I’ll make it clear as early as this part of the article: I am not pro-NPA. In fact, as early as 2010, I’ve already said that the CPP-NPA is one of the factors that’s making this country backwards.
But really, there is again a vicious cycle here. It’s been said that the biggest recruiter of the NPA is the government itself. Let me explain, the NPA or the New People’s Army had its roots during the Marcos Regime. It was a reaction against the oppressive government and was highly influenced by the ongoing Communist movements here and abroad during that time. In fact, the declaration of Martial Law was a result of alleged Communist lawlessness. To “justify” Martial Law, the government then would at least have to perform military operations against communists and against those they suspect to be harboring communists. The trouble however was that, the government started labeling certain people, mostly indigenous peoples, as communists or communist sympathizers. Now that presented a problem because some of those labeled as communists, because of the threats and persecution against them, adopted the label of being communists. Others, since they saw the government as their enemy because of the wrongful label against them, were also exploited by the communists hence, recruiting them was made easier.
Hence, a catch-22-ish situation.
Truth is, one does not simply go to the mountains if only the government is doing its job properly. Though I am not saying that it is entirely the government’s fault. Some people join the NPA simply because they want to cause trouble or some other self-vested interest.
It is so frustrating!
And now we have this issue of the Lumads. They are accused of protecting the NPA; that they are NPA.
This is absurd!
Admittedly, I get all the information from the media, from the internet, from friends and colleagues. I have no direct access to military intelligence or to any Lumad but I can make a strong conclusion that the accusations against the Lumads are simply propaganda.
Propaganda for what?
Well, we can sum up all the pieces. Why is the government vent on displacing them. All the Lumads want is a home. Don’t we all? Why can’t the government give them that?
The Lumads occupy areas in Mindanao which are rich in natural resources. The Lumads, much like the Igorots in the Cordilleras, depend upon these natural resources. Their way of life are forever intertwined with mother nature. The modern way of life cannot be simply forced into them. Culture cannot be killed just like that.
The government cannot simply drive them out of their abode. Their abode which nourished their ancestors since time immemorial. The Lumads, simple as they may be, know this. Hence, any intrusion from any outsider will be met with strong resistance. They are not about to let outsiders exploit their resources.
Now this poses a problem for the government. How can they exploit the resources if the Lumads are there.
That’s when the convenient excuse of the NPA comes in. “Let us conduct military operations in their area to suppress alleged NPA activities and anyone who resists will be labeled NPA“.
You can say this is a stretch. But the history behind all these is just too compelling to make a conclusion that this is just but another witch hunt.
And isn’t it too obvious that in our history, where there are mines the indigenous peoples (IP’s) there are always displaced, abandoned, and forgotten.
The IP’s are always caught in between. Always exploited, either by the government, the NPA, and even by over-zealous activists. It’s our duty to protect our countrymen. Not exploit them.
Sometimes, it’s almost too obvious that the government, with all its resources and power, does not really want to solve the problem that is the NPA. Because then, who will the government blame?
DISCLAIMER: I used the term Communism in this article adhering to the brand of communism so espoused by the NPA. In reality, I believe that the NPA and the CPP does not really understand communism as envisioned by Marx at all. Hell, Marx would sneer on them. Even the Maoist communism upon which the CPP patterned itself as well as Leninism could not have been what Marx envisioned. To me, Communism and true Socialism would never happen in this world.