By RUDY D. LIPORADA
“What we want by the end of 2018 is to wipe out the CPP-NPA in the entire Philippines ….” This was uttered in October 17, 2017 by General Eduardo Ano, the incumbent Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He was referring to quashing the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People’s Army.
These sound bites were akin to the words of the now feeble Juan Ponce Enrile when he was then a robust defense minister under the regime of Ferdinand Marcos way back in the early 1970s. The CPP was then just reorganized in December 26, 1968 under the chairmanship of Jose Maria Sison aka Amado Guerrero with only 25 members and the NPA shredded its being the Hukbo Laban sa Hapon or Hukbalahap or simply Huks in March 29, 1969.
Just a ragtag group, the NPA was merely of 9 original squads armed with 35 assorted weak rifles and handguns.
The quashing of the CPP-NPA never happened during Enrile’s ministership, never happened after he reneged from his being a protégé of Marcos, never happened when he served under Cory Aquino, never happened after all the presidents until Rodrigo Duterte. It never happened after all the pronouncements of all chiefs of staff who came one after the other that they will quash the CPP-NPA.
The CPP-NPA, in fact, grew. Up until Juan Ponce Enrile retired from the senate in June 6, 2016, the CPP-NPA grew. From Central Luzon in 1969, the NPA transferred their main operations to the Cagayan Valley and fanned out, initially in trickles, to the different provinces of the Philippines. Now close to 50 years of their armed struggle, the NPA dot every nook of the Philippine Archipelago – fully armed, in uniform as they march in battalions being cheered by the ‘masa’ they profess to serve.
Yes, Enrile has gone feeble while the CPP-NPA expands by the squad almost every month by the number of guns they capture from ambushed soldiers much more often done compared to yesteryears.
And General Ano says he could quash the CPP-NPA by the end of 2018?
Well, in fairness, he actually said “What we want…” instead of “We will…”. Somehow, he must know that it could not be done. In fairness, maybe he thinks that he is no better than his predecessors.
Still, the military touts that it is ready for war against the communists because it is training 13,000 additional soldiers. In Davao region, the military commenced its training of 280 tribal recruits where the indigenous peoples, or IPs, will undergo basic military training for eight weeks, presumably to be pitted against their fellow Lumads.
Add the fact that the Russians have donated 5,000 Kalashnikovs following China’s donation of 6,000 assault rifles and 100 sniper rifles and added to hardware donated by the United States.
To these, the CPP-NPA only celebrates. Since their beginnings, the NPA were saying they actually have strong guns. They are just waiting for the government soldiers to deliver them to the NPAs during ambuscades. So, the Russian guns could arm up to 16 battalion recruits and the Chinese up to 20.
That is, of course, a very simplistic arithmetic. The most important arm of the CPP-NPA is they have the heart to fight. They have the ideology of liberation from the oppressive bondage wrought by the current system which only serves the interest of the landlords in the service of the imperialists. They have the historical knowledge of how to fight and liberate themselves from the experiences of the Mao’s Red Army, and Cuba’s and Vietnam’s liberation forces.
So, good luck on your wish, General Ano. At least you recognize it only as a wish. You are not like Juan Ponce Enrile who said he will. There will be no much shame when you fail to quash the CPP-NPA after 2018.
And you will surely, like your predecessors, fail. # nordis.net