IT has been 32 days since the fatal murder of Kieth and Nolven Absalon in Masbate City. The more I dig deeper into the circumstances of that incident, the more I come to understand the brutality of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) and how they have been lying in order to support their propaganda.
After the landmine attack in Masbate - which killed Kieth and Nolven as well as wounded the latter's son, Daniel - the CPP-NPA admitted to the atrocity and apologized to the family, saying that the killing of Kieth was a case of mistaken identity. I have promised the Absalon family that we will relentlessly pursue this case, so I did my own personal inquiry into the matter.
One of the shocking revelations I got direct from the sources and witnesses was that Kieth and Nolven were not killed mistakenly. In fact, two NPA spotters in a motorcycle overtook the pack of mountain bikers and stopped in front of the lead pack (i.e., Nolven and company) and pointed at the two to identify the riders as the targets. Shortly after, the two in motorcycles sped off and as the bikers continued with their activity, NPA terrorists from the bushes suddenly shot at them with assault rifles.
Nolven and Kieth fell off the motorcycle but were not fatally hit. Nolven then told Daniel to run to safety and as he himself ran to the nearby hill, the NPA terrorists tried to stop him by sniping him, causing several gunshot injuries. Fortunately, he was quick enough to run to safety.
Meantime, the NPA started to approach the fallen duo as the rest of the bikers dropped to the roadside to hide and seek cover. The rest of Nolven's party was able to witness what was going on while concealing themselves in the bushes. Kieth and Nolven both raised their arms and begged the NPA to spare their lives, their faces and identities clearly visible to the attackers.
No, the NPA did not spare them their lives and followed through with close shots in the head and body. They clearly knew that their targets were two civilian non-combatants. And the reason? To sow fear and terrorize people into submission.
Do you think the NPA is incapable of doing this to civilians? Hardly not. They have been doing this to our indigenous peoples in order to intimidate them into submission. They have been ambushing civilians, including those in ambulances, if only to terrorize our citizens and remind them they are still a force to reckon with. Last Jan. 19, 2021, in Masbate they kidnapped local officials in broad daylight and killed them later because the officials were tagged as counter-revolutionaries.
The book of Robert Francis "Bobby" Garcia - To Suffer Thy Comrades, How the Revolution Decimated Its Own - provides some answers to the violence that the CPP-NPA-NDF 9national Democratic Front) has been so accustomed to doing. In one of its chapters, "Challenged to Kill," Janis narrates how she as a member of the Task Force Missing Link (responsible for the purges in Quezon during the CPP's Oplan Missing Link) would take part in the torture and killing of their comrades in order to save the movement. Adamant at first, later she would participate not only in the interrogation of suspected DPAs but also in the killing of hundreds of her fellow comrades. Cecil and Ka Mario's detailed revelations on how they went through the "split," where the "legs were spread wider and wider apart till you admit to practically every sin you can think of," or the NPA "flag ceremony" where the suspects were raised instead of a flag, speaks a lot about the violent nature of the CPP-NPA.
What the CPP-NPA has been doing for the past few months is exactly what resulted in their decimation in the 1990s. The Ranjo massacre in Digos, as well as the many killings they have committed even against peaceful and innocent civilians, alienated more people which almost caused the party's collapse in 1992.
The killing of Kieth Absalon and Nolven highlights their capacity to kill civilians, deliberately, and then lie about it. It has totally backfired, rather than create fear among Masbateños, Bicolanos and the Filipino nation as a whole. Because of the incident, more people are coming out now to express their sentiments in getting rid of these CPP-NPA terrorists.
Many netizens are now directly mouthing a handful of invectives against these CPP monsters, including their supporters in Congress and the Senate. They are unabashedly unafraid, displaying their faces and identities, which is in sharp contrast to the confidentiality and low-key approach of the past. They now acknowledge that what the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) has been doing to expose these fake nationalists is the correct approach. Though it has come too late in the 52 years of propaganda game, it is finally here and that is what is more important.
The long absence of a government narrative has shaped our mindset to believe that this insurgency will stay with us forever. In fact, many have treated this issue with apathy, believing that the presence of the NPA has become a common phenomenon, and that the CPP is legal and therefore, not a concern. This is so because of the way the media and the propaganda machinery of the CPP have shaped our mindset for the longest time, until the current dispensation created the NTF-Elcac and put a deadline to end this armed group.
Today as I attend the AFP Command Conference and listen to the Armed Forces of the Philippines' accomplishments for the second quarter of the year, I can confirm that this deadline set by President Duterte is both doable and achievable.
Evolutionary psychologists have put forward that people have difficulty with standard probabilistic reasoning; the statement, "Our brains are made for fitness not for truth" by the scientific intellectual Steven Pinker summarizes this theory. In short, the CPP propagandists have programmed unaffected civilians to think that this insurgency cannot be defeated. These evolutionary psychologists agree that our brains are not made for understanding things but think that they are not biased, or only biased because we do not use them in a real habitat. Further, they agree that brainwork depends on how the subject is presented and the frame offered.
As also referenced in his book, Fooled by Randomness, Nassim Nicholas Taleb states that we cannot make a decision without emotion, and emotions are there to prevent us from temporizing.
This is so true. If after this Kieth incident we still feel unaffected with this violence, something is abnormal and inhumane in us. We probably need more landmines to blow up in our faces for us to wake up and get angry. We need more "lubricants of reason" for us to finally say strongly: enough is enough.