Fanning civil unrest

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    ‘Red-tagging reinforced by threats and harassment in a climate of blood and gore cannot resolve the insurgency conflict which seemed to have intensified anew…’

    IT’S hard to explain what has driven the Duterte administration to expand the list of suspected NPA members and their sympathizers that now include popular actresses Liza Soberano and Angel Locsin. There are, of course, front organizations that had been revitalized since the peace talks collapsed two years ago.

    Government has always faced the dilemma of aggression and credibility in confronting these groups, some of which have developed quite skillfully withholding or fabricating information about their activities and members.

    When someone like Soberano is warned by a top military commander against getting shot and killed like the female UP student-turned NPA in Los Banos the military is fanning civil unrest and agitation.

    Will Solcom chief Lt. General Antonio Parlade unleash a similar bluster against Sen. Manny Pacquiao if and when the latter comes out strong against the killings of female cadres in alleged military encounters? In the absence of any independent inquiries it seems to be the protocol to take no prisoners.

    Consequently, the rebels responded with frequent ambushes against soldiers, the most recent being in Abra where two Army soldiers were killed and four seriously wounded. The fatalities left behind three small children.

    Unlike in the drug war where the police have the upper hand, the insurgency cannot be broken up. President Duterte initially thought good faith would work. On the ground, the President could not believe that both sides were sabotaging the peace talks, notably on social justice and land distribution, although he threw much of the blame at the NPAs.

    Red-tagging reinforced by threats and harassment in a climate of blood and gore cannot resolve the insurgency conflict which seemed to have intensified anew with a growing number of recruits. We recall that Marcos turned out to be the biggest NPA recruiter after he launched a brutal campaign to weed out leftist students at numerous colleges and universities. Tens of hundreds of moderates who belonged to the less militant church, civic and social groups were similarly targeted and forced to flee home and hearth. he NPA ranks swelled like never before. A military regime only fosters deeper discontent and widespread bloodshed.

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    Some people who watched the movie Miracle on The Hudson have likened the ordeal of the passengers of a jetliner crash-landing on the Hudson River in New York with today’s COVID-19 patients, stunned and unprepared for the crisis that shook the world. The movie, directed by Clint Eastwood and released in 2015, was based on a true story of a US Airways flight from La Guardia Airport that was suddenly hit by a bird strike, disabling both engines of the Airbus 320.

    The pilot, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenburger, decided against the advice of the control tower to land the plane at the nearest airport. As the plane plummeted down high-rise buildings and busy city streets the pilot knew he didn’t have much time – or seconds – and turned to the Hudson River on his right. Sullenburger narrowly missed hitting the busy George Washington Bridge.

    Aviation experts were baffled why the plane didn’t break up as it hit the water. All the 165 passengers and crew survived.

    But it was Psalm 91, a popular and powerful passage in the Bible, that made the miracle that day possible. This was according to two soldiers on the plane who were coming home from Afghanistan; they had marked Psalm 91 in the Bibles they always carried saving them in the midst of almost certain death in two encounters with Islamic terrorists; they had prayed the Psalm and came out unscathed. From the sky to the Hudson, they again clasped their hands together and prayed. Sadly, the screenwriter and Eastwood ignored this essential part of the incredible episode – of God, the Miracle Worker, and His amazing love and mercies for the soldiers and the plane passengers. And the world would have believed!