AN administrative complaint has been filed against me, Secretary Hermogenes Esperon and Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr. by IBON Foundation for red-tagging and identifying them as terrorists.
What this complaint really is an attempt by this Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) above-ground organization to muzzle government — as they have done for decades.
I am sorry to inform IBON and the CPP-NPA-NDF that those days when this old worn-out tactic work is over. And I am happy to tell the Filipino people the good news that the ending of this terrorist scourge is possible — more so if we stand united — in wherever you are on the political spectrum and smash our common enemy -- the CPP-NPA-NDF and its fronts.
Not only is it the government’s job to unmask these villains but a moral imperative to name the terrorists in our midst and the ways and means in which they’ve been able to go about the destruction of our country.
My job - a job I take seriously - is to defend and protect and most of all, serve the Filipino people. No matter how many lawsuits are filed against me.
To stop the grief and heartache wrought by the terrorist group, CPP-NPA-NDF and its above-ground organizations (like IBON) for over 5 decades across this once-gentle land of ours.
It is also my duty to inform the Filipino people what it is they must know - more so when what is most precious to them is being stolen from right under their noses: their children who are radicalized, taught the language of hate and mistrust towards government and then recruited into this terrorist organization where unbearable numbers of them have died and lie buried in shallow graves across the land.
Of which IBON is an essential part of.
What then is IBON and where in the CPP NPA NDF organizational structure is it situated?
Under the CPP, there are five main ‘bureaus’: the CPP International Department, the National Organization Department, the National United Front Commission, National Peasant Commission and primary line support staff for finance, education, propaganda.
Briefly, the CPP international Department is behind International Solidarity Works, Migrante and the phony peace talks where "peace" is used as a weapon of war. (To be differentiated from the highly successful and effective local peace talks where over 14,000 NPA members have heeded the call of the President to lay down their arms, go back to the fold of the law and lead productive peaceful lives.)
The 2nd bureau, National Organization Department or the NOD’s task is to organize the basic sectors of society: farmers, women, youth, labor unions, school organizations, transport groups.
The National Peasant Commission organizes and mobilizes farmers in regions and provinces.
And finally, the National United Front Commission (NUFC), whose main mandates are the mobilization of various sectors, alliance building in urban centers and the infiltration of government through the party-list group.
This is where IBON can be found: under the NUFC that is directly under the CPP.
IBON Foundation and IBON Philippines (plus IBON International) are projects of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ Central Committee created during the Marcos years to churn out propaganda under the pretext of ‘research and advocacy’ anchored supposedly on neutral and scientific data.
A cursory glance, though, will show you that their data is neither neutral nor accurate.
Through all its 41 years of existence, IBON has consistently framed statistics in a way that maligns and demeans government so that people will lose confidence in it.
For instance, they’ve denigrated the 5.9% economic growth of our country for 2019 and claimed it is the slowest in 8 years. This is a half-truth because while it is true that this has been the lowest in 8 years, economies all over the world slowed down in 2019 because of global forces like the US-CHINA trade war, the protectionism in EU, Brexit.
And yet in spite all that, our economy grew by 5.9% -- which, in fact, makes us the 3rd fastest growing economy in Asia.
The real story is a story of victory — that we grew despite all odds, including working on a reenacted budget—not the story of defeat IBON would like to paint.
So yes, the 5.9% economic growth is the lowest in 8 years but the complete picture that IBON will not say is that 5.9% growth made us the 3rd fastest growing economy in the fastest-growing region of the world.
And that economists and other observers in ‘prestigious multilateral organizations like the World Bank describe the Philippines as “posting really fast growth rates, about three times of what they see in Europe, and Central Asia.” (Ms. Lalita Moory, World Bank Director of Macroeconomics, Trade, and Industry, April 2019).
They also claim that the 7.9 trillion outstanding debt of the Philippines is growing twice as fast as the Aquino Administration.
In reality, the country’s debt, as a share of GDP, has been declining on the back of a healthy growing economy. From as high as 74.4% of GDP in 2004, the Philippines’ debt-to-GDP ratio has declined to only 41.5% in 2019 due to prudent debt management.
Proof of this is the upgrading of our country’s credit rating to ‘BBB+’ last year by Standard and Poor’s- which is a ‘reflection of the international community’s growing confidence in our economy and our country’s ability to manage and pay its debts’. This upgrade puts us ahead of Italy, Portugal, Indonesia, India, and Vietnam.”
Kinda strange for a ‘research’ group run by respectable looking and intelligent-sounding "researchers", don’t you think so?
Surprising only if you didn’t know what lurks beneath IBON’s veneer of respectability.
The deft of IBON to twist facts to shame the government is a hallmark of the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF for the simple reason that there is only one end goal for this terrorist organization and it is the overthrow of the government.
Through all these 41 years that IBON has been in existence, you’d be hard-pressed to find one instance when it wasn’t anti-government and neutral.
The chipping away at government institutions has been relentless and steady.
They've consistently called for the ouster of each and every sitting Philippine president from Ferdinand Marcos to Cory Aquino to Fidel Ramos to Erap Estrada to Noynoy Aquino and now even the much beloved and highly-trusted Rodrigo Duterte via the Oust Duterte movement.
Here’s the thing about the CPP-NPA-NDF-led groups that you must bear in mind and that will never lead you astray: the CPP will NEVER allow control of these above-ground organizations to anyone’s hands but their own.
Leadership is basic and key.
If you want to know who the terrorists are in our midst, take a look at the leaders of these above-ground organizations: ANAKBAYAN, LFS, GABRIELA, ACT, MAKABAYAN BLOC, etc.
You are then surely looking at high ranking party members of the CPP, whose one and only goal is the overthrow of government achieved by the slow chipping away at our institutions and the installing of themselves in power.
IBON ‘researchers’ pass themselves off as intelligent and professional but really behind them is the terrorist group, CPP-NPA-NDF whose direction they take.
Isang kumpas — and this is the one that leads to overthrow of the government and the securing of communism in our country.
So yes, IBON leaders were placed there by the CPP precisely because they are party members of the CPP who have been faithful to the goal of the CPP- NPA-NDF: the overthrow of the government.
IBON has other functions as well.
While it is under the NUFC bureau of the CPP, it is also under the linework commission, the National Propaganda, and Cultural Commission.
This is where they produce material for propaganda like textbooks of Salugpungan Schools where children as young as 5 years old are taught to be child warriors so when they reach the ripe old age of 8 years old, they become killing machines.
Even more alarming to note is how IBON is part and parcel of textbooks used in our schools that has gone undetected because they approach these schools with 'research group' respectability and credibility not as who it is they truly are: cadres of the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF with a deadly agenda in mind: the death of a nation.
IBON has a 3rd function apart from pretending to be a research center for political propaganda — manufacturing what they call ‘imperialist data’ and that is to link up with unwitting NGOs to advocate purportedly for social reforms through research and policy and to encourage grassroots activities that will support CPP-related activities. They’re also linked up with Finance for fundraising for the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF.
They’re also tasked to widen the international link up and support for CPP through open channels of a network like unsuspecting EU NGOs and funding agencies.
IBON, for example, vouches for another CPP-led organization like SALUGPONGAN and because IBON has institutional credentials and that veneer of credibility, funding is approved.
Salugpongan schools ask for funding to build schools for IP children because they claim, not only is the government not doing its job by not building schools for IPs but they even burn these schools down. Then IBON backs these up with statistics they pull out of thin air.
Where else could they be getting their statistics when they’re so far from the truth?
In reality, the Salugpongan schools were closed down by parents of these indigenous children themselves because of the grief and tragedy these schools have brought into their once-peaceful lives, transforming their children into child warriors and where some of the most heinous crimes committed against their children happened including rape and sexual molestation.
As of October 2017, there have been 117 schools with permits to operate nationwide that are exclusively for IPs with a 100% enrollment rate.
On top of that, since 2016, the Department of Education has established mechanisms for engagement and partnership with 170 indigenous cultural communities (ICCs) in 290 communities nationwide; contextualized the curriculum and developed more than 500 lesson plans in collaboration with 60 ICCs, conducted basic training for personnel for 2,718 schools with IP learners on IPEd and the use of contextualized lesson plans; worked with 65 ICCS in 179 communities in developing orthography dictionary, grammar book and other learning materials, hired over 550 teachers, most of whom are IPs to implement the IPEd Program, reached 207 IP communities in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas, established 258 schools serving ICCs in Mindanao alone.
Hardly the picture IBON paints of an uncaring government remiss of its duties to educate our most precious resource: our children.
And yet, for each and every time that I’ve gone to the UN or faced Members of the European Parliament and my counterparts in government in Europe, these lies are repeated over and over via slick brochures with the unmistakable logo of IBON.
And right there with the IBON logo is the ever-present ‘DONATE’ button.
The billions they’ve collected from unsuspecting Europeans and Americans who thought they were helping eradicate poverty in the Philippines have gone to perpetuating generational poverty and the funding of terrorism.
Some of these funds have been siphoned off into personal pockets for which there have been a spate of killings among themselves. And then these killings are blamed on government -- complete with labels of ‘human rights defender’ of a comrade they had just murdered themselves.
On top of teaching us the deeply wounding language of hate and mistrust towards the government of which, sadly, the Filipino is quite proficient in, the CPP-NPA-NDF is the repository of all the worst forms of hypocrisy and duplicity in this country.
And yes, Rosario Guzman, IBON Research Head, is a CPP member. And so is Sonny Africa, Executive Director of IBON Foundation.
And they’ve carried out the CPP-NPA-NDF goal of government overthrow with utmost precision.
They’re free to deny they’re members of this terrorist group, of course.
As all the others I’ve named as members of the CPP-NPA-NDF in my previous columns are free to deny such a serious allegation but HAVE NOT DONE SO.
Teddy Casiño, Tonyo Cruz, Renato Reyes, Carol Araullo, Lisa Masa, Inday Varona, Nonoy Espina, Alex Danday, Sarah Elago, etc.
They’re not NPA, yes, because they’ve chosen not to dirty their hands with a war they goad our children to fight — and where unbearable numbers of our children have died.
But they are party members of the CPP with blood on their hands.
These cowards and scandalous hypocrites have put other people’s children on the front lines of a war they themselves will not fight and will fight only from the comfort of their upper-class existence and while sending their children to La Salle Greenhills or Europe even.
Parents who have lost their children may search for them till the end of their days, roaming the earth and living out their lives in despair and grief and these bastards could not care less.
And if by chance, they deny they are members of the CPP-NPA-NDF, here’s the one thing these terrorists will never do: denounce the countless atrocities the CPP-NPA-NDF have committed against the most helpless among us.
In other words, they will not denounce what any decent human being will denounce.
So this is how the CPP-NPA-NDF has, through all these decades, destroyed our country: from behind the shadows of their above-ground organizations (like IBON, GABRIELA, ACT, LFS, ANAKBAYAN ) led by CPP-NPA-NDF party members that dance in step to the dirge that leads our country to its death and destruction.
And this is why we MUST refuse to be silenced.
And why we must speak the names of those who try to steal from us what is most precious to us: our children, our families, our greatest hopes and aspirations for ourselves and our country.
IBON is a CPP-NPA-NDF above-ground organization and I have given them and their comrades so much material to sue me further.
I hope they do just that and I hope they can take it as far as I can take it.
Because I want them to speak their lies in a court of law where it will cost them.
And I want it to cost them as much as they have stolen from the Filipino people.
I, therefore, welcome with open arms this opportunity to unmask before the Filipino people an organization that has deeply wounded our country -- the CPP-NPA-NDF via its legal front, IBON.
Someday soon, in a few breaths — we will be able to hand over to future generations of Filipinos a country no longer torn apart by strife.
I share the President’s brave dream of ending this terrible scourge that has brought extreme generational poverty and unending war to our people so that we may know in our life what it is like to live out our best lives in peace and prosperity in a country that has moved forward—finally free from the horrible grip of terrorism.
And I will do everything within my power — both as a public servant and a human being — to realize this dream.