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Letter to the Editor to the Phil. Daily Inquirer

October 2, 2010

This is in reaction to the Youngblood article in the Phil. Daily Inquirer which was featured last Sept. 29.

We cannot help but note the timing of the article. Less than a week after a nationwide student walkout has pushed many lawmakers to oppose proposed education budget cuts, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its lackeys are again screaming about NPA infiltration of campuses. It is particularly ironic, given that it is one of the institutions which will benefit from the cuts as it will have its own budget hiked to an astounding P104.7 billion.

The author of the said article wants students to remain in school instead of opposing injustices, yet what is the AFP doing about the education budget cuts and its effects, such as tuition and other fee increases? Will it willingly rechannel its funding to state colleges and universities?

There is not a single constructive statement in the entire article. In fact, it simply a rehash of the ‘member of a “communist front” accusation which is the favorite justification of the AFP for violating the human rights of thousands of government critics under the previous regime, and apparently, even under the new administration. It is the same statement used to justify the abductions of UP student leaders Jaq Gonzales, Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño, and James Balao; as well as the assassination of Bicol student leaders Cris Hugo, Ambo Guran, and Farley Alcantara III.

Many of us youths can’t help but wonder: after tens of thousands of military atrocities funded by hundreds of billions of pesos, why hasn’t the AFP defeated the various insurgencies in the country? Are these ‘rebel groups’ really the extortionists and terrorists the military claims them to be? Or are they rooted on legitimate grievances such as the Aquino administration’s denial of the youth’s basic right to education?

The American civil rights activist Carl Oglesby once said “It is the troubles that cause the rebels”. The problem with the AFP is that it is ignorant of the roots of social problems in our country, hence its militarist and blood-stained ‘approach’: eliminating dissenters, instead of the cause of dissent.

–          Charisse Bañez, spokesperson, Anakbayan; 118-B Scout Rallos St., Brgy. Sacred Heart, Q.C

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