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COMMENTARY: Why the AFP and PNP are red-tagging, but not black-tagging

mindaviews commentary

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 14 November) — I really take offense why I am being red-tagged in General Santos City even if it is very clear in my experiences that I am not a communist, was not a communist and  never will be a communist.

Sadly, while we are supposed to be bounded in blood and steel, even my fraternity brother, P/Col. Mike Odejerte, thinks of me as a communist when all that I do in my life is just simply to advocate for peace in Mindanao, empower peasant-farmers and urban poor dwellers to give them a fighting chance for life, and to defend the workers’ labor rights and human rights.

In sharp contrast, however, the officials of the ruling PDP-Laban, who are frequently meeting with their counterparts in the Maoist-inspired CCP (China Communist Party), are not at all being red-tagged by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and the PNP (Philippine National Police).

It was reported in the media that there are already about 400,000 Chinese workers who have entered our borders since January 2019. These people are suspected to be Chinese soldiers due to their physical built, age and antics, but the AFP and the PNP do not at all show any interest in checking the backgrounds of these Chinese nationals to ensure that our country is not being targeted for China’s creeping invasion.

Thus, based on the above factual premise, it is not illogical for us to conclude that the red-tagging now being done by the AFP and the PNP against activists operating in many progressive legal organizations in the country is actually designed to silence the critics of the administration, and nothing more.

I would like to emphasize that I cannot be a member of the CPP/NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army) because I do not embrace its analysis and its vision of Philippine society, and I do not adhere to the method it employs to achieve such vision.

In saying this, however, let me make it very clear that I am not making a conclusion that I am a better person than any arm-wielding communist in this country in terms of how they offer themselves in the altar of sacrifice for what they believe could serve society better.

I offer only a little of myself for, and choose the easiest way in, the pursuit of my belief, while they offer their all – life, liberty, peace and comfort – for the idea that they embrace. In sum, they offer all of themselves for their political narrative, while I put to the stake only a tiny part of my being for my own cause.

In fact, I even feel ashamed of myself whenever I see the captured or killed young communist combatants being paraded by the military or the police on our TV screens immediately after their captivity or death.

Some of these very young people came from various prime universities and from affluent families in the country but they gambled their otherwise bright future for the cause that they fought for at the expense of their lives, limbs and liberty.

While I do not embrace their cause and the way they fought for it, I tremendously admire their sense of self-sacrifice and full devotion to the cause that they were fighting for. Truly, I am awed by their high degree of altruism.

If there is one big problem in red-tagging, it is this. Red-tagging is putting blinders in the eyes of the AFP and the PNP so as to make them incapable of locating another social force, which is not communist, in the other extreme of the political spectrum that is so vile and so reprehensible as to wreak havoc on the lives of the overwhelming majority of the people in this country.

The overwhelming majority I am referring to are the poor, the oppressed, the deprived, the alienated and the suffering sections of Philippine society. These are sections of society that are being bulldozed to ignominy by a social system that is so vile and so reprehensible, known popularly as capitalism.

Capitalism is one social paradigm, located in the other extreme of the political spectrum, which is the blackest of all evils, but, strangely, its espousers and enablers are not being subjected to black-tagging by the AFP and the PNP, despite the many horrors it inflicts to the country and its people.

Now is, therefore, the time for us to call upon the AFP and the PNP to study capitalism, its history and practices, and to reflect on it with deeper soul-searching.

By doing this, I am confident that the AFP and the PNP may be able to discover that communism, in whatever forms and shapes (Maoism, Marxism or Stalinism or their combinations) may be, by comparison and in many aspects, better than capitalism.

Also, by seriously studying capitalism and its practices, the AFP and the PNP may come into realization that capitalism is actually the root cause why communism remains to be looked upon in the countryside as liberating motive force that propels the people to rise in arms against duly constituted government in order to free themselves from the bondage of poverty, injustice and powerlessness.

Most importantly, by studying capitalism, the AFP and the PNP may realize that capitalism and communism are not alternatives for each other. Thus, they must repudiate both systems.

For the AFP and PNP to reject communism, but supporting capitalism, at the same time, is an oxymoron. To reject both systems, however, the AFP and the PNP must necessarily free themselves from the prevailing hegemonic culture of capitalism.

Thus, while I do not support red-tagging of activists operating in various legal organizations in the country, I suggest that, if the AFP and the PNP cannot really be detached from the shenanigans of red-tagging, they must, at least, balance their indulgence in such shenanigans by also black-tagging the espousers and enablers of capitalism.

The AFP and the PNP cannot just simply reject one evil, while embracing another greater evil.

Communism is said to be better than capitalism because, in the latter, material wealth is distributed to wider sections of the population, while, in capitalism, material wealth is just put under the stranglehold of but a tiny segment of the population.

Both communism and capitalism are all founded on materialism. Thus, both are not respectful of the people’s civil and political rights, and, thus, despicable. The AFP and the PNP should, therefore, look askance at both systems as aberrations that must be contained.

It is true that the communist-inspired armed uprisings have claimed thousands of lives and caused injuries to an equal number of people. But, capitalism, on which fascism and/or authoritarianism are/is founded have/has also waged sorts of genocidal strife, victimizing even a much greater number of people.

Closer to home, it was capitalism – as embodied in flesh by the cronies of the conjugal dictatorship – that served as the bedrock of the Marcos authoritarian rule. The conjugal dictatorship, despite its murderous trademark and capitalistic rapaciousness, was supported by the AFP and the PNP.

The reason why we have intellectual clowns as senators is because the conjugal dictatorship has killed so many brilliant Filipinos during its reign of terror. Unfortunately for us, these intellectual clowns are made to fill, by accident of history, the leadership interregnum created by the conjugal dictatorship.

Capitalism is known to be the blackest of all evils, but its espousers and enablers are not being black-tagged by the AFP and the PNP. Because capitalism is theoretically worse than communism, the AFP and the PNP should have subjected the espousers and enablers of capitalism to black-tagging, with the same fury that they unleash against any activists whom they believe to be communists.

Furthermore, the AFP and the PNP must recognize that capitalism is the root cause why a communist-inspired armed rebellion continues to flourish in the countryside, even if all the coercive instruments of the state have already unleashed their full might to shatter it for more than half a century.

This is because communism is but a mere idea. As a mere abstraction, communism cannot be killed only by the use of bullets.

But communism can only be depleted and weakened into insignificance by presenting before the people an idea which is alternative to, or better than, communism. Through this, the AFP and the PNP could have a winning chance in the battle for the hearts and minds of the people in the countryside.

It is, by the way, in this arena where the “powderkeg” minds of Secretary Hermogenes C. Esperon and Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr. are miserably failing them in the pursuit of their theorizing and anti-communist works.

Nevertheless, if after engaging in solemn soul-searching, the AFP and the PNP would finally discover that both capitalism and communism are not desirable social systems, the AFP and the PNP should proceed to explore into the Philippine political spectrum to hunt sets of ideas that could serve as alternatives to both capitalism and communism.

There are plenty of alternatives to both capitalism and communism in our political spectrum if only the AFP and the PNP could widen their political horizons and look far beyond capitalism and communism.

I find it rather ridiculous that, even during our prevailing cyber era where knowledge and information are just found in our fingertips, AFP and PNP officials, despite earning their education and training in prime military and police academies in the country, are still lumping all activists, both armed and unarmed, under the umbrella of the CPP/NPA.

Unless the AFP and the PNP start to look beyond capitalism and communism, their red-tagging of activists is always a suspect, and this moronic action will continue to make them the subject of ridicule by other politically matured militaries in the world. Our AFP and our PNP cannot continue to support inequality.

Finally, it is worth stressing here that communism is not really a big problem. Our big problem is that we have a bunch of morons leading our military and our police establishments in the country.

Instead of ushering communism to the level of insignificance, the AFP and the PNP are instead cultivating the fertile ground for the growth of a social system that they claim to despise.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Ben Sumog-oy is the action officer of IDEFEND-Gensan, Volunteer Head of the Para-legal Unit of Sentro-Socsksargen and Head of the Local Mass Struggle Unit of Akbayan-GenSan.)

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