RANDY DAVID (Sunday PDI, The Fight Against the Left) describes the Left and the Right as follows:
Randy David: Though the likes of Gen. Jovito Palparan pretend not to know it, there is a huge difference between being Left and taking up arms against the government. To be Left is to be constantly concerned with the basic issues of justice and human freedom. It is to question the existing social order, to assail its assumptions, and denounce its oppressive outcomes. To be a leftist is to be committed to the long-term goal of structural change. In contrast, to be a rightist is to find nothing fundamentally wrong with the structure of society; it is to justify and defend its rules.At first this looks like an Angels versus Demons comparison. But it's worse than that. It's casuistry like the friars used to practice. Look: I can be committed to long term structural change in society, while justifying and defending its democractic and peaceful rules of social and political change. But If you pit these two against each other, you end up saying, as Randy does that "the means justify the end!" Of course that may be what the Palace is saying and doing too, but two wrongs don't make a right! Randy David distinguishes between the Left and the Right in a rather self-serving manner: "Leftists are Angels of Structural Change, Rightists are Demons of the Status Quo" Put like that, who wouldn't be a Leftist? But it isn't only the likes of Gen. Palparan who are confused by the alleged "huge difference" between the nominally peaceful and the indubitably violent Left. Most of the Public cannot tell either because ALL Leftists claim to be peaceful, if they ever make claims at all. Yet the NPA extortionists and armed enforcers, always piously defending the People of course, don't just drop out of the factories or arise from the unknown peasant masses -- no, the officers and leaders are mostly university students or college professors or defrocked priests and nuns. And of course, no one admits to being a Communist insurgent, not even the CPP's founding chair, table and nightstand, who admits only to being "the Chief Consultant." Hmm..like the Pope isn't Catholic and Mao Zedong is actually a Dutchman.
Randy David: To take up arms in the pursuit of one’s political beliefs is an altogether different matter. The armed option is employed not only by leftists and rightists, but also by religious rebels and some millenarian cults. Not all leftists advocate the violent overthrow of the State, and not all armed groups are leftist. To be Left is to think and speak radically about social problems; to be an armed rebel is to participate in the forcible overthrow of government. Our Constitution outlaws armed rebellion, but it resolutely protects freedom of thought and of speech.But let's be clear: the CPP NPA is not about religious rebellion or cultish millenarianism. It is armed rebellion financed by organized extortion, blackmail, kidnapping, arson, bombing and continuous advocacy of violent overthrow of the State. And excuse me, Professor, but to "think and speak radically about social problems" is no monopoly of the Left.
Randy David: Having once flirted with leftists when she was a graduate student, Ms Arroyo ought to know these distinctions. That she has uncritically permitted herself to mouth a Cold War mantra betrays the dominant influence of militarists in her administration. These militarists are not just the former generals in the Arroyo Cabinet; they also include former leftists who, having tasted power, now disdain their ideological past. Former Party members usually become the most virulent rightists. Only the ideology has changed; the dogmatism remains.Well here is strange admission, that dogmatic ideology lays eternal hold on the minds of Leftists, even when they have become Rightists. As if we are not aware of Russia, and China and North Korea and Cuba...but he's referring to the "Clerico-fascists" in the Arroyo Cabinet, notably the Christian social democrat, now National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, that have competed with the "natdems" in the bal masque and costume contest ever since the Jesuits discovered "liberation theology" and social activists, the generous habits of the European and American Left. He may also be referring to various known ex-Communist Party functionaries and Leftist operators who have high positions in the Arroyo administration, such as in the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and the National Printing Office.
AMANDO DORONILA presents a really grim picture of the "all-out war" today, making predictions that civilians will be butchered. This is the same picture that Rep. Teddy Casino was painting for Pia Hontiveros on Strictly Politics last night (ABSCBN News), bringing with him a laptop loaded with a purportedly classified Military planning document called "Oplan Bantay Laya." He and Pia Hontiveros were having fun scaring each other with choice excerpts from the allegedly leaked document. Teddy Casino really is the Willie Revillame of the Leftist stage act--his fervent hope, expressed for an admiring Pia Hontiveros, is the Philippines will become like some Latin American countries now: Leftist and ultranationalist. Him or Joma or Satur as Hugo Chavez in a People's Democratic Republic of the Philippines? Por Dios, por Santo, Señor! But are you nuts? Pia Hontiveros did ask him one good hard question: What can be done about the fact that it was the NDF that unilaterally withdrew from peace talks in 2002 and decided it "will wait for the next administration." Teddy Casino's sheepish answer? "Well..thereare lmany ways of jumpstarting the peace talks ... all it takes is a little creativity and tiaga."
The Fundamental Theorem of Guerilla War is expressed well in Randy's final point:
The communist insurgency has been around for 37 years. That is a long time. It only means that, despite the movement’s own abuses, it has been able to function as an alternative center for our people. There is no way we can wipe it out without killing many innocent civilians. It would be a tragic mistake to treat communist rebels as if they were just another criminal syndicate. We must continue talking to them.I agree. They are not just a criminal syndicate. They are more like a long term viral infection of the brain. Yes, we must continue talking to them, but as long as the Left maintains and refuses to eschew an armed component, the Philippine government and the Filipino people are entitled to theirs, even under the Law of the Jungle that our communist guerillas operate by anyway. No one should sanction political killings and assassination, but both Left and Right have been guilty of that in this country, and both are undboubtedly capable of it again. It is the Center that must hold.
ducation's Highest Priority Myth Debunked: After a long absence, Blogger and broadcast journalist Ricky Carandang posts a recent Inquirer article on the crisis in Philippine education, which is suffering from a lack of classrooms and an influx of students
Depending on who you talk to, the backlog in classrooms (which the palace has quietly acknowledged) could be as low as 3,000 to as high as 60,000. But there are other numbers that better illustrate the state of education in the country.But in his own PDI column last Sunday, The Education Crisis, constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas points out that
A few years ago, when I was writing an article for Newsbreak magazine about the slowly vanishing middle class, the Department of Education provided me figures that show that in the 1970s, about 70 percent of high school students were enrolled in private schools, while 30 percent were in public schools. By this decade, those figures were reversed. Today, more than 70 percent of students are in public school, while only 30 percent more or less are enrolled in private schools. The gradually diminishing purchasing power of the average Filipino has led to a slow but massive migration from public schools to public schools. At the same time, despite a constitutional provision requiring that the biggest budget allocation be given to education, public spending for education has declined in real terms.
The Supreme Court, however, made short shrift of that argument, saying that while “it is true that under Section 5(5), Article XVI of the Constitution, Congress is mandated to ‘assign the highest budgetary priority to education’ in order to ‘insure that teaching will attract and retain its rightful share of the best available talents through adequate remuneration and other means of job satisfaction and fulfillment,’ it does not thereby follow that the hands of Congress are so hamstrung as to deprive it the power to respond to the imperatives of the national interest and for the attainment of other state policies or objectives.”In other words, it is but common sense that there could easily be some national priority higher than education, such as food, shelter, clothing or physical survival. In the case Fr. Bernas cites, the petitioners in 1991 questioned the larger appropriation automatically given to paying the national debt on the basis of the commonly held notion that the Constitution requires the biggest budget allocation to be given to education. Fr. Bernas continues--
The Court concluded that “Congress is certainly not without any power, guided only by its good judgment, to provide an appropriation that can reasonably service our enormous debt, the greater portion of which was inherited from the previous administration. It is not only a matter of honor and to protect the credit standing of the country. More especially, the very survival of our economy is at stake. Thus, if in the process Congress appropriated an amount for debt service bigger than the share allocated to education, the Court finds and so holds that said appropriation cannot be thereby assailed as unconstitutional.”However, it should be noted that under the re-enacted 2005 budget for the 2006 fiscal year, the Education sector gets about 130 billion pesos in cold hard cash, 90% going to salaries, and accounting for 33% of the total 390 billion pesos that will be allocated to Departments of the National Government. Paradoxically, Fr. Bernas rejoins the herd when he concludes, like Ricky Carandang, that we are not spending enough on education! I think it is just that free, universal public education is such an attractive, durable and almost unassailable ideal among Filipino liberals. But he deserves credit for blowing up a durable and persistent myth. There is no Constitutional provision that requires education be given the "biggest" budgetary allocation, and its priority, while being the "highest" may be ignored by the Congress when required.