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Since the beginning of Rodrigo’s dynastic rule over his empire in Davao. He had been good friends with known terrorists and enemies of the state. In fact, he even encouraged local businesses to contribute and give in revolutionary tax to armed leftist groups. But before that, who were the ‘leftists’ groups and what were they resisting against government authority? We will have to go back in time to see how it all started? Is activism really just sort of a recent fad? Or a product of politically motivated machinations to stir public anger against the government?
Was ”activism” just a recent Pro leftist Pro US Dilawan invention?
I know you’ve probably heard of the EDSA 1 protest, which toppled the corrupt Marcos regime. And perhaps many Marcos sympathizers now Chinese would argue that this was perhaps a plan for the US or CIA to install Cory Aquino to the Presidency. To them the term ‘Dilawans’ means a powerful oligarchy who controls and manipulates the ebb and flow of the political scene in the Philippines for their twisted interest.
Let’s see? When did we start doing peaceful protests just like EDSA?
One of the earliest recorded protests were in 1903, staged by the first workers’ union in the country, calling for an eight-hour working day and for the recognition of May 1 as a public holiday. In the decades that followed, in a Philippines under American rule, the streets were the stage to air grievances about unfulfilled promises of upward mobility from the benevolent colonizer.
Who? The United States of America
In the 1920s and the 1930s, the protests were manifestations of racial tensions between Filipinos and Americans: When a Filipino lettuce picker in California died at the hands of Caucasian workers, 15,000 people flocked to Luneta for a memorial service that turned into a protest rally demanding independence from the United States; students of the Manila North High School instigated rallies for the dismissal of an American teacher who insulted her students. These rallies would serve as the foundation of unified and more centralized movements grounded on civil disobedience, calling for Philippine liberty.
On July 31, 1931, before the United States Congress passed the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act of 1933—the law that would set in motion the decolonization of the Philippines—U.S. Senator Harry B. Hawes of Missouri traveled to Manila to gauge the people’s sentiment firsthand. What he found was a demonstration and testimonial calling for national independence held in front of the Legislative Building. In a few years, the Legislative Building (now the National Museum) would be itself witness to the inauguration of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, and the swearing in of the first elected Filipino President and Vice President. Two hundred and fifty thousand men, women, and children turned out to meet the new Commonwealth, either as marchers in the parade or as spectators on the sidelines.
The protest stands as a crucial part of Philippine political—of democratic, exercise. In their finer moments, the demonstrations were a populace banding together; else, they were stages upon which one fought for rights deemed maligned. Throughout the American Occupation, workers in the provinces would take to the streets to demand better treatment and to air outrage against the state. The protesters were inspired by the civil disobedience movement in India, choosing to boycott pro-American establishments and refusing to pay taxes to what they deemed as an impostor government. Some protests, however, degenerated into armed conflict. At one point, they faced off with the Philippine Constabulary in and around Manila in a violent uprising, which resulted in heavy casualties and the organic disbandment of workers’ unions.
The Japanese Occupation did what it could to stifle demonstrations feebly coming to life. But this crackdown on unions often drove members who’d evaded arrest to join the larger Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon movement (HUKBALAHAP; The Nation’s Army Against the Japanese).
The onset of the Marcos administration would witness a more dynamic philosophy to protests; these demonstrations would continue to evolve as the Marcos presidency transformed into a dictatorship. On April 28, 1969, the Filipino Agrarian Reform Movement (FARM)—composed of intellectuals, journalists, and professionals who were sympathetic to the workers’ cause—launched a massive protest known as the Land Justice March in Tarlac, calling for land reform in Central Luzon. The protest march was supposed to end at Malacañang, but President Marcos flew to meet the protesters at Camp Aquino, Tarlac. After he agreed to most of their demands, the Land Justice March dissolved. During this time, FARM also staged a 93-day sit-in in front of Congress for better conditions in peasant communities.
Just two years later, in May 1967, Lapiang Malaya—a movement David Sturvenant describes as “a 40,000-member organization much given to ornate uniforms, patriotic posturing, and martial Rizal Day rallies”—called on Marcos to step down; they wanted to take his place. On May 20, more than 500 members were gathered at Lapiang Malaya’s headquarters along Taft Avenue in Pasay City, supposedly to participate in a parade-demonstration. The Philippine Constabulary repeatedly attempted to break up the assembly, but eventually tensions rose to the point of violence. In what The Manila Times referred to as “Bloody Sunday,” 32 bolo-wielding members were slaughtered by Constabulary troops armed with rifles. 358 more were arrested and taken by the Constabulary to Camp Crame in Quezon City.
So if student activism is not a recent Dilawan invention, then who are the NPA’s and the what is this political ideology of ”leftists”?
The term “left” is already widely used to denote social systems and ideologies of force (e.g., socialism, communism, “progressivism”), and the term “right” is substantially used to denote social systems and ideologies of freedom (e.g., capitalism, classical liberalism, constitutional republicanism). So for someone who leans in the political ideas of socialism, communism, progressivism etc., then people would refer to him as a ”leftist”.
Contrary to popular DDS belief. The fictional power-hungry Dilawan elite whom the Duterte propagandists called to as the instigators of terror attacks against the government by allying with the left is just absolutely baseless. Simply because ”anyone” who believes in liberal political ideologies were not to be considered ”Leftist” but ”Rightist”.
For a sense of perspective and to reconcile my previous short history lesson of Philippine activism. It is under the Marcos time where the so-called ”Communists” insurgents grew in numbers. One of the biggest reasons for this is due to his callousness in shutting down dissent by violently torturing and jailing progressive groups and student activists. Not to mention his corrupt policies and the Philippines worsening economic conditions where many peasants from far flung provinces were forced to join the cause.
Rodrigo was a student activist and strong sympathizer of the political left
The son of a provincial governor, Duterte grew up with strong nationalistic sentiments which became more pronounced during his university years when he studied political science under Jose Maria Sison. Yes, the man who founded CPP-NPA was Rodrigo Duterte’s professor. Former classmates recall that he strongly opposed speaking English in class, advocating instead the use of Tagalog and local dialects to underline his nationalist credentials.
As a newly minted lawyer, Duterte was not a member of the CPP or the NDF, but he was known to arrange meetings between foreign journalists and communist leaders in the early 1980s when the CPP was in full flower.
A video even surfaced online showing Duterte chanting ”Mabuhay ang NPA” on live-camera when he was still the Davao mayor. (Watch below)
From a President who rose to power with a long history of sympathizing with the Reds now cracking them down with the use of his newly elected puppets in the Senate has been just totally unexpected. It seems that it has been a while since Duterte rubbed elbows with much of the NPA leadership and cheering them and even encouraging local businesses to give in to their demands for revolutionary tax. Such was the man of glaring contradictions.
Fast forward. We now have Duterte’s minions in the Congress are advocating in indoctrinating students with fascist values instead of cultivating critical thinking and freedom expression which is exactly what this country needs to protect itself from opportunistic clowns like Bato Dela Rosa and the madman in Malacañang.
If Duterte was in the past been a student-activist and has also many times express his leftist political leanings even rubbing elbows with many of the notorious NPA rebels when he casually visited their camp like some old close friend. Then Bato de la Rosa and his clown-mates in the Congress were just wasting people’s time and money discussing how they could clamp down against dissent and rule without public accountability.