AS THE BAMBOOS SWAY | Reviving ROTC and organizing Sparrows are Duterte paranoid ideas


The option to revive the ROTC is a desperate move by President Rodrigo ‘Digong’ Duterte to beef up his battalions of fascist troops to counter the New People’s Army (NPA). However, his more or most desperate current move is to “create” his “own Sparrow.” Both ideas of his are actually signs of his paranoia that he will not be able to quash the NPA at the least or be ousted from the presidency at the worst.

In spite of a 2017 report stating that the Philippine Armed Forces (AFP) has 172,500 active personnel with a reserve of 325,000 (totaling 498,250), Digong’s plan of quashing the NPA by the end of 2018 is not happening and the goal had been extended to the middle of 2019.

Beefing up Digong’s forces to achieve his operations on finishing the NPAs, he now wants to revive the ROTC, not only to train kids early (militarily saving money on training) but also to dissuade them from “joining the NPA.” He justifies the revival by saying that we need more personnel imbued with patriotism to defend the motherland when the need arises.

What? Patriotism against China? But he has already sold the Islands to China.

And what a hypocrite when he boasts of how he dodged the ROTC by presenting a medical report that he had tuberculosis. He was able to get this report by bribing one among those in the medical clinic waiting for his x-ray and results to use Digong’s name instead.

However, what Filipinos now should be concerned about is his idea of organizing Sparrow Units (derived from SPARU or Special Partisan Units) to counter Sparrow Units of the New Peoples Army (NPA). This is in spite of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana saying that said units of the NPA that used to target members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the urban areas are long time gone since the 1980s. Nonetheless, Lorenzana says that although Digong’s Sparrow units could be wrong and deserve deep study as it could be implemented erroneously like for vengeance or just upon whims, they could still set them up with proper guidelines.

Duterte Sparrow hit squads concept is to assassinate deemed communist rebels or sympathizers thinking of joining the rebellion against the government. The dangerous word is ‘thinking’.

The death squads are supposed to know what you are thinking. “They will do nothing but look for idlers who are prospective New People’s Army (NPA) members and take them out,” the President said. “If they resist violently. If you believe your life is in danger, shoot. If you believe in good faith that you might be one-upped in pulling out your gun, then shoot… If you are behind that animal, then shoot him in the back.” the President added.

So, if they think that you are merely thinking to join the NPA and you are just loitering around, you could be a target of Digong’s Sparrow death squads. This means it can be anybody. This is a super escalation preluded by Operation Tokhang and Operation Istambay. The extra judicial killings of thousands of these said operations will definitely be a dwarf compared to the number of killings anticipated from these Sparrow units.

After all, the killings of advocates for workers and peasants and the poor, priests, government officials against Digong, indigenous people, and others, are already happening. What is just new is that the killers will be called Duterte’s Sparrows or simply Duterte’s Death Squads like his Davao’s DDS on a national scale.

These ROTC and Sparrow moves, however, are just admittances of the Duterte that Operation Kapayapaan, like the other past operations against the NPA, has failed to quell the insurgents. The situations prevailing in the Islands – high prices of goods and services, killings of peasants, dismantling of urban poor’s shanties, etc.; the selling of the archipelago to China driving the Filipinos further into foreign debt are pushing more Filipinos of the lower strata to consider joining the revolutionary movement.

Thus, Duterte’s paranoia.

Like the butangero that he is, he flexes his muscle like he is strong when he is actually setting up his Sparrows from a position of weakness. If he is winning against the insurgents, there would be no need for the ROTC revival nor the Sparrows. His fentanyl-marijuana twisted mind cannot even digest the fact that the NPA is entering its 50th year of struggle by March 2019.

Past administrations were not able to quash the movement. How could he? And what could Sparrows do in the urban areas when the main battlefields are in the country side? The most they would actually do is to push more advocates to really realize that there is no sense in doing legal battles in the streets of the urban areas and that the only way to change the system is through armed struggle. So, true, we must be wary because Digong has become more dangerous. But then again, a cornered dog barks its loudest.#


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