THE National Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) conducted a three-day Regional Action Planning Workshop on Executive Order 70 in Baguio City early this month.
I was a participant in this workshop along with other government agency representatives and indigenous peoples (IP) mandatory representatives to the local government units (LGUs). The workshop was organized by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
During breaks in the sessions, I moved around and viewed the exhibits that highlighted the activities and accomplishments of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in the last 51 years of their operation in the country.
I do not know if anybody experienced the dark day of Job 5:14, “They encounter darkness by day and grope at noon as in the night.” How could we all be blind to the lies and deceptions as to allow and even support this totalitarian movement to advance in the countryside through murder, fear, infiltration, and subversion of our institutions and traditions?
Now that was not a fast conclusion. Initially, I thought the exhibits were simply propaganda materials. But during the sessions, speakers who were formerly with the CPP from the south and even from our communities testified to how the communist infiltrated and transformed inaccessible indigenous peoples (IP) communities as bases for their operations, and mobilized the local folks including women and children as combatants, or for propaganda operations, if not food providers.
Besides the IPs, the CPP also infiltrated the academe, religious institutions, government institutions, labor and farmers’ organizations, student organizations, among others.
I asked an IP elder from Sagada, Mountain Province, what he thinks about the government’s ELCAC program.
“If it addresses poverty and development it is good. Second, the government must also clean its house to be credible to the masses.”
Department of Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar, as cabinet officer for the Cordillera, expressed the same sentiment during his first joint meeting with the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) and Regional Development Council (RDC). According to Dar, the insurgency problem is closely associated with poverty. He urged government agencies and local government units in the region to converge development support and assistance to IP communities identified by the military as areas where communist rebels operate.
I think there is a deeper reason why the government is adopting a “Whole of Nation Approach” against the communist insurgency problem in the country. It is time we wake up to the brutality, barbarism, and murderous nature of this movement in all the countries where attempts to build a socialist-communist society failed.
Over the past decade, I read four books on Socialism-Communism that anchored my current understanding of this movement around the globe. These books include an “Autobiography” by Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, “Behind Closed Doors,” by Laurence Reese and “The Grand Failure, The Birth and Death of Communism in the Twentieth Century” by Zbigniew Brzezinski. On the sides I have also read articles about Saloth Sar (Pol Pot) and the Khmer Rouge, Antonio Francesco Gramsci, Marxist Philosopher, and Communist Politician, and “Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies,” by Dr. Kristian Niemitz.
The pursuit of socialism-communism is characterized by betrayals, murders and mass-graves in the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Yugoslavia, Albania, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany, Cuba, Tanzania, Benin, Algeria, South Yemen, Somalia, the Congo, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, among others.
The attempts to establish socialism-communism as a way of life and form of government in these countries have ended in varying degrees of failure. Even Nordic countries are now moving away from democratic socialism.
As observed by Dr. Niemitz, communism is “an idea, which has failed so many times, in so many different variants and so many radically different settings,” that is still so popular, especially among the young and the disillusioned groups of society. Why?
As we try to resolve the armed communist struggle in our villages, let us try to understand what the Sagada elder said about cleaning up our ranks and how communist ideologies take society’s failures to their advantage, subvert and infiltrate our institutions, and take our villages and citizens hostage to their cause. Let us talk about this some more in the conclusion of this article.
(First part of a two-series article)