Ideology & dissent, 4

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Monday, March 31, 2014


WHAT I think, at this point in our history, is that we have attained a measure of maturity in our struggle for sovereign nationhood. The way to this moment has not been an easy one, as we went through ideological schism from the start of our becoming sovereign, fragmenting into being a centrist, rightist, or leftist.

The last time I met Joma Sison, the top man of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), was in UP Lahug. He was invited to speak before the students in convocation. We had earlier known each other in UP Diliman when I was still active in the campus as president of the UP Writer’s Club. He was a lecturer of sorts there.

I cannot recall now what particular year that was, but the library building on the site of erstwhile quonset huts was already there, newly built, its removable wall drawn aside to accommodate more students.

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Joma flew all the way from Diliman, where the culture of free and un-hindered exchange of thoughts and beliefs made him the ideological dissident’s idol, unafraid to express dissent.

The political conflict between the Liberals and the Nacionalistas after the 1953 elections worsened the national condition rather than eased it. Charges and counter-charges of graft and corruption flew like wild fire all over the nation.

Perhaps, Joma foresaw the importance of having an armed group to protect his organization so that in 1969, a year after the birth of the CPP, the New People’s Army (NPA) was formed, with Luis Jalandoni as its chair.

There was no organized movement in Cebu at that time, except imbibing subtly what was going on at the national capital region (NCR). The locals generally learned through the columns in the national dailies that openly reported what where talked about, whispered, or rumored in the so-called “grapevine.”

The country’s print media was the most dominant, like the weekly vernacular magazines of the Manila Bulletin that hds outlets up north in Santiago City to Davao City down in Mindanao. Cebu City became the base in the Visayas, the central region.

The Bisaya weekly magazine was the vernacular publication. It was in Bisaya where I started writing short stories and articles as its literary editor, while at the same time active in the UP Diliman campus as president of the writers’ club and doing research for the biography of retired Elpidio Quirino.

While media tales portrayed him as inhuman as president, he was gentle and humane in person. He opened my eyes to the need to reconcile my fragmented ideological view of the country.

We must work towards a period of reconciliation and resolution of whatever ideological schism has divided the Philippines. At this point, the CPP-NPA dissent no longer seems to matter as we look towards an over-all, more urgent need for a collective global human survival.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 01, 2014.

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