Conflict of creeds

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Thursday, June 20, 2013


WHEN we come down to it, one cannot really equate the current ideological conflict with loyalty to one’s country.

I am not disloyal to my country simply because I do not subscribe to the government’s policy toward the poor. Many politicians are loud-mouthed on their supposed concern for the impoverished masses, yet their public service does not reflect their concern.

I am also sure that not all those who do not believe in the way Congress is dealing with poverty are leftists. Yes, there was phase in our recent past when the nation’s “thinking" population was ridiculously branded as leftist, rightist or centrist based on their public utterances.

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That was when those who were in universities and colleges were seriously watched by the people in their private and public lives. Those who were always seen participating in rallies and demonstrations were branded by the silent or secretive multitude as activists.

Recent reports said that a party-list lawmaker called on President Benigno C. Aquino III to junk the government’s counter-insurgency program dubbed “Oplan Bayanihan” following a United Nations (UN) report that children are being used in military operations.

Well, in all clashes of ideals and beliefs, there will always be casualties. And it is unfortunate that the youth, specially the teenage ones, have become good and willing “tools.”

A retired military officer who was a young guerilla runner during the war told me of his experience. He was often sent out to observe the enemy movement in the city and made to watch what the Japanese were doing in their camp at the Cebu Normal School (now a university).

He became familiar with the mountain trails in the villages that overlooked the city.

His voice was just starting to change when he first learned how to shoot a gun.

The UN report pointed out that children “will continue to become victims amid intensified clashes and military operations. Not only will they be used as shields or recruited as guides, worse...they will fall victims to indiscriminate firing and
community blockades,” according to the party-list lawmaker.

The UN secretary general, in his report, said that aside from the armed groups in the Philippines, the military also used children to fight the insurgents. The communist New People’s Army (NPA), the Abu Sayyaf as well as the Armed Forces used children in their respective operations.

This reality is sobering in the midst of our national effort to ensure that our children would eventually grow up to be part of our resources for national development.

But we must also realize that being part of the Armed Forces or having participated in activism makes our kids good materials regardless of affiliation.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 20, 2013.

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