OZAMIZ CITY -- Maoist guerillas see the upcoming May elections as an opportunity to install people “who truly represent the interest of the masses” into government office.

The electoral season is also opportune time for the people to raise their demands for fundamental changes in society, said in a press statement from Ka Oris, spokesman of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Mindanao.

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Next week, the national democratic movement observes the 41st founding anniversary of the New People’s Army (NPA) which has been the principal arm for achieving the goals of its political struggle.

Oris said during the elections, people will have the chance to support candidates who espouse platforms “akin to that of the revolutionary government” and get the commitment of politicians to support programs in agrarian reform and national industrialization.

However, he clarified that members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, NPA guerrillas, and officials of the NDF “will not be directly participating in the elections.”

“But they will be responsible for guiding the people so they can enjoy whatever limited benefits can be exacted through the electoral exercise. It will also be an opportunity to show to the people the reactionary character of the present electoral system,” he said.

The NDF in Mindanao has stressed that “the 2010 general elections will not bring change to the semi-feudal and semi-colonial condition of Philippine society.”

It said there is bleak prospect in changing the existing regime of land ownership and promoting nationalist industrialization whoever is installed into power in May 2010.

The rebel group, however, projects that “there would be more of corruption, destruction of the environment, problem of illegal drugs, deficient social service delivery, and widespread poverty.”

The success of the 2010 elections does not mean success of genuine democracy, Oris pointed out.

”It is just a process of resolving the political conflict among various factions of the ruling class… And the winners would surely come from among themselves,” he said.

He added that the political exercise “also dupes the ordinary people into thinking they are part of the democratic process.”

“After the dust of the electoral festival settles, the farmers, workers and lower class people remain powerless, left without a voice in governance,” the rebel leader explained.

Although he did not specifically mention about the alleged financial price for securing a permit-to-campaign (PTC), Oris defended the communist guerrillas’ move to regulate the entry of politicians into rebel-influenced communities.

The military has accused the Maoist guerrillas of extorting millions of pesos from politicians in the form of PTC fees. This does not include the funds they raise through so-called revolutionary taxes from businesses.

Oris said candidates are required to present their programs of government before rebel leaders who are in-charge of certain areas.

He stressed that a standing NDF policy bans politicians from bringing in arms and intimidating the people while on a community sortie, pursuing a campaign based on legitimate issues, and refraining from buying votes.

Oris added that the NDF also guards against politicians who use the campaign sorties for spying on and taking spite at the revolutionary movement.

Apart from the military, the Commission on Human Rights also criticized the Maoist rebels regarding the PTC. (Ryan D. Rosauro)