Cha-cha to undermine
Philippine independence, sovereignty
June 12, 2009
On the 111th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine independence,
the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) held a protest action near the
United States embassy in Manila. The group slammed US intervention in the
Philippines as well as the latest moves to amend the Philippine
Bayan said that the Philippines is not truly free, more than a hundred
years after our forefathers declared independence from Spain. It said that
the current leadership in Malacanang has only perpetuated the neo-colonial
status of the country.
“The Charter change efforts is another means by which our national
sovereignty will be undermined. It goes against the very concept of
independence. Some proposals on Charter change will in fact strengthen
foreign control over the country,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M.
Reyes said that it is no secret that the US has long sought revisions in
the Constitution that allow 100% foreign ownership of land. American
business groups have expressed the same sentiments on liberalizing land
ownership in the Philippines.
“Liberalizing land ownership goes against economic sovereignty. It would
also be disastrous since our resources would be siphoned out by foreign
firms,” he said.
Bayan also believes that the US government would benefit from any revision
in the provisions of the Constitution that ban the presence of foreign
troops and nuclear weapons. This would be consistent with the enforcement
of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement.
“Charter change is something that the US wants, both for its economic and
political interests. It is therefore not surprising that the Arroyo
government keeps pushing for it despite widespread public opposition to
it. The US for increased intervention and Arroyo’s interest in staying in
power all intersect in Charter change,” Reyes said.
“Once the Constituent Assembly is convened, it can revise any provision in
the Charter, not just those on the form of government but also those
related to economic protectionism and national sovereignty,” Reyes said.
Reyes said that the US government supported the Bangsamoro Juridical
Entity in the past because it was an entry point for constitutional
revisions that would liberalize the entry of US firms in Mindanao and
allow increased US military presence in the area.
“Our forefathers would cringe at the kind of puppetry being displayed by
the Arroyo regime. It has been one sell-out after another. There is the
VFA, and now there is Charter change,” Reyes said. ###
By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo
AFP Chief Gen. Victor Ibrado recently admitted that the military is having
difficulty meeting the deadline imposed by de facto Commander-in-chief
Mrs. Gloria Arroyo three years ago, to end the decades-old communist
insurgency in 2010. (Philippine Star, 22 June 09) This was after he and
his predecessors had repeatedly boasted that the military was on track in
achieving the defeat of the New People’s Army (NPA). The lame excuse is
that the armed guerillas “are just crisscrossing borders and transferring
to another guerilla front” even when the AFP had already allegedly
“dismantled” the political and military infrastructures of numerous rebel
One need not be an expert on military strategy and tactics to know that
guerillas by nature employ flexibility and shifting tactics. This is a
guerilla movement’s way of dealing with the overwhelming superiority, in
terms of numbers and weapons, of the state’s armed forces at any given
point. Instead, it makes use of the favorable physical and social terrain
in the countryside, i.e. the rugged mountains and remaining forested areas
as well as the support of the rural populace, to conduct their type of
Time and again ruling regimes announce the impending demise of armed
revolutionary movements in much the same vein and for the same reasons
that they belittle the democratic protest movement. The aim is to conjure
strength and stability, to foist the illusion of popular acceptance if not
support, because government is supposedly undertaking reforms that address
the causes of armed conflict and mass protest actions.
Deceptive propaganda works up to a certain point given government
resources and numerous levers to manipulate, if not control, the mass
media. But reality always catches up and the truth becomes so glaring that
the regime’s minions are compelled to eat their words and offer the lamest
of excuses or persist in the most egregious of lies.
In the early 70’s, President Ferdinand Marcos declared that the NPA had
been “nipped in the bud” after AFP troops seized more than a dozen
high-power rifles in a Tarlac raid. But the NPA raided the Philippine
Military Academy armory at the end of the year, carting away much more
than what was lost in Tarlac.
In the 80’s, Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and the Regional Unified
Command Commanding General Romeo Gatan vowed to rid Cagayan Valley of the
NPA in a year’s time. Thereafter they complained that the NPA refused to
come out and engage the AFP in conventional battles.
In the 90’s, AFP Chief Gen. Abadia declared Oplan Lambat Bitag a success
and concluded that the NPA would be wiped out by 1995. His successor, Gen.
Enrile, declared “decisive victory” over the NPA but candidly admitted
that the latter is like a grapevine that could lose its leaves and fruit
but would continue to thrive as long as it still has roots.
Then came the current counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya,
notorious the world over for the deliberate and brutal targeting of
suspected civilian supporters, including unarmed activists, for
“neutralization”. The latter is military lingo for summary execution,
abduction, illegal arrest and detention on trumped-up charges and other
tactics to terrorize entire communities and keep them from giving aid and
succor to the so-called “enemy”. The AFP documentary “Knowing the Enemy”
justified such state terror tactics as the missing crucial piece in the
AFP strategy in order to explain away its previous failures.
Frustration and desperation
within the AFP leadership was expressed by a ranking general known to be a
proponent of extra-judicial killings who reportedly said, “If this doesn’t
work, nothing will.” These are the same words of a US Central Intelligence
Agency officer in defending “Oplan Phoenix” versus civilian targets.
What the Arroyo regime refuses to acknowledge is the real reason why its
“all-out war” policy can never defeat the communist-led armed
revolutionary movement. Mrs. Arroyo, her generals (both those in active
duty and those recycled into powerful civilian posts) and other Cabinet
right-wingers cannot accept that it is precisely the vastly unequal,
extremely oppressive and exploitative and, ultimately repressive
prevailing social system that is fuelling armed conflict and social
unrest. And that no amount of military might nor strategy and tactics can
wipe out the people’s legitimate struggles, armed or unarmed.
They deny the reality and refuse to accept the truth even when such is
staring them in the face because their own interests are so tied-up with
defending and preserving the status quo apart from advancing the Arroyo
clique’s particular selfish interests.
Too bad for the reactionaries there exists a homegrown revolutionary
movement that presents a clear-sighted, historical analysis of the
problems of Philippine society and a matching program to overhaul it.
Whether one sympathizes with it or not, the fact is this revolutionary
movement is present and exerts significant political influence. It
continues to challenge the ruling system and regime in power at every turn
and raises the possibility of overturning the crisis-ridden system one day
and introducing a radically different alternative, with an entirely new
set of political ideals, principles, values and work ethic not to mention
socio-economic program. Both the promise of profound, sweeping change and
the growing actual strength of this movement is what continue to rile the
Arroyo regime and unsettle the entire ruling elite.
And should the Arroyo clique, faced with a constitutional limit to Mrs.
Arroyo’s continuation in power beyond 2010, resort to outright, wholesale
perversion of the remaining vestiges of democratic rule by manipulating
Congress and the Supreme Court and by declaring emergency rule, there
remains a wide countryside that can provide sanctuary as well as a
fighting terrain while hitherto legal, democratic rights and processes are
Senate President Ponce Enrile warns of revolution should the 2010
elections not push through because of failure of the automated electoral
system being set up by the Commission on Elections. Mr. Enrile is being
facetious because he, as one of the architects of martial rule under the
dictator Marcos, knows quite well that a revolution has been and is even
now raging nationwide. It finds expression in armed forms in the
countryside while seething in the cities and towns in the various forms of
protests and mass actions demanding pro-people and democratic reforms. In
a society in permanent crisis such as the Philippines, the revolutionary
movement is an inevitable and, to many sectors, a welcome offshoot.
Perhaps what Senator Enrile means is that the deceptive trappings of elite
democracy in this country will be sundered rapidly, dramatically and
irreparably should the electoral circus slated for 2010 be completely
disrupted for one reason or another. Revolution then will be more than a
theoretical option to many more Filipinos. #