HIGHLY significant as the capture of the two topmost leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines is, the fall of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon will not spell the end of the New People’s Army and the communist rebellion.
One cannot even say that this development is the beginning of the end of the Communist movement much less of its armed struggle. Rather than weaken the Communist-led National Democratic Front, it will even most likely give its lately flagging spirit an injection of moral resolve—and adrenalin—to wage the struggle more zealously.
An immediate proof of this is the press statement Anakbayan released yesterday. Anakbayan is a member of the National Democratic Movement and celebrates the triumphs of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Anakbayan is probably the most effective of the youth groups in the national democratic movement (which to many, not just those in the military and the police, but also objective observers, is a code for “the communist movement”).
Titled “Aquino, AFP highlighting ignorance of peace process in gloating over NDFP consultants’ capture—Anakbayan,” the statement goes:
“The arrest of NDFP consultants Benito and Wilma Tiamzon is nothing to be proud of. Instead, it exposes Aquino’s ignorance regarding the roots of the country’s armed rebellion and his lack of interest in pursuing just and lasting peace.
“For one, they are covered by the Joint Agreement on Immunity and Safety Guarantees (JASIG). This is the latest in a long list of violations of the JASIG by the Aquino administration. It only highlights the insincerity of the Aquino regime when it comes to peace, as it willfully ignores these basic principles and agreements.
“Aquino has shown that he is quite willing to violate agreements signed upon and honored by previous administrations, as well as file fabricated charges against people, just to be able to attack groups and movements critical of his anti-poor, anti-Filipino policies. He misguidedly believes that the arrest of the likes of the Tiamzons will bring down a movement which has outlasted Martial Law, four other administrations, a countless number of AFP chiefs of staff, and hundreds of billions of pesos in military funding.
“We recommend that Aquino, during his ‘Noynoying’ time, watch, study some history and do some reality checks. Unless the root causes of armed revolution in the country are addressed, there will be more Benitos and Wilmas. Didn’t Marcos predict the fall of the CPP when Jose Ma. Sison was arrested back in 1977? It’s been more than 33 years, and that prediction has yet to come true.
“What are the roots? To Noynoy and the AFP: look into the mirror.
“While the Tiamzons, at great personal risk, went to Yolanda-affected communities to personally direct relief operations by the underground movement, Aquino was clueless as to what was happening in Samar and Leyte for days. The latter even hoarded relief goods until they became rotten.
“As for the AFP, when will it arrest the real ‘big fish’: human rights violators like their very own Jovito Palparan, land grabbers like Aquino’s relatives in Hacienda Luisita, pork barrel officials, etc.? When will it apologize for being the institution which served as the Butcher of Martial Law, the institution responsible for the murder, abduction, and torture of hundreds of thousands?
“We demand that the Aquino regime free all political prisoners and sincerely pursue a just and long-lasting peace.”
PNoy also wants to go to the roots, but. . .
In fairness to the government military and police, no one in the AFP and PNP high command has gloated about the Tiamzons’ capture. In fact, the news reports said the arresting team in Cebu admitted that luck played a big part in the arrest.
And, speaking to Malacañang reporters, President Aquino—uncharacteristically—spoke wisely, saying: “I believe it does deliver a serious blow and it shows you also the competency of our security forces.” But he hastened to say that to end insurgencies, the government must address “the root causes of the problem.”
“That’s why we are focused on empowering our people especially in trying to move them out of poverty in the various interventions that we have been doing from education, to health, to livelihood, to housing, to disaster preparedness and so on and so forth,” he said.
Yet, in his words, one can see why his administration is far from beating the communist rebellion.
Injustice, humiliation and the oppression of the poor, the landless, the peasants, the ignorant and inadequately schooled, the unemployed, the falsely accused, etcetera are realities of our society that do not loom large in the President’s and his Cabinet members’ minds and consciences. They have these hurts in the “so on and so forth.”
These are, however, the notions that drive desperately suffering and morally maltreated people to join the NPA. And bright children in high school and colleges to feel that ours is a nation led by unjust, cruel and Godless people who must be punished.