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Vulnerable targets of communists

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - February 19, 2021 - 12:00am

The Philippine lumads or natives are our distinct links to the past. They are the descendants of our forefathers or ancestors, starting with the Negritos, the Malays, and the ten boatloads of people from what are now Malaysia and Indonesia, led by Datu Puti, and who landed in Panay. They were welcomed by Datu Marikudo. The lumads in Mindanao were marginalized when giant agribusinesses controlled by foreign interests allegedly grabbed their ancestral domains and drove them to wander deeper into the forests.

Based on the narratives of oppression, exploitation, and social injustices, these people are very vulnerable to the enticements and indoctrination of the leftist ideology. We need to take care of the lumads. Most of them have no access to basic healthcare, quality education, and government social services. They are used and abused by scheming politicians and fake community leaders who use these people as capital for financial gain and for political aggrandizement. I remember that during the Marcos years, the national minorities or indigenous communities were being used to siphon government money to the pockets of corrupt officials. They were used as fronts for corruption and in the plunder of public funds.

It has been reported that many of the young lumads were indoctrinated by propaganda fronts of the CPP-NPA operatives, and their disillusionment with the government was galvanized by the communists into recruitment for the armed struggle. Thus many of the lumads, especially the young and idealistic who dream of a better life for their people, were supposedly enticed and convinced to join the armed struggle against the so-called elitist, super-capitalist, and anti-people policies and actions by government. The young lumads were promised that an alternative society of absolute equality and liberation from exploitation, oppression and social injustice is possible. And, if you are one of these people, would you not be attracted to join, especially when you see so many politicians stealing from public funds while millions are dying of hunger, not just of COVID-19?

According to ideologues, revolutions start from a hungry stomach. When people are extremely poor, jobless, homeless, and hopeless, they are prone to recruitment into the left. You can find them in the urban centers, in squatter areas, on sidewalks, in the esteros and canals, and anywhere and everywhere, scavenging for food, begging for coins, selling whatever they can sell so that they and their families can have food. They are also found in the hinterlands, some in the forests away from the harassment of some authorities who look at them as nuisances and eyesores that should not be seen by tourists. Others use them as tourist attractions, even making money out of these poor and often unlettered natives.

And so, when the police raided a place where young lumads were indoctrinated, the government should understand that these people are not criminals. They are victims of both the false promises and enticements by the left and the social injustice, neglect, and exploitation by the right. These lumads are caught in between the left who use them for the armed struggle and the right who are victimized by social, economic, and political injustices. These lumads should be seen as victims of two kinds of oppressions and exploitations. Only the Church could understand their plight. And if the religious groups try to help them, the government should not be too quick in condemning the Church and the religious groups. The lumads are victims of both the left and the right. The Church represents the center that gives them hope.

In the US, they take care of the Native Americans who were the first to inhabit their territories long before immigrants from Europe, followed by the slaves from Africa, and the migrant workers from Asia came to America. The Democrats, the party of President Joe Biden, are committed to helping these people. Thus, no communists would find any vulnerable target among the Native Americans. The communists only win when the government either neglects its lumads or exploits, abuses, or commits all sorts of injustices against them.

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