Reflections of a former activist

By RG San Luis for NoToViolence.PH


There is nothing wrong with activism per se but the youth should be properly guided about its realities.

Growing up as a martial law baby, meaning those born between 1965-1981, I engaged in activism joining the protests against the Marcos dictatorship. Those opposed to Marcos then were a combination of various political groups. At that time unlike now when they could operate freely, the leftist-militant organizations on university campuses were compelled to operate underground because the Armed Forces of the Philippines were constantly monitoring their activities. It was only after Marcos was ousted that they began to actively recruit students in the open to their cause.

I was born and raised in San Miguel, Manila where I had a front-row seat to the comings and goings of Ferdinand and Imelda along J.P. Laurel Street where Malacañan is, as it bisected Concepcion Aguila Street where we lived in a compound of apartments. I practically grew up in direct acquaintance with those who were conducting street protests on Mendiola Street and nearby roadways.

Various activist organizations began to lurk unreservedly on different campuses in the University Belt and other school institutions in Metro Manila. It’s now evident that the front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army are firmly ensconced on campuses today. They are concentrated in state colleges and universities but also have chapters in private colleges and universities as well.

Parents are now coming out to lament the loss of their daughters to activist organizations. One mother points to Anakbayan, a leftist-militant student arm of the CPP-NPA. Founded in 1998, Anakbayan, as it describes its organization in its Facebook page “seeks to unite the Filipino youth — workers, students, peasants, out-of-school, professionals, and others — to fight for meaningful change. It is a comprehensive national democratic mass organization of the Filipino youth. It fights for jobs, land reform, education, rights, social services, and justice.”

Anakbayan’s presence is not limited to the country as it has international chapters where there is a Filipino diaspora but it is strongest in North America where it partners with Bayan and Migrante, two other leftist-militant groups under the umbrella of the National Democratic Front.

There have been several reports in mainstream media of young NPA recruits killed in encounters with AFP units. Some of these recruits are students who abandoned their families and their studies. These young people were convinced that they were answering a higher call of patriotism by joining the communist armed rebel force out to overthrow the government. This is nothing but naive activism combined with the romanticist’s notion of fighting for the motherland to liberate her from her “captors.”

This is the reason why support for the current administration’s drive to finally end the Communist insurgency in the country has to be strengthened. The government is losing the propaganda battle because the Left has again allied itself with political parties opposed to the government in their bid to regain power.

About a week before the May 2019 election, I engaged a taxi, whose driver was about the same age as I am, in a conversation. I found out that he was a card-carrying member of the League of Filipino Students, which preceded Anakbayan, when he was a college student at the Philippine Christian University at the same time I was in college also along Taft Avenue in Manila.

I asked him if he still continued to support the leftist-militant groups and if he was going to vote for their candidates in the coming polls. His answer was “alam mo matagal ko ng sinumpa ang mga grupo na yan dahil wala naman silang nagagawa para sa taumbayan. Pinam-babala nila kaming mga mahihirap pero sila lang din ang nakikinabang sa perang nakakalap nila sa revolutionary tax at sa mga donasyon galing abroad. Kita mo naman binigyan na sila ng pagkakataon ng pamahalaan pero ayaw pa rin nila magkaroon ng katahimikan sa Pilipinas.”

Yes, there is nothing wrong with activism, but the Filipino youth should learn to decipher the disasters that lie ahead if they will join leftist activist groups.

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