Erratum: The previous post misstated Major General Eduardo Año of the Philippine Army ‘s position as Brigadier General.
As usual, whenever government military are able to kill people as part of their campaign of terror in the countryside, an avalanche of lies are forthrightly dished out to the public for no other purpose than to mislead the people.
Having killed Leoncio Pitao, aka Kumander Parago of the NPA in a raid at a Paquibato village the past weekend, the military general who commands the military brigade unit that conducted the treacherous raid immediately announced that the killing was an offshoot of an encounter. The fact is it was not an encounter, but a raid.
And the same military officer, perhaps gloating on what he claimed as a big victory in the anti-insurgency campaign, said the NPA in the southern Mindanao region will soon be totally decimated. He considered the fall of Kumander Parago as a crippling setback on the part of the NPA organization.
Well, for countless number of times the military has proclaimed the near-total or total collapse of the NPA in the country. So many NPA commanders had been slain in various incidents and occasions since pre-martial law days. And instead of being totally demolished, the NPA has in fact grown to unprecedented breadth and depth among the masses of the people in the countryside.
The government and its military minions should realize that for as long as extreme massive poverty and social injustice prevail in the country, rebellion— or call it insurgency if you want—will continue to advance. The public is fed up with their braggadocio and lies.
And as Kumander Parago himself said, “This is not a war between the military and the NPA but the struggle of the masses for genuine change and democracy.”
Such words, coming from the genuine “man of the masses” should sink deep in the consciousness of the government officialdom and the military generals. And ponder on the lessons of history—a history of irrelevance, incongruousness, insensitivity, and outright anti-people policies heretofore pursued by the government since the birth of this republic.
This historical truism has been a constant writing on the wall: “Wherever there is oppression and injustice there is always resistance.” This is an unassailable universal truth which the policymakers in any society should memorize.
No amount of propaganda ploys, and lies and military trickery can hold back the phenomenal advance of the people’s war in the countryside. They may kill all the commanders of the NPA that they encounter in the battlefields. But sooner than the martyrs’ blood could dry up wherever they fall, countless NPA warriors and commanders will sprout up like mushrooms, because every drop of blood that is shed for a just cause fertilizes the people’s commitment to the very ideals they died for.
Kumander Parago’s death, at a time when he was not even an effective fighter on the field because of his failing health, is never a setback. It is, on the contrary, a phenomenal victory of the people’s war. It exemplifies the manifest selflessness with which the NPA warriors have pledged and dedicated their lives— not for the so called “good life” or luxurious lifestyle that the military commanders and soldiers aspire for in their careerist adventures for promotion and raised salaries — but for the liberation of the poor people from their age-old miseries.
People’s War is not for the NPA commanders’ personal gains as the Oplan Bayanihan is for the careerist adventurism of military officers and enlisted men. This is the big world of difference between an NPA fighter whose service is not for any consideration for money or wage but the people’s cause, and the government soldier whose motivation is the money he receives as salary.
In the ranks of the NPA are men and women whose hearts throb with burning love for people’s emancipation from poverty. Among the roster of army soldiers are men and women who have to resort to soldiery for employment purposes. The former are fighters for Change, the latter are mercenaries or killers for money.
The government soldiers serve the interests of the oppressors and exploiters. The Oplan Bayanihan’s peace and development is a misnomer. It should be renamed Security Agency for Foreigners (SAF). Indeed, wherever the foreign economic interests are – the proliferating mining operations of foreign capitalists—there the military troops concentrate.
But the poor government soldiers do not know whom they are serving and fighting for. Theirs is a happenstance ensuing from the need for survival and livelihood amidst their also-hard-up conditions. Theirs is a scramble for employment where there’s nothing society can grant mired as it is in a sorely underdeveloped condition. And when at last these rank-and-file soldiers got into the military service they are robotized to kill to compensate for their employment. Real mercenaries are they.
Of course, the ranking military officers have had their massive dosage of ideological conditioning from the US military establishment that serves and safeguards the interests of the US monopoly-capitalists who subjugate our country economically, politically and culturally. And the vicious cycle goes on and goes until the end of time. Unless. . .
Yes. . .unless the people’s cause prevails. And that has been the commitment and calling of Kumander Parago, of Vanessa Limpag the lady medic who was killed along with him, of all the NPA fighters and revolutionary cadres and activists now in the thick of the peoples struggle for genuine Change —“to let the people’s cause prevail”. They have the people’s welfare and well-being at heart. Nothing else.
The great divide that distinguishes between Kumander Parago’s and Major General Eduardo Año of the Philippine Army is the irreconcilable contradiction between the people’s aspiration for Change and the ruling classes’ preservation of the Status Quo. It is a contradiction between a just cause and a rotten system.