Let’s see Duterte pulverize the CPP/NPA

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MAURO GIA SAMONTE

WILL President Rodrigo Duterte do an Erap?

The question arises in the heat of the renewed hostilities between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA). President Duterte had announced an “all-out war” against the communist rebels, and the last time such a policy of war against a Philippine insurgency was made was in 2000, in the government’s war against the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

President Joseph Ejercito Estrada announced that “all-out war” policy in 2000 and determinedly pushed it through the MILF strongholds in Mindanao, crushing its military camps quickly one after the other, culminating in the utter pulverization of the Muslim rebels’ mother stronghold, Camp Abubakar.

The MILF would be unheard from since, and although in the succeeding administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo the MILF, thanks to the patronage of US Ambassador Kristie Kinney, surfaced again and got recognized for peace negotiations with the government, that would form an entirely different story, not figuring in this present consideration.


What is of moment now is that President Estrada did it once upon a time, announcing and immediately thereafter actually pursuing the “all-out war” policy. Will President Duterte actually pursue, too, this time his own announced policy of “all-out war” against the CPP/NPA? And if Duterte would, will he succeed, as Erap succeeded with the MILF, in pulverizing the CPP/NPA?

Doing the MILF in was no easy job for President Estrada. He had two powerful forces falling in the way of his implementing that war policy. One was the Catholic Church, or at least its head at the time, Jaime Cardinal Sin, who telephoned the President, imploring him not to proceed with his plan to attack the MILF camp.

“Cardinal,” Erap is said to have invited the archbishop to Malacañang, “please come and see this video I am viewing. Fourteen Marines beheaded by the MILF and then tell me again what you are telling me now.”

The Cardinal did not come, but just to illustrate where Sin’s loyalties lay, next to make exactly the same entreaty with Erap was a dignitary from the US State Department speaking in behalf of then US President Bill Clinton. And with the same conviction that he had with Cardinal Sin, Erap rejected the importuning of the US official.

Erap was impeached and thrown out of office within two months of his rejection of the US-expressed wish for him not to crush Camp Abubakar, but this does not seem to bear upon this present discussion. What world power would Duterte be contending against if he in turn pulverized the CPP/NPA now? No other foreign power has been known to intervene with such wanton barefacedness in Philippine affairs except the United States.

What reason would the US have this time to do to Duterte if he pulverized the CPP/NPA what it did to Erap for his pulverizing the MILF in his time? If Duterte gets ousted like Erap,that would give us an inkling of what strategic agenda the CPP/NPA is actually serving by its continuing pursuit of a never-ending protracted people’s war. In a war where you do not program the downfall of your enemy, you actually serve to prop up the rule of your enemy endlessly.

We have had this Sisonite “protracted people’s war” for five decades now, and the future of thousands of young men had been sacrificed and wasted on that war so that it behooves those who, though now in the twilight of their years, continue to pin hope on that future being still attainable in the here-and-now, to cite the following mandates by Sun Tzu in his Art of War:

*When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

*Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

* Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

*Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

*There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.
*In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.

As of this writing, Duterte hasn’t yet done anything indicating that he would do a repeat of Erap, doing it against the CPP/NPA. But from the rebels’ camp, we can glean that they are thrown into panic, indicating they fear Duterte means what he says about “all-out war”.

In what can be deduced as a couched move of appeasement of the enemy, the National Democratic Front, indeed the front of the CPP/NPA in the ongoing peace negotiations with the government, has released a press statement stating their reasons for not agreeing to the unilateral termination by Duterte of those negotiations.

A headline news report in the Manila Times goes: “The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has refused to acknowledge the written notice sent by the government on the termination of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), a deal that keeps peace consultants from being arrested.

“In a statement, NDFP negotiating peace panel chairman Fidel Agcaoili said that the government had ‘no fair and just reason’ to terminate the peace negotiations two weeks after the conclusion of the third round of formal talks in Rome, Italy.

“Agcaoili cited the advances made during the negotiations, including discussions on human rights and reforms and an agreement to meet in the Netherlands on February 22 to 27 to hammer out a bilateral ceasefire.

“’With the above progress in the talks, it is unreasonable for any party to unilaterally terminate the peace negotiations without just cause and squander the gains so far achieved,’” Agcoili said, as he pointed out a technical error in the notice of termination.

He said the letter of termination of the JASIG sent by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza was “improperly addressed”.

The statement of Agcaoili betrays a position of weakness. In war negotiations between rebels and government, the former are deemed to hold the high ground, for which reason in fact the latter wants the conflict done in talks. But the way Agcaoili sounds, the rebels are veritably imploring the government not to stop the talks, please.

Citing a technicality and “advances” made in the negotiations, Agcaoili finds reason to sound strong, saying
“The NDFP cannot be a party to an unjust, unreasonable and improper termination of the JASIG. The GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) bears full responsibility for its unilateral decision.”

But the statement amuses. How’s that to be done? By not being a party to “an unjust, unreasonable and improper termination of the JASIG,” doesn’t Agcaoili imply that the talks continue. But the government is backing out of those talks; who do the rebels talk to, themselves?

If at all, what the Agcaoili statement amounts to is a propaganda ploy for justifying the non-surrender, or return to government fold if you may, of those who had been released on bail to act as consultants for the rebel side in the negotiations, for instance, the couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.

Duterte has put it bluntly to these people, “You go back to jail.”

That, in turn for the President, is a laughing matter as well. Does he expect those “consultants” to be gentlemen enough to respect their incarceration and return to jail now that the negotiations have broken down?

The only beneficiaries in these comic episode are the Tiamzon couple and their ilk, who can now direct their middle fingers to Duterte: “Ngekngek mo.” Who is the stupid rebel who, having already been out of the enemy’s prison, would want to place himself in that enemy’s custody again? Unless this whole zarzuela of war and peace is one whole damn joke only. It is all up to Duterte now to prove it is no joke on his part. If I were to believe former Senator Kit Tatad that during the period when Duterte was still mayor he was elected member of the NDF upon nomination by Jun Evasco, then there is great reason for me to doubt the seriousness of the peace talks which the President appears to have recently terminated.

The only way to erase that doubt is for the President to make good his policy of all-out war against the CPP/NPA. And if, being a revolutionary, and in fact having been already touted by his supporters as versed in Sun Tzu’s art war, then Duterte should recognize that now is the perfect time for him to unleash that all-out war.

By Agcaoili’s pronouncements, it seems apparent that the CPP/NPA is not ready to engage the government in such a war. Sison himself came out in the media calling for a resumption of the peace talks, quite in contrast to his posturing vis-à-vis Duterte before the start of those talks, i.e. belligerent. Now the Philippine communist sovereign is issuing such unlikely statements as “give peace a chance.”

In all likelihood, the CPP/NPA, perhaps sensing Duterte is serious with his policy of all-out war against the communist insurgency, are resorting to ploys to avert such a war. So, from Duterte, the marching orders for his troops should be a Mao Zedong basic tenet in guerilla warfare: “When the enemy attacks, retreat. When the enemy rests, harass him. When the enemy shows no sign of resistance, attack. When the enemy retreats, pursue.”

Both from the NDF and from the CPP sovereign, the signs are clear: the NPA does not want to fight. It’s high time Duterte attacked and—as Erap did in 2000—won.

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18 Comments

  1. The sole objective of the likes of Cardinal Sin is not to end or prevent a conflict, but to sustain it.

    When there’s peace, there’s prosperity. When there’s prosperity, only few would kneel in their churches to ask for blessings, while parting a portion of their meager earning for the day.

    The US will always shun honest peace negotiations, and all out war — both have the capacity to end their pretext for indefinite intervention.

  2. Peace and development, War,
    all-out war, peace talks- are all but result of a much deeper serious matter. One should ask her/himself first-for respect of cause and effect theory- are we totally aware the “whys” on how did this conflict airse before listening to thier emotions/ frustrations on why this western minds called “terrorists” are still alive? I am not affected wether GRP and NDF talks or what, who gains power or not, who holds the high ground or not, i am aware that still the vast majority of Filipino are sufferring from poverty and under development (thanks to CCT?).
    By the way, who gets wealthier byserving the Poor?

  3. The best celebration ever, was what Erap did for an encore of his victory vs. the MILF !!!

    Dozens of lechon and truckloads of beer for the conquering army !!!

    He won !!! Hurrah hurrah !!! Cheers !!!

    ……… and May the force be with Digong in handling the rebel/terrorists who maim innocents with their illegal landmines !!!!

  4. How can we help the President?
    A call for all cabinet officials with different ideological intentions “Must Step Down” in the wake of President Duterte
    pronouncement that “Peace cannot be attain in this generation”.
    A call also for members of House of Representative and Senate whose members have different ideological intentions “Must Step Down” for the same reason above.
    You cannot use the vast resources of government in order to advance your intentions. Poverty is all around us because our resources are being utilize differently.

  5. Mauro Gia Samonte maraming salamat! WAR IT IS! To Robert Uy: Convicts can’t run for public office, Erap won again as Mayor of Manila!

  6. The CPP/NPA do not have a peace adgenda. They want power. It is not enough for them to be invited and included in the government. They want it all. No peace is possible with them.

  7. Inang Pilipinas on

    As a peace loving citizen I always want peace. But to the NPA’s who use peace talks to bully the government and as a guise to strengthen its military forces through delaying tactics, they should be dealt with an iron hand. They have been given all the chances in the peace negotiating table but it has always failed because of the CPP/NPA’s insincerity. Come to think of it, these guys don’t want peace, they want to grab power.

  8. aladin g. villacorte on

    How could President Duterte “pulverize” his fellow members of the Leftist brotherhood? Tickle, perhaps? A charade, smoke and mirrors. What a waste of time and government resources!

    Instead of ordering fresh troops to run after these rebels he should first put in order his communist-ridden Cabinet. Corruption in government is enemy number one. Run after the crooks and comedians hiding behind the title “honorable”. In my book there’s no honor among thieves and thugs. Give priority to good governance, vanish poverty and economic slavery, slay the dragon of political dynasty, – this is the grammar of the poor and oppressed, yes, the language of the insurgency.

  9. Mr. Mao wants The Deegong to fight his war for him?

    In its present status, the government is now on a high moral ground. In the negotiating parlance, The Deegong has the political advantage. However, he will soon lose this edge if Martin DiAndar dows not do his job well. At this point, the battle now shifts to propaganda – how both sides treats the matter and issue their resppective public posturing will determine the outcome of this battle. From recent media news, it seems that the terrorists are getting all their network to a concerted media blitz of imploring The Deegong to continue with the talks. However, The Deegong has suddenly become silent for quite a number of days already. For a start, Martin DiAndar must use his clout to get the media to stop using the terms CPP or NPA but instead call the rebels as the STG for Sison Terrorist Group. Let the term stick in the public consciousness for some time and the group will soon slowly lose adherents and the romanticism that their name evokes will vanish. Soon, even those student activists and NGOs would not want to be associated with terrorists.

    • Good propaganda idea…but then again they are indeed terrorists now and extorting revolutionary taxes from hapless victims. They also do not pay taxes themselves. We should stop portraying them as martial law victims because the truth is at that time, they had guns and bombs and they fought the Marcos administration. They wanted to grab power. It was a violent uprising that failed but now they want to portray themselves as victims and heroes. Good grief!

  10. Roldan Guerrero on

    Duterte is a FICKLE MINDED like an INFIDEL WOMAN. Kris Aquino texting him to spare his brother from being imprisoned proves this. What he says today will be different very soon. But we will just watch and see what he does. We just hope he will turn back from his womanizing and all talks activities.

  11. I have seen how peace talks in the past have failed time and time again because the bottom line is, these rebels, Muslim and communist alike, want only one thing and that is to grab power. Why would they return to the fold and pay all the taxes asked by the government from its citizens? Why would they stop getting foreign aid for their “cause”? Why would they stop extorting revolutionary taxes from businessmen? Why would they return as farmers and laborers when they can just hold their machine guns, smoke, sit down and what not and still eat thrice a day without sweating too much? All peace talks in the past have never benefited the government but only served as a way for the rebels to consolidate and strengthen their forces. They should not allow to prosper anymore. Armed conflict in the Philippines and not just corruption is one of the reasons why the Philippines is doomed to stay in the pit.

    • It is illogical to be talking to double faced idiots whose henchmen keep on killing your people while trying to convince you they will be serious partners in peace.

    • The term pulverized is right. And crippled too . That is the severest blow you can give your enemy. If that is not victory to you, then just bury your head in the ground. It is useless.

    • I am not an Erap fan but he did win and the MILF went into hiding until GMA started peace talks with them again so here they are doing business as usual. The happened to the NPA that Marcos was able to push back but thanks to Cory, Joma and his ilk were freed and the NPA flourished and like the different Muslim rebels, they are doing business as usual.