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Reli L. German: Seeing Red


By: Reli L. German

Throughout the world, peace has become such a rare commodity that could only be purchased at a very heavy price.

Here, the fighting in Marawi vividly demonstrates that peace remains as elusive as ever. While there is reasonable expectation that the military will soon put an end to this crisis, our country faces a possibly more excruciating period of armed conflict — in a post-Marawi scenario when the government launches an all-out war against the communist New People’s Army or NPA.

President Duterte announced this directly confrontational policy after he scuttled last February 3 the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front (NDF) that claims to direct the activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the NPA. His move was in reaction to the NPA’s continuing raids and ambuscades against military outposts and police stations and personnel despite the fact that there was a supposed ceasefire between the two sides.

The fact is that the president has been seeing red for several months now, further aggravated by NPA depredations even in his beloved city of Davao. And more so by an NPA ambush of elements of the Presidential Security Group in Cotabato last July 9 where four members of the PSG were wounded.

Incidentally, while “seeing red” means becoming angry or mad, the word “red” has long been associated with communists and the radical left. China, for instance, has been referred to as “Red China”, especially during the so-called “Cold War” between the West and the communist bloc.

Administration officials point to the irony whereby the political Left continues to rage against supposed violations of human rights, even as their NPA allies also continue to sow havoc in many areas outside Metro Manila, particularly in Mindanao. The NPA has reportedly been burning road building equipment, container vans and trucks, pineapple and banana farms as well as processing plants of Dole, Del Monte, Lapanday and other firms that refuse to pay revolutionary tax.

They point to recent NPA raids in Compostela Valley, Bukidnon, Davao City and General Santos City. These have resulted in loss of jobs and livelihood for thousands of workers which, they say, constitute grave violations of the workers’ right to the enjoyment of life and the pursuit of happiness.

This is probably what led Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to say that the NPAs are “anti-poor, anti-development and anti-progress since they destroy and burn equipment, plants and facilities of companies that build roads, export produce, transport people and generate jobs and wealth for Filipinos.”

Just like the president, Lorenzana must also be seeing red these days, as he has, in fact, declared that “any member of the NPA who continues to commit terroristic acts such as extortion, burning of property, kidnapping, roaming around with firearms to intimidate people, and attacks on government forces will be pursued, apprehended and brought to justice.”

Sadly, a hard-working but left-leaning member of the President’s Cabinet who has been rendering exemplary service to our people has become collateral damage to the growing antipathy towards the “reds” and those of the political Left.

The Commission on Appointments has rejected Judy Taguiwalo as Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The President lamented her loss to the Cabinet as “sayang”, apparently in acknowledgment of her good work.

Kaya huwag kayong magtaka kung sa mga araw na ito, si Manong Digong at DND chief Lorenzana ay namumula na sa galit. It’s obviously not the Sison, I mean season for truce between the left and the right.