March 11, 2019
THERE are growing signs that the government and the armed forces are fully determined to defeat and terminate the 50-year-old communist insurgency in the country.
Instead of just fighting the insurgents on the battlefield, or singing wistfully about peace, the government is now moving into the serious business of cutting off funding, domestic and foreign, for the insurgency.
The latest evidence of the new strategy is startling and revealing.
Last month, the government, through a delegation, officially called the attention of the European Union and the government of Belgium to their unfriendly practice of providing funding to the communist insurgency through non-government organizations (NGOs) that are based in the country.
This is the first time in memory that the surreptitious and menacing role of NGOs in the insurgency has so plainly been exposed and denounced by our government. For years, we have been lulled by the thought that the NGOs are benign and a positive force in society.
Now, the nation and the media are learning the facts of the NGO connection to the persistent and unrelenting communist insurgency.
The Philippine delegation, which included Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., the AFP deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations, presented to the EU and Belgian officials a report on how seven NGOS have been receiving funding from EU and Belgium, and how the funds were bring used to radicalize the Filipino youth and assist in the recruitment of NPA members for the insurgency.
The delegation asked EU and Belgian officials to stop giving monetary aid to the NGOs and sever all connection to the communist insurgency in the country.
General Parlade told the media that Belgium is programmed to release 3 million euros a year for five years to seven NGOs based in the Philippines.
The EU for its part gave an initial 621,000 euros to the groups. A second tranche of financial assistance, amounting to 1.3 million euros will follow.
We wish General Parlade had been quick to name the NGOs and explain who they are. That would have provided more perspective to this disturbing revelation.
Parlade said Belgium and other European countries have been funding all groups connected to the CPP.
The general said that both the EU and Belgium have committed to investigate the matter.
“The Philippine government will provide them the necessary documentation, official reports, evidence or cite whatever administrative actions are being taken by the government,” he said.
During the meetings, officials of the EU and Brussels declared that they did not want to be seen as financiers of a terrorist organization. In January this year, the EU reaffirmed that the CPP/NPA are in their list of terrorist organizations.
One EU official quipped that the CPP/NPA should realize that “communism all over the world is dead.”
It is important now for the nation to look at the larger picture here.
It is not just European blindness and duplicity that are at issue here. The issue is even more the blindness and soft headedness of Philippine society about the communist movement and its fronts and supporters, in the interest of providing democratic space.
In October last year, the AFP claimed that 17 universities in Metro Manila were places for active recruitment by the CPP in the capital. The number grows exponentially when you survey the whole country.
AFP Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez says the communists have also infiltrated the labor sector.
Communist radicalization has spread so widely and burrowed so deep that cutting off the funding and uprooting the insurgency will require sustained and aggressive action by government and the whole society.
It has been wisely observed by one strategy expert that the military is effective in fighting and winning wars. But it is not as adept in the termination of war.
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