Liar, because the speaker is an incorrigible liar and the promises are lies.  Dream, because the people are made to hope and expect “a kingdom come” or “a state of better living” or “a more comfortable life,” or at least a more “humane earthly existence.”  Which never ever comes.  Not today, not tomorrow, not until the end of time!

Davao Today

Fifty years ago, my father won as vice mayor in a local election, garnering the highest number of votes among all the candidates from the mayoralty post to the councilor seats in our little town.  At that time, our country adopted a two-party electoral system copied from the United States of America.  Only two political parties — the Nacionalista and the Liberal — vied for elective posts every elections in the Philippines.

I cannot forget that night in the miting de avance before the election day where my father was a speaker.  In an extraordinary harsh language, he lambasted the then incumbent mayor with stinging words, which until now still ring in my ears – “Kining administrasyona nagalawog kanato og mga ‘damgong bakakon’(This administration has been feeding us with ‘liar dreams’).”

I relish the lyrical sound of the phrase “damgong bakakon.”  And it has since stuck in my memory as a very apt description of what has prevailed in our society until today.

As we know, Poverty has continued to be a campaign issue every election time.  In fact, it is an everyday issue for most every Filipino — yesterday, today and tomorrow.  There is no doubt about that.  And most every politician, especially those at the helm of the government hierarchy, has invariably used this as a very convenient gambit for winning a post.

As a matter of fact, it is a “liar dream.”

Liar, because the speaker is an incorrigible liar and the promises are lies.  Dream, because the people are made to hope and expect “a kingdom come” or “a state of better living” or “a more comfortable life,” or at least a more “humane earthly existence.”  Which never ever comes.  Not today, not tomorrow, not until the end of time!

Why?  Because this dream is not meant to be realized at all — not for the vast masses of Filipinos.  But the politicians and their ilk enjoy in heavenly comforts, all the time!  Yes, the dream as promised during elections is not meant to be attained.  Not by any political regime that is bereft of honesty and sincerity.

Why?  Because any society that has been ruled by a cabal of deceivers will never change the status quo, because deception is a traitorous trait that drains the resources for any bogus program of development to the gutters.

Why?  Because whatever scheme that proceeds from dishonesty and insincerity is always cloaked in disguise that defeats its avowed purpose and will inevitably result in frustration and failure.

Why?  Because this government is not a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  This is a government of political schemers and deceivers whose prime agenda is to give headway to the whims and caprices of the ruling elite.

Bisag unsaon pa nilag yamyam nga demokrasya ning atoang sistema, di malilong ang kamatuoran nga ni anino sa demokrasya dili igkita [No matter how they chant that ours is a democratic system, the truth denies even a trace of its shadow).

Oplan Bayanihan is one such obnoxious scheme.  It is founded on the principle of deceit.  It is a scheme that is intended to counter the fast growing insurgency in the country.  It is designed to decimate the rebel forces in the countryside.  It is never never never intended to eliminate poverty.

So, why call it peace and development program?  Why not call it for what it is?  A counter-insurgency measure?

And another thing.  This is a master plan that is cooked up in the inner chambers of the State Security Forces — the military, in other words!  And dished out as a disguised social welfare and peace development program.

That is why it is always preceded by militarization!  And followed up by more military activities and made to escalate with more and more military operations. . . that always end up in human rights abuses against the hapless civilians in the countryside!

If indeed, the intent and purpose of Oplan Bayanihan are for peace and development, why don’t they initiate talks with the rebel forces?  For after all, the rebels have their own programs for social welfare and people’s amelioration and development in their areas?

Sincerity and honesty is the crucial matter here.  If from its very inception, there is already the blueprint and framework of deception, then sure as hell, the project will flounder in utter failure, at the expense of the lives of the masses of the people.

As always, the military operatives will say it is the rebels who are insincere.  How can the rebels be insincere when they have been fighting the injustices which have been there suffered by the masses for ages on account of the insincerity and dishonesty of the ruling elite?  It is the ruling elite who are the prime instigators of social inequality, social injustice and massive poverty!  And the military is their ready instrument of deception!

Instead of militarizing the countryside and engaging the rebels with military operations, why not engage in an honest to goodness dialogue with them in order to come up with genuine programs and tasks of social development?

But, if their goal is to eliminate the rebels, then stop lying and deceiving the people by disguising it as a program of peace and development.  Name the Oplan Bayanihan for what it is!  Call it with the appropriate identification in conformance with its purpose as a military plan to exterminate the rebels!  

For once, make an honest gesture to label your real game plan as a counter-insurgency measure.

And what’s more!  This military plan has been a continuing program embraced by all the Malacañang residents.  It’s just called by different labels and names.  Its underlying principle is, in fact, an imported formula from the US of A counter-insurgency theories and schemes — the so-called “low intensity conflict.”

If we look back to all past regimes, we won’t mistake the phenomena of militarization in various forms and names ever since the time of Quirino and Magsaysay down to Marcos and Ramos and down to the present.  These are all experimental applications of US-generated military strategy and tactics to contain rebellion and insurgency.

Every political administration in our country is in some way hostage to the military, whose top generals are not at all independent of US military dictation.  It is not even strange to aver that the Philippine military is, in its ultimate agenda, serving the interests of the American policy makers.  And the President of the Philippines, no matter his democratic pretensions, cannot do otherwise but hearken to the wishes of the military.  And, like a veritable “rubber stamp,” implements with robotic precision what the military agents of the US wants.

AND have all these military devices, for all their nice-sounding tags and disguises, eliminated POVERTY and its attendant injustices and misery — their avowed adversaries?  Let alone rebellion and insurgency?

Wala, kay pangilad lagi!  (Never, simply because it’s a fraud!)

For as long as the root causes of rebellion are incumbent in Philippine society, for as long as poverty and all other social injustices continue to prevail as causes of discontent and unrest among the people, insurgency and rebellion are here to stay.  The people will always find ways to unleash their anger and discontent in some form of resistance, armed or unarmed.

That is a law of history.  And that is an incontrovertible truth.   

Don J. Pagusara is a native of Mindanao, a multi-awarded author and a Palanca-awardee.


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