[It has been said that praise is an instrument of deception and as such is a weapon of warfare–but ineffective if such “sugar-coated bullets” do not strike, and change, their target. So the praise of the Chief of the Philippines Armed Forces for the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has since 1968 marched under the banners of Marxism, Leninism, and Maoism, brings certain cautionary and basic truths to mind–one from Sun Tzu, the other from Mao Zedong:
“So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.” (Sun Tzu, The Art of War)
“I hold that it is bad as far as we are concerned if a person, a political party, an army or a school is not attacked by the enemy, for in that case it would definitely mean that we have sunk to the level of the enemy. It is good if we are attacked by the enemy, since it proves that we have drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves. It is still better if the enemy attacks us wildly and paints us as utterly black and without a single virtue; it demonstrates that we have not only drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves but achieved a great deal in our work.” (Mao Tse-tung, May 26, 1939)
These are words worth taking to heart, as the AFP and the Philippine National Police, call once more for an end to the people’s war. — Frontlines ed.]
Communism not really a bad thing, says AFP head
MANILA, Philippines—Communism is not bad—in fact it’s legal, says the man who commands the Armed Forces of the Philippines in its war against the 42-year-old Maoist insurgency.
Notwithstanding his position, AFP Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Eduardo Oban said he believes communism is not a terrible thing at all, at least as a personal philosophy.
“You know, communism as an ideology is not bad. Actually, under the Constitution, communism is legal,” he said on the sidelines of a news conference on Thursday.
Under the Bill of Rights, “no person shall be detained solely by reason of his political beliefs and aspirations.”
From 2004 until late last year, negotiations to end the insurgency had stalled after the communists accused the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of instigating the inclusion of the CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), in US and European terrorist rosters.
Then in February, formal talks started anew in Oslo, Norway between the government and CPP’s political arm, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The Aquino administration hopes to forge a political settlement by June.
That hope may be permeating the ranks of the military and the police as well.
Communists, Oban remarked, only turn rogue once they pick up a gun.
“That’s our baseline. Our threshold is when a particular person starts carrying a weapon. That’s when we will go after them,” he said. “When they try to overthrow the government, that’s when we’ll go after them.”
This week, the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said in an address to Cagayan Valley Policemen that perhaps, “our friends in the communist movement” might take a second look at their position and reconsider laying down their arms for good.
“Maybe it’s time to think that we can’t forever be killing each other. Both sides get wounded or killed. Even we (the police) get wounded or killed also,” said PNP Director General Raul Bacalzo, using words that contrasted somewhat with the recent actions of the police and the military.
In past weeks, the AFP and the PNP engaged the NPA in a series of skirmishes. One operation in Cagayan Valley led to the deaths of five rebels, including a local leader, and the capture of four others.
Whatever the outcome of the peace talks, Oban made it clear the AFP would be ready to face and eliminate any remaining threat from the leftists.