Wenceslao: Q and A time

IT’S Q and A time again. You can also ask me questions and send it to khanwens@gmail.com. I’ll try answering the questions—kun makaya. Examples.

Q: I read about the recent arrest of six alleged rebels in Mabinay town in Negros Oriental, one of them a woman and a graduate of the University of the Philippines in Cebu. Is is correct to call them NPA rebels? Are all rebels carrying firearms members of the New People’s Army (NPA)?

A: The NPA is the armed unit of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). It is composed of CPP members and national democratic (ND) forces—or those who believe in the goals of the revolution but are not party members. A big bulk of the CPP elements, however, are into organizing both in the cities and the countrysides. These organizers can be armed but are not NPA members.

Most of the rebels in the countryside are armed, but not all of them are NPA members. The NPA has many formation depending on their areas of responsibility (it’s just like in the Armed Forces of the Philippines or AFP, actually). And like the AFP, the NPA has multiplier forces a-la Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Units or Cafgus. The rebel multiplier forces are called militias.

They are residents of organized areas who can be called upon to augment the regular NPA units. When one describes the armed group as “peasants by day and rebels at night,” they are not NPA regulars. They are militias. They secure their villages and help in NPA operations, if requested.

CPP cadres who are not in the NPA focus on organizing the mass base, which in the countryside are the peasants. They are joined by ND elements who have gone full time in organizing. I don’t know what the setup is now but in the past organizers are formed into propaganda organizing teams (POTs). They fan out to the villages and either expand the mass base or consolidate them by setting up organs of power.

Depending on available firepower, these propaganda organizing teams can either be armed (usually with handguns or lower caliber firearms for defensive and sometimes offensive purposes) or unarmed. But there are instances where the team formed can both be organizers and launch military operations. They are called armed propaganda units (sandatahang yunit pangpropaganda) and still not NPAs.

So not all rebels who are armed can be called NPA regulars.

Q: With what the people experienced in the construction of the underpass along Natalio Bacalso Ave., do you think it was worth all the hassles. That area wasn’t the most problematic going south, right?

I am not an expert on this one, but let me just say that an underpass should be better in that the place were it is being constructed is a corner with multiple turns, which means that the traffic light halts the traffic flow for a longer time. The underpass allows the city’s traffic office to dispense with the traffic lights.

But I agree that the underpass could have been built in more problematic corners in the city. But Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa needs the project to show to his constituents that he is not just a member of the committee on silence. If I remember right, this one is his initiative.
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