By GETSY TIGLAO
With the Muslim insurgency under control and the Islamic State having failed to establish a foothold in the Philippines, the government is left with no other enemy than the Communist Party of the Philippines.
The CPP, together with its armed wing, the New People’s Army, are continuing with their criminal activities, especially in rural areas where the military has limited presence.
They kill soldiers and policemen, barangay and other local officials, and just about anybody they deem as going against their cause, which is to overthrow the duly elected government so they can grab power for themselves.
They extort money from businessmen, farmers, and traders, and if you don’t pay up, they burn and destroy your properties. (Is this why telcos allegedly continue to pay the CPP-NPA ‘revolutionary taxes’ so they won’t touch their expensive cell phone towers? They can’t hire security teams to shoot the NPAs?)
Communists, despite what their allies in media and the academe say, are plain criminals and terrorists.
For the past 50 years, the CPP has waged war against the Philippine Republic. For decades, too, every administration has tried to negotiate a peace deal with them, to no avail. The communists just love going through motions of “negotiating” with government panels – especially if it is held in lovely Europe – but they have no real desire for peace.
When the government declares a ceasefire, the communists always use this as an opportunity to strengthen their ranks, move their cadres around, and ambush military personnel. The government has always been too good to the communists, gullible even, that the encumbered and much-maligned Philippine military lost its edge through the years.
Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said it best when asked to describe the difference between the CPP and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace process:
“The CPP is deceptive, manipulative, and insincere. They burned road project equipment, they executed thousands, even their own comrades. They extort and always wanted to take advantage. They do not have the sense of honor or ‘maratabat’ of the MILF.”
There hasn’t been an all-out campaign against the communist insurgents since the 1970s during the Marcos administration. In 1986 when the Cory Aquino government came into power, the incarcerated communists were pardoned and released, even if many of them were facing murder charges.
If Aquino thought the communists would help in nation-building, she was dead wrong. They just returned to their war against government, and even managed to rebuild their ranks that had been decimated by Marcos’ military campaign.
One of those who fled the country and never came back is Jose Maria Sison, the founder and leader of the CPP. He has since been living a luxurious lifestyle in the Netherlands. He is the one fooling the Filipino youth here to abandon their futures to fight the military on behalf of a “revolution” for a failed ideology.
Can you imagine Jose Maria Sison sitting in Malacañang and declaring himself President for Life? But then again, do you think Sison would leave his posh lifestyle abroad in order to govern the Philippines? No chance, he just loves it there too much. He’s content to being the puppet master of the communists here.
Besides, if he comes back, he knows he will lose all the mystique he’s built up, portraying himself as the ultimate revolutionary leader who will one day come back and lead the Philippines to a Marxist-socialist dreamworld.
The communists lost their big chance for a peace settlement with President Duterte at the helm of government. As a former socialist who had known Sison, Duterte had a soft spot for these rebels. He even put communists in his Cabinet, but then these people failed to deliver.
Duterte acceded to the CPP’s desire to hold the recent peace talks in Norway (my, these communists just love Europe). Unfortunately, Duterte appointed head of the government panel the credulous Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza.
The communists are just too smart and manipulative that they ran circles around Dureza and the rest of the government panel. For instance, they were duped into nearly agreeing with the CPP-drafted Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (Caser), where the communists demanded power-sharing with the government.
The CPP also asked that all the country’s economic laws they deemed inimical to their “interests” to be revoked. These included banning the importation of agriculture and fishery imports, repealing all excise taxes and value-added taxes, voiding international trade agreements and other laws, recognition of the armed NPA, capital controls, and other stupid demands that would have wrecked havoc on the economy.
Duterte must have had the shock of his life when he finally read the papers outlining the CPP’s demands. Most outrageous of all was their demand for a coalition government. What? A murderous terrorist group, with 3,000 or so rag-tag fighters, wanting to be on equal footing with the Philippine Republic?
Duterte told the communists as he ordered the termination of the peace talks November last year: “I cannot give you what I do not own and certainly a coalition with the Republic of the Philippines is pure nonsense.” He added: “Let it not be said that I did not try to reach out to them.”
If ever peace talks are held again it should be in the Philippines without those pesky Europeans interfering. Also, the head of the Philippine panel and majority of its members should be high-ranking military official who will have no qualms in opposing the outrageous demands of the communists.
But I think this ship has sailed. President Duterte recently ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to neutralize the communists. He stressed that the NPA, with their dreaded “sparrow” assassins, are committing rebellion “24 hours a day” and need to be countered with better intelligence gathering and military operations.
Duterte should go a step further by forming a task force composed of young military officials (rank of majors, not generals, many of whom are preparing for their retirement at 56) who will be given this specific task – end this communist insurgency once and for all.