MANILA – If government troops want to prevent our youth from joining the CPP, they must refrain from pushing the youth into it. They should avoid at all costs to make it seem cool to join the likes of the CPP. They should try to really win their hearts and mind, and quit dictating let alone threatening them against which group they supposedly couldn’t ever join. Bar the youth from something and their first impulse will be to do what is expressly forbidden.
Anybody knows the youth are prone to rebelliousness. They like to question authorities; they dream big; they espouse idealisms for justice, and as most beauty contestants say, they crave peace and are eager to foster a better world for children. Do the Duterte government and its armed troops share that? Do their actions speak of that? Considering that the military claimed that more schools are perhaps producing CPP and NPA members and cadres now, including those not previously known for activism, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan understated but concluded rightly that “it says something about the current government.”
That ‘something’ has to do with the Filipinos’ worsening hunger, joblessness, homelessness, vulnerability to disasters. All of these are traceable to the Duterte government’s policies. Just over two years in power, his policy “reforms” have resulted in a rice crisis, higher than usual inflation, mass evacuation, military strikes, police killings. Wages remain low. Workers remain contractuals. Farmers continue to call for land reform. Proven destructive mining operations continue. It’s only expected that the youth will protest this.
Government troops aim to decimate the CPP and the NPA soon. But more people seem to have been joining the CPP, if we are to believe the military’s growing list of schools, plantations and workplaces, and communities where the military has been pressuring the locals to “surrender.”
President Duterte knows first-hand the seductiveness and convincing power of talking about revolution and change. That’s exactly the costume and makeup he used when he campaigned for the presidency. Once in power, he practically admitted that what he promised during the campaign were different from what he is doing during his presidency. Why is the military wary of possible “plots” for Duterte’s ouster? If it is coming from the people, the military should know that it is a legitimate people’s exercise enshrined in the Constitution. The military should be defending the Constitution rather than an executive who rose to power based on false advertising. Why would the youth be inspired to abide by such a military or a president?
The Philippine military and police, to be true to its calling, should have been defending the land and seas of the country from foreign invaders. They should not be spending the people’s hard-earned money only to defend the few – the landlords, owners of businesses who have been causing the people’s misery. More so now that these wealthy few will pay fewer taxes thanks to TRAIN 2.
If the Duterte government wants, it could choose to win the hearts and minds of the youth away from the sway of the CPP by catering to the people’s demands. That’s what Duterte promised to do, after all.
No matter how much the CPP tries to organize the youth, it could not have expanded its recruitment, as the military claims, if the youth sees no fertile ground to rebel.
Repressing and threatening the youth, or any activist and ordinary dissenting citizen for that matter, will not help the military or Duterte to counter ouster moves. Youth psychology and Philippine history suggest that the likes of Duterte or another nationwide Martial Law will peter out early, if it managed to get started.
As a youth leader from Southern Tagalog said last Sept 21, one of the differences between Martial Law in the time of Marcos and Martial Law now is that this time around, the CPP, with the Philippine government peace panel, have drafted and initialed concrete proposals to address the problems bedeviling the Filipinos. The CPP now has both the experience and concrete programs to bring change. Surely the military is not thinking of countering that by simply issuing threats, thwacking the whip for an impending crackdown, or deploying more military?
Marcos had done that and although the CPP had just started, too, at the time, Marcos was later unmasked and ousted while the CPP reported growing in size and stature.
Since Marcos, no dictator wanna-be has lasted in power as long as he did. GMA ruled the longest, less than 10 years. It wasn’t half as long as Marcos’ dictatorship. And now here’s Duterte, barely into his third year in Malacañang and already fending off calls for his ouster.