AN URGENT NEED FOR REFLECTION: THE ONRUSHING GLOOM IN THE
(An Open Letter to Mon
Ramirez and the Powerful People in the Philippines and
By CESAR TORRES
April 11, 2005
It has been a long time since I have read expressions such as "internal
contradictions", etc. which you mentioned in one of your emails. I was
with concepts like this when I was with Polly Sigh. But not anymore.
There was something I remember also, Che Guevarra's admonition, i.e., "A
guerilla should be like a fish in the water." So I would not be surprised if
are NDF cadres in Dasmarinas Village or Forbes Park. Commitment to
can transcend social and economic origins. We once visited the
the Sisons in the Ilocos. His family origin is not exactly similar
surviving on garbage like those Filipinos in Payatas.
One does not need to be a Ph.D. in "revolutionary movements" to know
inability of a political and government system to provide the basic
people -- I don't need to detail them here -- is the compelling
people rebel. In the context of the Philippines, we know that the
massive. My relatives are constantly crying to me for help. And we
NPA and the RHB guerillas are not lugging those corroded arms in the
hinterlands because they like doing that.
The world is in crisis. It is not only the Filipinos who are
Even the Americans, and possibly, the Japanese, the Europeans and
countries belonging to the "First World". The tragedy of 9-11 has
world crisis. You are giving too much power to Gloria if you tell
misery of my relatives and my fellow Filipinos are just the result
her group's incompetence and mishandling of the Philippine problems.
I can grant that more and more people will be marching in the streets, their
left fists raised and shouting all those slogans that have been popular when
the Beloved Warrior was contemplating the loveliness of the various
at the back of the UP Main Library and wondering why there were a
squatters in Tondo, who were mostly from Samar. There were no Smokey
and no garbage-subsisting Filipinos in Payatas.
All those red flags can be unfurled. And the anger of our people
dramatized on TV, and published in the periodicals. The natural
will eventually result in more and more people being bloodied. More and more
people probably joining the revolutionary groups for the sake of survival
because they cannot run to the police, and the military, and the court system
justice and protection. More and more clashes will happen in the
Samar and other parts of the Philippines. More will die.
Who knows, that "strategic offensive" might indeed happen. One does
to read MTT or the Beloved Warrior's "Philippine Society and Revolution" to
know that this has always been the natural course of events since
the dawn of
Anyway, considering the dream society that we are longing for and which the
NDF has been longing for and which the CPP says will eventually be
because it is "inevitable", frankly I am afraid that it could just result in
"Killing Fields" and the "Mountains of Skulls" similar to what happened in
Cambodia, in Rwanda, in Somalia, and perhaps in Colombia.
The Vietnamese liberation forces and in the neighboring countries triumphed. My pedestrian thinking tells me that the conditions where ripe. Remember
Lenin's "confluence of events" explaining why the Russian Revolution
Remember how the USSR and Eastern Europe and the People's Republic
joined forces to fight US intervention in Vietnam?
Remember how millions of Americans and millions more all over the world
organized to stop that miserable war in Indochina?
Today, we cannot even point out to a "successful socialist society" that will
inspire the cannon fodders of the revolution, our poor Filipino masses, who
will be the first ones to die if the hoped-for civil war is going to
Are we going to tell them about the collapse of the USSR and the other
socialist societies in Europe? How about the debacle of the FSLN in
we going to tell them about the hunger in socialist North Korea and
aberration of their leader? Perhaps we can talk about Cuba, or even
weird economic system or Vietnam whose economy is being dominated by
and European multinationals.
And you will not forget that in the Index of Corruption, it seems
more corruption in Vietnam and PRC than in Singapore and other
societies in Asia.
And then if the Philippine military, egged on and supported by the warmongers
in America, will intensify their experiments on the effectiveness of
weapons, will the American public, its religious groups like those
GWB to a second term, in sympathy and solidarity with the 3 million or so
Filipinos in America demand that the killings of the peasants in the
The Filipinos in America are a mystery to me. Many of them will
Filipinos who will say anything unflattering about American foreign
policy in the Philippines. They don't want to rock the boat. They don't
call attention to themselves, especially the "successful" ones.
Will the Europeans who are not at all mesmerized by American foreign and
economic policies demand that the EU tell the Philippine military to
killings of the Filipinos?
Will the 1.2 billion Chinese and their ruling group intervene to
killings of the Filipinos?
How about the Catholic Church? After all the CBCP is being targeted as an
"enemy" of the friends of Gen. Carlos Garcia. Will the new Pontiff
excommunicate the Catholic Generals who are directing the poor
soldiers to seek
out and kill their fellow poor Filipinos? The generals will just laugh or
imprison the priests.
Will the NDF be supported by the fanatics in Al Qaeda and Jemaah
exchange for detaching Mindanao and Sulu from Luzviminda? Are they
serious about this?
Mon, the world is in crisis. And it is intensifying in the
My plea, and many of my colleagues in Samar share my prayer, is for the
armed groups to stop their obsession to kill, especially if they are
being hunted or directly doing the killing, like those poor soldiers and the
NPA guerillas in the mountains of Samar and other places of the Philippines.
Our resources can be used to feed our people, educate them so that they are
skilled, and are nationalists, so that they get cured when they are sick, so
that they can have a better future.
Take this example for instance. In the interior of Samar, in the
town of San
Jose de Buan, the children had no toilet. No books, no laboratory equipment.
supposed to be a complete elementary school and a high school in
that town. Their elected municipal leaders are not even staying in the town. They are
getting their salaries as officials, but what are they doing?
The irony is that there is probably a military garrison there with soldiers
and guns. True, they have been conducting adult literacy classes in
Samar. But how
much is one armalite for instance? And since San Jose de Buan is in
interior of Samar, and the area is ideal for guerilla warfare, perhaps the
partisans and their enemies the RHB armed group are maintaining some
there. They would have guns too. How much is one armalite whether
a Government soldier or an NPA or RHB figther?
Two armalites would be enough to construct a comfort room, buy books, and
laboratory equipment for the children in San Jose de Buan.
And if the powerful people in the Philippines had their priorities
the NPAs and the Government soldiers can plant trees in the denuded mountains
of Samar and the Philippines. Instead of playing hide and seek ambushing each
other. They can work together to repair the miserable public roads
Philippines. Look what my townmates in Villareal, Samar are doing.
Or they can join Gawad Kalinga in building houses for our people who are
residing under the bridges or have squatted in cemeteries and catacombs. Or
can maintain the fish sanctuaries all over the Philippines.
I think the leadership of the NDF should pause and re-evaluate its position
with respect to attaining a more progressive and respectable Philippines. Perhaps, we can learn from the Tupamaros in Uruguay. They are no
their cherished principles and ideals while shooting government
soldiers. Satur Ocampo, Walden Bello, Akbayan, the CBCP, etc. can provide the
corrupt and the incompetent power holders in Philippine society. As
in embattled Mindanao said: "Sana naman hindi na lang puna ng puna. Dapat
mayroon ipakita na viable alternative."
Mon, I think many of us are very, very proud Filipinos. Many of us
willing to die for Pilipinas. But I don't think they are ready to
Poe and Susan Roces or for poor Erap and his mistresses or for the
No. 1 UP
alumnus so that he can maintain his place in Transparency
ensure that his love child in Australia will be a multimillionaire
for the super rich Atenista or for the fanatics of Al Qaeda.
Many have second thoughts that only through a "protracted war" can we offer a
better life for our people. The sacrifices are just mind-boggling. And it
may take generations for us to recover, if we will be able to
recover at all.
And what's more, we will be lying to ourselves and to the Filipino people.
I remember a sad story being told to me of an idealist who went to the
mountains but is now back in the "lowlands". To inspire the
would tell them: "Kasama, nasa Malakanyang na tayo sa dalawang taon." And the
peasant believed him. That was more than 20 years ago. And the poor
his family? They were wiped out.
"Pragmatic Nationalism" and a "Government of National Reconciliation", Mon.
Let us think about this.
Let the powers that be request Dr. Jose Abueva and think tank groups
as the Development Academy of the Philippines, that National Defense
Ibon, the PCIJ, CBCP, the Institute of Islamic Studies -- to present
a workable concept paper to Malacanang, to the Congress, to the White
they are thinking of unloading more of their unused weapons to the
military as "foreign aid"), to the NDF, to Akbayan, to the MILF and
Catholic Church. Let us see what happens. But get the assent of the
these organizations. And let the killings stop.
This can become a foundation for a "Government of National Reconciliation". And we can move on.
Otherwise, the alternatives are terrifying. As someone in
keeps on saying: "War! War! War! War!"