By (Ret.) Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.
On Wednesday last week I got a call from Malacañang informing me that I was to be sworn in as deputy director-general of the National Security Council (NSC) at 2 p.m. that day. It would be happening in a little over two hours and I was in the middle of hosting the “Laban Kasama ang Bayan” of the Sonshine Media Network International or SMNI.
But of course, as a good soldier, I saw it as just another call to a mission. This time though the battleground would no longer be at the tactical or operational level. It would be at the strategic level.
Will I be up to the task? A lot of my seniors and colleagues congratulated me on the appointment. Most were saying that with my position I will be able to continue with my advocacy to end insurgency through the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).
That kept me thinking.
Do people really think that I am joining the NSC because of my contributions to the NTF-Elcac? Am I only as good as the spokesman that I was? I must have made enough of a difference being a spokesman for the NTF-Elcac that they would want me back after I resigned from my post and after I eventually retired from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Indeed, some people must have missed me even if I was gone for only a short while.
Of course, that’s not what we are hearing from the other side of the fence. The personal attacks from the Kamatayan bloc and its allies started almost instantly. They accused me of human rights violations, rampant red-tagging and so much more.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) chairman, spokesman Marco Valbuena, would go so far as to threaten me by ordering his death squad to punish me for my sins. Typical of a wounded mad dog, they are once more resorting to threats and intimidation as if they could still scare people with their tactics.
But no, this is the time for reckoning, Mr. Jose Ma Sison. Your sins committed against the people are overwhelming and now they know it very well. Indeed, we at the NTF-Elcac Stratcom Cluster must have made a huge difference. Our relentless and consistent exposé is hurting the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
Following Sun Tzu‘s principle, we shall pursue. This is not the time to withdraw and allow the enemy to buy time or even trade time for space. This enemy clearly being vanquished is not worth our respect. In the words of our C-in-C, “Dapa na sila. Huwag mong iwanan. Apak apakan mo pa.”
What about the other critics? The senators who have questioned the constitutionality of my designation as spokesman simply because I was an active AFP officer? Those who oppose the implementation of the Barangay Development Program (BDP)?
They are still there but not for long.
Their position on this issue will remain etched in the minds and hearts of those who needed them badly. As the common tao continues to suffer neglect because these lawmakers present the biggest obstacle to their dreams of a decent and peaceful life in the boondocks, they will remember those names on judgment day. You can bet on it.
In fact, this week we heard the revelations of many former top cadres of the CPP who guested in our daily three-hour program with SMNI. All of them have confirmed what we have been saying all along. The CPP is crumbling with the NTF-Elcac’s all-inclusive approach to the insurgency.
Ka Marikit was a UP Mindanao student and League of Filipino Students member who was recruited by Anakbayan then eventually became an organizer. She joined the NPA at 17 and rose to become the front secretary of Guerrilla Front 55. She recently surrendered at age 24 because she felt there was no hope for the CPP-NPA-NDF to recover in Davao.
They did not anticipate the effect of the NTF-Elcac, its Community Support Program and Retooled Community Support Program, and then the BDP. This time around, they do not have a mass base to recover from. Good governance has stumped its seal in many of these white area communities that used to support the armed rebels cum terrorists, while the AFP swoops on their armed group that left many of them dead or wounded, separated and isolated, famished and weak.
There was Daniel Castillo @Steven, also a former front secretary in the Southern Mindanao regional committee. He was an Anakbayan recruit from UP Manila who became a Kabataang Makabayan member (under the CPP) immersed in Bukidnon with the NPA and then decided to leave school to join the armed group.
He was disappointed to discover that once inside the armed rebellion the CPP-NPA transformed him into something else, far from the idealist youth that he used to be. The party is not what it says it is. It is a monster that wastes the lives of his fellow fighters but would not extend the support the warriors need to survive the onslaught of government assaults.
Along with this are the services the government is now offering the masses which has only caused the alienation of the NPA from the communities. They were made to sacrifice for a cause they no longer understand. In September last year, he decided to give up arms together with many of his comrades.
Most damning is the return to the fold of Paulette Castillo, Daniel’s mother. She was formerly with the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) who became a CPP member but left the party to become a rejectionist. Her son eventually was recruited also into Anakbayan and became a full-time NPA. When she learned that Daniel was in Mindanao, she made an effort to reach out to her former collective to find a job and her son.
She became the regional coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines. It was she who would write those project proposals for foreign funding, mostly from Europe. These funds would then be used to finance the revolution while a dismal amount would be used for the implementation of these projects but only for “clearing” purposes.
Are we done here? Far from it, so many have lined up to give their testimony about the CPP’s exploitation of the Indigenous peoples, the Haran Bakwit, SOS, Misfi, Alcadev, Ibon Foundation, Karapatan, and more.
The list is long and space is limited, but I am back!