POSTSCRIPT / August 24, 2004 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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At the negotiating table, NDF is co-equal of GRP

BELLIGERENT STATUS: Putting it simply, the government of the Republic of the Philippines formally sits as an equal of the communist National Democratic Front across the negotiating table in their seemingly endless “peace talks” in tourist spots abroad.

The NDF itself, representing insurgent communist groups in the country, has been saying so all this time.

Why has the government, by its acquiescence and body language, granted a status of belligerency to the NDF?

As to be expected, the NDF — as shown by the nomenclature it uses in the talks, its public posture and in its statements — considers itself a co-equal of the other (government) party.

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TWO GOVERNMENTS: In case the government negotiators have not been paying attention to the substance of what the communists have been saying, here are quotations from two NDF stalwarts:

Jose Maria Sison, NDF chief political consultant, said Aug. 21 from his base in the Netherlands:

“Two governments exist in the Philippines. One is the nationwide revolutionary government of workers and peasants based in the countryside. The other is the counterrevolutionary government of big compradors and landlords centered in Manila.

“The revolutionary government or the people’s democratic government (PDG), consisting of organs of democratic power, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as the leading party, the New People’s Army (NPA), the mass organizations and the Filipino people in general are represented by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

“The GRP is the counterrevolutionary government of big compradors and landlords. Periodically it holds elections. But these elections merely seek to conjure the illusion of democratic choice and at the same time to reinforce the rule of the big compradors and landlords. The GRP is the political instrument of these classes for oppressing and exploiting the people.

“There is a fundamental difference between the PDG and the GRP. The PDG fights for national liberation and democracy against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes. The GRP is a puppet government that is servile to the US. It works for the collaboration of the foreign monopoly capitalists, the landlords and the corrupt bureaucracy and military.”

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JALANDONI MISQUOTED: On the same day, Aug. 21, Luis G. Jalandoni, chairman of the NDF panel, said in Manila:

“The news story (that the communists want to share political power with the government) based on the misquote (of Jalandoni’s earlier remarks) assumes that there is only one government. That is not the reality. There are two existing governments in the country.

“The NDFP represents the revolutionary government of workers and peasants based in the countryside, in the 128 guerrilla fronts covering about 8,500 barrios in 700-800 municipalities in 69 provinces. The GRP, on the other hand, is the reactionary government of big compradors and landlords. It is centered in Manila.

“The NDFP reiterates its demand that the GRP uphold and defend the right of the Filipino people to national sovereignty and condemn the ‘terrorist’ listing of the CPP, the NPA and the NDFP chief political consultant by the US, the European Union and other foreign governments as a usurpation of jurisdiction and an infringement on the inherent right and competence of the Filipino people to judge on Philippine events and entities.”

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SELF-DENIGRATION: From reader Amanda Madlangbayan, who described herself as a “self-respecting Filipino,” came this email:

“In our alacrity to gain any sign of approval from others, we denigrate ourselves.

“Case #1 — When Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo was named Secretary of Foreign Affairs this week, a news article came out that his appointment was ‘welcomed’ by the UK, Japan and China, but that the USA withheld comment.

“One would think that these statements came from their respective capitals — issued by their government spokesmen. But no, they were statements from low-grade employees in their embassies in Manila — not even by their Ambassadors, who would, incidentally, still be below Romulo’s stature as Foreign Secretary.

“Those low-grade employees were really just humoring that eager-beaver Filipino caller/reporter who SOLICITED their reactions. The US embassy didn’t even bother.

“I have never heard of anyone from The Washington Post or the Times of London or China Daily or Asahi Shimbun calling up our embassies to seek the Philippine government’s opinion of a Cabinet appointment in Washington, London, Beijing, or Tokyo.

“Well, what did the caller/reporter expect them to say — that they are unhappy? Even then, so what? Wala silang pakialamin decisions of the Head of State of a sovereign Philippines. Ergo, totally irrelevant sila !

“Case #2 There was this news that Police Deputy Director General Reynaldo Velasco, arriving from a conference in Beijing, reported to President Arroyo that China, through Deputy Director General Guo Bao Shan of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, praised the Philippines for its campaign against terrorism and transnational crimes.

“That grates on any Pinoy’s self-respect. Here, again, we are openly reveling in the ‘pabalat-bunga’ of another minor foreign official — a mere Deputy Director — and he merits prominent play in a major Manila daily! Where were his Minister or his immediate boss, the Director, or any other official in-between?

“Also, the reporter has a responsibility to be well-informed, i.e. to know that in Chinese, the surnames come first. So Deputy-Director Guo Bao Shan’s family name is Guo and anyone who says Director Bao Shan obviously did not do his homework. (The story kept quoting a Bao Shan, not Guo.) 

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U.P. MAGNA TOPS BOARD: Emerson D. Galacio, 22, looks like a regular guy. He is. A native of Digos, Davao del Sur, his father Nicodemos drives a tricycle while his mother Lydia serves as a clerk at the Provincial Capitol. In grade school, he was the campus paper editor-in-chief and science quiz top gun. After graduating as valedictorian, he pursued his interest in science at the Philippine Science High School in Davao City, where he was best in science research, a Science Quiz Wizard, Energy Quiz champion and point man of national finalist teams in chemistry and mathematics competitions.

He enrolled at UP Diliman in 1999 to take up metallurgical engineering. Aided by a GSIS scholarship and the assistance of his fraternity brothers in the “UP Brotherhood of the Filipinos” (known on campus as the “Pinoys”), he maintained excellent grades (never got anything lower than 1.75 in the tough engineer subjects). Last April, he graduated magna cum laude with a grade of 1.41, and was the second highest-ranked engineer of the UP College of Engineering Class of 2004.

He joined Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp.’s refinery in Batangas City as a corrosion engineer, dividing his time between a full-time job and a full-force review for the August licensure examinations in metallurgical engineering. The distraction was no problem. As those who know him expected, he topped the metallurgucal engineering board with an average of 87.80 percent.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of August 24, 2004)

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