The real threat to us is communist China

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) - January 22, 2021 - 12:00am

They say the University of the Philippines is a hotbed of radicalism. Let it be. Advocacy of drastic, massive change is part of studentship. Youths dream to transform fast and furious the world they will inherit, until reality of experience tempers the idealism. As the variant of Francois Guizot’s quip goes, “If at 16 you’re not a radical you have no heart; if at 60 you’re still a radical you have no head.”

UP students have always been activists. A century ago they fought for women’s suffrage and against campus uniform – causes that had elders aghast. Today women not only vote; two have become president. And the campus fashions are the very coats and long dresses that UP militants defied before.

Universities hone critical thinking. In academic freedom, students are exposed to various thoughts and theories. They are expected to analyze, debate, test-practice the ideas, then accept or reject. That’s how institutions of higher learning produce leaders of government, industry, science, arts and philosophy.

Oh, but UP is a fertile recruitment ground for communist rebels, they add. So what? Communism is a declining ideology, but espousing it is no crime. One of Gen. Fidel Ramos’ first acts as president was to have the Anti-Subversion Law repealed. Taking up arms against the state remained a serious crime. Leftists were encouraged to shift from armed to parliamentary struggle.

Accusations later arose that leftist legislators are channeling pork barrels to the violent New People’s Army. If so, should not the solution be to have no congressional pork at all, especially those going into the pockets of political dynasts? Spend the people’s money for projects beneficial to them. Development is the solution. Social thinker Gen. Jose Almonte emphasized that truism as Ramos’ national security adviser. They had concluded that in the 1950s as young officers pondering why they were fighting an earlier set of communist rebels. The answer was not purely military.

The NPA is a spent force, government reports. It is but a shadow of its 22,500 fighting strength in the 1980s. Marcos plunder and repression had bred misery and rebellion. Democratic restoration and the info-tech revolution rendered rebellion obsolete. The NPA holds a few far-flung barangays. Dealing with them can be transferred from the army to the police.

The NPA is strapped by its own ideology. Mao Tse-tung preached peasant-based revolution by encircling cities from the countryside. That may have worked in China in the 1930s-1940s when landowning warlords lived in city comfort. Not in agrarian-reformed Philippines of the 2020s.

Victory of Mao’s “protracted people’s war” unfolded in three stages. He progressed from strategic defensive to strategic stalemate to strategic offensive. The NPA has been in strategic defensive for 52 years. Commanders have retired. Occasional NPA raids on police stations and plantations are but tactical offensives, for arms replenishment and publicity.

Strategic stalemate would entail parity in arms. But how can the NPA hope to match the Armed Forces’ tanks, armored personnel carriers and combat choppers? It has no Ho Chi Minh Trail to mimic the Vietcong’s North-assisted buildup. Two NPA arms landings from Mao in 1972 and 1974 failed. Mao thence dumped the NPA. “Agaw-armas” won’t do to get hold of cannons and mortars.

Urban insurrection was an alternative posed by NPA leader Felimon Lagman. That deviation from Mao’s city encirclement allegedly cost him his life in the hands of his comrades. Still, how can the NPA replicate Nicaraguan rebel Daniel Ortega’s snap capture of Managua? That would assume not only prepositioned partisans in the capital, a la Abu Sayyaf in Marawi in 2017. Capture of Malacañang as seat of power would also need capitulation of the Armed Forces. What the military leaders should be watching is not the UP but its own ranks.

The real enemy is the Chinese Communist Party. It has been directing its People’s Liberation Army to aggress the West Philippine Sea. Seven Philippine reefs have been concreted into island-fortresses. From there the PLA-Navy and CCP-led China Coast Guard menace Filipino fishermen and oil-and-gas explorers.

Filipinos’ sources of food and minerals are stolen. These lead to rising food prices and untapped means of energy and new medicines.

An eighth sea feature, Philippine territorial Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal is about to be reclaimed into an air and naval base. Thence the PLA will impose an air defense identification zone. Philippine air and sea craft passing through the WPS will have to seek PLA permission.

Urgently needed is to equip the Philippine Navy and Air Force. An “all-government campaign” must be directed not at campus radicals but the CCP. Beijing’s communist rulers aim to become the world’s most dominant political, geopolitical, military and economic force within this decade. They are doing so at the expense of Philippine sovereignty. Nine in ten Filipinos want action.

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“Gotcha: An Exposé on the Philippine Government” is available as e-book and paperback. Get a free copy of “Chapter 1: Beijing’s Bullying and Duplicity”. Simply subscribe to my newsletter at: https://jariusbondoc.com/#subscribe

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