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in Mainstream

by Pat Gambao

Dissent in the military

The debased culture and unscrupulous practices in the military institution of the reactionary government have caused demoralization and dissent among its constituents. These have awakened their consciousness and revitalized their ideals.

Political patronage, an abomination passed on to the Filipinos by our Spanish and American colonizers, is an enduring feature of the AFP and PNP. The breaking away of then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and Constabulary Chief Fidel Ramos from the DND-AFP command was in resentment of the favor and privileges accorded to General Fabian Ver by Pres. Marcos. The fray ignited the 1986 EDSA People Power Uprising.

The defection of bemedalled Brig. General Raymundo Jarque, the highest-ranking AFP officer who joined the New People’s Army (NPA), was in extreme disgust of the corruption in the military and then President Ramos’s accommodation of his allies. Jarque displeased the well-connected Pena family in Negros over a land dispute. This put him in a bad light as the court favoured Pena and turned the table on Jarque who was falsely charged with stealing prawns from Pena’s farm and ambushing the judge.

Amidst the struggling masses, Jarque realized that his greatest mistake was to have rendered service to the greedy and powerful who exploits and oppresses the poor. Having led the implementation of the bloody Oplan Thunderbolt in Negros in 1989-1990, he manifested his sincere repentance by going to the people, crying as he asked for forgiveness. Weeks after Jarque’s defection, a number of CAFGU (Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit) members from Northern Negros fled with their weapons and joined the NPA.

Corruption is deeply entrenched in the reactionary ruling system. It is endemic and at its worst in the military establishment because of the latter’s authoritarian nature and armed supremacy. Corruption in the military is manifested in the procurement process, in bribes extracted from foreign and local business and industrial corporations, through involvement in smuggling, in illegal drugs, and in the sale of arms and military materials to rebel groups.

Juggling and malversation of funds is just as common. Corruption plagues the top hierarchy of the institution and any dissent or exposé from below is met with drastic if not fatal repercussion.

Young Philippine Navy Ensign Philip Pestaño was found dead with a single bullet wound in the head inside his cabin after he discovered the loading of logs and drugs in the navy ship. Navy officials dismissed the case as suicide although autopsy results showed otherwise.

Lt. Jessica Chavez, platoon leader of the 191st Military Police Battalion stationed in Fort Bonifacio, was being used by her superiors in gunrunning and other criminal activities. She had planned to expose the corruption before leaving the service but she was summarily killed before she could do so. Again, the AFP declared her death as suicide.

The Oakwood mutiny in 2003 by 300 soldiers from the Philippine Army, Navy and Air Force, including 70 junior officers, was an expression of their grievance and dissent over the gross corruption in the military and the fascist regime of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which she wanted to perpetuate. The mutineers declared withdrawal of support from the chain of command and demanded Arroyo’s resignation.

However, because it lacked strong support from a people’s movement as the mutineers relied on spent politicians, the Oakwood mutiny, as well as the succeeding Peninsula Siege, quickly dissipated.

The brazen corruption is incessant and sickening. Imagine allocating PhP50 million from AFP funds as send-off gifts to retiring generals, over and above their legal retirement pay. Imagine the PNP police director for comptrollership being questioned by Russian customs office for carrying excessive amount of cash (105,000 Euros or PhP6.9 million). The general was with an 8-member PNP delegation that attended the International Police (Interpol) Assembly in St. Petersburg in Moscow in 2008.

The most contemptuous scam committed by the military top brass was the diversion of the funds of the AFP Retirement and Separation Benefits System (AFP-RSBS) for their vested interest. The funds came from the compulsory collection of five percent of every soldier’s monthly salary. The government continued to pay the pension and separation benefits of soldiers.

Meantime, the RSBS funds and proceeds from its investments were pocketed by the AFP officials. Although most investments incurred losses, the officers still benefited from brokering the deals and from substantial allowances they received, charged to the funds.

The Mamasapano incident in Maguindanao, on January 25, 2015, claimed the lives of 44 members of the PNP’s elite Special Action Force (SAF). Without notifying or coordinating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the SAF conducted Operation Exodus against a US-tagged “terrorist” adversary, the Malaysian bomb-maker Marwan or Zulkifli Abhir, (also known as Abdul Basit Ulman). Marwan was killed, but the MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) bivouacked in the area were alerted by the firefight. They ambushed the SAF members as they were withdrawing, resulting in the latter’s massacre.

Operation Exodus was a joint operation with the US Army. However, the SAF was left alone in the implementation, while US authorities and Filipino political leaders and generals monitored the incident from afar through telecast.

It was utterly bad that for the protection of foreign (US) interest and the local ruling class the lives of members of an expensively-trained elite police force were unnecessarily sacrificed. The Mamasapano incident was no different from how soldiers are sent to senseless violent battles and pitted against their own class.

This is a wakeup call for the military minions of the ruling class. ##

Revolution strikes chords in the state military


Website: https://liberation.ndfp.info
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in Mainstream

She practically spent her youth in the revolutionary movement, having been part of an activist organization in a Catholic high school at age 15. She is now 39 years old. She is a lesbian. The “awakening” happened at the same time she became conscious of the social issues affecting the country. That was in her elementary years.

“It helped that I always hear my parents discuss current events. Kaya elementary pa lang nakikipag-debate na ako, alam ko na noon yung US Bases (I could already engage in a debate on the US Bases when I was still in elementary),” Ka Maggie recalled. “At the time, I also had a crush on my female teacher,” she hastened to add.

For Ka Maggie, it wasn’t easy growing up with conservative parents who were both raised in the province. Also, between Ka Maggie and her parents was an age gap of 42 years. Hence, the burden of being a lesbian and activist was heavier— as both were widely considered by society as ‘aberration’, ‘abnormality’, even a crime.

‘Coming Out’ and ‘Going Up’

Like her ‘awakening’, ‘coming out’ and ‘going up’ (the mountain) to join the New People’s Army (NPA) happened at the same time. As she recounted her experiences it didn’t show that she went through a personal struggle as her sentences were often punctuated with laughter.

“Naging kloseta ako sa kilusan for a time kasi hindi ko alam kung ano’ng stand natin sa LGBT. Nakikiramdam muna ako (I kept mum about this in the movement because I didn’t know our stand on LGBT).” The way her high school collective handled the case of another lesbian member was an acid test.

“Nanligaw siya sa masa. E, di inulat ko dahil di pa panahon—bata pa kami, tapos masa pa niligawan. Pero, sa tingin ko, ang naging pokus ng usapan yung gender niya. So, ang sense ko ito pala yung handling ng kilusan sa gender (She courted someone who was unorganized so I reported it—we were still young and a masa was involved. But I felt the discussion focused on her gender, so I had a sense that this was how the movement handle cases such as this).”

Although she did not waiver on her commitment to the revolution, she decided “to stay in the closet.” At one point she even courted a male comrade; or opened herself up to courtship by other male comrades in her collective.

In college, she decided to finally ‘come out’ to her collective. Expecting ridicule, Ka Maggie sought integration with the NPA as soon as she ‘comes out’, “Kasi mas kaya kong harapin ang maririnig sa mga kasamang hukbo mula sa peasant kaysa sa mga YS na ‘to (I could stand comments from NPA peasant comrades rather from the youth and students),” she confessed. “For all my anxiety and insecurity, my collective’s reply was just ‘that’s it? Is there a problem?’, after which they immediately prepared me for my integration,” Ka Maggie recalled, as she laughed heartily.

It was during her integration when she decided to stay and join the people’s army. That was in 1998.

Lesbian Sisters

I was already in the NPA when Ka Maggie ‘came out’ to her parents. “Mas nauna akong nagsabi na maghuhukbo ako. Ang tingin ko kasi noon, too much na nga na ipatanggap na hukbo ako. E, NPA na nga, lesbiana pa. Sobrang bigat na para sa kanila (I first told them I was joining the NPA; admitting being a lesbian came later. I felt it would be too much for them to accept me as NPA and lesbian all at once).” It was only when she was getting married that Ka Maggie told her parents she is lesbian. “Babae, sabi ko. E, di lalong nagwala (I was marrying a woman I said and they really hit the roof),” she cringed.

At the start it was difficult for Ka Maggie to leave her parents specially because they were already old and ailing. “Bunso ako. Inisip ko kung di man ako magtatapos mag-aral, tiyakin ko na lang ako ang aalalay sa kanila (I was the youngest and since I don’t intend to finish school at least I would take care of them).” Back then, she still wanted to be a human rights lawyer.

Then she thought of her older sister, Ley. “Buti na lang, nung college napaugnayan ko ang kapatid ko. Na-organize din siyang hanggang ND (National Democrat) activist (It’s fortunate that I had my sister recruited and organized as ND activist while still in college).”

Though both sisters would discuss their involvement in the revolution, Ley admitted early on she wasn’t ready for Ka Maggie’s ‘level of sacrifice’. While Ley fully supported Ka Maggie’s decision, she reluctantly accepted the responsibility of taking care of their parents.

“Ang matindi kasi, hindi niya magawa ang gusto niyang buhay. Eh, lesbian din siya. Ako yung unang nag-out tapos umalis pa ako (My sister could not do what she wants. She’s a lesbian too. But I came out ahead of her and left for the mountains).”

“Ano ba ‘yan di ko magawa ang gusto ko dahil dyan sa decision mo (I can’t do what I want because of your decision),” Ka Maggie remembered her sister’s words. Both of them talked about their sexual orientation when they were in high school. But Ley chose to stay ‘in the closet’ and was at times forced to conform to the expectations of their parents, “but not as far as going into relationship with males,” Ka Maggie recalled.

Having a collective and a liberating consciousness facilitated Ka Maggie’s ‘coming out’. “Kung wala ang collective, wala ang kamulatan maghihintay ka na lang na mamamatay ang magulang mo bago ‘mag-out’. Dati yun ang naisip ko. Mas ang kapatid ko ang naging ganun, hintayin ko na lang. Nag-out naman siya bago namatay ang tatay namin (If it were not for my collective and awareness I would have waited for my parents to pass away before I can even ‘come out’. My sister had been forced with that choice, though she came out before my father died).”

Lesbians in the NPA

“I was the first lesbian in our unit. So I knew we were all adjusting at the start,” Ka Maggie mentioned. “Dumaan kaming lahat sa pag-aaral kung paano. Lalo na nung may ikinasal na (We underwent studies to understand each other, especially when a same-sex marriage happened).” But, she didn’t experience discrimination because of her gender preference. “Mas sa pagiging babae pa. Yung nag-excel ka sa pagsusuring pang-militar na supposedly pang lalaki. Pero once lang yun. At di yun pinalalampas ng collective (I exprienced it once, but it was more of my being a woman who excelled in military science which is deemed as the expertise of men. But my collective did not let that slide).”

Also, she was considered a ‘competitor’ by male comrades when it came to relationships. “Uunawain ko na lang yun na dahil mas maraming lalaki kaysa sa babae. E, syempre yung mga kasamang lalaki ang tingin iilan na nga lang kayo tapos kayo-kayo pa (I can understand that as there are more men than women in the NPA, and choices for men become limited as women court women),” she explained.

She’s never had a problem with lesbian relationships in the Party and in the people’s army. “Failed relationships”, said Ka Maggie can be attributed to “difference in perspective”—in staying or leaving the people’s army and in parenting—and never to gender preference.

A divorce ended her marriage. But what struck her, though, in that marriage was when, as a newly-wed couple, her collective asked them about their plan, “O anong plano niyo sa pag-aanak, para mapaghandaan, para mapagplanuhan (Do you have plans to bear children? We have to prepare for that. We need to have plans).” Up to now, she is still amazed at her group’s openness to include artificial insemination, and not just adoption, as option for her and her partner.

“Isang dahilan yan kung bakit proud ako sa Party, talagang mapagpalaya. Imagine, kung may means pa ang Party, lalo na kung Sosyalismo na, mas yayabong talaga ang kalayaan at karapatan ng LGBT (That is one of the reasons why I am proud of the Party; it is indeed liberating. Imagine, if it already has all the means, like when we reach socialism, the rights and freedoms of the LGBT would surely be enshrined),” she added.

Albeit recognizing the need for further intra-Party discussions and education sessions on the LGBT question, Ka Maggie is certain that the CPP has the leadership to advance the cause of the LGBT.

“Posible talaga ang panahon na ang bawat isa ay hindi na tumitingin sa kung ano ang kulay, kasarian. Kaya dapat ipagpatuloy natin ang dakilang pakikibakang ito dahil do’n din nakasalalay ang mga butil ng pakikibaka ng mga LGBT.”

A future when color and gender do not define a person is possible. Thus, we should carry forward this noble struggle because here we also have sown the seeds of the LGBT struggle.

Maya Flies

in Mainstream
by Pat Gambao

The trek to a guerrilla front in Samar was an obstacle race. One had to scale hills, cross streams, walk miles of green fields, hold up through slippery bogs. And with the Office of the President’s recent Memorandum Circular No. 32 reinforcing the number of troops in the three regions (Negros, Samar, and Bicol) perceived to be the stronghold of the New People’s Army (NPA), enemies abound.

She was supposed to be with Rei, her co-member in the organization who had been to the front before. But he was to go to some other front. He just gave her lots of advice and instruction about the place and how she should conduct herself. He reminded her not to be shy to ask but that was another possible barrier, the language.

But Maya’s excitement to go to a guerrilla front for the first time, especially at the time when the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) had a celebration of its 50th year, overcame all difficulties. She was full of joy to join the celebration at the front with the Rodante Urtal Command’s Red fighters and the masses.

The Initiation

Maya grew up and studied in the city. As a scholar in college, she did not burden her parents with the exorbitant cost of education. Being a woman, her parents had simple dreams for her: finish her studies; get a job; marry by age 26; raise a family. It seemed her life has been programmed that way. Thus, her main goal then was to finish her studies, get a good job and be of help to the family.

The university had been the venue for Maya’s blossoming, her political and social discernment. For one a woman’s role is not confined to the family. She does not need to marry at once. She can focus on her career, equip herself. It is not true that because she is a woman, she can no longer pursue her dreams. Women empowerment was her peg then.

“While schoolmates called out for free tuition fees, I stood my ground,” she confessed. “I thought there was nothing wrong with increasing tuition fees because the school needs funds to sustain it.” Worse, being a scholar, Maya belittled the efforts of the students in their studies. For her they did not strive enough.

Since high school, she has shunned rallies, not because she had a negative notion on activism, but because she was after alternative solutions to the issues. Looking for said alternatives, she joined discussions, attended forums, and joined education sessions. “But I did not join any organization because of the notion that activists do not graduate,” Maya said.

However, in her sophomore year, as she continued attending education forums and as many of her friends became members of youth organizationa, Maya was swayed to join. “Hatak ng barkadismo (drawn by group mentality),” she laughingly admitted. “Just that, no commitment. Yet.”

She started to actively participate in the organization in her third year in college. Eventually, she also joined the Kabataang Makabayan, an underground national democratic youth organization. Discovering a new world beyond the confines of the university, her horizon widened, her understanding of social realities broadened, her commitment deepened. She kept it a secret to her parents, which was not difficult to do. For a journalism student, legwork, fieldwork, coverage, and projects were normal. However, she really failed to do mass work in the family to change their phlegmatic attitude on critical social issues. All she managed to do during their casual conversations was to answer their questions about current events. “Of course, I did not expect them to join me. All I wanted was for them to understand.” She said.

Treading the Petty Bourgeois Path

Although Maya was active in the movement, she has not given up her dreams. She would graduate. Find a job. Please her parents. She could still be of service to the country. She could apply what she learned in school. She did not see this as obstacle to her tasks in the movement. She believed it could even help. But she realized she was wrong. The demands of her job got on the way. Except for sharing a part of her salary to the movement, she no longer participated in the activities. She got in touch with her collective only through the social media. She missed their camaraderie and advice.

For one who is socially conscious like Maya, the pretensions of the corporate world, the primacy of self-interest, the squabble to satisfy one’s ambition, the boot licking, the lies are sickening, even depressing. In her work, she needed to portray the image of a good government—compassionate and truly serving its constituents. Under these circumstances, she could not give her best. She could not grow. The system is harsh, she needed to toe the line. Her worst fear: teh system is contagious, that she might be sucked up and lost her soul in the process.

The kissing-on-the lips incident involving Duterte and an OFW in Korea was discussed in the boardroom as a mere laughing matter. As a woman advocate, Maya could not take it, the misogyny of one who holds the highest and supposedly most respectable position in the land; the tolerance to such a boorish act. “I almost walked out,” she said.

Her father noticed that her articles seemed atypical of her person. “He asked me if I was okey with my job, if I could still put up with it. That did it. I decided to resign,” she shared.

Maya went full time in the movement after that, in a group where she was supposed to be assigned after graduation. Her parents had no inkling that she had left her job because she was still so busy. To cover up for her new status, she had to shuffle between her tasks in the movement and her “rackets” (odd jobs) to be able to still give some sum to her parents.

When the time came that she could no longer sustain her tasks and her job simultaneously, she decided to spill the beans to her parents who readily understood. “They are familiar with the ‘fulltime’ concept since they have been exposed to my fulltime buddies who used to frequent the house,” she explained. When her father blankly asked if she had joined the NPA, Maya laughingly retorted, “I am fulltime in the organization here, I have not even been to the mountains. See, I have no gun.”

“Of course there was the parental advice not to join the NPA, not to go up to the mountains, to think over my decision to go fulltime, to mull over my future family life,” Maya continued. Her father even offered to support her in law school, a dream she once cherished. The argument with her parents, especially her mother, was a greater hurdle.

The Decisive Option

Going to the countryside has always been a long-term goal for Maya since she was in college. But she knew she would work first, practice her profession. But when she met Rei, who had been in the countryside for some time, she was awed and inspired by his stories about the guerrilla front—the vibrant, valiant masses, the agrarian revolution, the revolutionary government. She thought a good three months or even six in the countryside would be fine, tolerable. She has the option to return if she could not really withstand it. She can always find work in the city because she is a degree holder. She has a fallback.

She planned to go back to the city after the 50th anniversary celebration with a vow to return for a longer stint. She would just prepare those she would leave behind. But she thought of the difficulties of coming back to the front once she’s back in the city such as raising money for her fare, the stern security arrangements, and most of all the enticement of urban life—the comfort, the culture, the race for affluence and fame, as well as the overriding parental influence. She feared her parents’ anger, not much at her but at the movement. Such fear is greater than her fear of death in the heavily militarized countryside. Although she thought it was still relatively safe in the front because the NPA is armed unlike the activists in the cities. This, to Maya, affirms the necessity and potency of armed struggle.

The simple and seemingly crude life in the countryside has its own allure though—life with the struggling masses is an inspiration and a challenge, the joy of interacting with them, learning from them, serving them. “I could not forget what Ka Ambo and Ka JR told me,” Maya professed. “The presence of youth from the urban centers joining the parag-uma (peasants) in their struggle, leaving behind the comfortable life in the city where opportunities abound, fires them to strive for the advance of the revolution. After all they (the peasants) are the ultimate beneficiaries.”

However, the process of remolding the personality, habits, and behaviour that one has been customed to, probably since birth, is such a Herculean task, greater than climbing a mountain. To leave behind the comfort of life, abandon the lofty dreams, forgo the urge for self-fulfillment is a tremendous challenge.

Maya is hopeful she could surmount the challenges as she integrates with the masses, as she gives her best, as she imbibes their culture, immerses in their struggle to rise above the penury of their plight and liberate themselves, liberate all of us, from the fetters of the oppressive and exploitative system.

As Maya stood with the Red fighters during the 50th anniversary celebration, fist raised singing the Internationale, she shed off all reservations and like a fledgling that just discovered its wings, she soared to her new life. ###


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in Statements

Not less than 43 soldiers and police is the recorded casualty in three tactical offensive by the New People’s Army under Mt. Cansermon Command (MCC) in Negros since June 22- July 18.

Last June 22, a unit of MCC – NPA conducted a sniping operation which resulted to 3 casualties on the side of the 94th IBPA in the hinterlands of Sitio Bulo, Brgy. Bantolinao, Manjuyod, Negros Oriental. The soldiers killed are part of the team securing the area for the medical mission sponsored by Police Regional Office 7(PRO 7).

While conducting combat and clearing operation, the joint force of 94th IBPA and 704th Regional Mobile force Batallion we’re ambushed through the use of command detonated explosives (CDX) and exchange of firefight in Sitio Cambugtong, Brgy. Bantolinao, Manjuyod, Negros Oriental. More than 20 recorded casualty on the fascist reactionary side. To save face, only 1dead and 2 wounded was reported to the public.

Meanwhile last July 2, a unit of MCC-NPA foiled the raid attempt of 11th IBPA in Sitio Small Samac, Brgy. Nalundan, Bindoy, Negros Oriental. The unit of MCC-NPA launched a counter offensive and positioned for ambush. The gunfight ensued for an hour which resulted to 10 dead and 6 wounded on the side of the military. No casualty on the NPA side and the unit successfully maneuvered outside the enemies encirclement with the guidance of guerilla tactic’s in warfare.

On othér news, four police killed in an ambush in Sitio Yamot, Brgy. Mabato, Ayungon, Negros Oriental. Aided by a substantive Intel report the enemies plan to conduct another record round of oplan sauron was deferred. Confiscated from their possession are 4 canik 9mm pistol, 9 magazines and 135 ammunition, and a list of names of their targets.

The series of successful tactical offensive was conducted by MCC-NPA to need the call for justice for the victims of extra judicial killings especially for the innocent victim’s of Oplan Sauron 1 and 2.

Oplan Sauron or Synchronized Enhanced Management of Police Operations (SEMPO) is the current fascist move of the Duterte régime to brutally attack the people of Negros. It is characterized by surprise and synchronized attack of target locations; planned arrest or killing of targets. Since its inception last December 2018, it already claimed 21 victims killed and almost 100 illegally arrested on false charges. it has also resulted in forced evacuation and destruction of crops and livelihood of the people.

Dionisio Magbuelas, Spokesperson

Mt. Cansermon Command-New Peoples Army

July 25 2019


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