GRP’s case to list the NPA / CPP as terrorist groups.

Friends of the Filipino People in Struggle are currently coordinating a global campaign to project the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as the true representative of the Filipino people, and highlighting its importance in the Filipino people’s struggle for a just and lasting peace through national and democratic liberation.  We are planning a big month for our campaigns in August.

If you wish to join Friends as an individual, solidarity group or organisation, or be involved in our campaigns please go to our web-site https://ffps.info/ 

Victory to the Filipino People in Struggle!

Victory to the NDF!

Forward to a Just Peace!


Robert Reid is International Chair of the Friends of Filipino People in Struggle / Friends of the NDF.  He is a veteran trade unionist from Aotearoa / New Zealand, currently serving as President of the large private sector union, FIRST Union.  Robert has had a long term relationship with the people’s struggle in The Philippines beginning during the period of the US Marcos Dictatorship.  He was instrumental in forming the New Zealand Philippine Support Network in the early 1980s and first visited The Philippines in 1984 as part of the inaugural programme of the Ecumenical Partnership for International Concerns (EPIC).  Robert has visited the Philippines on many other occasions on missions as diverse as covertly smuggling in the Collected Works of Lenin in 1987 to participating the Asia Pacific Human Rights Fact Finding Mission in December 2019.