Friday, May 24, 2013
Just a day or so before election day and in the darkness of the early dawn, printed leaflets were scattered on the streets at certain strategic points in Lianga by unknown persons. The leaflets upon examination contained a two page missive purported coming from the hand of Maria Malaya who is said to be the spokesperson for the NDF Northeast Mindanao Chapter. Malaya is said to be the partner of Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos who is better known for his role as the designated spokesman for the NDF in Mindanao.
In Bisaya and couched in the rigidly formalistic style favored by the revolutionary left and peppered here and there with the familiar catchwords alluding, as always, to the "reaksyunaryong eleksyon" and the "dagkung burgesyang komprador", the message expressed the deep skepticism with which the revolutionary movement sees the last elections and all elections for that matter conducted under the present "madaugdaugong sistema" (oppressive system) as a means for transforming Philippine society for the better. Yet Malaya stressed that the CPP-NDF-NPA supports the right of the Filipino people to democratically choose their leaders and has called upon progressive minded voters to come out and vote for those who they believe can represent their interests in the government, reactionary and corrupt it may be.
It also warned politicians that the movement is closely watching them and that any attempts on their part to subvert the political process and cheat voters of their votes will result in sure punitive action against them by the New People's Army. The same warning was given to the officials and personnel of the Commission on Elections, to all public school teachers who will man the polling centers and the police and military troops guarding them to do their constitutional duty and make sure that the true voice of the people will be heard and not to allow themselves to be used for "hugay na diskarte" (dirty tricks) or "dagdag-bawas" (vote subtraction or padding) and any other attempts by corrupt politicians to manipulate the election results. Malaya adds that the revolutionary left is open to receiving complaints and reports on incidents of electoral cheating from all sectors of society. The message ends in an exhortation for Filipinos to vote for those who will truly fight for the urban and rural poor, the protection of the environment and human rights.
If indeed the leaflets were indeed the handiwork of the CPP-NDF-NPA (and there is little doubt that they were otherwise the revolutionary movement would have taken steps to deny or refute their existence) it can be said that there is really nothing new and unique about their contents except for the fact that they were specifically crafted to deal with the onset of the May 13 elections. The local folks here have seen and read similar written statements said to have come from the leadership of the communist insurgency and, more or less, they have been singularly similar in tone and content. It would have been more more arresting and interesting and more importantly relevant if that particular message had chosen to deal with and discuss thoroughly the many negative issues and unanswered questions that the insurgent movement had to confront in the months and weeks leading to last elections and, in retrospect, the many past electoral exercises this country has had in its recent past.
What is really the CPP-NDF-NPA's official policy on the enforced collection by its local forces of the so called "permit to campaign" or "permit to win" fees from political candidates seeking to campaign within their areas and strongholds? According to military intelligence sources in a recent news article, NPA rebels were able to extort at least P26 million pesos from politicians nationwide during the recent campaign period. The amount supposedly fell short of the P500 million pesos the insurgency had set as a target. What is the real story on this?
What really happened in the April 20 "ambush" by NPA forces of the convoy of Gingoog City Mayor Ruthie Guingona which resulted in the killing of two of her aides? What about the allegations that local NPA forces in many areas all over the country have stood idly by while corrupt politicians and members of political dynasties have ruthlessly bulldozed their way to political power in both local and national positions. Is it true that local guerrilla fronts of the revolutionary forces have actually if secretly supported the candidacies of these politicians and continue to have ties to them in return for financial and material support for rebel forces?
On a broader level, what about the issue of the so called "revolutionary taxes" that rebel forces all over the country have been known to "collect" from businessmen and business enterprises operating in what the revolutionary movement considers its areas of control and influence? The facilities and equipment of businesses unable or unwilling to cough up the money have been burned, damaged and destroyed by insurgents in the past. Where is the line between collection and extortion and between "revolutionary taxation" and plain and simple banditry? Or does such a line really exist for the movement in the first place?
The communist insurgency despite the obsolete and discredited ideology that it professes to be fighting for continues to exist in the Lianga area and in the many other areas all over the country because it feeds on and draws its strength and reason for existence from the massive poverty and lack of viable economic opportunities especially in the rural countryside. In these places, it is often the only organized force that the rural people can run to for assistance against the many forms of social injustice and oppression that they are often the victims of at the hands of the members of the economic elite assisted and abetted by an often corrupt or indifferent government and its security and police forces.
Yet it too, if it wants to remain relevant and viable in today's rapidly changing and globalized world, must be accountable for its actions to the very people it has always projected itself as fighting for. There is a universal moral code to which even armed revolutionary movements (Marxists and atheists they may be) must adhere and hold itself to and fidelity to this code of conduct determines to a large extent whether such a movement will ultimately win popular support and achieve victory in the long run. An insurgency fighting for justice and human rights cannot resort to banditry and similar criminal activities as a matter of policy whether on a temporary or permanent basis without losing the very legitimacy and moral ascendancy it is seeking to achieve in its fight against what is supposed to be a cruel, unjust and immoral government and political system.
In the end the missive from Maria Malaya, if indeed it came from her, answers no questions and offers nothing new or substantial information concerning the current mindset of the leadership of the CPP-NDF-NPA. Like the campaign spiels and slogans mouthed by the very same politicians the revolutionary movement so publicly despises before the May 13 general elections, it says very little and is more remarkable not for what little it contained but for what it did not actually say or failed to say.