Mon. Sep 27th, 2021

I read this book a while back, How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World published in May 2008 where Patrick J. Buchanan argues that it was a great mistake for Britain to fight Germany in both world wars, which he believes was a disaster for the whole world.

One of Buchanan’s express purposes is to undermine what he describes as a “Churchill cult” in America’s élite and so he focuses particularly on why both world wars were unnecessary and how Winston Churchill helped Britain get into wars with Germany in 1914 and again in 1939.

I guess Britain joined, and died as a superpower!

I was sort of reflecting on this when news came to my Viber that another communist terrorist was killed, this time a female that was left behind by her comrades together with a cache of high-powered firearms munitions and improvised explosive devices.

She made a choice – she joined and died.

Body of yet another female terrorist.

From the perspective of Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB)commander Major General Henry A. Robinson Jr. PA puts a more serious tone to it. “Take the way of war or the road to peace,” he said.

Something like – join peace or face death.

Join, or Die is a political cartoon attributed to Benjamin Franklin. The original publication by the Pennsylvania Gazette on May 9, 1754, is the earliest known pictorial representation of colonial union.

It is a woodcut showing a snake cut into eights, with each segment labeled with the initials of one of the American colonies or regions. There were 13 originals but 4 were inserted in others and one was omitted.

The sense that Franklin was conveying was if you join the revolution for an American colonial union, you avoid being killed by the British.

I hope I am not stretching this but I guess there is a bit of transposition here under the government of President Duterte, which under the Balik-Loob program says something like:

Join the government, or die with the terrorists!

The gunfight in Sorsogon came about as government troops overran a terrorist hideout in Barangay Daganas, Bulan town, Sorsogon, again after members a nearby community alerted the military about insurgent presence in that area.

A 45-minute gunfight ensued.

Joint elements of 22nd Infantry Battalion (22IB) and 31st Infantry Battalion (31IB) engaged an estimated 40 communist members of the New Peoples’ Army of Komiteng Probinsya 3 of Bicol Regional Party Committee (BRPC) under Arnel Estiller alias Mando.

Captured from the fleeing NPA terrorists at the encounter site were M60 machine gun, M16 rifle, anti-personnel mine, cellphone, assorted ammunitions, roll of electric wire, propaganda materials and other personal belongings.

JTB commander Maj. Gen Robinson directed the troops to continue the extensive and intensified military operations in the area and hunt down the fleeing terrorists.

“The encounter was another success of the Bicolano people. Your continuous support even by way of simply sharing information about the presence of the terrorists, contributes a lot in our fight against insurgency. Our fight against this terrorist group will soon be over, as the enemy armed elements are now on continuous declining strength,” Robinson said.

What the man is saying is his task force will continue to extend its hand for those CTG members who will choose to reunite with their families and loved ones peacefully; however, it will persistently hunt and crash those CNTs who are insisting to sow terrorism in the region.

Join or die.

Speaking in the vernacular, he added “Kami po ay patuloy pa ring umaasa at magbubukas ng pinto sa mga kapatid nating NPA na magbabalik-loob sa ngalan ng kapayapaan at kaunlaran ng rehiyon. Para maiwasan ang mga ganitong sitwasyon na kung saan ay basta na lamang nilang iniiwan ang kanilang kasamahan sa bakbakan at hayaan na lamang mamatay. Gayunpaman kami po ay hindi hihinto na hanapin at puksain ang mga myembro ng Communist Terrorist Group na patuloy na maghahasik ng karahasan at sisira sa kinabukasan ng ating mga kababayan.”

The JTB commander was not talking nonsense.

The construction of halfway houses in Camarines Norte and Sorsogon is on a fast track despite the Covid pandemic, as the government is more than ready to accommodate the growing number of Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) members who are returning to the folds of the law.

Example of halfway houses being rushed for the benefit of surrenderees.

In Camarines Norte, the construction of the said facility inside Camp Busig-on, Tulay na Lupa, Labo town which started in October 2019 is already 90 percent.

The same facility will be constructed in Barangay Cogon, Juban town in Sorsogon province.

Halfway houses serve as temporary shelters for former rebels (FRs) as they undergo the process of reintegration to the mainstream society.

Right now, halfway house in Camp Bonny Serrano, Masbate province is already operational, which also serves as venue for livelihood and skills trainings provided for former rebels.

Alias Raymart, a former rebel who temporarily resides in the said facility along with 17 other FRs and their families, narrated how his life changed when he abandoned the CTG.  According to him, the fear of being killed by soldiers while hiding in the mountains and the loneliness of being away from their families are enough reasons to make the life inside the armed movement unbearable.

“Naisip ko na malayo na ako sa panganib dahil sa maganda at maayos ang pakikitungo sa amin ng mga sangay ng ating gobyerno. Napagtanto kong may mas mapayapa at magaan palang pamumuhay na naghihintay sa akin na ganito napapa-improve pa ang kaalaman dahil sa mga binigay na mga training tungkol sa hanapbuhay na pinagpawisan namin tulad ng sa TESDA,” a grateful Raymart said.

The government knows that some are hesitant to surrender because they fear for their lives. So the halfway houses are also built to ensure their safety. The halfway houses are just one of the features of President Duterte’s Balik-Loob Program, a whole-nation approach involving at least 27 departments and agencies of the government to fast track the delivery of efficient services to surrenderees and their families.

As we speak, more than 12,000 former rebels are now enrolled in the program.

Ang gobyerno ay hindi tulad ng CTG na mapanlinlang. Itong mga proyektong ito ay patunay lamang kung gaano tayo kaseryoso na tulungan ang mga dating myembro ng CTG na makapagbagong buhay,” Maj Gen Robinson said.

The integration of former rebels back into the mainstream of society means a follow-up program training from human development to introduction to trade and livelihood opportunities, involving the entire family. Children are also accorded counseling and free education services.

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