Christmas ceasefire

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Saturday, December 28, 2013

MY ATTENTION was caught by the two headlines of Sun.Star Bacolod top stories dated December 19, "Police heightens alert for Christmas events" and "CPP-NPA declares Christmas ceasefire." I thought we don't have insurgency problems anymore. In the past months, our Philippine Army made a statement that there are only few revolutionary brothers left.

Is CPP-NPA still a threat? If we admit that this group is still a threat, then, what happens to the government campaign of bringing "government closer to the people." There is a left and right outreach program on medical-dental mission, nutrition for the pre-schoolers, good infrastructure for the countryside, free school bags and notebooks for the upland school children, and there is even an army band playing during fiestas.

Our Provincial Government is even giving rewards to NPAs who are going back to the folds of the law with their armalite rifles. Our local executives have been offering livelihood programs to farmer sympathizers. Are these not enough to convince our brothers and sisters who have been considered "afueras" by the main stream society? Are our churches not shaking heavens to put an end to insurgency? Are our "foundations for the poor" not serious in their task of development?

When I was still a college student, my pro-American teacher told our class that the insurgency problem is caused by ideology. "The Mao concept of social justice is seeping in the hearts and minds of our young leaders who prefer Communism than Democracy." Probably, he was correct when Ferdinand Marcos was still the president. Time has changed a lot. Communism and democracy are now working together. China has learned to embrace the sophistication of America and America is borrowing money from China to beef up its ailing economy. Ideology is ideology but ideology does not play a bigger role in economic intercourse.

America does not even mind seriously the plea of PNoy that we are bullied by the Chinese in the Spratlys. If the Juan de la Cruz is a brown brother in the Pacific, Uncle Sam does not care about our arsenal. Uncle Sam has no big intention of giving us the high tech hardware for our national defense. The Philippines-US joint military exercise is a commercial show to entice other countries in Asia to buy the latest warfare gadgets of America. Our country is just an exhibit area.

Now let us go back to the "ceasefire" thing. BCPO could be serious in bringing all PNP stations to alert level status. If CPP-NPA ransacked two police stations in Misamis Occidental and Zamboanga del Sur, could it be possible that the same atrocity will happen in Bacolod or in any of our police stations in Negros Occidental? PNP would like to bring to our consciousness that December 26 is the founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA).

AFP spokesman, Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, said that there are still 4,000 NPA rebels. This is still a big number and we have also to consider the strength of their mass base. Is their number going up or going down? No statistical data can tell us because the guerillas are having their covert operations. They are like shadows walking on a moonless night.

If the government is just reviewing its back subjects, probably it will find out that there are still some areas wherein the economically deprived groups have not received permanent solutions to their problems. Probably, just probably, some (if not majority) of our technocrats have not come up with the right formula to address the hardship of the Filipinos who are out there without ideology. They simply have nothing to eat. Discontentment makes an empty stomach and an empty stomach compromises the dignity of man.

This Christmas ceasefire is just like a Christmas party. Christmas is just a season of the mind. Peace and prosperity should be the season of the heart. Only the Filipinos can make a season that would bring unity and understanding. Let us make our 365 days in 2014 a season with no ceasefire. We don't need ceasefire if we are no longer greedy and proud. Christ introduces passive resistance but to let his kingdom come, we need total renewal. Commit yourselves now and color your commitment with your own life.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on December 28, 2013.


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