Why the youth continue to choose activism
READER'S VIEWS (The Freeman) - August 23, 2019 - 12:00am

After declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations last year, the Philippine government is now going after youth organizations. They are brandishing terror to families and their children, taking the spotlight in “reuniting families” when they are the ones destroying it.

On August 7, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa vowed to “clamp down” all leftist groups recruiting minors to be part of their activities and as members and fighters. They narrowed this down to Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, and Kabataan Party-list.

Dela Rosa now chairs the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs. It is not only ironic but is also utterly disgusting and downright preposterous.

In his words, minors joining so-called leftist groups are worse than drug addicts. Bato says that drug addicts can be rehabilitated. Is he just a complete idiot or do the Filipino people need to remind him that he is the architect behind the death of more than 30,000 lives?

Bato says that he wants “to know the real score in order to ferret out the truth.” Well here’s the truth: the tyrannical and murderous regime is the one creating its enemies. The real score is in the blood in your hands.

The military and the police preyed upon problems faced by youth activists and their families. While these are serious concerns, they ensured that this will prosper and develop following President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70 in 2018 establishing a whole of nation approach in ending the local communist armed conflict through a national task force.

Of course, Dela Rosa will support intensified visits of the PNP and the AFP in schools and universities. Regular monitoring and military and police presence in schools and universities will lead to heightened attacks against the democratic rights of students. This is a no-brainer. For Dela Rosa, protecting them means outright suppression to stifle the ever-strengthening patriotic movement of the youth.

In October 2018, the military through AFP assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Brigadier General Antonio Parlade released a list of universities where the CPP-NPA allegedly recruits students. They paraded their imbecility by including the non-existent Caloocan City College and failing to provide evidence.

Just this July, two youth volunteers from Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid ng Timog Katagalugan and National Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates Youth were abducted by elements of the 76th Infantry Battalion. Nadaline Fabon and Ray Malaborbor were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives and are currently detained at Sta. Cruz Police Station. Fabon and Malaborbor were helping peasants in Occidental Mindoro as a state of calamity was declared in the area because of drought.

What needs to be addressed is why thousands and thousands of youth find the path of activism justified. But we know why the military, the police, and the government will never address this. It is because they are the purveyor of the economic and human rights crisis in the country. They waged a war against the poor and claimed thousands of innocent lives, they reformed the tax law and put the burden on millions of low-earning families, they cry for nationalism but don’t have the courage to defend our patrimony and sovereignty. They are the one who steal hectares of lands from farmers and indigenous people and sell it to foreign corporations.

This is why the youth’s patriotism will never be quelled for we continue to embrace the struggle of workers, peasants, and other sectors of society. Outside learning institutions, we have learned to relate our struggle to the struggle of the exploited masses, especially of the workers and peasants. And through time we have made the streets, factories, farmlands, and organizations devoted to a patriotic and democratic cause our sanctuary and a place for learning. This is something Bato and this fascist government can never take away from the youth.

The Duterte regime needs incessant reminding that rebellion and resistance are in the Filipino people’s DNA. It is not the critical mass that encourages rebellion, it is this government and its inability to solve basic problems like hunger and employment that pushes people to tread the armed revolution—a reality demonized by those in power perpetuating a corrupt, murderous, and poverty-plagued society.

Daryl Angelo Baybado

National President

College Editors Guild of the Philippines

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