The road to peace, is rough, and on the left
“Sagot sa opinion column ni Governor Danilo Suarez”
I have read the column of Gov. Danilo Suarez titled The Road To Peace posted last October 17 on your website. It was a week after the first 100 days of the governor as head of the province of Quezon, and still, he is clearly unaware of the real plight of his people, especially the coconut farmers and the indigenous people from the countryside.
Expectedly, the revolutionary movement in the province DO NOT share the same method of Governor Suarez on how to achieve a better life in Quezon.
Gov. Suarez being a staunch supporter of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict is blindly encouraged by the US-Duterte regime that ending armed conflict can be achieved by the expensive all-out war of the joint operations of the military and the police waged against the New Peoples Army.
No, Mister Governor, it wont achieve anything related to peace. Instead, the combined focused military operations and the so called community support program operations of RTF-ELCAC already resulted to more than 300 counts of human rights violations from June of this year alone in the towns of South Quezon-Bondoc Peninsula, in Sariaya, General Nakar and Infanta.
The victims of the military atrocites are the very same people that knocked on your office to have a dialogue. Their demand is to declare state of calamity in the province brought by El Niño in the first half of 2019 that intensified the poor condition of the farmers due to low prices of copra and cocounut for the last two years.
Instead of heeding to their grievances, you blatantly told them, wala akong magagawa, kahit pa si Presidente Duterte.
Indeed, these are the very same people that your principal, Mayor Duterte, ignorantly ordered to eat copra, rather than carrying out his promise to return the billion pesos of coco levy funds.
Returning the levy, or giving subsidy from the calamity fund, while the prices of copra is still far from recovering will somehow alleviate the condition of the farmers, i.e., leading to better life.
They also asked for your support in stopping the implementation of the Kaliwa Dam but you simply told them, wala akong magagawa, national project yan.
Standing on your own belief will be treacherous to the stories of the lamentable conditions you mentioned is worth listening to. The main demand of the farmers is better life which means raising the prices of their farm produce primarily copra, or at least providing them subsidy in the aftermath of El Niño, NOT coconut seedlings.
You should have supported the clamor of your katutubong magsasaka to stop the construction of the destructive dam. The Dumagats and Remontados, as indigenous people, are entitled to determine the outcome of any decision-making that affects them.
Mister Governor, these are your constituents whom you campaigned last May to vote for you, but recently you declared them as persona non grata just because they are members of militant and progressive organizations, you suspected them of supporting the CPP-NPA.
Yes certainly, these people are the same oppressed class in the countryside that your government pushed to take up arms in order to overthrow the ruling system.
Your vision of “inclusive and sustainable peace” should not be merely recognizing the cause but taking the right, just and lasting action, benefitting the toiling masses, the oppressed. Doing otherwise is simply feeding them with your empty trapo rethorics.
Thus, the support of the people continues for the revolutionary movement, 50 years and counting, amidst sacrifices and hardships. For we have brought, together with the oppressed, not just surface level change but real, drastic, and radical reform that your government chose not to do.
By agrarian revolution, we have won countless of campaigns for free distribution of land, lowering farm production cost and farm inputs, higher price for farm products, reduction of land rent, and many more. We have empowered the people by establishing their farmer cooperatives and organizations. These are the victories of the revolutionary mass movement. A far cry from the promised “economic change and prosperity” of your government.
One last point, dont get over excited with the numbers of rebel surrenderees because no one is convinced of your statistics. 99% of your rebel surrenderees are ordinary farmers.
It is an open secret that the enhanced comprehensive local integration program of the DILG is a milking cow of the military. We never heard of anyone from the 23 beneficiaries of ECLIP presented publicly who received cash and livelihood assistance to rebel surrenderees amounting to P25,000 up to P65,000.
What the people of Quezon knew are the surenderees who received P200 for trike rental from military camp back to their farming villages, and 5 kilos of rice and 10 cans of sardines they said came from DSWD.
Dont be surprised if these people chose the path to the mountains which you said is rough, dangerous, and risky. Turning left will definitely lead them right to the road to peace.