By Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.
Jose Maria Sison, the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has always referred to the government as a “reactionary government.” In many aspects, it is true because for the past 50 years that’s what the government has been doing.
It reacts to every action the CPP does to its armed attacks, systematic radicalization of our children, infiltration of all sectors of the society, including the government and the legislative, to its legal mass actions.
He has been very successful in blinding our society to the dangers of what the CPP and its alliances are posing, for each action they make right under our noses. Most of us are clueless that we end up even supporting them. Sison does this through duplicity and its “revolutionary dual tactics.”
This deception went on until the creation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which virtually addresses all the different CTG (communist terrorist group) programs, particularly its propaganda machinery.
Incidentally, this task falls on the lap of the NTF strategic communication cluster and this is the reason why the NTF spokespersons have always been in the limelight for every issue that crops up, the community pantry being just one of them.
The government, through its NTF-ELCAC, is now at the forefront, proactively addressing possible crisis scenarios instigated by the CTG, even before the situation develops to a serious disaster.
What is the basis of our actions at the NTF-ELCAC but Experience and foreknowledge?
This communist insurgency is a protracted one. The CPP-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) acknowledges that they cannot take down the government in a blitzkrieg operation.
They have a long-drawn strategy to wear out government forces, exhaust all government resources, until they are ready to strike. To the un-initiated, especially to those comfortably enjoying the comforts of their offices in imperial Manila, no amount of explanation will make them agree that insurgency is a serious problem.
To them it is irrelevant and is not worth their time and resources, in other words business as usual. The NTF-ELCAC thinks otherwise, and we are joined widely with all the sectors and local government units, which have suffered so much already from the atrocities of these terrorist insurgents.
A key ingredient in the resolution of the protracted nature of insurgency smacks right in the word: urgency.
That is to say, before the enemy is able to strike, we should be able to hit them first.
This is what is happening with our Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police operations nationwide. A good 90 percent of our armed engagements with the NPA are government-initiated and intelligence-driven.
This is the reason NPA members are surrendering in droves.
Last April 28, 17 NPA members surrendered in Mindoro. They were followed by seven in Masbate last May 2. Recent news from Bukidnon states that 17 NPA rebels also surrendered to Army forces. This was preceded by the surrender of 20 in Sorsogon, 33 in Cagayan, and some 87 MBs (militia ng bayan) and SPLs (Sangay ng partido sa localidad) in Rizal province.
This trend is nationwide.
At the StratCom cluster, our aim is to be able to respond objectively to brewing issues and be able to explain to the people why we need to do it.
While we acknowledge that the Communist Party of the Philippines is well advanced in the infiltration of our media, hence, all these bad and false narratives against all administrations after 1986, we are trying to play catch-up with a more robust and objective approach to address the many issues they are throwing at the government.
Is it suppression of freedom of speech and of press? Definitely not, but this time we call out every fake report and effort to agitate people, especially at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic.
If we need to expose these personalities and their connection with the underground, for people to better understand the duplicity of these fake advocates, then that’s what we will do — immediately.
If we become unpopular because we appear to be unorthodox with the way we do it, then that’s the consequence we should be ready to accept.